By Waltraud Q. Morales
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Extra resources for A Brief History of Bolivia, 2nd Edition
At the height of its development, the city was ruled by a divine emperor-priest who directed the religious rituals and cultural life of the people. With the help of the royal family, the emperor also controlled secular affairs of state. Similar to their subsequent Incan counterparts, the Tiwanakan rulers lived a luxurious life and maintained the power of their hereditary caste through close intermarriage. The Tiwanakans are also thought to have influenced the cosmological and religious beliefs of other pre-Incan and Incan peoples.
And then, as now, no crop was more valuable or easier to grow and transport than coca. If one considers the predominant physical geography, Bolivia is a lowland country: The third major geographical region, the Oriente, covers 70 percent of the territory and consists of the extensive and ecologically diverse eastern lowlands, or llanos. This plains region contains three distinct topographical and climatic zones: the gentle grasslands, the northern tropical rain forests, and the harsh scrubland of the Chaco to the south.
The land’s produce and resources were always divided into three parts and distributed among the Inca ruling caste, the priests, and the ayllus. Within the ayllus, land was collectively owned by the entire community as it had been in the Andean world for time out of mind but was distributed for cultivation according to the size and composition of each household in the ayllu. Generally, the land was divided into two-acre plots; one whole plot went to each male member of the family and a half plot to each female member.
A Brief History of Bolivia, 2nd Edition by Waltraud Q. Morales