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View Diary: America, the artifact (211 comments)

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  •  As for the Spanish being 'butchering scum,' (7+ / 0-)

    you're probably correct.

    Based on their treatment of their fellow Indians in Mexico, though, imagine how the Aztecs would have treated the folks had the exploration process been reversed and the Aztecs invaded and conquered Europe.

    Had they been able to get there (and I've never seen any refernces to Aztec seamanship but I assume it was minimal) in any numbers, and considering the reduced population of Europe at certain points because of plague, I'm betting the Aztecs would have kicked butt there.

    As usual, a great diary. I look forward to the book.

    I visited Cahokia Mounds two years ago when back in St. Louis for a visit and found the site impressive.  

    I will give up my atlatl when they pry it from my cold, dead fingers!

    by wheeldog on Sun Jan 30, 2011 at 08:45:13 AM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  It's because of who took up the mantle, not Spain (6+ / 0-)

      The system of concessions, and the dangers of the voyage and landing, meant that your average Spaniard was not prone to taking such risks.  So you got a lot of real scoundrels and wastrels, people with nothing else to keep them tied down, taking up this whole "exploration" thing.  They were mercenary bastards in it for the money, pure and simple.  Lip service was paid to the forms of Spanish rule and its moral grounding but the reality was that this was a sanctioned kleptocracy and the people who took up its challenge wanted nothing more than to get filthy rich and powerful far beyond their station in life back in Spain.  I can't think of any of the conquistadors who gave up privilege in Spain for brutal adventurism in the Americas; I'm sure there were a few, but not many.  It sucked to go there, and you could only hope to luck into the riches.

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