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Native Americans And Aztecs Essay, Research Paper

Two of the biggest and greatest civilization in the Americas were

the Aztecs and Incas. These two civilization were both said to be

conquered by the Spanish, but it wasn?t just the Spanish who

conquered them. These two civilizations both fell from a

combination of a weak government, lack of technology, new

disease introduced by the invaders, and not being prepared for the


For many centuries the Aztec civilization revolved around a

ideological, social, and political system in which expansion was the

cornerstone. Expansion was the cornerstone of their whole

civilization, because their religion requested that a large number of

human sacrifices where to be made to the gods. To get the

sacrifices the Aztec went to war with other tribes in Mexico to get

these human sacrifices (Conrad & Demmest 47-49) . With each

conquest more sacrifices and more land was added to the Aztec

kingdom. The Aztec were a strong civilization who were familiar

with organized large scale war, had specialized war chiefs, and a

well organized system of territorial levy in which large armies could

be amassed in a short time (Age of Reconnaissance 124-125). They

may have been well organized for war, but they were not prepared

for internal changes in there civilization. When expansion was no

longer an option there system crumbled. Without expansion they

could no longer give human sacrifices in the same amount in which

they use too. Upon the arrival of the Spanish the Aztec

government was falling apart, and “Moctezuma II programs of

internal military consolidation and administrative and social

stabilization had failed” (Conrad & Demmest). When the Aztec?s

first met the Spanish they were amazed by them. The Spanish used

the Aztec?s own legends to take advantage of them and gain the

upper hand. Other disadvantages that the Aztecs had was the

need to take prisoner to sacrifice, they were not untied with other

tribes (Spanish were able to unite with other tribes to help fight the

Aztecs), had primitive weapons, and couldn?t stay on the battle

field for long, because they ran out of supplies quickly (Age of

Reconnaissance 167). The Spaniards didn?t destroy the Aztec

civilization all by their self another factor which helped the Spanish

were the disease that they brought over to the Americas from

Europe and Africa. The introduction of diseases like syphilis,

measles, smallpox, malaria, mumps and yellow fever are just some

sickness that plagued the

Budhu 2

Aztecs. Also the introduction of different species of animals and

plants caused a ecological imbalance (Plagues and Peoples

176-199). All these are some reasons to why the Aztec civilization

was destroyed.

With the arrival of the Spanish in Mexico rumors started to reach

the ears of Spaniards about a great civilization to the south. This

civilization was the Inca. The Inca civilization was inland so it made

it harder on the Spanish to reach them. Unlike the Aztecs the Inca

empire was held together by a tight social discipline based on

commercial land holding and a system of forced labor. Discipline

was enjoined by an elaborate cult of ruler-worship and enforced by

a military organization which maintained fortresses and stores at

strategic points (Age of Reconnaissance 170-171). The Incas

government was more organized then the Aztecs. One of their

strengths soon became a great weakness. The system that was set

up to chose a emperor. The system tried to keep the purity of the

royal families bloodline by incestuous marriage. The emperor

would have to marry one of his full sisters and have a child who

would then become the emperor upon his fathers death. It was also

set up to prevent civil war in the kingdom (Inca Decline 134).

Huascar became emperor just as the Inca empire?s problems

became critical. The government need reforms, and Huascar

believed that the royal mummies were the center of all the

problems. Huascar decided that the royal mummies had to be

removed, because they stood in the way of his reforms and wealth.

This decision became a political disaster. His assault against the

royal mummies caused the high nobility of the empire to turn

against him. In 1529 a civil war broke out between the crowned

emperor Huascar and his half brother Atauhualpa. This civil war

lasted for about 3 years ending in 1532 with Atauhualpa emerging

as the victor. Unfortunately his reign as emperor was cut short by

Francisco Pizarro and his men who fought and kill Atauhualpa and

his men when they were heading back to Cuzco (Inca Decline


The Spanish invaders of the America?s came for wealth, settlement,

and to spread their faith. The story?s of the wealth that could be

found in the America?s lured many men looking to get rich quick.

The governments of the European countries saw the Americas as

two things a place to make money and a way to extend their

boarders. The Catholic church came to the America?s, because

they wanted to convert these “savages and give them salvation”.

These are some of the reason to why Europeans ventured in this

great unknown called the Americas. When the Spaniards first

arrived in Latin America they were not well

Budhu 3

organized armies. Most of the men were groups of adventures,

arming them self, or hooking up with a leader who would provide

them with weapons. While they may not have had the most well

trained men they did have unity and leadership to guide them. The

Spaniards had the upper hand over the Incas and Aztecs in both

technology and unity. The Spanish had gunpowder, but couldn?t

use it frequently because most of it was heavy artillery. They did

have a few muskets, and steal weapons. The Incas and the Aztecs

were still using “Stone age” technology. They depended on

weapons made of stone and wood and leather armor. The invaders

had steal swords and armor (Age of Reconnaissance). These

advantages along with the internal problems of the Aztecs and the

Incas made it very easy for the Spaniards to conquer them.

Two of the greatest civilization to ever live in the Americas were

destroyed in a few years. The Spanish are credited for the

destruction of these two civilization, but did they really destroy

them. By looking back on all the problems that these two

civilization had on the eve of the arrival of the Spanish one would

say that they destroyed them self and the Spanish was just there

to do a little work and claim the credit for the destruction of the

Aztecs and Incas.

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