Warfare was common to the Inca Empire, and the empire trained and armed scores of warriors. Inca war strategy was generally to split their army into three groups of warriors, each group specializing in a different type of weapon. Inca warriors were trained extensively, starting at the age of sixteen. Every Inca man was required to serve as a warrior. Training lasted for three to four years, and each man was trained in the use of all weapons. However, at the end of the training, warriors would choose one weapon which they would specialize in for the rest of their service. Some young men who showed special skills were chosen to complete extra training and become an officer. Officer training was even longer and more extensive than normal warrior training. There were three main types of weapons that the Inca warriors were trained to use in battle: slingshots, boleadoras, and axes/truncheons.
Baleadoras-Inca WeaponsThe first type of weapon used in an Inca attack was the boleadora. Boleadoras (pictured on the right) were lassos made of strips of rawhide. Suspended from these rawhide strips were three balls made of wood or rock. The boleadoras were swung in a circular motion. When the warriors let go of them, they would hit the enemy warriors, slowing down the opposing attack and making them better targets for the slingshot warriors.
Inca Slingshot RepresentationThe second group of warriors used slingshots to further break the enemy lines. These slingshots (pictured on the left) used spherical stones as projectiles to be shot in the slingshots. The incredibly well trained Inca warriors were able to hit moving targets as much as 70 meters away. The slingshots were shot in waves; once the first wave ran out of stones to shoot, the second wave would start in, ensuring that there was no break in the shooting of these stones, and thereby making it harder for their enemies to recover in time to respond with a counterattack.
Both slingshots and boleadoras were used before the real combat had started. Once the enemy had advanced too far for slingshots and boleadoras to be useful, the final set of weapons were used: truncheons and axes. These weapons (pictured at the top of the page) were the most important ones to Inca warfare. The heads of these clubs were usually star-shaped, made of stone or copper, with wooden handles. The first wave during the attack would through spears at the enemy, then, during hand-to-hand combat, the Inca warriors used their truncheons and axes.
The incredibly heroic morale of the Inca warriors, and the intensive training that they underwent, made the Inca warriors superior to most of the warriors of their rival tribes, and in turn led to the rise of the Inca Empire. Without such a powerful army, the Inca Empire never could have become so advanced. However, the Inca weaponry also led to the decline of the empire. Although the Inca warriors were more than adequate in fending off local adversaries, the Inca weapons were no match for the gunpowder and swords of the Francisco Pizarro and his army. Pizarro was able to easily take over the Inca Empire because his men had superior weapons to the slingshots, boleadoras, and truncheons of the vast Inca army.