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The Europeans Vs. The Native Americans

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How can 168 Spanish soldiers defeat an army of 80,000 Native Americans? Well in the year 1532, a Spanish conquistador known as Francisco Pizarro invaded the New World. He quickly got into a conflict with the largest state of the New World and managed to capture the absolute monarch, Atahuallpa. Francisco charged a ransom for his release and even after the ransom was given, he killed Atahuallpa. They were defeated and this cycle was continued by more Spanish conquistadors until the Native Americans were completely defeated. The Europeans were able to defeat the Native Americans because of advanced weapons/armor, agile horses, and the transmitting of fatal diseases.

One reason is because of the Europeans advanced weapons/armor. Most people would probably have thought that guns played a major role but in reality it played a minor role. All the guns were able to do is cause a physiological effect on the Native Americans. Although what did play a major role were the Spaniards steel swords, lances, and daggers which were strong sharp weapons that slaughtered thinly armored Indians. In contrast, Indian blunt clubs, while capable of battering and wounding Spaniards and their horses, rarely succeeded in killing them. The Spaniards’ steel or chain mail armor and, above all, their steel helmets usually provided an effective defense against club blows, while the Indians quilted armor offered no protection against steel blows.

Another reason is because of the Europeans agile horses. The extraordinary advantage that the Spaniards gained from their horses leaps out of the eyewitness accounts. Horsemen could easily outride Indian sentries before the sentries had time to warn Indian troops being them, and could ride down and kill Indians on foot. The shock of a horse’s charge, its maneuverability, the speed of attack that it permitted, and the raised and protected fighting platform that it provided left foot soldiers nearly helpless in the open. Horses also permitted people possessing them to cover far greater distances than was possible on foot, to attack by surprise, and to flee before a superior defending force could be gathered.

A final reason is because the Europeans transmitted contagious and fatal diseases. These diseases were transmitted to the Native Americans who lacked immunity. Smallpox, measles, influenza, typhus, bubonic plague, and other infectious diseases endemic



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