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Menns 620065270 Amari Menns 620065270 HIST1601 Tutorial presentation #5 Ms Corniffe

Outline Evaluate the main explanations given by historians for the successful conquest of the mainland civilizations by the Spanish. Conquest Victory gained through combat; the subjugation of an enemy The successful conquest of mainland America by the Spanish was an intricate mixture of several intertwining factors, chance and skill were at the forefront of this but conquest would have been impossible without the socio-political organization and religious of the Amerindian societies, the animals introduced by the Spanish, the technological and ideological superiority of the Spanish, the general military organization of the Spanish as well as microscopic help from European diseases. 1. The socio-political organization of the Indian empires a. The Incan and Aztec societies were defined by one powerful leader on which the entire society looked for leadership, the highly centralized and often dominating form of leadership enabled the Spanish to gain, at first, momentary control of the Indians by seizing the head of power and then creating panic. When the Spanish overthrew the rulers the majority Amerindians simply swapped fidelity to one ruler for another. b. The complex diversity and isolation of the different Amerindian societies allowed the Spanish the freedom to explore and conquer because the cultural differences and language barriers served as obstacles against communication. The Incan empire had not heard of the Spanish and their similar conquest in Mexico just several years before. The geographical distance between the empires along with the rugged terrain that each society had used to hide and secure their societies contributed to the relative ease with which the Spanish conquered each society. c. The complex internal warfare which plagued each Amerindian society that allowed for exploitation from the Spanish The enemy of my enemy is my friend. i. The Aztecs had passed their peak as a civilization, they were plagued by sever internal conflicts which many historians doubt they would have survived had external factors not intervened first. The expansion of Aztec rule and their use of captives as constant human sacrifices to appease Huitzilopochtil formed a body of resentful, conquered people who were more than willing to assist the Spaniards.

Menns 620065270 The death of the ruling Inca Huayna and the subsequent warfare between his sons Huascar and Atahualpa that weakened the empire. When Pizzaro arrived, Atahualpa had usurped the rule of his halfbrother and established the center of rule at Cajamarca instead of at Cuzco. iii. The organization of the Mayan society into a series of competing city states that were fighting each other both helped and hindered the Spanish. The Spanish exploited the dissention among the Mayan states but at the same time they had to conquer individual city states instead of overtaking a centralized government as they did with the Aztecs and Incas. iv. Hernan Cortes had received invaluable assistance from rebelling fractions Indians previously conquered by the Aztecs. He received help at Tlaxcala - he was provided with cultural insight, translators, women, and etcetera. They people of the surrounding areas gave Cortes free passage believing that he would rid them of the ruling Aztec and spare them. They also provided a supporting army. d. The culture of warfare practiced by the Indians differed severely from that of the Spanish. While the Spanish fought to ensure that their enemies could not regroup by destroying the populous and taking their resources, the Indians had a more ceremonial style of fighting where the Aztecs aimed to capture as many enemies for sacrifice as possible while the Incas employed fighting under the full moon. e. The road system of the Incan empire provided easy access to Quito, Columbian and Chile. f. The tribute system of the American empire allowed for easy abuse by the Spanish, they could easily acquire wealth. g. The Indians also had no idea how to deal with the arrival of these strangers. They saw them as gods and tried 2. The Spanish introduced several animals, namely horses, dogs and pigs. a. Horses had a severe psychological effect on the Indians who thought that the men on horseback were a horrible monstrous being. The horses also enabled the Spanish to move quickly b. The mastiff was a large dog that could be trained to hunt Indians. c. The Spanish, in later conquests, introduced the plebian swine that would be added as a part of the march. Was used as food supply for the Spanish. 3. Technological and ideological superiority of the Spanish and the general military organization of the Spanish a. The organization of the Spanish into small warrior bands with a somewhat loosely defined political structure with horses, dogs and weapons allowed for a swift, savage group that could move swiftly against the Indians. These groups were organized with very loose loyalties to each other. With the commitment of personal capital to purchase horses and weaponry and the promise of an even division of any acquired wealth these men would group together and set out to conquer. ii.

Menns 620065270 b. The leadership of Cortes and Pizzaro, their political and military skills and who they were as men contributed to the successful conquests of the Aztec and Incan societies. Cortes was a gentleman, charming with the ability to quickly assess a situation and turn it to his advantage, organizing his men and make friends of his enemies worked in his favor. Pizzaro was not as polished and Cortes, thanks to his more humble beginnings, however both men easily exploited the weaknesses and divisions of their enemies. c. The conquest groups represented a large range of occupations that allowed for survival away from established Spanish settlements. d. The Spanish had a wide range of food options dried meat, wheat, olive oil, wine and also local fare and wildlife. e. There was a drastic swell of man power after the conquest of the Aztecs as Spaniards flooded he mainland, each with his own quest for gold and glory. f. The Spaniards had developed into aggressive, warlike people after centuries of war against the Moors, this tremendous war experience along with their Iron Age technology steel sword, guns, cannons, etcetera gave them a tremendous advantage over the Stone Age weapons of the Indians, despite the fact that the Spaniards were terribly under equipped by European standards. Despite the fact that the Indians had environmental factors to their advantage and they had a greater deal of experience dealing with the terrain than the Spaniards, the Spanish showed a greater deal of adaptability. The Spanish also made use of naval tactics to successfully conquer the Indians. g. The Spanish had access to capital for their conquests, though only marginal support came from the monarchs, the Spanish had a wide range of private investors. There were those back in Spain, investors from the Antilles, the conquestors invested their personal fortunes or joined together with others to provide arms and men. They also made use of the wealth gathered from pervious conquests to fund future conquests. h. The socialization of the Spanish to believe in one supreme God whos name they were fighting in also assisted in providing moral support to further their causes. They believed that at the end of every hardship endured they would achieve their due rewards from a divine being. They carried the renaissance spirit within them and with that a supreme confidence that they were supreme over the pagans and that they would, at the end of it all, reign supreme no matter what the odds. i. The Spanish clung to loose loyalties when they were on the battlefield, the battle cry Saint James and Spain, was said to have united all the men as Christians and Spaniards in the face of danger and at their victories. j. Each Spaniard also held personal desires of wealth and glory, to have their names passed down through history, as so each played his part to the conquests. k. The Spanish women also had immense contributions to the successes of their men. Dona Marina was the famous Incan woman who was offered to Cortes and his men as tribute; Isabel Rodriguez contributed as a nurse to wounded men and Ines Suarez was a part of the battles and shared the hardships of the men.

Menns 620065270 4. The Spanish diseases a. The Indians had existed in a practical vacuum, the introduction of century old diseases which had only recently stopped claiming hundreds of thousands of European lives into their environments proved to be one of the most important factors in the conquests of the Indians. The introduction of smallpox and measles or what some historians believe might be a mixture of the two diseases to a people with no former acquaintance with the diseases proved to be quite fatal to the mass of the population, sapping their will to fight against the threats posed by the Spanish.

Menns 620065270

References
Cambridge University. The Cambridge History of Latin America. Ed. Leslie Bethell. Vol. I. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1984. VII vols. Book. Mcalister, Lyle N. Spain and Portugal in the New World: 1492-1700. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1964. Book. Parry, John H. Age of Reconnaissance. World Publishing Co, 1963. Book.