The conquest of the “New World” is an example of how Europeans felt like it was their duty to conquer and control the world, the people in it, and spread their Christian beliefs in order to save others. Their idea of saving people was very different than what actually happened and they caused more harm among the native people than good. Attempting to fulfill their, “White Man’s Burden,” was the excuse they used in order to conquer indigenous people and use their power, usually a form of violence, to make the natives do what the Europeans wanted.
Not only did the Europeans bring God with them, they also brought epidemic diseases, guns, and war. When Hernando Cortes landed in modern-day Mexico, he carried with him the small pox disease that one of the slaves aboard was suffering from. The indigenous people living there, the Aztecs, had never been exposed to this type of disease and it tore though the population because of it’s highly contagious nature. The massive Aztec empire was suffering and they had no clue what was going on or how to stop it. The Europeans already had a huge advantage that they hadn’t even planned. The native population was decreased as much as 90% and many who remained were weakened or scared. The damage was done by a microscopic organism that neither side saw coming and the natives were completely defenseless.
Unlike small pox, the natives saw the Europeans coming but they could do little to stop them. Their limited weapon supply left them at a extreme disadvantage to the European steel swords, guns, and horses. Everything the Europeans brought over was used against the natives instead used to help them develop and show them how to use such things. Up in the Andes Mountains of South America, the Inca Empire, were isolated from surrounding native cultures but had their own complex society with a large population. They had the advantage of knowing the land but it was nothing compared to Francisco Pizarro‘s army of men. The natives had never seen guns or horses and were helpless victims to the invaders. They brought destruction and death. The complexity and advances of the Inca Empire were demolished by the Europeans who thought it was their job to spread their beliefs and gain land that contained any potential wealth, like the Inca gold and silver.
Europeans called the America’s the “New World,” when that world had belonged to people long before they discovered it. These people had built cities like Machu Picchu and created their own language and communication system. The Inca tied knots in rope then sent running messengers to deliver messages to other cities. The conquering Europeans found some of the cities and systems impressive but they were not worried about destroying a culture that had existed for many years before they “discovered” it. In many cases they spread death rather than belief in God and took advantage of the natives who had not been exposed to the same weapons and disease.