Nature of Aztec and Incas Conquests by the Spanish

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History Research Essay

Examine the view that the technological superiority of the Spaniards does NOT fully explain the conquests of the Aztecs and Incas between 1519 and 1533.

Name : Kristeena Monteith
Form : L6SS

The Aztec and Inca people of South America were conquered in the early 16th century by the Spaniards led by Hernan Cortez and Francisco Pizarro, respectively. The Technological Superiority of the Spaniards was a major advantage in their quests to conquer these groups but it does not fully explain the success of the conquests.

The Aztecs have long been described as an advanced civilization. Their empire spanned a vast area in Central Mexico approximately 22,000 kilometers, the capital of which Tenochtitlan, a well-developed, well-organized city built in the middle of Lake Texcoco. It was an urban centre with causeways linking it to the mainland. The estimated population of the entire Aztec empire at the time of contact with the Spanish was 25 million people. The Aztec had well-defined political, governmental, religious and social systems. Their society was organized, each person having a part to play from as low on the proverbial food chain as Slave to as high as Emperor. They were ruled by an Emperor who at the time of the conquest was Montezuma II, who according to Aztec religion was revered as both a god and a King. Aztec religion was centered on the preservation of the sun god Huitzilopochtli, who would die without constant nourishment in the form of human blood. This resulted in people being designated and/or volunteering to become sacrifices. They would be sacrificed in elaborate ceremonies. The Aztecs were a militaristic people, whose political system required that they conquer and subjugate those around them, absorbing them into their empire and using the people captured as human sacrifices as well as heavily taxing those who remained. Of course, the harsh treatment of these people resulted in rebellions. Hernan Cortez sailed to...
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