Get a FREE Active Adventures Brochure

Includes info on all of our trips.

By submitting this request, you agree to our Privacy Policy

History of Machu Picchu

Archaeological evidence uncovered around the site suggests that the area was first used for agricultural purposes back in 760 B.C.

machu picchu history stan

The war of Vilcambamba Pachacutec in 1440 established the first settlement at the site. It was called the Tahuantinsuyo Empire which was later followed by the formation of the government of Manco Capac.

It is thought that Machu Picchu was first inhabited by 300-1000 inhabitants, who were of the highest class or "Llactas".

The valleys around these areas were important for their agricultural contribution, however after death of the Emperor Pachacutec, it lost its importance, with the establishment of new sites like Ollaytantambo and Vilcambamba. The building of these new sites by his successors, in more accessible terrain made Machu Picchu less appealing.

From 1527 to 1532, two brothers Huáscar and Atahualpa fought against each other in a civil war over the Inca Empire. Their father, Inca Huayna Capac had given each brother a section of the empire to manage, one in Huáscar in Cuzco and Atahualpa in Quito. When Huayna Capac and his heir, Ninan Cuyuchi, died somewhere between 1525 and 1527, the two brothers Atahualpa and Huáscar went to war over who should rule.  The population who had come to live in the Machu Picchu area from rural or remote locations left after the war ended to return to where they came from. Later another brother, Manco Inca was sent into exile in Vilcambamba, and Machu Picchu was deserted.

Antonio Raimondi was an Italian geographer and scientist from Milan who visited Machu Picchu in 1851. In 1867 Augusto Berns arrived to mine the site.

Hiram Bingham re-discovered the ruins in 1911. He documented and publicised his "discovery".

hiram bingham

Hiram Bingham (image courtesy of time.com)


Related Content:


Related Trips:

  • Jaguar Ultimate Peru Adventure

    • 10 Days
    • Peru
    • US$3999

    4.50 out of 5 (from 1964 reviews)

    Jaguar

    The ‘Jaguar’ is our most action-packed multi-activity trip in Peru. It captures everything this beautiful country has to offer, from the towering peaks of the Andes down to the steamy depths of the Amazon jungle. You’ll have a blast in this land of geographical and cultural extremes! We start our trip in the heart of the Inca empire where we explore fortresses and surrounding valleys, hike over stunning mountain passes to Machu Picchu, cycle into the Sacred Valley of the Incas and view Amazon wildlife up close. The variety of activities and landscapes on this trip will give you a Peruvian adventure like no other – and an experience you’ll never forget!

    For a great way to see Lake Titicaca and the Bolivian salt flats too, combine this trip with our Titicaca and Bolivia 'Chinchilla' - chat to our team to learn how! 


Inca Trail Packing List: The 12 Most Important Items and Why

Huayna Picchu: How Fit Must You Be To Climb?

Why travel with Active Adventures?

Above all, we aim to be amazing hosts. We're proud of our kiwi roots, and our professional, warm and relaxed style of running trips around the world is unforgettable.

We're VERY picky about who we select to work in our team, and we have people from all over the world lining up to guide our trips. So we get to hire the absolute BEST in the business.

As soon as you get off the plane, we've got all the details of your vacation covered – top notch meals, comfortable transport & accommodation, amazing guides and INCREDIBLE service.

Whether you’re new to adventure travel, or you’ve never travelled in a group before, you’ll find yourself arriving home positively different from when you left.

With our small groups (no more than 14), you'll get to know our team, your fellow travellers, and have the flexibility and freedom to do as much (or as little!) as you like.

It's all about getting there under your own steam – on foot, in a sea kayak, or by bike. What better way is there to experience mind blowing scenery? If it's your first time, no worries – our expert guides have got you covered.

Get your FREE Brochure Now!
Active Adventures Brochure