Mama Ocllo

Map of the areas under control of the Incan Empire during Mama Ocllo’s life. Image Credit: WikiCommons.

By Gabby Storey

Mama Ocllo was a fifteenth-century princess, and later queen consort of the Incan Empire through her marriage to her brother, the Sapa Inca Topa Inca Yupanqui.

We know little of her early life, only that she was the daughter of the Sapa Inca Pachacuti Inca Yupanqui, and had three brothers. Her marriage to Topa Inca Yupanqui led to two children, Huayna Capac and Coya Cusirimay, who succeeded them as rulers.

It is plausible that she accompanied her husband on campaign against Chimor, however little reliable evidence is available to detail her actions.

She was instrumental in ensuring her son’s succession as Sapa Inca, after one of her husband’s concubines, Ciqui Ocllo, attempted to have her own son succeed. Mama Ocllo her Ciqui Ocllo arrested and her son exiled.

According to chronicler Juan de Betanzos, Mama Ocllo was close to her children, and educated her son on matters of warfare. Her death saw her venerated by Huayna Capac, with extensive mourning rituals conducted.

She reportedly died shortly after the succession of Huayna Capac. 

Recommended Reading

Burr Carwright Brundage, Empire of the Inca (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1963)

Catherine Julien, Reading Inca History (Iowa: University of Iowa Press, 2009)

Susan A. Niles, The Shape of Inca History: Narrative and Architecture in an Andean Empire (Iowa: University of Iowa Press, 1999).

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