A discussion forum for history enthusiasts everywhere
 
HomeHome  ShortcutsShortcuts  FAQFAQ  RegisterRegister  Log inLog in  

Share | 
 

 Spanish conquistadors

View previous topic View next topic Go down 
AuthorMessage
PaulRyckier
Censura
avatar

Posts : 1368
Join date : 2012-01-01
Location : Belgium

PostSubject: Spanish conquistadors   Thu 19 May 2016, 21:19

Reading a novel about Hernando Cortes and his conquest of Mexico and the Aztecs I became aware of the historical importance of this era of Spanish conquest of the Americas.
And what was perhaps the most amazing was the small armies of the Spanish, which were able through alliances with the local factions warrying each other, to conquer the vast empires of the Aztecs, the Mayas, the Incas...
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aztec

And by Michael Wood:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/british/tudors/conquistadors_01.shtml
In my opinion Michael focuses to much on the Aztecs and not on the whole of the Spanish conquest.
http://latinamericanhistory.about.com/od/theconquestofthemaya/a/08palvaradobio.htm


http://www.biography.com/people/groups/famous-spanish-explorers
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francisco_Pizarro


What I have noticed: As later with the conquest of North America, the Indians were not resistant to the European diseases and in fact the most devasting consequence of the conquest and the unabling to resist was mostly the high percentage of depopulation through the diseases emerged by the contact with the Europeans...?

Kind regards, Paul.
Back to top Go down
Meles meles
Censura
avatar

Posts : 2566
Join date : 2011-12-30
Location : Pyrénées-Orientales, France

PostSubject: Re: Spanish conquistadors   Fri 20 May 2016, 14:09

Yes, the Aztecs get remembered for their fearsome, blood-thirsty and warlike habits, but I think the Incas were potentially the far more formidable foe for the conquistadors.

Aztec weapons were based on obsidian-edged "swords" (actually more like cricket bats with pieces of razor-sharp obsidian glass mounted along the edges - capable of inflicting very nasty wounds but still fairly unsophisticated) while the Incas had technically much superior copper and bronze bladed/tipped weapons. Inca armies, rather than being composed of massed individual warriors like the Aztecs, seem to have had a better balance between units of heavy infantry (spearmen in armour), light skirmishers, and units armed with missile weapons (slings and bows). Logistically the Incas were better organised to equip and feed large armies. They administered a huge empire, some 3000km in length, most of which was mountainous (and so unsuitable to the wheeled transport that the conquistadores were used to), yet they were able to field and supply large armies of up to at least 100,000 men, and they were well able to mass-produce munitions - for example the Spanish used native bronze smiths to turn out thousands of high-quality crossbow bolts. The Incas also proved able to adapt their weapons and tactics (although too late to be effective) ... for instance during the prolongued resistance led by Tupac Amaru, when they successfully deployed long pikes in massed formation against Spanish cavalry.

Yet for all that Pizarro still managed to subdue the empire with just 106 foot-soldiers, 62 horsemen and four light cannon. Although to be fair, the Incas were caught at their weakest. Smallpox had arrived and devastated their society several years before Pizarro even got there, and the Spanish arrived just when Atahualpa had only just taken the throne after a bloody civil war against his half-brother Huascar ... the war itself prompted by the death of their father, Huayna Capac, probably from smallpox. And of course Inca society was based around the divine presence of the king ... once Pizarro had managed to capture Atahualpa, largely through deceit, the huge Inca army (Atahualpa had 80,000 veteran troops with him at the fateful meeting at Cajamarca), was rendered impotent.


Last edited by Meles meles on Fri 20 May 2016, 18:56; edited 1 time in total
Back to top Go down
Triceratops
Censura
avatar

Posts : 2712
Join date : 2012-01-05

PostSubject: Re: Spanish conquistadors   Fri 20 May 2016, 15:42

This is a pdf about the archaeology of a Spanish fort in North Carolina. Much further north than we usually think of in relation to Spain's American Empire;

Fort San Juan
Back to top Go down
Triceratops
Censura
avatar

Posts : 2712
Join date : 2012-01-05

PostSubject: Re: Spanish conquistadors   Fri 20 May 2016, 15:45

A view of what the Aztec capital, Tenochtitlan, may have looked like;

Back to top Go down
Triceratops
Censura
avatar

Posts : 2712
Join date : 2012-01-05

PostSubject: Re: Spanish conquistadors   Fri 20 May 2016, 16:25

If anyone has the time, the film ( run time of 110 minutes) Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond, based on his book of the same name;

Back to top Go down
PaulRyckier
Censura
avatar

Posts : 1368
Join date : 2012-01-01
Location : Belgium

PostSubject: Re: Spanish conquistadors   Fri 20 May 2016, 19:56

@Meles meles wrote:
Yes, the Aztecs get remembered for their fearsome, blood-thirsty and warlike habits, but I think the Incas were potentially the far more formidable foe for the conquistadors.

Aztec weapons were based on obsidian-edged "swords" (actually more like cricket bats with pieces of razor-sharp obsidian glass mounted along the edges - capable of inflicting very nasty wounds but still fairly unsophisticated) while the Incas had technically much superior copper and bronze bladed/tipped weapons. Inca armies, rather than being composed of massed individual warriors like the Aztecs, seem to have had a better balance between units of heavy infantry (spearmen in armour), light skirmishers, and units armed with missile weapons (slings and bows). Logistically the Incas were better organised to equip and feed large armies. They administered a huge empire, some 3000km in length, most of which was mountainous (and so unsuitable to the wheeled transport that the conquistadores were used to), yet they were able to field and supply large armies of up to at least 100,000 men, and they were well able to mass-produce munitions - for example the Spanish used native bronze smiths to turn out thousands of high-quality crossbow bolts. The Incas also proved able to adapt their weapons and tactics (although too late to be effective) ... for instance during the prolongued resistance led by Tupac Amaru, when they successfully deployed long pikes in massed formation against Spanish cavalry.

Yet for all that Pizarro still managed to subdue the empire with just 106 foot-soldiers, 62 horsemen and four light cannon. Although to be fair, the Incas were caught at their weakest. Smallpox had arrived and devastated their society several years before Pizarro even got there, and the Spanish arrived just when Atahualpa had only just taken the throne after a bloody civil war against his half-brother Huascar ... the war itself prompted by the death of their father, Huayna Capac, probably from smallpox. And of course Inca society was based around the divine presence of the king ... once Pizarro had managed to capture Atahualpa, largely through deceit, the huge Inca army (Atahualpa had 80,000 veteran troops with him at the fateful meeting at Cajamarca), was rendered impotent.

 Thank you very much, Meles meles for your data about the Inca armies.

Kind regards, Paul.
Back to top Go down
Meles meles
Censura
avatar

Posts : 2566
Join date : 2011-12-30
Location : Pyrénées-Orientales, France

PostSubject: Re: Spanish conquistadors   Fri 20 May 2016, 20:24

Just be aware, Paul, that all that above was largely written from memory ... from when I had a specific interest in Pizarro's conquest of Peru, ... which all started when I was on a scientific expedition to the mountains in the north of Cajarmarca Province in Peru (1984). But my broad-brush statements, I think, are still largely valid. Unless someone wants to contest any of my points ... this is a discussion forum after all and indeed I'd welcome some other viewpoints.

As I say I spent two months in Cajamarca, plus many months after back in the UK working on the expedition results. Although nothing to do with the scientific work, I nevertheless became interested in how an empire that already contained several million people; that was still expanding by conquest; that had a superb road network, as well as a good food storage and distribution network; that had a well-established, centralised and competant civil service; that could not only feed its basic population but also readily field armies of 100 thousand soldiers, or similar numbers of labourers to complete massive civil engineering projects (like huge temples, canals, dams, roads, fortresses, bridges - equal to anything in Europe), .... how could it fall so easily, so quickly and so completely, to just a few hundreds of conquistadores?
Back to top Go down
PaulRyckier
Censura
avatar

Posts : 1368
Join date : 2012-01-01
Location : Belgium

PostSubject: Re: Spanish conquistadors   Sun 22 May 2016, 19:28

@Meles meles wrote:
Just be aware, Paul, that all that above was largely written from memory ... from when I had a specific interest in Pizarro's conquest of Peru, ... which all started when I was on a scientific expedition to the mountains in the north of Cajarmarca Province in Peru (1984). But my broad-brush statements, I think, are still largely valid. Unless someone wants to contest any of my points ... this is a discussion forum after all and indeed I'd welcome some other viewpoints.

As I say I spent two months in Cajamarca, plus many months after back in the UK working on the expedition results. Although nothing to do with the scientific work, I nevertheless became interested in how an empire that already contained several million people; that was still expanding by conquest; that had a superb road network, as well as a good food storage and distribution network; that had a well-established, centralised and competant civil service; that could not only feed its basic population but also readily field armies of 100 thousand soldiers, or similar numbers of labourers to complete massive civil engineering projects (like huge temples, canals, dams, roads, fortresses, bridges - equal to anything in Europe), .... how could it fall so easily, so quickly and so completely, to just a few hundreds of conquistadores?


Meles meles,

what a live you have had. Hapilly surprized when learning more about your past. And yes I am interested in all such stories...

Your friend Paul.
Back to top Go down
 

Spanish conquistadors

View previous topic View next topic Back to top 
Page 1 of 1

Permissions in this forum:You cannot reply to topics in this forum
Res Historica History Forum :: The history of people ... :: War and Conflict-