Similarities between Aztecs and Incase

Similarities Between Aztecs & Incas

Aztecs and Incas are some of the greatest Central and South American civilizations. Originally Pre-European, they represent the grand accomplishment of civilizations from the old world. And even today as we read about their history, we can’t help but marvel over their achievements. While these two civilizations had their differences, they also had common practices. 

Speaking of that, both Aztecs and Incas situated their capitals on high altitudes. For instance, the Tenochtitlan city of Aztec was around 8000 feet high while Inca Capitals were over 10,000 ft high. And during their supreme rule, both civilizations went to war with Local Americans. Specifically, the Aztecs fought with the natives to source human sacrifices and conquer territory. On the other hand, Incas were also at war with natives. 

When it comes to the ruling of these civilizations, they had more or less the same structure. For instance, Inka ruled the Incas as their king, while Aztecs had Montezuma. And to appease their gods, both their religious practices supported human sacrifices. Still, on gods, both civilizations held the sun god as a crucial figure in their religion. 

Incas would refer to their sun god as Inti while Aztecs as Huitzelpochtl. Economically, Agriculture plays an important role in the success of both civilizations besides other trades. While they share success through a similar route, their fall is also the same. Spain specifically, conquered both civilizations bringing to an end their rule and dominance in the region. 

And that’s not all; they were also greatly affected by smallpox brought to their population by the Spanish. None of these civilizations had immunity to this European disease that lead to a significant loss of the population. 

Are Incas and Aztecs the Same?

Incas and Aztecs may have close similarities but they are not the same. Speaking of that, here are defining differences between these two groups. For starters, the Incas civilization existed between 1450 and 1535 AD. They dominated South America towards the southeastern coast, what’s known now as Peru. 

Aztec reign on the other hand was from 1325 to 1523 AD. Unlike Incas, they dominated Central Mexico. Further, the Aztecs were a fierce group, unlike the Incas. And this could be seen in their cultural and social practices. For instance, they would sacrifice people to appease their gods. 

And that’s not all, they would engage in war to gather captives for human practices. Further, everyone in the losing team during the Tlatchli game would also be sacrificed. Incas on the other hand were friendly, a character that resulted in their easy conquest by the Spanish. 

Were the Incas or Aztecs more advanced?

Yes, they were both advanced, and here is an insight:

  • Aztecs

For starters, Aztecs conquered many groups, and from some of these groups, they adapted some ideas, but what’s even interesting is that Aztecs turned these ideas into their by improving them. 

On science and technology, their capital Tenochtitlan was a masterpiece. It included “Chinampas” (artificial islands) & causeways linking the capital to the mainland. During intense precipitation, they would work as dikes. 

When it comes to time, Aztecs used two calendars, the 260-days calendar for cultural practices and the 365-days calendar for farming practices. Further, they also practiced arts and architecture. The architecture includes massive buildings like temples, while the arts include music, sculpture, dance, art, and poetry.

  • Incas

Incas also adapted some ideas from other groups. But what’s impressive is how they managed to control vast areas. On advancement, they had impressive engineering skills. For instance, they built a network of roads on a treacherous landscape covering every area they ruled. Along these paths, they built tunnels through mountains, and suspension bridges to cross rivers, among others. 

On agriculture, they practiced terrace farming along the hill and mountain slopes and they built canals that would irrigate the terraces. 

In medicine, Incas were also advanced. They would practice “Trephination”, skull surgery on injured warriors. And Like Aztecs, they practiced arts and architecture. 

Why were the Incas better than the Aztecs?

For starters, the Incas were not into cannibalism, a practice that was common among the Aztecs. According to their religious and cultural believes, eating human flesh was not part of it. Secondly, the Incas would live and adapt in an inhospitable locations like the Andes Mountains. Through their ingenious farming methods, they built terraces along the hill slopes where they planted their crops. 

Through a system of canal irrigation, they were able to water their crops. Thirdly, their society was more advanced with a defined structure, unlike the Aztecs. While the Aztecs relied on the military to govern their subjects, Incas had an advanced governing system. They would combine both administration and military power through bureaucracies to govern the empire. 

Also, they didn’t demand tribute from their subjects. If anything, they allowed commoners to trade with the upper class. What’s more, commoners would gain rights to own properties through the upper class as a means to prevent restlessness and rebellion. 

Lastly, the Incas were superior in engineering. They were able to construct over 14,000 miles of road and it was all paved connecting the capital, Cusco, to the entire empire. The road comprised hanging bridges and tunnels across hills. Their system of the centralized economy plus collective labor was very successful. 

What happened to the Incas and Aztecs? 

They suffered a downfall due to the Spanish invasion. Aztec empire lost to Cortes while Incas on the other hand lost to Pizarro, the Spanish conquistadors. For starters, the Inca invasion was in 1532. Pizarro an explorer from Spain visited the region searching for riches. But before him, the region had already had several encounters with the Europeans. 

As a result, the population was significantly reduced by European diseases they were not immune to. On the other hand, the civil war between the brothers in power also weakened the empire further. Through manipulation, Pizarro defeated the two rulers. 

Aztec on the other hand had military superiority even though it was not a match to Spanish horses, guns, and cannons. In addition, European diseases like smallpox significantly reduced Aztec resistance. Thereafter, the Spanish cut off the supply of water into the capital and blocked entry causeways, as a result, starvation lead to thousands of deaths. 


While there’s no evidence or record of these two great civilizations ever meeting, they have significant similarities. From the organization of the ruling classes to the economic and religious system, these two groups are quite similar.  Also, their downfall was led by the same group of people, the Spanish. 

But even so, they also have distinct practices that set them apart. For instance, the Aztecs were into cannibalism while the Incas were not. And when the Aztecs were engaging compelling approach using military force, the Incas were peaceful and persuasive. So, if you want to dive into the history of the most successful ancient civilization, these two will do.

If you want to learn more about the differences between both civilizations, you can do so here.