Early European exploration of the Americas was distinguished by the pride, ignorance, greed, and casual brutality of the majority of its participants. None of the early colonial powers - Spain, Portugal, France, and England - were entirely innocent in this context, but of them all it was the Spanish conquistadores who proved to be the bravest, the most determined, the most successful, and yet at the same time the very worst ambassadors that an alien civilisation could ever hope to foist upon an unsuspecting New World. The vaunted might of the fabulous Aztec and Inca'empires' collapsed in the face of their military and technological expertise, but success proved progressively less easy to come by as the century ran its course. Despite being decimated by the new diseases that accompanied each new European expedition, numerous unsophisticated American peoples proved resilient enough to withstand and sometimes even to turn back the invaders. Some held out for centuries, while others chose to be decimated to the point of extinction rather than submit.
This book provides a detailed examination of the Aztec, Inca, and other native armies of North, Central, and South America from the mid-15th century to the early 17th, and of the European explorers and invaders with whom they came into conflict. There are details of the arms, dress, organisation, and tactics of the principal peoples of each region.show more