Spanish Conquest over the Incas

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Advantages the Spanish had over the Incas

The Spanish conquest of the Inca Empire is one of the most important campaigns in the Spanish colonization of the Americas. This operation, although carried out by Spanish conquistadors and their native allies, took decades of fighting to subdue, one of the mightiest empires in the Americas. One may ask, if the Incas were so powerful, how could they possibly have fallen to the authority of the Spaniards? Did they not have a strong enough army? Were there weapons simply not enough? Jared Diamond, professor at UCLA, explains to us how this was possible. And upon exploration of the events that ensued, we understand what advantages (weapons, knowledge, and technologies) did Europeans have over the Incas.

Upon arrival to the Americas, the local natives saw something that they have never witnessed before: Large, majestic beasts ridden by men. These other-worldly creatures were nothing more than horses. The horses that seemed so exotic to the Incas had already been used in Spain for 4,000 years. In an age before motorized transport, they allowed people to be mobile, and control their land. Harnessed to a plough, a horse or an ox could transform the productivity of farmland. European farmers were able to grow more food to feed more people, who could then build bigger and more complex societies. In the New World, there were no horses or cattle for farming. All the work had to be done by hand. The only large domestic animal was the llama, but llamas have never been harnessed to a plough. The Incas were very skilled at growing potatoes and corn, but because of their geography, they could never be as productive as European farmers.

At one point in the film, Diamond shows us that crops and animals could spread easily east and west across Eurasia. Because places the same latitude automatically share the same day length and a similar climate and vegetation. But the American continents were the opposite of Eurasia. A journey...
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