Gold during the Spanish Conquest

A discussion of the difference in attitudes towards gold between the Inca and the Spanish during the time of the conquistadors.

This paper explores the large difference between the European/Spanish opinion on gold and wealth in general and the Incan opinion. The paper begins by explaining that in Spain, gold was something that could be acquired and made, to be spent on other objects and services. The paper then looks at the area of the Andes, where all gold was the sole property of the Sapa Inca who then distributed the wealth in the form of clothes and food according to your seniority. Also unlike in Spain, the Sapa Incaes, distributed food and clothes to the needy and old from his imperial stor.
“Five hundred years ago two hundred Spanish conquistadors under the command of Hernando Pizarro invaded the Incan empire from the new Spanish frontier-town of Panama. Over the next 100 years the cruel, relentless Spanish and the diseases that they brought from Europe would decimate the entire Indian population of the Andes almost destroying a way of life and a culture that had been nurtured in isolation for hundreds of years. In the process the Inca lost everything – their land, gold, status and right to practice their own religion as they were Christianize and moved to forced labour camps to mine the gold that the Spanish yearned for so much. Even today most of the Indians live in the slums of the Andean cities or in isolated communities up in the mountains. In the days of the Inca, due to strict organization on the part of the Sapa Inca (Emperor), no one would ever have starved or been left homeless. Nowadays many of the native peoples of South America live below the poverty line.”
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