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Conquistadors Conquer The Americas

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In 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue, opening up an entirely new and unexplored world to the Spanish. There was clearly only one thing to do, conquer it, and exploit its riches. The Iberians at first did not realize the sophisticated cultures they were about to go up against. The Aztecs and the Incas were two very highly developed cultures that had created large empires, and had cities that rivaled those of Europe. As you can see from the map these two civilizations were able to create large and advanced empires. How were a couple hundred conquistadors able to take down such vast and sprawling civilizations? The answer lies in trillions of small microscopic molecules. The Spaniards were able to conquer the “New World” when it was already…show more content…
The Spanish brought smallpox, influenza, measles and a host of other bacteria with them. In the series Guns, Germs, and Steel, the origin of smallpox coming to the Americas is traced back to a slave traveling on a ship to Mexico twelve years before Pizarro reached Carhamarka. The slave was the first to bring small pox to the Americas and within weeks the disease would go on the infect thousands of Natives. This supposedly started the spread of small pox, a pestilence that spreads exponentially. The outbreak reached the Incan empire before Pizarro came. The disease coming before Pizarro, had already begun weakening the empire, and proved to be an ally in Pizarro’s favor. In the Guns Germs and Steel it states that domestic animals were Pizarro’s greatest allies because of the germs and diseases that came from them. Cortez had the same ally in conquering the Aztecs. In the History of Chocolate Coe states, “In the conquering of the Aztecs the allies that Cortez…show more content…
These diseases often traveled ahead of the Spanish.” This tells us that disease was also very involved in the conquering of the Aztecs. In Millers book we are provided with a point of view from inside during the siege of Tenochtitlan. The passage suggests an excruciating and wide spread epidemic of small pox with many people dying from it while the Spaniards lay siege. The passage describes people covered in pustules laying down and being in excruciating pain. The image above shows a native infected with small pox and this illustrates exactly what was described in the passage. This is clear evidence that the disease was wrecking havoc before the conquistadors and the Conquistadors were unknowingly capitalizing on the destruction that it brought. Diseases considerably decimated native populations aiding the Conquistador’s
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