The Inca Empire, also known as the Tawantinsuyu, was ruled by a series of Inca rulers who were considered divine kings and held absolute power. The most well-known and influential ruler of the Inca Empire was Pachacuti Inca Yupanqui, who ascended to power in 1438. Under his leadership, the empire expanded significantly and reached its peak.

After Pachacuti, a succession of rulers followed, including:

1. Topa Inca Yupanqui (1471-1493): He was the son and successor of Pachacuti. Topa Inca Yupanqui continued the expansion of the empire, conquering new territories and incorporating them into the Inca Empire.

2. Huayna Capac (1493-1527): He was the son of Topa Inca Yupanqui and expanded the empire further north into present-day Ecuador and south into central Chile. Huayna Capac’s reign was marked by significant territorial expansion and increased centralization of power.

3. Atahualpa (1527-1532): He was the last ruler of the Inca Empire and the son of Huayna Capac. Atahualpa’s reign was short-lived as the Spanish conquistadors, led by Francisco Pizarro, captured him in 1532, which marked the beginning of the downfall of the Inca Empire.

It’s important to note that the Inca Empire had a complex political structure, and each ruler was supported by a council of nobles and high-ranking officials. Additionally, the empire was divided into administrative regions, each governed by a provincial governor appointed by the emperor.