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Inca (Quechua / Aymara) people (Western South America)

Tawantin Suyu (Work under progress!)

Last modified: 2023-07-03 by antónio martins
Keywords: inca | quechua | kechua | qhishwa | aymara | aimara | tawanti suyu | rainbow flag | sullpu | taru | tawantinsuyupa aucaruna | snake | snakes: 2 | turtle |
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Inca flag
image by António Martins, 2003
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"Pusinsuyo" (in Aymara) = "Tawantin Suyu" (in Quechua). It means "Four parts" and was the authonym of the Inca Empire. Spelling variants range from "-nsuyo" to "-suyu".
António Martins, 11 Jul 2004

Although sharing roughly the same territory — the central south american highland —, Aymara however are based mainly in Bolivia and Peru and extending shouthwards to Chile and Argentina, while Quechua has a somewhat northern nucleous and spreads to the north, to Ecuador and Colombia.
António Martins, 04 Jun 2000

The Indigenous banner is called huipala with the seven colors of the rainbow (symbolizing the unity of indigenous peoples before the conquest). There are some basic versions of the whipala. The whipala with stripes is called the Tawantinsuyo flag, or the Inca flag, the inca nation flag, the quechua nation flag. The original flag is the striped whipala, which was the coat of arms of the Inca. The Rainbow flag (Wipahla) belongs to the Native Andean people of Tahuantinsuyu for more than 500 years. Each color and its place in the flag as the rainbow, have an own indigenous significance. (In Ecuador they have also some variants.)
Laila Holtet (of, 09 Jul 2001

According to Peru.21, 18 January 2006, the celebration of the 471st anniversary of the Spanish foundation of Lima by Francisco Pizarro shall include an allegoric parade, flag hoisting, official sessions and a mass celebrated in the Basilical Cathedral.Flags will be hoisted by the local municipal authorities on the Parade Ground (Plaza de Armas). The Mayor of Lima, Luis Castañeda Lossio, will hoist the national flag; Regidor Walter Menchola will hoist lo propio with the city pennant and Regidora Marcia Montero will hoist the same with the Tahuantinsuyo banner.
Ivan Sache, 20 Jan 2006

Flag with two blue stripes

The Inca Empire do not exist as people anymore, but the flag is considered by the Peruvians as Inca flag. Quechua was the language of the Inca and is still the most spoken Indian language in Peru.
Jan Patrick Fischer, 10 Nov 2003

It was created out of the flag, the indians used in their rebellion 1570/1571.
Jan Patrick Fischer, 15 Mar 2001

(blue stripe at the bottom)

Inca flag
image by António Martins, 2003

(violet stripe at the bottom)

Inca flag
image by António Martins, 17 Sep 2003

Most used rainbow flag in Peru is the 7-stripes-flag with red - orange - yellow - green - light blue - dark blue - violet. I saw this flag in Cuzco at a museum for peoples art, at a wall painting in Cuzco about the peruvian history in the hand of a indian fighting against spanish soldier and on an official building in Lima. My Peruvian friend said, this flag is used by the indian population of Peru, mainly Quechua (main people of the Inca empire) and some Aymara at lake Titicaca (most of them are living in Bolivia).
Jan Patrick Fischer, 25 Oct 2003

Historical origin

Inca flag
image by António Martins, 17 Sep 2003

I saw a reproduction of this flag in the museum of Fortress Real Felipe in Callao. It was used by the leader of an Indian revolution in 18th century. It is violet - light blue - dark blue - light green - yellow - orange - dark red, with a symbol, two snakes and the writting "TAWANTINSUYUPA AUCARUNA".
Jan Patrick Fischer, 25 Oct 2003

Seven horizontal stripes of purple - light blue - medium blue - green - yellow - orange - red, with a large central emblem consisting of a turtle shell (?), orange lined red, it’s ridges and grooves composing a human face in the center, encicled by two snakes; black lettering on each side (over the green, yellow and orange stripes), slanted (or curved?) reading in upper case "Tawantinsuyupa" (hoist side) and "Aucaruna" (fly side). No info about the reverse.
António Martins, 02 Sep 2001

Faded colors

Inca flag
image by António Martins, 17 Sep 2003

The actual flag has darkened, faded colors. Could the be the origin of wrongly colored reports?
António Martins, 13 Aug 2004

Six-stripes variation

Inca flag
image by António Martins, 13 Aug 2004

On a postcard, showing the main square of Cuzco, I bought there, is a six-stripes: flag red - yellow - green - light blue - dark blue. The postcard seems to be older, maybe the former version?
Jan Patrick Fischer, 25 Oct 2003

Flag with white stripe

Inca flag
image by António Martins, 17 Sep 2003

The National Flag of Tawantinsuyu: seven horizontal stripes: red, orange, yellow, white, green, blue, and purple. The banner is called sullpu.
Jaume Ollé, 1997

The symbolism of the colors is red for earth, orange for society and culture, yellow for energy, white for time, green for economy, blue for space, and purple for policy.
Jaume Ollé, 06 Feb 2000

pair flag

Qhishwa-Aymara Indians
image by Kjell Roll Elgsaas, 14 Dec 1997

According to the Andean culture, the national flag is flown as part of a pair. The pair of the national flag is square and quartered red and green in the top, and white and yellow in the bottom. Is called taru and represents the equality of the four territories.
Jaume Ollé, 1997

Paired flags

Are these are always used in pairs — carried by two persons (or on both arms of the same person), or hoisted on two poles side-by-side? Or two flags on the same pole? One above the other or at the same height? What is the meaning of one of the flags if the pair used isolated? Are both members of the pair of the same importance?
António Martins, 12 Feb 2000

Rainbow flag to be replaced?

We have heard that the Indigenous org. of Cuzco, Peru is thinking about finding another flag to symbolize our native people, because of the problem above of using the flag by the gays community and the International Co-operative Alliance [both using rainbow flags]. The gay community have not answered any email about this presented by the United Indigenous Tribal Representatives, nor from CONAIE, the indigenous leaders of Cuzco or anyone else.
Laila Holtet (of, 09 Jul 2001

Other Inca flags

There were also the black flags of Ruminahui (legendary leader of the autonomous movement) and Atahualpa.
Laila Holtet (of, 09 Jul 2001

Anything below this line was not added by the editor of this page.

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