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John Hemming

Forfatter af The Conquest of the Incas

19+ Works 1,098 Members 16 Reviews 1 Favorited

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John Hemming is an expert on the Amzon, having visited over forty indigenous tribes and been on many research expeditions, including explorations of totally unknown territories. His previous books include the prize-winning The Conquest of the Incas and a trilogy on the history of Brazilian Indians. vis mere He was for twenty-one years Director of the Royal Geographical Society in London. vis mindre

Omfatter også følgende navne: John Hemming, John Hemming


Værker af John Hemming

Associated Works

The Peru Reader: History, Culture, Politics (1995) — Bidragyder — 135 eksemplarer
Colonial Brazil (Cambridge History of Latin America) (1987) — Bidragyder, nogle udgaver25 eksemplarer

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A history of the indigenous people of modern-day Brazil from Columbian-era contact to the Pombaline expulsion of the Jesuit missionaries. Red Gold makes good armchair reading and fills a gaping academic hole, but it's an unreliable scholarly source, as Hemming often misquotes dissenting sources to prove his overreaching point.
proustbot | Jun 19, 2023 |
A good telling of a seminal and famous historical period. However, despite its wealth of information about all sides of the conflict, it still seems to overplay the bravado and audacity of the conquistadors, and to underplay the role of Andean allies and the degree of intra-Inca civil war involved. For example, compare the information in this documentary on the archaeology of the siege of Lima: In the book, this is a spectacular triumph of Spanish courage against all but overwhelming numbers. In the archaeology and lesser known sources, there was a major element of intra-Inca fighting. Perhaps while emphasising Spanish bravado and arms, history has neglected their political skill.… (mere)
fji65hj7 | 6 andre anmeldelser | May 14, 2023 |
As with all volumes of Newsweek Press Wonder if Man Series, the content is written succinctly yet full of information. The tight text allows the superb images to grab your focus. It's as if you're visiting the site.
Huba.Library | 1 anden anmeldelse | Aug 4, 2022 |
We're living in a time when conspiracy theories of the most outrageous sort seem to take root and be impossible to eradicate. They are impervious to facts or logic and seem to take on a life of their own. It was pretty much the same with the legends of El Dorado in South America. I thought that the legends had started in Peru and the various expeditions had started from Peru but this book demonstrates that the majority of expeditions set out from the Caribbean side. Though the one expedition that I'd read about that did start from Quito ...led by Gonzalo Pizzaro in 1541 did end up sailing (more or less inadvertently), down the entire Amazon river with part of the expedition led by Francis de Orellana. But expedition after expedition pushed into the untracked interior through jungle and rivers and swamps searching for a legendary source of South American gold. By this stage, of course, Francisco Pizarro had pillaged the Inca civilisation and taken back to Spain a room full of gold ....extracted as a ransom.
The legend of El Dorado is a legend about a golden least in some of the stories...he was a chieftain who was covered in gold dust every morning and it was washed away at night. Hence, gold must be plentiful, easily obtainable..and probably available for the taking ....just as Francisco Pizarro had done.
Each expedition ended ..more or less in failure with terrible loss of men and resources, but it just seemed to inspire others because there was that unquenchable belief, that the expedition had been just on the verge of the great discovery when they had to turn back.
A couple of things, I found fascinating. Each expedition relied on rounding up local natives to enslave them and use them as porters. (Usually shackled together). The death rate of the porters was staggering...but they were just replenished by attacking villages along the way. They were incredible predators .....just interested in one thing: gold. When brought gold objects with incredible workmanship....they were simply melted down into ingots. No interest was shown in salvaging or recording the craftsmanship or art. When the Indians brought them valuable feathers or other objects...these were dismissed as being of no value....though, to the Indians they were as valuable as gold. Interestingly, the Spanish, typically on horseback, with armour were almost always able to vanquish much larger forces of indians with their spears and clubs. Not did the Spanish take the obvious precaution of taking enough food for their expeditions. They relied on raiding villages and stealing the food from villages along the way. in many cases it seems they were welcomed and shown hospitality....but this was invariably repaid with violence and the casual plundering of the village food stocks. (Incidentally, leaving the villagers without food and liable to starvation). Such a system was not always successful and there seems to be a familiar refrain about disease and starvation affecting the expeditions....though, usually, the fate of the thousands of porters is given short shrift. In fact, the Spanish expeditionaries seems to be incredibly cruel; p57 Juan de Cardenas , who brought...thirty captives 'among who were some who had witnessed the death of the Christian [Hohermuth] had these eaten by the dogs in the presence of the rest; and the others were divided among the Christians....Nice!
The other thing that struck me was the degree of control that was still exercised by the Spanish Crown; Territories were allocated to governors and a royal licence had to be issued to an authorised leader. And, it seems the long hand of the Spanish law reached out to bring some form of justice to these wild pioneers. As Hemming puts it: "anyone who obtained one of these licences and organized an American enterprise had to be a gambler, a mad visionary. He pawned everything in order to sail off to the unknown at the head of a band of cut-throats".
Most of them were Spanish but not all. Some of the expeditions were led by Germans and later expeditions by the English, Sir Francis Drake. Drake was interesting ...and I'm not sure if he is actually treated more leniently by the author but he does seem to have tried to respect "Indian Rights" to some least early in his expeditions."It was Ralegh's policy to woo the native tribes. This was done, partly from humanitarian principles--the Protestants of northern Europe were shocked by what they had heard about Spanish cruelty to American Indians. It was also a deliberate attempt to gain the alliance of the tribes".
It seems that the truth of all these legends was rather pedestrian. Yes there was some gold that had been extracted over many years and conserved by the Indians as a valuable metal for artistic purposes. But East of the Andes, there was not much. And some of it appears to have been traded via the tribes to the West such as the Incas. Certainly there was nothing like the quantities that the Incas had amassed that had been looted by Pizzaro and his men. And the legend of El Dorado seemed to have been made up about 1541. It was almost believable (especially after Pizarro had found so much gold...though not the "source") but it certainly led a lot of young adventurers to their doom.
The maps in the book were essential but really not good enough. Some of the expeditions weren't mapped at all. Lots of places seemed to be omitted from the maps and the directions of march etc were often not indicated.
Overall, I found it quite fascinating ....sometimes quite abhorrent with the Spanish treatment of the natives. It seemed to be even worse than the behaviour of the Spanish in Mexico...and that was not genteel. And the Spanish legacy of rewarding followers by the allotment of estates (which they then proceeded to exploit unmercifully and cruelly) seems to have contributed to the continuing issues of inequality in virtually every Spanish colony ...including Mexico, most of Central America, and the Phillipines.
I give it four stars.
… (mere)
booktsunami | 1 anden anmeldelse | Apr 1, 2022 |



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