In his book, Diamond differentiates between proximate and ultimate factors contributing to the success of the Spanish conquest. Factors that he identifies as proximate included writing, the availability of information, immunity to diseases, and the possession of superior military technologies on one hand. The ultimate factor that he stresses in particular was the advantage of the European geographic location.
Accordingly, Diamond terms the Europeans “accidental conquerors” because the advantage they enjoyed geographically was a matter of coincidence. The Europeans’ activity enabled them to extract benefit from this initial advantage and create a new set of proximate factors that contributed substantially to their success.
Diamond discards any explanation that would present the Europeans as inherently better than the people from other region in the world. He points out that one can explain their unprecedented burst of activity and the technological developments resulting from it by...
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