Unit 2.2 – Colonialism (The Good & The Bad)
Essay Topic II: Was The Colonization of the Incan Empire a Good Thing?
Throughout the centuries many have explored the world, some discover other lands and claim it a colony of their homeland and this is referred to as colonisation. Colonisation is a bit of a two-headed dragon in the sense that for every colony of every country there are pros and cons. In this essay I will attempt to highlight the good and the bad of colonisation. Many nations participated in colonisation and each nation had different reasons for doing so. For some, access to natural resources, others, slavery. For the purposes of simplicity I will be focusing on two very different colonies: the conquest of the Incas by the Spanish and the British conquest of North America.
When the Spanish first landed in South America the western diseases that “hitch-hiked” in some of Cortés’ men quickly enveloped the native population who hadn’t developed an immunity to such viruses. The germs quickly spread and killed off large numbers of the natives . When Cortés first landed in Mexico in 1518 the population of twenty-five million Inca dropped to roughly one million by the end of the century . Of course, the drastic decline in Incan population was not due to ailment alone, violent warfare with the Spanish also was a contributing factor . After a massive defeat of the Incas, Francisco Pizarro (one of the conquistadores with Cortés) kidnapped the Incan ruler, Atahualpa . The Incas believed that if they gave Cortés a free pass through South America, he would simply return their leader and leave Peru . This wasn’t the case, once Cortes had thought he had taken advantage of the Incas, he executed their leader and remained as part of the occupation. No sooner did the Spanish take control of the Incan Empire slave-ships leave docks. The general conditions of those left behind were horrendous .