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Some time ago I watched a documentary on Inca Empire, since its creation to the death of Túpac Amaru. Although it wasn't stated explicitly, I came out of it with an impression that after Manco Inca rebelled against Spaniards, Incan empire already returned to stability after the smallpox, civil war and Spanish control and could just hold off any invasion indefinitely. It was successful in decimating any forces send from Lima with almost no loss for Incan army using traps and superior understanding of the terrain and it only fell because of a single tactical mistake, when Quiso Yupanqui launched an unsuccessful attack on Lima instead of staying safely in the mountains. The Neo-Inca Empire, lacking the huge advantage of controlling the highland roads, fell soon after.

As the time would've passed, and cultural exchange (although hostile in nature) would continued, eventually technological gap would be closed, and Inca would stand on equal footing to Spain, being able to stand their ground even on a plain field and being able to contest the Spanish colonization. It's also not hard to imagine, that a strong Inca Empire could receive assistance in the form of technological know-how and arms from the European enemies of Spain, if that would mean severely hurting Spanish enterprises in South America.

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    It's an interesting question, but I'd be very careful about using a word like "inevitable". We so poorly know the facts of history and so poorly understand historical processes, that the most we can ever say would be that the fall of the Incan Empire was "very likely". (Note that there is serious historical debate on when the Roman Empire -- which we understand far better than the Incan -- fell or even if it fell at all.)
    – Mark Olson
    Sep 16 '21 at 17:43
  • @MarkOlson I would say using inevitable is ok. No Empire can last forever.
    – JMERICKS
    Sep 16 '21 at 22:33
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    As a counter-factual, this is not history.
    – Jon Custer
    Sep 16 '21 at 22:40
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    I agree that this is not history. However one can look at some other examples. The only country which forcefully and successfully resisted European intrusion was Japan, which was "discovered" shortly after Peru. I do not know whether this single example proofs anything. Japan was on much higher stage of social and technological development than Peru at that time.
    – Alex
    Sep 16 '21 at 23:26
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    Sorry, that is a history-what-if question. We don't do that here.
    – Jos
    Sep 17 '21 at 2:13
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No, it was not.

  1. The Inca Empire was split at the time when Pisarro arrived. It was in the civil war. If it hadn't, the Pisarro's conquest would be impossible.
  2. Later, when Spain would advance closer, there could be a normal Spain-Inca war. But even much weaker Yucatan could exist independently for decades. Patagonia remained unconquered till 19 century. The much stronger Inca empire could easily exist up to the 18-19th centuries, like Ghana or Mali. If it could reach the level of Ethiopia or Siam and remain independent till the 20th century, is questionable. But even that is possible, for Incas could make alliances with Patagonians or get the support of the English against Spaniards. Their existence by itself could support the independence of other possible Indian states. Even the Bolivarian wars could develop in different ways.
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