The vast Inca Empire relied on a variety of means for supporting its economy and feeding its inhabitants. The vast Pacific coastline and the various lakes of the Andean region played host to productive fishing communities and bustling trade networks. Most prominent among the fishermen and naval merchants in the region were the Chincha, who were incorporated into the Inca Empire around the late 15th century. The Chincha plied the waters with large rafts that they constructed from balsa logs and fitted with sails. Capable of carrying large crews, these rafts were both productive economically and formidable in battle. Spanish explorers, upon first encountering the Chincha rafts, praised them for their sturdy and utilitarian nature.