GUANO: FERTILIZER OF THE INCAS

The Incas already used guano to fertilize their plantings. Guano are bird droppings, that generations of seabirds have heaped up on the bone-dry bird islands off the west coast of South America.

At the beginning of the 19th century the Europeans had also discovered this useful substance and imported great quantities. The USA even passed a law that legalized the appropriation of the guano islands by North Americans. Guano contains a huge amount of active nitrogen and phosphor and therefore it is an excellent fertilizer that is still cultivated today. The analysis of the “wonder fertilizer” showed that nitrogen is central for plant nourishment.

SACRIFICES FOR HUAMANCANTAC

The Incas strongly regulated the mining of guano and protected the birds that produced it. They even venerated a guano-god named Huamancantac, to whom silver objects were sacrificed. Even today pre-Columbian offering sites are found on the bird islands.