Assess the Annihilation of the Ingenious people of the Americas
The 16th century became a landmark in the annuls of history. Spain produced two men that the world can never forget, Hernán Cortés, born in 1485 and Francisco Pizarro born in 1470. They were without question, some of history’s greatest military leaders. Together these conquistadores did the world a terrible disservice – they caused the genocide of millions of ingenious people. On April 21st, 1519, Cortés armed with 500 men, 16 horses and 11 ships began the invasion and subsequent annihilation of the Aztecs. In December 1531 Pizzaro with 200 men, about 60 horses and cannons marched to Cajamarca - thus begun his ...view middle of the document...
They were architects and artisans. They developed a system of hieroglyphic writing; built pyramids and temples; had a precise knowledge of astronomy and mathematics; they developed a 365 day calendar. For many centuries these civilizations lived in where we know today as Mexico, Peru, Honduras etc (South America) dwelled in peace until the arrival of the Iberians.
Although the ingenious people lived in the tropics, they were not immune to diseases, as history showed that they suffered with syphilis which was passed on the Iberians through sexual contact. Syphilis was given various names when it reached the Old World. It was called the French sickness, the Napepolitan illness, the Spanish saran, it was even called measles from the Indies (Cook, 1998). As a result when smallpox was introduced to the new world, it was believed by the Spaniards to be revenge on the Amerindians. Indeed historian Francisco Lopez de Gomara wrote that the “Spanish pandemic was so damaging in Mexico City that houses had to be pulled down to cover the corpses.” According to Cook, fifty years after the old world met the new, Hispaniola was devastated with de-population occurring also on the nearby islands of the Caribbean. He noted that:
“…The foreign pathogens were active, winnowing the people more quickly
than even the sword or arquebus could, and certainly much more silently
and effectively… In the second decade of the sixteenth century,
smallpox directly aided the Spanish conquest of the Aztec empire...” pg 96.
He suggested that the death of a ruler and large numbers of people may have contributed to a lost of their own wills to resist the invaders. But the advent of smallpox, measles and influenza, all of which are airborne and communicable diseases had swept the new World and did a lot of damage. Although some may have gotten the influenza, they might had been able to overcome it but the flu brought various strains with it, nevertheless there is no proof that pneumonia was brought over from the old world to the new. However as for measles and smallpox, evidence shows the Spaniards brought them but for the Amerindians, they were terminal illnesses. Evidence shows that these diseases created a domino effect on the Arawaks and caused their eventual demise. Cook characterized the initial New World smallpox epidemic as “an epidemic whose influence on the history of America is as unquestionable and as spectacular as that of the Black Death on the history the Old World.” The Spaniards were definitely aided by this horrific disease, that they unwittingly brought to the New World as they had immunity but not the Aztecs. Another ‘weapon’ of the Spaniards which contributed to this great puzzle was their technology as opposed to that of the Amerindians. Yet the Amerindians had a few awesome artillery.
A very powerful weapon in the Aztec’s artillery was the spear which was thrown using the atlatl,...