The history of Lake Titicaca is closely related to the history of the Inca Empire. This largest lake in South America was the cradle of the Inca civilization, and according to Inca legend, it was here that Manco Capac and his wife Mama Ocllo emerged. Born by the Inca sun god, Inti, the couple went on to create the Inca Empire, which flourished between the thirteenth and sixteenth centuries.
In relation to the creation of Lake Titicaca, this high altitude body of water is believed to have formed after strong earthquakes rocked the Andes Mountains 60 million years ago. A hollow for Lake Titicaca was formed by the quakes, and the lake grew over time thanks to runoff from melting glaciers. It is a true geological wonder, and thanks to its mythical attachments, it has long had sacred value.
Descendants of ancient peoples still inhabit the Lake Titicaca area. An example is the Uros culture, which lives on floating islands made out of the tortora reed. The Uros actually pre-date the Inca and have lived on their manmade islands for centuries. Also interesting to note in terms of history are the ruins that can be found on the lake’s shores and some of its islands. There are more than 180 ruins on the Isla del Sol alone, and near the Peruvian city of Puno is a pre-Incan burial site that gets a lot of attention.
There is still much to learn when it comes to the history of Lake Titicaca. Relatively recently, for example, an ancient temple that was submerged in the lake was discovered by archaeologists. Also, recent times have seen scientists arranging Lake Titicaca drilling projects in an attempt to better understand the record of the lake’s sedimentation.