What were some of the difficulties caused by the geography that the ancient people of the Andes had to face.

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saintfester eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The geography of the Andes region presented many challenges to the ancient people of the region. Challenge they were able to overcome through years of developing adaptation.

One of the most prodigious problems was the extreme gains in elevation that one had to climb and descend in order to move along the Andes range. With an average altitude of 13,000 ft. and high point of over 22,000 feet, travel was extremely difficult. The ancient Inca’s help alleviate this problem by domesticating the Llama, a creature well suited for the treacherous conditions high up in the Andes. They also build an elaborate system of roads so well engineered that they are still used in some areas today.

Another problem caused by the extreme topography of the region was lack of arable farmland. In some parts of the Andes there are almost no flat expanses for planting crops, and what little farmland there was had insufficient nutrients for growing. Andean farmers solved this issue by terracing along the sides of cliffs and mountains, which greatly expanded the amount fo farmland, and by developing crops that required smaller amount of nutrients, such as special strains of the potatoes and maize.