The Inca Empire settled in Ecuador, mainly in Sierra regions, and reached particular importance in Quito during the governments of Túpac Yupanqui and Huayna-Capac. Its presence was less significant on the coast and settlements were mainly located on the island of Puna and in what is now the province of Manabí.

The Inca Empire began extending its reach in what we now know as Ecuador. State centers were built in the southern sierra, in Tomebamba and Ingapirca. With the passing of time, the Inca armies advanced towards the north, leaving their mark in San Agustín de Callo, Quito and the Imbabura region. The construction of fortresses and agricultural terracing was strengthened under Inca rule and strong trade ties were developed with the south, making use of their famous system of numbering, using strings known as quipus, for accounting purposes. They developed their agriculture using terraces to plant crops, and also raised farmyard animals.

Archaeological vestiges of Inca occupation, among them the fortress of Ingapirca in the Cañar region, can still be seen in Ecuador. Numerous vestiges of roads built by the Incas can be seen throughout Ecuador.