In Gun Germs And Steel chapter 4:  How did food production lead to Spanish advantages over the Inca?any answers are greatly appriciated! thank you!

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pmiranda2857 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Food production, the development of agriculture changes a society, it strengthens it through the process of providing a settled environment that contributes to the growth and expansion of the society through better nutrition. Hunter-gatherers, traditionally are always on the hunt, looking for food, and often encountering violent struggles with other peoples in the same situation.

"Not only did this allow food surpluses to develop, but it also enabled crops such as cotton, flax, and hemp to be easily processed into clothing, blankets, nets, and ropes. Animals, besides providing food and labor, also gave Eurasians wool and leather—protection from the cold. Gourds, such as those grown in North America, were used as containers, which made life even easier for farming societies. Horses, which were domesticated in Europe, offered significant advantages in wars."

As a settled society, the Spanish had weapons, horses and protection from the Incas crude weapons.  Horses played a huge role in the conquest, the Incas had never seen these animals before, and were frightened by the sight of men sitting high on these mighty beasts.

Another important factor is disease.  Becoming settled and setting up agricultural based societies brings domestic animals in direct contact with populations. The diseases that often lead to death of large numbers in the population, such as small pox and measles, come from the animals, so the Spanish, who had contact with these animals on a daily basis, would develop immunities from these diseases, over time, but would still be carriers of the diseases.  Therefore, the ability to spread disease becomes a vital weapon in the conquest of the Incas.