Iberian Colonisation Of The Americas Essay

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From 1492 when Columbus first “discovered” the Americas, Iberian colonisation of the native Amerindian peoples had begun. Already inhabited by the native peoples, the Spanish and Portuguese begun the task of conquering through killing, enslaving and bringing the natives under their rule and power. This large and expansive conquest of Central and South America killed conceivably as much as 90% of the natives in little under 200 years, due to the introduction of old world disease and the power of the Iberian military weapons and literacy over the new world.

Old World Diseases such as Smallpox, Yellow Fever, Influenza and Measles, as well as potentially Tuberculosis, Syphilis, Malaria and Gonorrhea, spread throughout the Americas with a deadly
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Before Huayna Capac 's death, it was said that over 200,000 natives had died of the same illness in Quinto, leading to his contraction of the disease while he was there. This rapid spread of smallpox in the Inca empire also quickly killed his designated heirs, creating a civil war amongst the destruction of the epidemic just in time for the arrival of the Europeans. The loss of a stable power in the Inca empire led to its fall due to Pizzaro’s military knowledge and ability to manipulate the rival brothers (Atahualpa and Huascar) fighting for the right to rule the Inca empire against each other and eventually conquest the empire for Spain. As with the Aztecs, the combination of indigenous allies and smallpox helped in making Tenochtitlan and the Aztec Empire itself succumb to Spanish power. After the native uprising in Tenochtitlan and the escape named Noche Triste, the Spanish were quite exposed. The Aztecs regrouped with the new leader Cuitlahuac, gaining some success over the Spanish when smallpox hit. Cuitlahuac was said to not even have ruled for forty days before succumbing to the disease along with his successor Cuitlahuatzin whom only ruled eighty days. Along with the Aztec rulers, the estimates of epidemic mortality in the Aztec Empire are estimated as three and a half million people. The loss of life directly from the disease was so colossal, that many also died from famine due to the lack of meal and many of the women being too sick to make bread. The Mexicans soon also succumbed to the Iberian conquest led by Hernan Cortes due to the illnesses that left them too weak, unorganised and sick to fight

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