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Spanish Invasion of Incan Empire

For discussion and debate about anything. (Not a roleplay related forum; out-of-character commentary only.)

Who would have won?

The Spanish
35
55%
The Incans
29
45%
 
Total votes : 64

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Infected Mushroom
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Spanish Invasion of Incan Empire

Postby Infected Mushroom » Sun Jul 25, 2021 6:56 am

Please consider the following hypothetical:

The Spanish attempt to subjugate the Incan Empire just like in the original timeline. However, both sides are completely immune to disease and the Incans do not have a civil war in the years leading up to the Spanish invasion.

Can the Incans fight off the Spanish invaders?

Or will the forces of Spanish imperialism prevail regardless?

Let us say that Spain is allowed to invade with everything without worrying about France or other European powers taking advantage of the military absence. Assume that just like in OTL, the Spanish have already taken over the Aztecs (and for some reason, the Aztecs did not have the disease immunity condition).

How do you think the war would go down? Please explain.

I am hoping that the Incan forces can hold off the Spanish invasion. The Spanish would still have the guns, the horse, and the steel but the Incans, with a fully-intact empire and the numbers advantage may have been able to fight them off, especially with home field advantage.

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Salus Maior
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Postby Salus Maior » Sun Jul 25, 2021 7:03 am

The Incans would win the initial conflict, most likely. There weren't enough Spanish in the area, and unlike with the Aztecs the Spanish didn't have loads of discontent tribal subjects to exploit against the Incans.

The Incans were also effective warriors. In fact, they waged a guerrilla war against the Spanish during the early colonization of Peru that did very well up until they lost a key battle and with it a good deal of their effective leadership. If the Incans were on better footing at the very beginning I would imagine the Spanish would have a much more difficult time trying to conquer them, and possibly wouldn't win.

Eventually though? It's hard to say whether they would have been able to resist forever. Incan society would have had a very difficult time modernizing in a way that would have been competitive with Europe.
Last edited by Salus Maior on Sun Jul 25, 2021 7:07 am, edited 2 times in total.
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The King Isle
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Postby The King Isle » Sun Jul 25, 2021 7:07 am

The Spanish empire would have won because they were more advanced and had flintlocks, swords, and cannons, while the Incans didn't
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Postby Salus Maior » Sun Jul 25, 2021 7:08 am

The King Isle wrote:The Spanish empire would have won because they were more advanced and had flintlocks, swords, and cannons, while the Incans didn't


Having some guns and steel doesn't matter if you don't have enough of them and can't supply yourself effectively.

If you're outnumbered and outsmarted, that can make the difference.
Last edited by Salus Maior on Sun Jul 25, 2021 7:08 am, edited 1 time in total.
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The King Isle
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Postby The King Isle » Sun Jul 25, 2021 7:09 am

Salus Maior wrote:
The King Isle wrote:The Spanish empire would have won because they were more advanced and had flintlocks, swords, and cannons, while the Incans didn't


Having some guns and steel doesn't matter if you don't have enough of them and can't supply yourself effectively.

If you're outnumbered and outsmarted, that can make the difference.

Your forgetting that Spain had already conquered the aztecs and the Spanish weren't dumb
Last edited by The King Isle on Sun Jul 25, 2021 7:10 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Postby Salus Maior » Sun Jul 25, 2021 7:13 am

The King Isle wrote:
Salus Maior wrote:
Having some guns and steel doesn't matter if you don't have enough of them and can't supply yourself effectively.

If you're outnumbered and outsmarted, that can make the difference.

Your forgetting that Spain had already conquered the aztecs


I'm not. But you're not realizing how the Spanish conquered the Aztecs.

The bulk of the Spanish force wasn't actually Spanish, or armed with modern weapons and armor. They were native allies, armed the same way that the Aztecs themselves were armed.

Aztec society had a key cultural weakness, and that was their exploitation of neighboring tribes for the purpose of obtaining human sacrifices. As a result, almost all of the Aztecs' subjects hated them, and were quick to join with the Spanish when the Spanish recruited them against the Aztecs.
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Postby Roegerland » Sun Jul 25, 2021 7:18 am

I think the Incas might have held on for longer, but ultimately the aggression and relentlessness of the Spanish would've gained them victory.
Last edited by Roegerland on Sun Jul 25, 2021 7:19 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Kannap » Sun Jul 25, 2021 7:18 am

Infected Mushroom wrote:Please consider the following hypothetical:

The Spanish attempt to subjugate the Incan Empire just like in the original timeline. However, both sides are completely immune to disease and the Incans do not have a civil war in the years leading up to the Spanish invasion.

Can the Incans fight off the Spanish invaders?

Or will the forces of Spanish imperialism prevail regardless?

Let us say that Spain is allowed to invade with everything without worrying about France or other European powers taking advantage of the military absence. Assume that just like in OTL, the Spanish have already taken over the Aztecs (and for some reason, the Aztecs did not have the disease immunity condition).

How do you think the war would go down? Please explain.

I am hoping that the Incan forces can hold off the Spanish invasion. The Spanish would still have the guns, the horse, and the steel but the Incans, with a fully-intact empire and the numbers advantage may have been able to fight them off, especially with home field advantage.


This hypothetical overlooks that a lot of the tribes and people subjugated by the Inca welcomed the Spaniards as liberators when they first arrived.

IRL the Spaniard invasion force was just a few thousand soldiers at its height, if - as you suggest - they're attacking with their full might then I can only see the Inca Empire falling more rapidly.
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The King Isle
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Postby The King Isle » Sun Jul 25, 2021 7:22 am

Salus Maior wrote:
The King Isle wrote:Your forgetting that Spain had already conquered the aztecs


I'm not. But you're not realizing how the Spanish conquered the Aztecs.

The bulk of the Spanish force wasn't actually Spanish, or armed with modern weapons and armor. They were native allies, armed the same way that the Aztecs themselves were armed.

Aztec society had a key cultural weakness, and that was their exploitation of neighboring tribes for the purpose of obtaining human sacrifices. As a result, almost all of the Aztecs' subjects hated them, and were quick to join with the Spanish when the Spanish recruited them against the Aztecs.

The Spanish had swords and flintlocks and cannons the Incans and the aztecs didn't
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Postby Roegerland » Sun Jul 25, 2021 7:33 am

The King Isle wrote:
Salus Maior wrote:
I'm not. But you're not realizing how the Spanish conquered the Aztecs.

The bulk of the Spanish force wasn't actually Spanish, or armed with modern weapons and armor. They were native allies, armed the same way that the Aztecs themselves were armed.

Aztec society had a key cultural weakness, and that was their exploitation of neighboring tribes for the purpose of obtaining human sacrifices. As a result, almost all of the Aztecs' subjects hated them, and were quick to join with the Spanish when the Spanish recruited them against the Aztecs.

The Spanish had swords and flintlocks and cannons the Incans and the aztecs didn't

Matchlocks at the time wasn't it?
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Postby Lady Victory » Sun Jul 25, 2021 7:33 am

The King Isle wrote:
Salus Maior wrote:
I'm not. But you're not realizing how the Spanish conquered the Aztecs.

The bulk of the Spanish force wasn't actually Spanish, or armed with modern weapons and armor. They were native allies, armed the same way that the Aztecs themselves were armed.

Aztec society had a key cultural weakness, and that was their exploitation of neighboring tribes for the purpose of obtaining human sacrifices. As a result, almost all of the Aztecs' subjects hated them, and were quick to join with the Spanish when the Spanish recruited them against the Aztecs.

The Spanish had swords and flintlocks and cannons the Incans and the aztecs didn't


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Postby Heloin » Sun Jul 25, 2021 7:35 am

Roegerland wrote:I think the Incas might have held on for longer, but ultimately the aggression and relentlessness of the Spanish would've gained them victory.

Spain lost to the Mapuche in the Arauco War. Like in Mexico Spanish victory came out of the exploitation of divisions, ones that in the Inca Empire mostly came out of the smallpox pandemic.
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Postby Picairn » Sun Jul 25, 2021 7:37 am

Roegerland wrote:Matchlocks at the time wasn't it?

Right, flintlocks wasn't invented until the early 17th century, the conquest of Inca was in the mid-16th century.
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Postby Heloin » Sun Jul 25, 2021 7:38 am

The King Isle wrote:
Salus Maior wrote:
I'm not. But you're not realizing how the Spanish conquered the Aztecs.

The bulk of the Spanish force wasn't actually Spanish, or armed with modern weapons and armor. They were native allies, armed the same way that the Aztecs themselves were armed.

Aztec society had a key cultural weakness, and that was their exploitation of neighboring tribes for the purpose of obtaining human sacrifices. As a result, almost all of the Aztecs' subjects hated them, and were quick to join with the Spanish when the Spanish recruited them against the Aztecs.

The Spanish had swords and flintlocks and cannons the Incans and the aztecs didn't

The Zulus armed with iron spears and cowhide shields slaughtered the British who had cannon and breechloading rifles in Isandlwana.
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Postby The King Isle » Sun Jul 25, 2021 7:39 am

Roegerland wrote:
The King Isle wrote:The Spanish had swords and flintlocks and cannons the Incans and the aztecs didn't

Matchlocks at the time wasn't it?

I meant matchlocks
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Postby Salus Maior » Sun Jul 25, 2021 7:48 am

The King Isle wrote:
Salus Maior wrote:
I'm not. But you're not realizing how the Spanish conquered the Aztecs.

The bulk of the Spanish force wasn't actually Spanish, or armed with modern weapons and armor. They were native allies, armed the same way that the Aztecs themselves were armed.

Aztec society had a key cultural weakness, and that was their exploitation of neighboring tribes for the purpose of obtaining human sacrifices. As a result, almost all of the Aztecs' subjects hated them, and were quick to join with the Spanish when the Spanish recruited them against the Aztecs.

The Spanish had swords and flintlocks and cannons the Incans and the aztecs didn't


Way to ignore what I said.

The effectiveness of modern weaponry can only go so far. If you pit one guy with a matchlock against 10 with obsidian swords, the guy with the matchlock is dead. Same with the guy with a steel sword.
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Postby The Two Jerseys » Sun Jul 25, 2021 7:49 am

It'll probably be more like the Boer War: Incas win a few early victories, the Spanish government gets pissed and decides to throw the kitchen sink at them, they return in larger numbers where their technological advantage will really be felt, and eventually the Spanish overwhelm the Incas through brute force and scorched earth tactics.
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Postby Heloin » Sun Jul 25, 2021 7:54 am

The Two Jerseys wrote:It'll probably be more like the Boer War: Incas win a few early victories, the Spanish government gets pissed and decides to throw the kitchen sink at them, they return in larger numbers where their technological advantage will really be felt, and eventually the Spanish overwhelm the Incas through brute force and scorched earth tactics.

The Inca had probably double the population of the Spanish and trans Atlantic travel was not the relatively simple affair of a steam ship to Cape Town.
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Postby Saiwania » Sun Jul 25, 2021 9:25 am

Lady Victory wrote:America had cutting edge technology in both Vietnam and Afghanistan, to the point that we had a gargantuan technological advantage over our enemies in both wars. We still lost. Tech doesn't win wars.


Tech can win wars, but the circumstances have to also line up. North Vietnam was being backed by both China and the Soviet Union, and any actual invasion of north Vietnam risked China intervening against the US. Similarly, in Afghanistan- the Taliban has a safe haven inside a portion of Pakistan. Pakistan can't be invaded because its a nuclear power with influence.

Afghanistan is seemingly to Pakistan what Iraq is to Iran. Iran is the kingmaker behind the scenes, that has the most influence over Iraq now that Saddam is out of the picture. Pakistan has more influence over what Afghanistan becomes over the long run.

Spain would've been defeated without the diseases, but its hard to say if Spain would've been able to try to return in greater numbers or would. The Spanish empire did eventually collapse, even if the outcomes it brought about was permanent.
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Postby Ayytaly » Sun Jul 25, 2021 10:06 am

Incas win due to home advantage. They would quickly learn how to use firearms and horses, whereas the Spanish would retreat only for Incas to set their headquarters and ships on fire. Their women would end up as a harem.
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Postby Rio Cana » Sun Jul 25, 2021 10:07 am

The problem with the Inca was that the whole society was controlled from the top, centralized control. When the Conquistadors got rid of the top leadership the whole of society tended to fall apart.

Having said that, Conquistadors tended to be private individuals, many were artisans, who at times backed by the Spanish crown set off to find there so called fortune. Conquistadors had to be Castilian but there were ways around it. Also, some natives and Africans overtime became conquistadors themselves for the Spanish crown.

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Postby Ayytaly » Sun Jul 25, 2021 10:16 am

Rio Cana wrote:The problem with the Inca was that the whole society was controlled from the top, centralized control. When the Conquistadors got rid of the top leadership the whole of society tended to fall apart.

Having said that, Conquistadors tended to be private individuals, many were artisans, who at times backed by the Spanish crown set off to find there so called fortune. Conquistadors had to be Castilian but there were ways around it. Also, some natives and Africans overtime became conquistadors themselves for the Spanish crown.

Read - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conquistador


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Postby Punished UMN » Sun Jul 25, 2021 11:27 am

Heloin wrote:
The Two Jerseys wrote:It'll probably be more like the Boer War: Incas win a few early victories, the Spanish government gets pissed and decides to throw the kitchen sink at them, they return in larger numbers where their technological advantage will really be felt, and eventually the Spanish overwhelm the Incas through brute force and scorched earth tactics.

The Inca had probably double the population of the Spanish and trans Atlantic travel was not the relatively simple affair of a steam ship to Cape Town.

^ The Spanish would not have been able or even willing to devote the resources necessary for an outright conquest.

Technology and tactics was important of course for the conquest of the Mexica a few decades earlier, but the Spanish could not have done that without their native allies, you need numbers not only for a lot of important strategic considerations, but also to protect valuable assets (in the case of the Spanish, their more heavily equipped forces and artillery would have been virtually useless without native allies to provide the forces which did most of the fighting).
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Postby Wallenburg » Sun Jul 25, 2021 11:30 am

The Two Jerseys wrote:It'll probably be more like the Boer War: Incas win a few early victories, the Spanish government gets pissed and decides to throw the kitchen sink at them, they return in larger numbers where their technological advantage will really be felt, and eventually the Spanish overwhelm the Incas through brute force and scorched earth tactics.

Sounds like a quick strategy to be conquered by Portugal and France at home.
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Postby The Archregimancy » Sun Jul 25, 2021 1:17 pm

Writing as someone who's taught the Spanish conquest of the Americas at university level...

Without smallpox (and smallpox and the civil war are functionally the same thing; the civil war was caused by the power struggle following Huayna Capac's death from smallpox in 1524), it's hard to see how Pizarro can succeed.

The romantic narrative of his conquest tends to ignore both the impact of smallpox on the stability of the Inca state, and the demographic death toll across the entirety of the state. If Pizarro turns up on the coast of Peru in 1532, and tries to take on Huayna Capac at the peak of the latter's power and prestige with just 110 infantry, 60-something cavalry, three arquebuses, and two light cannon (his forces against Atahualpa), then he almost certainly gets stomped ('stomped' being a technical academic term, obviously).

As to longer-term scenarios, these are harder to predict, but I'd remind everyone that we're talking about the 16th century, and Spain faces three choices here in attempting to force a full military conflict:

1) Take a military force across Central America, and then sail to Peru.
2) Invade by land down the spine of the Andes after landing on the Caribbean coast of what's now Colombia.
3) Sail a military force around Cape Horn.

None of these are logistically simple, and may well defeat a 16th-century force's logistical capacity to mount an army capable of defeating an Incan state in its full pomp. And since Spain's economic and military power in the later 16th and first half of the 17th centuries was historically predicated on exploiting the wealth of the Viceroyalty of Peru (not quite the same as the modern Republic of Peru), then we've taken out the linchpin of Spanish power in Europe.

There's no reason to believe that the Incan state would have been permanent, mind. Most states in that region were fairly ephemeral in their imperial phase. But if we assume that the Incan state survives the initial meeting with Pizarro and then has ongoing contact with Spanish Mexico and the European Caribbean, then we're talking about a world so different from our own that long-term projections are essentially impossible.

Eventually, European technological superiority likely would have eventually led to some form of colonial control over western South America, but all we can realistically say is that it would have taken a very different form at a much later date.

And for those of you stating that Cortes's conquest of the Aztecs proves Spanish superiority, it's worth remembering the role that smallpox played there as well. Cortes was forced out of Tenochtitlan in La Noche Triste in June 1520, lost much of his army, and was on the verge of losing the war. The outbreak of smallpox in Tenochtitlan in September turned the tide against the Triple Alliance, and gave Cortes and the Tlaxcala the space to return to the city in May 1521 to place it under siege. Even then it took Cortes and his allies 2 1/2 months to take a city devastated by disease - and that with a much larger army than Pizarro had at his disposal.
Last edited by The Archregimancy on Sun Jul 25, 2021 1:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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