The Incas’ leading culture hero, believed to have escaped a world-class deluge that obliterated everyone else in his kingdom. He hid in the Cave of Refuge, emerging to found Andean Civilization. In a later variant of his myth, Viracocha rose from the depths of Lake Titicaca and recreated humans by breathing life into great stones lying about, a process that resulted in the pre-Inca city of Tiahuanaco. His action is similar to the transformation of stones into a post-deluge population achieved by the Greek deluge hero, Deucalion, suggesting a shared flood tradition. Viracocha’s name, “Sea Foam,” implies the bow wave of an arriving ship. He was described as fair-skinned, red-haired, and robed in a long garment decorated with a red flower motif. Viracocha taught the natives everything they needed to build the first Andean civilization, then sailed away from Peruvian shores into the west and was never seen again. It would appear that a culture-bearer associated with the Atlantis catastrophe around 2100 B.C. may have moved on to Lemuria after making his mark in Bolivia and Peru.
The mere appearance of Francisco Pizarro and his Conquistadors in South America during 1531 caused widespread confusion among the Incas. Emperor Atahualpa and his people were unsure if these bearded white men in the possession of magical technology were descendants of the beneficent Viracocha. The Spanish soon enlightened them on that account by kidnapping and executing Atahualpa, looting the Inca temples of their gold, demonizing their religion, and dismantling their empire. The paralysis that had gripped the Incas at the sight of Pizarro was identical to the Aztecs’ disabling uncertainty when confronted by Hernan Cortez, who they imagined might be their own white-skinned culture hero, Quetzalcoatl, the “Feathered Serpent.”