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Re: %FJMo9cx8o

@moid,

Not all of the Americas held out against conquest. South of the Rio Grande, the Spanish encountered large Indigenous empires: the Maya, the Incas, and the Aztecs. These proved “remarkably easy” to vanquish, Hämäläinen writes. Native civilizations “fell like dominoes” because once Spanish conquistadors used their “technological edge” to subdue Indigenous rulers, those rulers’ vast territories and extensive tributary networks fell in line. Hierarchical structures made the largest American empires easy prey.

This version of what happened is not true. It is part of a narrative of European superiority. What happened is quite different and the main culprit of those civilisations falling was not any technological advancement, but smallpox.

In the case of the triple alliance (aka the Aztecs), the Spanish played their own local enemies against them including some traitors in high places. Plus the diseases.

In the case of the Inca, smallpox ravaged the empire from central america down to the south before they met the Europeans. There are estimations of 5 in 10 (and sometimes even 9 in 10) dying of smallpox prior to contact. Disease travels faster than people. Smallpox killed the whole royal court prior to contact, yes, the emperor and the royal court died of smallpox (or some other european pox), this led to a brutal civil war of succession. When the war was over in a pile of ruins, the Spanish arrived.

The story is much more nuanced, but that narrative quoted by that person is definitely not how academics understand what happened now, at those whose domain is actually studying that.

There is more than that as many of those studies trace their bibliography down to one study that I can't remember the name and author now but that is definitely false and has been causing ripples and side-effects since its publication a long time ago.

If you want to learn more about the current understanding of what happened in the Americas, I recommend reading 1491 by Charles Mann with all my heart. I have two paper copies, I can send you one if you'd like. It is a book that changes lives (or at least it changed mine by altering my view on my own continent and history).

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