Guns, Germs, and Steel: Spaniards Against the Incas

February 15, 2022 by Essay Writer

The topic I am going to be expanding on in this second take-home essay is going to be the question asked on 9/26 which was “According to Jared Diamond in his documentary film, Guns, Germs, and Steel Episode Two: Conquest, why was the balance of power so unequal between the Spaniards and the Incas?”. I will be going into further detail about this question and giving a more in-depth answer, in this paper.

Jared Diamond’s series “Guns, Germs, and Steel” is a three-part series based on his book that follows the doctor in tracing humanity back many years trying to answer questions along the way. The question asked was from episode two of the series where he talks about and explores why the balance of power was so unequal between the Spaniards and the Incas in Peru, the answer to the question is simple but it is very in-depth. The answer is simple in that it is just as easy as the Spaniards were more advanced in areas than the Incas. The first point in this is when it came to using animals for labor. The horse was important to the farming success of most societies, providing not only food and fertilizer but also, helping with moving heavier objects and transport changing the productivity of the land. The only animal species that the Incas used was the llama, which was native to South America. The Inca relied on llamas for meat, wool, and fertilizer but the llama could not move heavy objects like the horse, llamas can’t pull a plow to farm, and they could not transport human beings. And lastly, the llama could not be ridden into war as the horse could.

Secondly, the power was unequal because of something that’s actually in the name of the show, “Steel”. Due to the Spaniard’s geography, it had provided them with abundant resources of iron and wood. Things like gunpowder also found their selves migrated to Europe so the Spaniards were given that as a tool as well. According to Diamond, with Spain in a political competition, it fueled a medieval arms race. The conquistadors were equipped with the latest and best in weapons equipment being guns with the newly found gunpowder, and swords. As for the Incas, they had never uncovered iron or discovered gunpowder and what it was used for, so they did not have guns. It was due to their geography which had not let them discover and make tools with these resources. They had also not received any type of technology from any other advanced societies within the Americas at the time which did not help them at all so not having these things that played a big role weapons wise was a severe disadvantage for the Incas and gave the Spaniards a big advantage. Diamond also found that many people had died from livestock. People feel victim to germs and infections which they had never encountered before like smallpox’s. The conquistadors who traveled to the Americas carried immunities for diseases like this, so it did not affect them as it did with the Incas.

In this paper, I have gone into greater detail of the question asked on 9/26 “According to Jared Diamond in his documentary film, Guns, Germs, and Steel Episode Two: Conquest, why was the balance of power so unequal between the Spaniards and the Incas?” The answer to the question was simple but, in this essay, I went into further detail with the answer and went more in-depth for a better explanation.


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