1425 - 1532 CE
Coca production used to finance the Inca empire

The Inca empire was the fastest growing empire of the fifteenth century and coca played an important role. Agricultural production, including that of coca, was used to finance the expansion of the empire, and as they conquered new lands, the Inca would establish coca plantations in suitable areas. The Inca empire used coca leaves as both a staple and luxury product. A complex system of storehouses was developed and maintained to support the coca trade. Control over coca trade routes was critical to controlling the empire. The coca trade was conducted by specialized long distance traders (mindales) who enjoyed special privileges, like the right to travel more widely than others and the right to pay their tribute in gold instead of labour.

Source: Stolberg, V. B. (2011). The use of coca. J Ethn Subst Abuse.

Drugs: Coca (cocaine)
Regions: South America, Peru
Topics: Cultivation, production and trade