Native Americans And Aztecs 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 wasnt 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 invaders. 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 Aztecs first met the Spanish they were amazed by them. The Spanish used the Aztecs 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 couldnt stay on the battle field for long, because they ran out of supplies quickly (Age of Reconnaissance 167). The Spaniards didnt 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 empires 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 134-139).
The Spanish invaders of the Americas came for wealth, settlement, and to spread their faith. The storys of the wealth that could be found in the Americas 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 Americas, 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 couldnt 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.