Pizarro's Infectious Disease

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Compared to other Europeans the Spaniards weren’t all that different and yet the Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro led a small army of one to two hundred that conquered the entire Inca empire with an army of nearly 80,000. A conquistador was someone who conquered land for Spain. Pizarro’s conquest of the Inca and the factors involved are frequently speculated over in history because of how remarkable this feat was during the fifteen-hundreds. One of these factors Infectious disease was a major player in the Inca empire's downfall that took a short period of time and resulted in a crippling aftermath. Another advantage for the Spanish was their writing system or rather the lack thereof for the Inca. Together the spread of infectious disease…show more content…
“The reason for the civil war was that an epidemic of smallpox, spreading overland among South American Indians after its arrival with Spanish settlers in Panama and Columbia, had killed the Inca emperor Huayna Capac and most of his court around 1526, and then immediately killed his designated heir, Ninan Cuyuchi… If it had not been for the epidemic, the Spaniards would have faced a united empire” (Diamond, 13). The spread of the disease was a major trump card given to the Spanish during their conquering precisely because it disrupted the Incas and took them off guard. Since the disease did not require direct combat large populations of Inca were killed without Spanish soldiers risking much even though their weapons would have secured a swift takeover. It also destabilized the government among the separate Inca groups who lost so many leaders and people in the process that they had no orders to follow. Severely weakened by this personally and as an organised society the Incas were prone to the Spaniards who took the opportunity to strike. Infectious disease was a buy one get two free deal for the Spaniards because they hardly had to use their weapons (which still provided a safety net) and annihilate the structure of the Incas, thus preventing them from banding…show more content…
“Even so, we find it hard to avoid the conclusion that Atahuallpa “should” have been more suspicious, if only his society had experienced a broader range of human behavior” (Diamond, 17). This pre existing well of knowledge that the Spaniards could draw freely from was not due to being well educated, but rather that society had provided a context in which they could learn strategy and manipulation tactics. The Incas probably experienced similar situations in their history, but since they were not recorded those experiences are lost and history repeats. Adequate writing systems allowed the circulation of current information that wasn’t diluted when passed on, as opposed to oral. This made the Spanish more aware of their surroundings and present condition giving them the time to piece plans together as a group while the Incas lacked this connection. Eventually written word gets overseas to Europe drawing more people that overwhelm the last Inca who are unaware of the neighbouring empires being conquered. Written language provided past information that gave a heads up to the Spanish, but was also useful in corroborating accurately in the present and getting everyone on the same

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