Category: American History
Autor: Antonio 24 February 2010
Words: 619 | Pages: 3
How can 168 Spanish soldiers defeat an army of 80,000 Native Americans? Well in the year 1532, a Spanish conquistador known as Francisco Pizarro invaded the New World. He quickly got into a conflict with the largest state of the New World and managed to capture the absolute monarch, Atahuallpa. Francisco charged a ransom for his release and even after the ransom was given, he killed Atahuallpa. They were defeated and this cycle was continued by more Spanish conquistadors until the Native Americans were completely defeated. The Europeans were able to defeat the Native Americans because of advanced weapons/armor, agile horses, and the transmitting of fatal diseases.
One reason is because of the Europeans advanced weapons/armor. Most people would probably have thought that guns played a major role but in reality it played a minor role. All the guns were able to do is cause a physiological effect on the Native Americans. Although what did play a major role were the Spaniards steel swords, lances, and daggers which were strong sharp weapons that slaughtered thinly armored Indians. In contrast, Indian blunt clubs, while capable of battering and wounding Spaniards and their horses, rarely succeeded in killing them. The SpaniardsÐ²Ð‚â„¢ steel or chain mail armor and, above all, their steel helmets usually provided an effective defense against club blows, while the Indians quilted armor offered no protection against steel blows.
Another reason is because of the Europeans agile horses. The extraordinary advantage that the Spaniards gained from their horses leaps out of the eyewitness accounts. Horsemen could easily outride Indian sentries before the sentries had time to warn Indian troops being them, and could ride down and kill Indians on foot. The shock of a horseÐ²Ð‚â„¢s charge, its maneuverability, the speed of attack that it permitted, and the raised and protected fighting platform that it provided left foot soldiers nearly helpless in the open. Horses also permitted people possessing them to cover far greater distances than was possible on foot, to attack by surprise, and to flee before a superior defending force could be gathered.
A final reason is because the Europeans transmitted contagious and fatal diseases. These diseases were transmitted to the Native Americans who lacked immunity. Smallpox, measles, influenza, typhus, bubonic plague, and other infectious diseases endemic in Europe played a decisive role in European conquests, by decimating many people on other continents. For example, a smallpox epidemic devastated the Aztecs after the failure of the first Spanish attack in 1520 and killed Cuitlahuac, the Aztec emperor who briefly succeeded Montezuma. Throughout the Americas, diseases introduced with Europeans spread from tribe to tribe far in advance of the Europeans themselves, killing an estimated 95 percent of the pre-Columbian Native American population. The most populous and highly organized native societies of North America, the Mississippian chiefdoms, disappeared in that way between 1492 and the late 1600Ð²Ð‚â„¢s, even before Europeans themselves made their first settlement on the Mississippi river.
In the end, the Native Americans suffered an embarrassing defeat against the Europeans. The Native Americans had weak weapons/armor, no horses, and basically no immunity to the diseases transmitted by the Europeans. To make matters worse, since the Inca bureaucracy was so strongly identified with its godlike absolute monarch, it disintegrated after Atahuallpas death. The Native Americans were left render less and really had no way of being victorious against the Europeans. When we consider the advantages that the Spaniards derived from horses, steel weapons, and armor against fast soldiers without metal, it should no longer surprise us that the Spaniards consistently won battles against enormous odds. In a way, present day America should be thankful toward the Europeans for what they did. The reason being, what would America be if this never happened?