The world did not become aware of Machu Picchu's existence until 1911, when Yale university historian Hiram Bingham (1875–1956) announced that he had "discovered" the site. "Rediscovered" is a more accurate term; area residents knew of Machu Picchu's existence all along. This "lost city of the Inca" was missed by the ravaging conquistadors and survived untouched until the beginning of the 20th century.
Ever since Bingham came across Machu Picchu, its history has been debated. It was likely a small city of some 200 homes and 1,000 residents, with agricultural terraces to supply the population's needs and a strategic position that overlooked—but could not be seen from—the valley floor.