The Chincha culture was a pre-Columbian civilization that inhabited a small region in the southwest of modern Peru. The culture evolved into a kingdom that flourished during the Late Intermediate Period that lasted from 900 to 1450 CE.
The Beginnings of the Chincha People
The Chincha originated in the largest valley in modern Peru that bears their name. The land was always extremely fertile due to the Chincha River that flows down from the Andes through this valley. The location is some 220 km south of the capital of Peru, Lima.
Then in the 9th and 10th centuries, a shift occurred. The lifestyle and culture changed in the coastal regions. Scholars call these new fisherfolk the Pre-Chincha culture. However, they didn't exist for long as the actual Chincha appeared around 100 years later, in the 11th century. They were more sophisticated than the Pre-Chincha and much more warlike. Over time, they dominated the entire valley that bears their name.
The Creations of the Chincha and the Rise of the Kingdom
As soon as they came to the valley, the Chincha people began to form new systems of agriculture, irrigation, and architecture. They developed a method of fertilization using guano and dead birds, a technique later adopted by subsequent cultures of Peru.
Seafaring was another skill they perfected. They developed bigger boats with sails that were able to transport as many as 20 people and larger amounts of cargo. Only a handful of other Pre-Columbian cultures were as successful as they were with boats. The Chincha sailors might have gone as far as Central America, but there isn't enough proof to support this claim.
Centinela archaeological site
Their central hub was La Centinela, one of the biggest archeological sites in the valley. According to some old Spanish sources, at some point, as many as 30,000 people lived in La Centinela. Roads that extended from the town are still visible today.
The Chincha Kingdom rose at some point during their expansion. According to many Spanish sources, the area the Chincha controlled was great, esteemed in ancient times, and famous throughout much of Peru. Their nation expanded its influences around the same time as the Inca Empire was beginning its own expansion. The Incas' massive expansion was bound to reach the Chincha at some point.
The Incorporation into the Inca Empire and the Decline
The Chincha Kingdom disappeared around 1480 when it was incorporated into the Inca Empire. Most sources claim that the incorporation was a peaceful one, as the Chincha had no problems recognizing the power of the Inca. The Chincha people lived on in the empire and gave name to the Chinchaysuyo Region. Their rulers managed to keep a lot of autonomy within the Inca Empire.
The culture existed up until the Spanish conquest of Peru that began in 1532. They perished from European diseases and the political chaos that ensued from the Spanish invasion. The estimates suggest that as much as 99% of the Chincha population disappeared in the first 85 years of the Spanish rule.
If you want to visit the areas the Chincha people inhabited and see the ruins of La Centinela or the surrounding areas of Paracas, Ica & Nasca