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Incan Slingers (Read 3240 times)
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Incan Slingers
Apr 25th, 2004 at 9:00am
 
We are often going on about how wonderfully powerful the sling is, especially the slings and slingers of Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia, ie, the Incan empire.  But how is it possible that the sling is so powerful if 180 gun wielding Spaniards conquered an enormous, well organised nation with an army estimated at between 40,000 and 200,000 troops, primarily armed with slings, in terrain they knew poorly, in a climate they could not understand, at thousands of metres above sea level where most Europeans find it difficult to breathe?  I also read somewhere recently that Incan warriors had very rigorous training, and everyone did calisthenics and large amounts of exercise every day.  Perhaps it is because of Spanish armour, but some records suggest that sling stones could penetrate the steel.  I think that maybe the Incans were afraid of the Spanish, in their shining armour and white faces with beards, but surely these feelings would gradually fade after they had killed a few of them?  Anybody got any ideas as to how the Spaniards conquered Peru?
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Re: Incan Slingers
Reply #1 - Apr 25th, 2004 at 9:23am
 
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Get the book,"Carnage and Culture" by Victor Davis Hanson. He explains starting with the battle of Salamis and ending with the Tet offensive why Western armies prevail. He has a great chapter on Cortez(I know, this is Mexico, not Peru!). Pizarro conquered Peru with only a handful of men. If I remember correctly, he got surrounded by thousands of warriors but escaped the battle without the loss of anyone!! Some historians say it was the rapier and buckler that gave them the edge.
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Re: Incan Slingers
Reply #2 - Apr 25th, 2004 at 10:24am
 
Both the Aztec and the Incan empires were in collapse by the time the spanish showed up.  In the case of the Inca, they had just finished a bloody civil war.  Monumental building for dead elites pulled workers and resources from developing infrastructure.  Dead rulers also held on to their property after they died, tying up the best agricultural lands and forcing new rulers to fight for new lands (cult of the royal mummies).  There were several other factors too. 

Also, the way the Spanish manipulated them politically was unthinkable to the Aztecs and Incas.  If I recall correctly, the Aztecs welcomed them into their cities, and once in the capital, the kidnapped the emperor.  They demanded ransom money, with the Aztecs paid, and then the killed the Emperor regardless.  It was a form of social warfare they were not used to. 

Also, their guns and horses were very frightening to both civilizations. 

We know from spanish accounts that the slings were deadly, almost as much as their firearms.  They said that sling stones shattered their swords.

Interested people should read:
1984 Geoffrey W. Conrad and Arthur A. Demarest.  "The Inca Imperial Expansion" chapter 3  from Religion and Empire. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
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Re: Incan Slingers
Reply #3 - Apr 26th, 2004 at 1:11pm
 
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Also, the way the Spanish manipulated them politically was unthinkable to the Aztecs and Incas.  If I recall correctly, the Aztecs welcomed them into their cities, and once in the capital, the kidnapped the emperor.  They demanded ransom money, with the Aztecs paid, and then the killed the Emperor regardless.  It was a form of social warfare they were not used to.  







I think you have mixed some events of the conquest of Mexico and Peru.
In the conquest of Mexico the Spaniards landed in Yucatan and they capture the city of Tabasco. There, after a time, the natives assembled a numerous army of about 40,000 men (the number seems to be excessive) to definitivly finish with the Spaniards. They were armed with bows, atlatl, macana (type of wooden sword with sílex edges) and slings. Cortés, with his little troops of about 400 men armed with pikes, crossbows and arcquebuses, in addition to 32 horses and some cannons, defeat the natives army, starting a legend of dreadful and strange beings half man half horse (the natives didn´t know the horse) that would cross the Aztec empire seeding the terror. When Cortés arrives at the city of Mexico, Moztezuma offers him a warm welcome fearing a direct confrontation with the Spaniards and attempting to make them an ambush within the city. But Cortés, fearing that, takes prisoner Moztezuma at the first occasion. The relation between both is from then ambiguous, until the point of which the people of Moztezuma blames him of cobardice and of collaborating with the Spaniards. There was a very violent revolt against the part of the city where the Spaniards were settled, and roofs and streets of the houses were covered materially with darts and stones. Then Moztezuma, that was prisioner in that place, was asked to go out on a balcony and try to calm his people, but there he would receive the insults of his people and an accurate stone from a sling that broke him part of his head, because of which he died. After all the Aztecs knew how to use the sling. And they continued using it and theirs other weapons, forcing the Spaniards to leave the city. One year later the city would be conquered definitively by Cortés and then all the country.

As far as the conquest of Peru, it was the most amazing and fast battle of the history, because it lasted half an hour and it consisted of an astute ambush to about 30,000 men in the great square of the city of Cajamarca, where the Spaniards were installed, near of the site where Atahualpa have gathered a great army to wait for the arrival of the Spaniards. Pizarro dispatched messengers with presents to Atahualpa so that he comes to the city to talk and to know personally. Although Atahualpa communicates that he will go without armed people, he went with 30,000 men, almost the totality of his army, thinking that a small group of forward adventurers will not dare to attack him and his people. When they all were within the city, Pizarro himself takes prisoner to Atahualpa, and ordered to  appear the cavalry that went against the people, and also the arquebuses came into action (both things completely unknown for the natives), seeding the panic between the multitude locked up in the square, that flees terrified and were clogged in the gates, and acting hastily and killing themselves in their eagerness to escape. It was the typical massacre in an enclosure produced by the panic. After, the cavalry went after the people outside the city making thousands of prisoners. Everything finished in just half an hour. Therefore, it seems that the Incan slingers not even had time nor heart to take their slings, that surely were hidden in their clothes.

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« Last Edit: Apr 26th, 2004 at 3:39pm by Hondero »  

He brought a conquering sword..., a shield..., a spear... , a sling from which no erring shot was discharged.&&
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Re: Incan Slingers
Reply #4 - Apr 26th, 2004 at 1:31pm
 
Hondero
Is this the battle where not one Spaniard was killed?
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Re: Incan Slingers
Reply #5 - May 6th, 2006 at 5:07pm
 
i do knot remmeber which culture it was, be it the incas, aztecs, mayans, etc, but one of them believed that the man leading the army was qeutzoqoatl(butchered that one), the bird, lizard god.  because of their strange apearance and odd language, they thought that they were gods and servants of the gods.

{to help understand why they were so welcomed, let me explain this:  quetzo was thought to have seen his cousing(also his wife) doing some brother or something, so he ran away in shame.  he was supposed to return someday(a specific day) to do something in human form.  well, on that specific day, the army pulled up onto the shore, so the people were all welcoming and stuff}

so, they were welcomed into the city, they were given lots of gold and gifts, taking them back to their ship or something.  one day, the leader guy decided to take the king hostage, and had the people fill a room with gold in return for the king.  somehow(we do not know)the king was killed right before the trade, so a big fight started, and a bunch of poeple were killed.

probably the wrong civilazion, but maybe it was the right one.
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Re: Incan Slingers
Reply #6 - May 6th, 2006 at 9:18pm
 
The Spaniards were also able to subvert alot of the surrounding tribes who were tired of being dominated by Inca, Maya, Aztec. What is not mentioned in the history books is that the Spaniards often had several thousand Indian allies fighting on their side, but because they weren't European they didn't get any credit. Undecided
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Re: Incan Slingers
Reply #7 - May 24th, 2006 at 6:52am
 
Well..
One thing that is missing from this conversation, is the MAIN reason that Spaniards were able to win.

Spaniards brought with them a new disease called smallpox, which killed a lot of the enemies..

Sick people are the easiest to conquer..
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Re: Incan Slingers
Reply #8 - Jun 19th, 2006 at 2:27pm
 
Guns, horses, cruelty and greed.
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Re: Incan Slingers
Reply #9 - Jun 19th, 2006 at 5:04pm
 
Quote:
i do knot remmeber which culture it was, be it the incas, aztecs, mayans, etc, but one of them believed that the man leading the army was qeutzoqoatl(butchered that one), the bird, lizard god.  because of their strange apearance and odd language, they thought that they were gods and servants of the gods.

{to help understand why they were so welcomed, let me explain this:  quetzo was thought to have seen his cousing(also his wife) doing some brother or something, so he ran away in shame.  he was supposed to return someday(a specific day) to do something in human form.  well, on that specific day, the army pulled up onto the shore, so the people were all welcoming and stuff}



probably the wrong civilazion, but maybe it was the right one.


I think it was the Aztecs. They predicted a day where Quetzalcoatl would land on shore on a specific day, and the Europeans came. They thought the Europeans were gods, and, they played the part. The Europeans wore armor, rode horses, shot guns, and had gunpowder and technology. To the Aztec, they would appear to be gods. I don't think a sling would do much against armor, or a macana do much against an iron sword. The Europeans also brought disease with them, and that was terrifying as well. Horses were new to the American civilizations too.



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