Incas Social Hierarchy

The Inca Empire was the largest empire during the days of the pre-Columbian America.  The Inca civilization arose from the highlands of Peru during the early 13th century and the people were generally referred to as the Incas.  The Incas considered their king to be the son of the sun and this king was known as the Sapa Inca.

The Incas followed a strict social hierarchy system and according to this system, there were 4 main levels which were the Sapa Inca, The Royalty, the Nobility and the Ayllu.  To know more about what each of these levels meant, you can read the following given information:

Incas social hierarchySapa Inca

The Sapa Inca was the most powerful person during the Inca civilization and in other terms, was the king of the Incas.  The Sapa Inca was considered to be the son of the sun and was the wealthiest and most respected person.  The Sapa Inca would have many wives and father many children.  He had one primary wife who was known as the Coya. Coya was the full sister of Incas and this tradition was followed to maintain the royal blood.


Besides the Sapa Inca or the king, the relatives and the royal family of the king were known as the Royalty and had a very high status in the society. They were the wealthiest and the most powerful people during the Incas civilization and enjoyed all the luxuries during those days.  The descendants of the Sapa Inca were also royalty and had the chance to become kings in the future.  The son of the Sapa Inca was called the Auqyi.

  • Coya
  • Auqyi


Below the Royalty came the nobility which was the class of people who acted as leaders to govern over the rest of the Incas population.  The nobles were also respected people who had certain privileges and enjoyed many freedoms. For example, these people were not required to pay taxes and also received gifts from others. This class was further subdivided into three other divisions which are given as follows:

  • Capac Incans-highest ranking nobles
  • Huhua Incans- these were not the true nobles but were still given the status and rights
  • Curacas-these were the local leaders and collected taxes.


Most of the Incas population belonged to the category of the commoners.  These people took up low wage jobs like farming, herding and even worked as servants at the houses of the nobility or the royalty.

  • Farmers
  • Herders
  • Servants
  • slaves