Today in History: The Ruins of Machu Picchu Discovered

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On the morning of July 24th, 1911, Hiran Bingham wandered up the hills formerly owned by the Inca people in Peru and discovered the beautiful ruins of Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu is hidden along the rocky countryside in the northwest region of Cuzco. Machu Picchu is believed to have been a vacation retreat for the leaders of the Inca people. However, the Inca people got wiped out by the Spanish invaders of the 16th century, so they didn't get to harness their vacation home for very long. 

For hundreds of years, after the Spanish decimated the Inca population, Machu Picchu was a secret that only the local villagers knew about. But, when an American archaeologist (named Hiram Bingham) stumbled upon the ruins in the summer of 1911, the entire world got to learn about the magical place. 

Bingham and his team traveled from Cuzco into the Urubamba Valley, periodically stopping to introduce themselves to the locals and offer some of their modern goods. Bingham and his crew of scientists befriended a farmer who told them about the ruins at the top of a nearby mountain. The farmer called the area "Machu Picchu," which means "old peak" in Quechua, the native tongue. 

The next day, the team of scientists braved the cold, rainy weather to scale to the peak of said mountain. Bingham organized a meeting with some locals halfway through their journey, and the locals walked them the rest of the way. 

An 11-year-old boy led the team all the way up the mountain, into the beautiful network of intricately connected stone terraces that entered the palace of Machu Picchu.

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