Conclusion

Dynamics of the Southeastern Inka Frontier

This book emerged out of research addressing the nature of the Southeastern Inka frontier and the effects of the imperial borders in the lives of the indigenous inhabitants. To shed light on the broader structure of the Southeastern Inka frontier zone, this concluding chapter compares the settlement trajectories in the Oroncota and Khosko Toro regions, including the architecture and range of activities carried out in the main Inka installations. Each region was part of a slice of the Southeastern Inka frontier, providing a unique opportunity to assess the spatial changes of the frontier as a broad zone. Whereas the Oroncota Valley was in the inner portion, the Khosko Toro mountain was on its eastern margin. As will be discussed, this frontier segment took the form of a porous military frontier formed by strategic defensive nodes at important communica- tional intersections. Although multifunctional in character, the main Inka facilities served as effective filters and surveillance points that controlled the movement of resources and peoples across the border. Nearby, the presence of ancillary installations, such as outposts, walled hills, and wall segments in weak flanks, reveals defensive concerns prompted in part by the growing Guarani-Chiriguano incursions. Despite this situation, the main Inka centers were crucial in facilitating the selective incorporation of different indigenous factions through diplomacy and periodic celebrations. Far from constituting an impenetrable barrier protected by state soldiers from the core, the empire relied heavily on trusted local allies to exert control in this volatile region—even despite the state policy changes. These groups fulfilled different tasks that were crucial for the empire. Depending on the specific circumstances, they acted as soldiers or cultural brokers, and facilitated the incorporation of local and outlying populations. In the absence of permanent colonies from the core, these frontier allies participated in the imperial agenda to level the balance of power and to use these circumstances for their own benefit. In this process, many Inka institutions and practices were modified—an unintended consequence of state expansion. Using regional-scale and site-level perspectives, in this chapter the features that characterized the southeastern border as a porous military frontier are discussed, as well as the effects of the Inka frontier on the local dynamics.

 
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