Review of Jared Diamond's "Guns, Germs and Steel"

Apr 2018
240
USA
On the subject of overall sophistication, The Last Days of the Inca for example shows that if anything it seems to be the other way around, that the sophisticated levels of administration, infrastructure, and centralization of the Inca and Aztec empires were exactly what made them more vulnerable to Spanish conquest. Once the Spaniards had control of the head of state they could put him or one of his relatives back in charge as a puppet and let him continue ruling as he normally did, collecting taxes, putting down rebellions, etc., while the Spaniards took the time to develop an understanding of the local politics, place increasing numbers of their own into positions of power, and slowly replace the traditional ruling class. This is as opposed to the many spanish expeditions into Florida, the southern US, Chile, Columbia, the Amazon, etc. most of which tended to end in complete failure or limp home empty-handed.


I guess this is unless someone wants to argue that the Mississippi indian tribes had far more advanced military technology than either the Aztecs or the Spanish. . .
 

Robert165

Ad Honorem
Jan 2010
4,265
North Georgia
On the subject of overall sophistication, The Last Days of the Inca for example shows that if anything it seems to be the other way around, that the sophisticated levels of administration, infrastructure, and centralization of the Inca and Aztec empires were exactly what made them more vulnerable to Spanish conquest. Once the Spaniards had control of the head of state they could put him or one of his relatives back in charge as a puppet and let him continue ruling as he normally did, collecting taxes, putting down rebellions, etc., while the Spaniards took the time to develop an understanding of the local politics, place increasing numbers of their own into positions of power, and slowly replace the traditional ruling class. This is as opposed to the many spanish expeditions into Florida, the southern US, Chile, Columbia, the Amazon, etc. most of which tended to end in complete failure or limp home empty-handed.
Thats a very good point. Perhaps I should read Last Days of the Inca before I reread GGS.


I guess this is unless someone wants to argue that the Mississippi indian tribes had far more advanced military technology than either the Aztecs or the Spanish. . .
But, ummmm, in the end the European powers did defeat all the Native American powers so......... ???
 

Isleifson

Ad Honorem
Aug 2013
3,515
Lorraine tudesque
On the subject of overall sophistication, The Last Days of the Inca for example shows that if anything it seems to be the other way around, that the sophisticated levels of administration, infrastructure, and centralization of the Inca and Aztec empires were exactly what made them more vulnerable to Spanish conquest. Once the Spaniards had control of the head of state they could put him or one of his relatives back in charge as a puppet and let him continue ruling as he normally did, collecting taxes, putting down rebellions, etc., while the Spaniards took the time to develop an understanding of the local politics, place increasing numbers of their own into positions of power, and slowly replace the traditional ruling class. This is as opposed to the many spanish expeditions into Florida, the southern US, Chile, Columbia, the Amazon, etc. most of which tended to end in complete failure or limp home empty-handed.


I guess this is unless someone wants to argue that the Mississippi indian tribes had far more advanced military technology than either the Aztecs or the Spanish. . .
Exactly.
 

Isleifson

Ad Honorem
Aug 2013
3,515
Lorraine tudesque
But, ummmm, in the end the European powers did defeat all the Native American powers so......... ???

We are just telling you ,that it is much easier to overtake an empire with cities then a tribe with no central power and no cities.

Take the Gaulish kingdoms and the Germanic tribes. Very similar.
 

Robert165

Ad Honorem
Jan 2010
4,265
North Georgia
We are just telling you ,that it is much easier to overtake an empire with cities then a tribe with no central power and no cities.

Take the Gaulish kingdoms and the Germanic tribes. Very similar.
Oh, ok, well actually that makes perfect sense. But how does that invalidate the basic premise of GG&S?
 

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