Lost Kingdoms of South America episode 4

Lost Kingdoms of South America episode 4

Lost Kingdoms of South America episode 4: In the spectacular deserts of coastal Peru, archaeologist Dr Jago Cooper explores the dramatic rise and fall of Chimor, the first empire of South America. His journey begins among the ruins of a vast lost city once home to an all-powerful monarchy, whose subjects transformed the desert landscape, created gold and silver treasures and believed so strongly in the power of their gods that they made the most shocking of sacrifices. Chimor thrived despite facing some of the most extreme climate conditions in the world, but not even this powerful empire could withstand the forces that eventually destroyed it.




The focus of the Chimor Kingdom was its royalty. But dominant and wealthy though they were, Chimu kings and queens – like everyone else on Peru’s desert coast – faced an environment that had the power to destroy. Extreme weather events brought on by El Nino conditions could threaten catastrophe two or three times every decade. The apparent influence of the Sea Goddess may have been why an unusual seashell was a highly prized status symbol.


Lost Kingdoms of South America episode 4


Chimor (also Kingdom of Chimor or Chimú Empire) was the political grouping of the Chimú culture. The culture arose about 900 AD, succeeding the Moche culture, and was later conquered by the Inca emperor Topa Inca Yupanqui around 1470, fifty years before the arrival of the Spanish in the region. Chimor was the largest kingdom in the Late Intermediate Period, encompassing 1,000 kilometres (620 mi) of coastline.

The first valleys seem to have joined forces willingly, but the Sican culture was acquired through conquest. They also were significantly influenced by the pre-Incan Cajamarca and Wari cultures. According to legend, its capital of Chan Chan was founded by Taycanamo, who arrived in the area by sea. Chimor was the last kingdom that had any chance of stopping the Inca Empire. But the Inca conquest began in the 1470s by Topa Inca Yupanqui, defeating the emperor and descendant of Tacaynamo, Minchancaman, and was nearly complete when Huayna Capac assumed the throne in 1493.

The Chimú resided on a strip of desert on the northern coast of Peru. The rivers in the region carved a series of fertile valley plains, which were very flat and well-suited to irrigation. Agriculture and fishing were both very important to the Chimú economy.

Worshipping the moon, the Chimú, unlike the Inca, considered it more powerful than the sun. Offerings played an important role in religious rites. A common object for offerings, as well as one used by artisans, was the shell of the Spondylus shellfish, which resides only in the warm coastal waters off present-day Ecuador. Associated with the sea, rainfall, and fertility, Spondylus shells were highly valued and traded by the Chimú people, and the exchange of the shells played a significant economic and political role in the empire.


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