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

Guns, Germs, and Steel book cover
Start Your Free Trial

In Chapter 3 of Guns, Germs, and Steel, how does Pizarro's capture of Atahuallpa explain why Europeans colonized the New World instead of Native Americans colonizing Europe?

Expert Answers info

Felicita Burton eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2018

write5,713 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

Diamond uses the historical incident of Pizarro's capture of Atahuallpa as a case study to support the arguments he makes throughout Guns, Germs, and Steel . Underlying the various arguments is his conviction that geography plays a dominant role in history, usually called “geographical determinism.” For the Incas, this included orientation toward the mountains rather than the sea, and lack of development of large vessels. Along with geography, Diamond emphasizes natural factors such as health and disease, along with technological innovations, especially the use of metals to support the historical outcome of campaigns of conquest and colonization around the globe. In the confrontation between Incas and Spaniards, the latter were on horseback and wielded steel swords; in Diamond's view, the technological superiority greatly contributed to the success that day of fewer than two hundred Spaniards over thousands of indigenous men. Before and beyond one specific battle, however, disease...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 516 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now


check Approved by eNotes Editorial

pohnpei397 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2009

write35,413 answers

starTop subjects are History, Literature, and Social Sciences

Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial