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Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond is a book that talks about inequality and the ranging disparity in wealth between nations. In his book, (Jared Diamond) explains why Europe and Asian civilizations have been able to nourish surmount others. He also argues against the fact that European and Asian civilization domination is due to Eurasian intellectual, ethical and natural hereditary superiority (Jared 1998).
Jared Diamond supports the idea that environmental factors have influenced human history. He argues on the point that Eurasian civilization has been prosperous and dominant due to the fact that they are environmentally favored or environmentally well off for example, he (Jared) in his book Guns, Germs and Steel that the move from hunters and gatherers to agriculture which involved domestication and farming was the first step towards civilization, from this Jared says that Eurasia gained an upper hand due to the greater and easier availability of suitable plant and animals that could be domesticated.
The fact that Eurasia had a large land area made it easier and more advantageous since the large area provided more plants and animals that could possibly be domesticated. The Europeans also had some economic and technological advantages, they could use their guns and steel to conquer kingdoms, the availability of craftsmen for example was another technological advantage. In general, Diamond points on the evolution of complex socio-political configurations as a yield of the large resources and environment which helped western Europeans.
In chapter three of Diamond’s Guns, Germs and Steel, there is the conquering of the Incan emperor Atahuallpa by Pizarro. The Inca emperor had a strong army made up of 80,000 men while Pizarro had just a hundred and sixty eight men (168). Pizarro managed to defeat Atahuallpa because they had steel swords, steel armor and horses while Atahuallpa’s soldiers had stone, bronze, wooden clubs and slingshots.
The horses provided greater advantages to the Spanish army since they were fast and they provided safety from ground attacks. The encounter between Inca emperor Atahuallpa and the Spanish led by Francisco Pizarro in the Peruvian highlands in what is referred to as the Collision at Cajamarca points at the reasons behind Eurasia’s dominance and the factors that helped Europeans win battles such as the battle between the Inca emperor and the Spanish Francisco Pizarro (Jared 199).
Atahuallpa was the ruler of the largest and most advanced state in the new world. Pizarro on the other hand represented the Holy Roman emperor Charles V, also known as King Charles 1 of Spain. Atahuallpa was in his own territory and surrounded by an army of eighty thousand men and had been recently triumphed other Indians, Pizarro on the other hand was in unknown territories, out of contact with the closest Spaniards and out of reach from any reinforcements. Pizarro had a small army of just a hundred and sixty eight men.
Pizarro nonetheless captured Atahuallpa within a few minutes and went ahead to hold him as a prisoner for eight months as he took large ransoms of gold, the ransom was enough to feel a room twenty two feet long by seventeen feet wide and a height of over eight feet long. After the delivery however, Pizarro killed Atahuallpa. The capture of Atahuallpa helped the Spaniards in conquering the Inca Empire, the capture also helped Pizarro in exploring the Inca Empire and when fighting occurred after the killing of Atahuallpa, the Spanish soldiers were able to defeat the Incas (Jared 123).
Atahuallpa’s capture is of great interest to human history since the factors which led to the capture of Inca are the same ones that played a major role in deciding the outcome of many related collisions between the colonizers and native people. These factors or causes can be grouped into two; proximate causes and ultimate causes. The proximate causes are: military technology e.g. steel weapons, guns and horses and a centralized political organization. The Europeans had craftsmen who built them weapons of steel with which they used to conquer kingdoms.
The discovery of guns was also of help as it helped the Europeans in conquering native kingdoms who still used inferior weapons compared to the guns. The Europeans also had horses which the native people did not have; this gave the Europeans an upper hand. Horses were domesticated at around 4000 B.C. Horses helped people in covering long and great distances; they also helped soldiers in fleeing especially during defeat. Chain mail armor and steel helmets provided an extra advantage (Jared 199).
The ultimate causes usually were nastier germs, the rise and spread of food production and writing (Jared 238). Spreading of germs or diseases to people lacking immunity was an ultimate cause, the diseases would decimate people and weaken them hence it was easy for the Europeans in their conquest. The existence of writing was also another factor in European conquests, through writing, information could be easily spread and it was also more accurate (Jared 299).
Maritime technology was also another ultimate causes or factor that helped in Eurasia conquests. This helped in overseas expansion. The building of ships was financed by the central government. The collision of Cajamarca points to the proximate and ultimate factors or causes which led to the colonizing of the new world by the Europeans. The Europeans were more advanced than the native people who relied on ancient weapons. The Europeans had immediate advantages over the natives as Jared Diamond argues in his book.
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