The Conquistadors Conquest Essay

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The Conquistadors: Defeating Powerful Indian Empires

The conquistadors, also known as conquerors in Spanish, sailed from Europe to America, Asia, Africa, and the Ocenia, conquering lands and establishing commerce. For the Spanish Empire, the Conquistadors agreed to settle America's Caribbean Islands, the majority of Central America, half of South America, and the Pacific regions. (Crowley 27). They defeated strong, well-established Indian civilizations during their conquest, most notably the Aztec empire, which Herman Cortes overthrew in 1519, and the Inca Empire, which Francisco Pizarro overthrew in 1533. (Matthew and Michel 38). Though the conquests present the conquistadors as invincible, their success in defeating Indian empires was largely due to courage and sheer luck rather than superiority of their weapons.

The Role of Courage

The conquistadors were significantly less than the army of the Indian Empires in America. For instance, there were just about two hundred conquistadors that fought and defeated thousands of Incas soldiers and captured Emperor Atahualpa. Before this, the Incas were renowned for their bravery and military prowess as they had crushed all their neighbors. Despite this, the conquistadors went on with courage to face the Incas army even when they knew they were outnumbered in their hundreds. The case was similar with the conquest of the Aztec, where a couple of conquistadors fought courageously with the Aztec soldiers. This courage became the most important factor that assured the conquistadors of their win; at it got better with every win (Matthew and Michel 57).

The Element of Luck

Courage alone could not bring down the large Indian armies; the conquistadors had luck on their side. Prior to their defeats, the Indian Empires had experienced different calamities that weakened their armies. For instance, following the death of Huyna Capac, Atahualpa and Huascar had been involved in Civil wars to gain control over Inca Empire, a war that weakened the army (Matthew and Michel 67). Additionally, the American territory was down-trodden by various diseases among them smallpox, measles, which claimed numerous lives. The European had developed vaccines for some of these ailments thus survived while the Indians perished. In addition, the Indians had made lots of unfriendly neighbors, thus the conquistadors were able to use the divide and rule tactics to their advantage (Knighton).

Superior Technology and Military Prowess

Further, the conquistadors had a far more superior technology. Their language and behaviors was completely unfamiliar among the Indians, which shocked the Indians, making them elevate the conquistadors to almost a god-status. In addition, the conquistadors had superior weapons such as guns and gun powder, which they used against Indians, who largely used crossbows and longbows (Crowley 78). The sheer power and destruction of these weapons made it possible for the conquistadors to defeat the Indians with only a small army. However, superior weapons would not have brought success if the conquistadors were unprepared and disorganized. The conquistadors had military prowess, which helped make important war tactics such as taking and securing the Islands for themselves and riding on horsebacks during wars to increase their shock value. These informed military tactics helped in the conquest (Matthew and Michel 91).

Courage and Sheer Luck: The Keys to Victory

In retrospection, the conquistadors faced Indian Armies with courage even when they were clearly outnumbered. In addition, their success was heralded by a combination of different factors that weakened the military might of the Indian army. Thus, it is by courage and sheer luck that they became victorious. Though superior weaponry helped them win, it is not the major reason for the success, as the conquistadors had few of these weapons/. As such, it is true that the conquistadors' success over powerful Indian Empires was through courage and sheer luck.

Works Cited

Crowley, Roger. The Conquerors. , 2015. Print

Knighton Andrew. 7 Reasons the Conquistadors Beat the Incas. War History Online 16 Feb 2016. Online

Matthew, Laura E, and Michel R. Oudijk. Indian Conquistadors: Indigenous Allies in the Conquest of Mesoamerica. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2007. Print

June 26, 2023

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