Manco Capac and Mama Ocllo

The legend of Manco Capac and Mama Ocllo is an Inca legend; that goes back to the beginnings of the Inca Empire; this legend like most of the Inca legends was transmitted orally from generation to generation; throughout the territory of the Tahuantinsuyo. It was later compiled and recorded on paper by the Inca Garcilaso de la Vega.

Legend of Manco Capac and Mama Ocllo

Manco Capac, also known as Ayar Manco, was the first leader of the Incas, considered divine and son of the Sun God (Inti).

Legend has it that in the villages near Lake Titicaca, people lived like wild creatures; they had no religion or order. The inhabitants of these areas lived in a nomadic way; that is to say, they did not know any agricultural strategies and did not have any material. That is why they walked around naked and lived in caves and their diet consisted of gathering food and hunting animals.

Seeing this reality the god Inti saw the need to send someone who could socialize these men. The god Inti, seeing this situation, sent his son Manco Capac together with his wife Mama Ocllo; with the mission of ordering and educating all the inhabitants of the area.

Until that moment all the inhabitants of the area were in complete disorder; and it was in this way that the god Inti taught them to cultivate, train and respect the Apus.

For this mission the god Inti gave them a golden bar; indicating that every time they stopped to eat and/or rest they should try to plant the golden bar in the ground. However, they should not use force to carry out the task, since the place where the bar was sunk would be the foundation of the city of Cusco.

Manco Capac and Mama Ocllo appeared on the shores of Lake Titicaca; the locals were amazed by the beauty of their clothes and the splendor of their gems; they shone similar to that of the god Inti, so they considered Manco Capac and Mama Ocllo as divine entities.

Foundation of Cusco

Once out of Lake Titicaca, Manco Capac and Mama Ocllo traveled north. Where they spent several days without the gold bar sinking into the ground.

One morning they woke up in a magnificent valley cordoned off by remarkable slopes and mountains; one of the slopes called Huanacauri where the shining bar sank without much effort. So Manco Capac and Mama Ocllo settled in this place and founded the city of Cusco.

Known today as the navel of the world and capital of the Inca Empire. Manco Capac was in charge of building and teaching men; agriculture, fishing, house construction, science and respect for the god Inti and the apus. Mama Ocllo was in charge of teaching the women domestic chores, such as weaving clothes to protect them from the cold and/or heat, cooking and helping in domestic chores.

Summary of the Legend of Manco Capac and Mama Ocllo

The Legend of Manco Capac and Mama Ocllo, also known as the Legend of Lake Titicaca, tells that from the waters of Lake Titicaca Manco Capac and Mama Ocllo came out to fulfill the mission that their Father Inti (Sun) entrusted to them.

They went to the northwest of the Kollao region; taking with them a gold barretilla, with which they should test the fertility and firmness of the land to fix their dwelling; where the barreta was sunk they should populate and inhabit it.

They arrived at the Cerro de Huanacaure, where the barretilla sank. For what they were destined to fulfill the mandate of their father Sun and founded the Empire of the Incas; in this place, having as base to the city of Cusco.

Once established, Manco Capac and Mama Ocllo, undertook their civilizing mission; the first took the direction of the men, teaching them the work of agriculture and pottery, while Mama Ocllo was responsible for the training of women, teaching them to weave, cook, spin, etc. and thus gradually build what would become the Empire of the Incas.


It is evident according to this legend that they are mythical characters; considered of divine origin, who come with a civilizing mission carried from the south to the north of Peru. Basically, they are seekers of fertile lands who aspire to dedicate themselves to agricultural work. This sense is symbolized by the rod that sinks into the ground like the plant in the soil in order to bloom.

Dr. Valcárcel considers that it is about the conquest of the Vilcanota valley and the Cusco valley by the kollas (Aymaras); whose representative character is Manco Capac, who with his intelligence and his warrior spirit knew how to impose himself and lay the foundations of the Inca Empire.

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