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Great Inca Rebellion, The

Program Overview

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Conquistadors Note: This program contains recreations of violent battle scenes between the Inca and the Spanish conquistadors. Please preview it to determine its appropriateness for your classroom.

NOVA investigates skeletal evidence that reveals a new story of the Spanish conquest of the Inca and rewrites the history laid down by the Spanish conquistadors.

The program:

  • describes 21st century Lima, a bustling city of about 9 million people, beneath which lies layers of ancient Inca gravesites.

  • describes several gravesites found with bodies hastily wrapped and not placed the traditional Inca way—crouched and facing east—and skeletons that revealed marks indicating violent deaths.

  • presents a skeleton named Mochito that shows particularly severe injuries.

  • shows how scientists use X-rays, magnetic resonance imaging, and a scanning electron microscope to examine a wounded skull.

  • explains that the official version of the conquest was a dramatic story of the Spanish conquistadors written to magnify victory.

  • notes that the newfound skeletons and their injuries tell a different story, including the fact that of seventy skulls examined, only three show signs of individuals being killed being killed by the Spanish.

  • introduces historical research and forensic evidence revealing a different and more accurate account of the battle between the Inca and conquistadors.

  • states that for the Andean Indians to agree to assist the Spanish warriors, the Spanish probably made false promises of freedom and land but later denied the Inca all of this.

  • recreates some of the battles between the Inca and the conquistadors based on what was learned from forensic and historical research, including the final battle that Mochito participated in.

Taping Rights: Can be used up to one year after program is recorded off the air.

Teacher's Guide
Great Inca Rebellion, The
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