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Guns, Germs, and Steel

by Jared Diamond

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What are examples of internal and external conflicts in the book Guns, Germs, and Steel?

There are many examples of both internal and external conflicts in Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs, and Steel. The internal conflicts include the spread of the Zhou dynasty southward in China. Amongst the external conflicts that Diamond singles out, one example is the annexation of western New Guinea by Indonesia in the 1960s.

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In Guns, Germs, and Steel, Jared Diamond describes many internal and external conflicts. He recounts the fate of the Inca empire led by Atahuallpa, whose armies were defeated by the Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro in a series of battles despite the Incas outnumbering the invading conquistadors by as much as five hundred to one. The Spaniards prevailed because they bore steel armor, swords, and pikes and numbered around a hundred cavalry. In the end, the wooden and stone weapons of the Indians were no match for the Spaniard's steel. The same superiority of arms enjoyed by the Spaniards also decided the fate of the Aztec nation in present-day Mexico when their lands were invaded by another conquistador, Hernan Cortes.

Among other external conflicts, Diamond relates how tensions between the local people and Javans remained after Indonesia annexed the west of the country in the 1960s. A Javan acquaintance tells him that the texture of his hair is enough to invite attacks from native New Guineans.

One of the internal conflicts which Diamond dwells on is the expansion within China of the northern Zhou dynasty, which led to the unification of the whole country under the Qin emperors. Another conflict within the borders of a nation-state that Diamond touches upon is that which took place in the southwestern United States as white Americans systematically massacred different Indian tribes. During and immediately after the California Gold Rush of 1848 to 1852, many of the 200,000 native Americans in the state were either murdered or driven from their lands.

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