Differences Between Aztecs And Incas

Differences Between Aztecs And Incas

As a start, the Incas were gentler and more accomplished in other fields. The Aztecs inhabited Central Mexico & dominated the northern part of the region between 1345 and 1521 CE, while Incas lived within the Andes Mountains & dominated western South America between 1400 and 1533 CE. The Aztecs worshipped Huitzilopochtli as their main god and the Incas worshipped Inti.

It is common for people to celebrate and appreciate the achievements and civilization of Western civilization, but they do not recognize the importance of the Aztecs and the Incas, who ruled Central America from the 1200s to the 1500s. Both civilizations were among the most advanced and dominant in the Americas before the Europeans arrived.

What Are The Difference Between Aztecs & Incas?

People of the Incas were gentler and more accomplished in other fields. A good road system and a good messenger service, for instance, were among their outstanding qualities. There was a court system among the Aztecs. 

Aztecs inhabited Central Mexico, while Incas lived within the Andes Mountains. As a last resort, the Incans exposed the dead on a mountain ledge to the elements, where the wind evaporated their moisture.

As a South American culture, the Incas were little more than ethnic Quechuas, or Amerindians. Around 1400AD, they were a small mountain tribe, but a century later, in the early 16th century, the Incas conquered and dominated the world’s largest empire, and founded the mighty Inca Empire.

In ancient Mesoamerica, the Aztecs dominated the northern part of the region between 1345 and 1521 CE, while the Incas dominated western South America between 1400 and 1533 CE.

The Aztecs worshipped Huitzilopochtli as their main god and the Incas worshipped Inti.

Aztecs made the popular mask of Xuihetecuhtli out of turquoise mosaic, while the Incas built highways across mountains and rivers.

Aztecs designed Tenochtitlan, their capital city, on an island, while Incas built stone temples without mortar, but the stones fit together so well that no knife could pass through them.

Aztecs used a sacred calendar as well as a 365-day agricultural calendar. The Aztec writing system uses glyphs, which stand for words and sound. The Incas did not develop a writing system; they kept records on bundles of cords called quipus, knotted together.

Aztecs were known for their metalwork. Aztec artists often used turquoise; the most common example is the decorated skull representing Tezcatlipoca. It was the Chimu civilization that influenced the art and techniques of the Inca.

Were The Incas Or Aztecs More Powerful?

Yes, the Aztecs were more powerful than the Incas. One of the reasons was because of their religion. The Aztecs believed that every individual was responsible for maintaining order in the universe, and a mistake could result in catastrophe. 

According to the Aztecs, the Gods sacrificed themselves many times to create the Earth and the People. Due to religion, Aztecs created many rituals and ceremonies that included human sacrifice. These rituals and ceremonies are why Aztecs created one of the world’s most famous structures that are still standing to this day. 

According to the Incas, the world was created in Lake Titicaca, and their religion had no bearing on their daily lives except for their religious ceremonies.

The Aztecs also maintained power, which made them more powerful and advanced than the Incas. The Aztec civilization lasted from 1345 to 1521, while the Inca civilization lasted only from 1438 to 1532. 

Empires were easily ruled by the Aztecs. When Tenochtitlan conquered new lands, they let local governments remain in place, but forced them to pay tribute to the Triple Alliance. Local governments ensure stability and continuity and make sure that people are happy. 

Since the Aztecs conquered cities, they had power over an area. The Incas also had such power over an area, but they did not claim tribute from conquered subjects in kind or money, but instead demanded labor from them, by the mit’a system. 

For the happiness of their people, Aztecs don’t touch the local governments when conquering neighboring tribes. It is easier for the government to last longer and be more successful when the people are happy. In their towns, the Incas demanded labor when they conquered other tribes. Whenever the conquered work for the city, uprisings are easier and the government becomes weak and unstable.

Furthermore, the Aztecs were more powerful and advanced than the Incas because of their military strength. A strong Empire is built on military power. The Aztecs had a superior military to the Incas. 

The Aztecs expected all males to participate and fight. It was the king who commanded the armed forces. Special military compounds were used to train the Warriors in tactics and weaponry at an early age. 

A military organization was different among the Incas. As opposed to the Aztecs, they mostly engaged in hand-to-hand combat that was bloody and less tactical. Throwers, arrows, javelins, slings, and club-like weapons with copper or bronze heads were used by these people.

Are The Aztecs And Incas Related?

There were many similarities between the Inca and Aztec empires. 

Economy: Their economy was centered around agriculture and was based on the management of resources and goods. Originally clan-based, the Incas and the Aztecs evolved into thriving empires. Each civilization developed from earlier civilizations that preceded it.

Religion: Neither the Incas nor the Aztecs worshiped anything but the sun god. Both religions sacrificed humans. Their god was worshiped in temples that they had built, which were big enough to perform sacrifices in. Aztecs and Incas were monotheistic, which means they believed in only one God. Incan and Aztec kings were regarded as gods and were widely respected.

Empire: Aztec and Inca empires were similar. Originally clan-based, the Incas and Aztecs grew into powerful empires. These civilizations had also been influenced by earlier civilizations.

Spanish: Both the Incas and the Aztecs were conquered by the Spanish. Even with advanced technology and weapons, the Incas and Aztecs could not keep the Spanish at bay. There was no immunity to diseases introduced by the Spaniards to the Incas and Aztecs. The Spanish also brought guns over, which had not yet been invented or built by the American empires. This allowed them to defeat both empires.

Did The Aztecs And Inca Ever Meet?

The Aztecs never met the Incas, and neither archival nor archaeological evidence suggests that they did. Even though the Aztecs in Mexico and the Incas in Peru built empires at roughly the same time, it seems they never knew each other existed.


Generally speaking, both the Aztecs and the Incas were incredible native empires of the New Land. It is a pity the invading Europeans destroyed them so brutally that both civilizations were wiped out. Nevertheless, we can make sense of their time in the sun, thanks to archaeological relics and historical narratives.

Peace was the hallmark of the Incas. Their proclivity may have contributed to their defeat so easily. They had gone out to welcome the Spanish invader, Francisco Pizzaro, who would later assassinate their former ruler and his entire court. Meanwhile, the Aztecs held the Spanish in the longest siege in history while keeping their armed forces.

If you want to learn about the similarities between both these civilizations, you can read our article on the topic.