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Vikings met Incas?

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Well.. ok... But it must be said that Pizzaro and his men were nowhere close to saintly.

 

No conqueror is saintly, but this ones were definetly brave, determined and shrewd. Giving the population of the inca lands, the difficult spanish communication line and the rugged terrain of Peru the gamble was dangerous, but they made it succesfull in an amazing bluff. Pizzaro it's among the best military leaders ever. The incas would have fell easy against a spanish regular army with tercios, artillery and gun cavalry, but Pizzaro made it with a handfull of man having no ideea what the small pox will do.

Its undoubtfull that the silver of Mexic and Peru played a crucial role in the development of the West especially by giving to Europe the means to carry the high deficit asian trade at a moment when military power or industrial advance were not able to level the trade balance.

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Giving the population of the inca lands, the difficult spanish communication line and the rugged terrain of Peru the gamble was dangerous, but they made it succesfull in an amazing bluff. Pizzaro it's among the best military leaders ever.

I dare to disagree: the Spanish had by then some four decades of war experience in the New World, and they knew perfectly well the expected effects of smallpox and other plagues; in fact, the consequences of these diseases predated and facilitated the Spanish conquest, as the death of the Sapa Inca Huayna Capac in 1527 was the immediate cause of the civil war between Huascar and Atahualpa.

 

The same as the Mesoamerican warriors, the Incas fought literally half-naked with sticks and stones. If you have more than 10 well-armed European soldiers (ie, enough to cover each other's back) and plenty of ammunition, there will be no number of Neolithic-like warriors that could ever defeat you. Besides, as in the previous American conquests from 1492 on, the Spanish look for the assistance of other natives.

 

Even more, au contraire of the Aztecs, the Inca resistance didn't end with the capture and death of their King (Sapa Inca) Atahualpa in 1533; it lasted at least until the death of Tupac Amaru in 1572. The technological and biological gap made the conquest of big urban centres relatively easy for the Spanish troops, but they performed badly against the guerrilla tactics of nomad groups, as the Chilean Mapuches (Arauco) that defeated Diego de Almagro, Pizarro's comrade and adversary.

 

When you check out the performance of Pizarro and his men against similar forces (vg, the civil war against Almagro and other conquistadores) you could see how pathetic they were; not to talk about the performance of such "warriors" in contemporary professional warfare (vg, Hernan Cortes, the famous Pizarro's cousin, at the Spanish expedition against Algiers in 1541).

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OK. So you say that Pizzaro was a bad leader that with 180 weak "warriors" conquered a distant, populous, alpine empire. He used biological warfare several centuries before everybody else knew what a disease is.

 

You say that it was no big deal to fight the Inca, but you point at other spanish defeats from even less equiped native soldiers. Almagro had less then 10 soldiers? As late XIX C british had found out from the Zulu impi, a determined army can defeat a technological superior one. And the use by Pizzaro of native allies was a smart move.

 

The end result was never in doubt, but this does not mean that Pizzaro's feats are not great. But I guess that is my opinion and an opinion it's subjective by definition. I just don't buy the propaganda that for centuries tries to portray the conquistadors as brutal animals that used straight force to destroy the treehuging native astronomers.

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OK. So you say that Pizzaro was a bad leader that with 180 weak "warriors" conquered a distant, populous, alpine empire.

Well... thats the problem isn't it, he didn't really conquer it, the inca's sort of fell over when he turned up. If they'd put up any serious resistance Pizzaro wouldn't have stood a chance.

 

He used biological warfare several centuries before everybody else knew what a disease is.

Hardly. I really don't believe Pizzaro knew what smallpox actually was apart from 'a bad thing', nor do I recall any situation where he spread smallpox deliberately, given his own men weren't immune.

 

You say that it was no big deal to fight the Inca, but you point at other spanish defeats from even less equiped native soldiers. Almagro had less then 10 soldiers? As late XIX C british had found out from the Zulu impi, a determined army can defeat a technological superior one.

A lot depends on circumstance. Technology is fine if its appropriate and useful to the situation. Firearms are a case in point. Also, simply because some european adventurers dominated a region quickly doesn't mean they fought a war of conquest.

 

And the use by Pizzaro of native allies was a smart move.

Using native allies isn't always a smart move - it depends how reliable they are. Ask Quintilius Varus. Ooops, you can't, his allies conned him fatally... Oh dear...

 

The end result was never in doubt, but this does not mean that Pizzaro's feats are not great. But I guess that is my opinion and an opinion it's subjective by definition. I just don't buy the propaganda that for centuries tries to portray the conquistadors as brutal animals that used straight force to destroy the treehuging native astronomers.

Tree hugging astronomers? Which Inca's are you talking about? But it has to be said that men prepared to voyage across a sea in a time when air sea rescue wasn't even thought of and risk their lives in the search for gold (and lets face it, thats why they went there) are not likely to be gentlemen and scholars.

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OK. So you say that Pizzaro was a bad leader that with 180 weak "warriors" conquered a distant, populous, alpine empire. He used biological warfare several centuries before everybody else knew what a disease is.

No, I think Pizarro was a good leader. I simply don't think he was "among the best military leaders ever", certainly not among his peers. He and his men would have made at best a mediocre battalion in contemporary Europe. If you were a good Spanish soldier at the XVI century, you were send to Italy, not to America.

If you check the accounts of the conquerors (vg, Diaz del Castillo), you will find they were very well aware of the contagious nature of the plague fortuitously carried by themselves and its effect on the American natives.

 

You say that it was no big deal to fight the Inca, but you point at other spanish defeats from even less equiped native soldiers. Almagro had less then 10 soldiers? As late XIX C british had found out from the Zulu impi, a determined army can defeat a technological superior one. And the use by Pizzaro of native allies was a smart move.

That

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The Zulu warriors, the same as the Mapuche, were nomads and good at guerrilla tctics; they lacked the additional significant disadvantage of the biological factor. And they had enough time to learn the Europeans' tactics.

The zulus were not nomads. They lived in fixed locations by their heyday and as a result were able to organise themselves in social and military terms. As troops, they had a reputation for extraordinary discipline. This was true under Shaka, whose innovation of the assegai made the zulu warrior a much more effective close-quarter fighter. By the time of Rorkes Drift, we see Cetswayo attempting to recreate the glory of Shakas regime. For all their heritage and native qualities, the troops who attacked Rorkes Drift under Cetswayo's brother, Dabulamanzi, weren't as motivated as the story tells. Returning to the kraals after failing to defeat the british they were derided as cowards. Its a different tale to Isandlwhana, where the british column was slaughtered. As for learning the white mans tactics, I doubt they were too concerned. As hunters they understood the need for speed and suprise and probably saw the british as easy targets. The zulu's had already developed an enveloping style of battle formation which they used to good effect, and I would say that british tactics were largely irrelevant if the situation was favourable. In fact, whilst agree the point about geurilla warfare its clear the zulu were capable of more than that, that they could fight a set-piece battle, and that they attempted to use the situation to their advantage, particularly since they were fighting on home ground. Its also clear that despite their discipline they tended to be dispirited if a quick victory was not forthcoming. They weren't used to long campaigns, they were used to sudden death style of conflict.

Edited by caldrail

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I guess that we generally share the same view of inca, but with slightly different interpretations.

 

For example the qualities of Pizzaro: he could have been mediocre in Italy, but we don't know that, do we? He had a task and he did it. Even the fact that he did not fight to much the incas it's a demonstration of skill in my book.

Incas as agricultuors were more exposed to an attack, but the country is exceptionally rugged.

 

I mentioned zulus because there the technological disatvantage was even higher. Of course the zulu worrior ethos made them dangerous foes then and now (the Natal war of recent years proved that)

 

And most wars were fought for gold

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The Zulu warriors, the same as the Mapuche, were nomads and good at guerrilla tctics; they lacked the additional significant disadvantage of the biological factor. And they had enough time to learn the Europeans' tactics.

The zulus were not nomads. They lived in fixed locations by their heyday and as a result were able to organise themselves in social and military terms.

As Zulus were no farmers and had no cities, I supposse that depends on your definition of "Nomad" and "fixed locations". I understand they are commonly considered as pastoral nomads, like the Maasai of eastern Africa.

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I guess that we generally share the same view of inca, but with slightly different interpretations.

I agree. I only think that for some commander to qualify as one of the best military leaders ever, he must be compared with his peers; Pizarro, Cortes and other Conquistadores simply didn't qualify. That doesn't mean their conquests were not far more transcendent globally than those from other far better commanders, either from theirs or any other era.

 

For example the qualities of Pizzaro: he could have been mediocre in Italy, but we don't know that, do we? He had a task and he did it.

We know indeed his performance against Almagro and other Spanish troops in their private civil war; he was tricky and treacherous, although clearly not enough to survive this war, as he was killed by a direct assault of some 20 soldiers; I don't think he ever showed any outstanding military qualities while fighting against other conquistadores.

 

Even the fact that he did not fight to much the incas it's a demonstration of skill in my book.

I would never consider Francisco Pizarro as unskilled.

 

Incas as agricultuors were more exposed to an attack, but the country is exceptionally rugged.

The first factor would help to explain why the Tahuantisuyo fall so quickly.

The latter would help to explain why it took so long to much more numerous Spanish troops to subdue the Neo-Inca state.

 

BTW, I didn't know about your book. If you upload the specifics, I would love to read it.

Edited by ASCLEPIADES

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And most wars were fought for gold

I disagree with that point. Most wars are fought with gold, and are fought over resources (although to be fair you might include gold as such)

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