last quote from The Last Days of the Incas

This last quote from The Last Days of the Incas by Kim MacQuarrie makes a connection for me to Kiernan's Blood and Soil (see those book reports and quotes) whose thesis was that conquerors justified genocide on the need to return the conquered society to an agricultural idyll. MacQuarrie adds to this the thought that economics drove this idyll. Conquerors need a peasant class to provide abundant tribute without complaint. As Kiernan pointed out though, an agricultural society wasn't worth keeping if it was subsistence based and content with their lives (Irish or native American), which disqualify it from being "civilized." Peasants are subservient, and the conquered cultures who weren't subservient were crushed. This is what Pizarro did to the Incas.

The behavior of Pizarro and his entourage had thus far followed standard conquest procedure. First, evidence of a native empire had to be discovered. First, evidence of a native empire had to be discovered, one civilized enough to include a mass of native peasants who were used to paying taxes to an elite. It was of no use to find “wild” Indians who didn’t farm or had no experience with civilization. The Spaniards, after all, had come to create a feudal society over which to rule, and a feudal society, by definition, required a tax-paying peasantry. (92-93)


There is no question that Inca morals were not quite contemporary. However, the Christian conquerors never seem to have worn those WWJD bracelets. What would Jesus do if he arrived in a new country? No wonder the priests Pizarro brought had a tough time evangelizing. What was the good news of a culture that turned a blind eye to raping and pillaging and plundering?

See my other posts on atrocities, human rights, genocide, history and book reports.

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