Guns, Germs, and Steel Questions and Answers
by Jared Diamond

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According to Guns, Germs, and Steel, what made the Europeans accidental conquerors?

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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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Through Diamond's point of view, the Europeans became accidental conqueror because they were geographically advantaged than their other counterparts such as people in the Americas and Africa. Their advantage allowed them to produce a surplus. Through this surplus, specialization in labor was needed and it caused be people to specialize in different areas of craft, which lead to eras of discoveries like farming, and the forging of steel. Eventually through their discoveries, they explored to new areas and spread their ideas which resulted in cultural diffusion. Along with their new ideas, they brought their guns, germs, and their steel. These three were what made the Europeans "accidental conquerors" because whenever they expanded and explored, they usually ran into conflict and more often than not, the Europeans were militarily superior. Those who didn't die from war, died from the germs they brought hence the title guns, germs, and steel from those who succumbed to them.