Big Inca

To: Bill

From: The Boss

Date: March 28

We could start with gold. Or greed, either way.

We could even start with the Maya, who perfected the only true written language in the western hemisphere and invented an incredible system of mathematics that made huge calculations easy. To say nothing of their intricate calendar and astronomy. Oh, my, there’s was a wonderfully expressive language, too.

But since we don’t seem to have any Mayans in urUBbury, let’s focus on what we have.

First, in 1519, Hernan Cortes and his band of soldiers plundered the Aztec capital of Tenochititlan, a marvelous city of gold, advanced engineering and architecture. A dozen years later, Francisco Pizarro found a similarly endowed empire to devastate, and the Inca were forced into submission and ruins. By 1541, the Spanish were obsessed with fleecing mythical cities where everyone was supposed to be covered in gold dust.

You’ve heard of El Dorado, of course, but their greed ran deeper than that, wrapped as it was with missionary zeal and enslavement.

If it were only this, we would simply pity the Inca. But they’re resourceful

In fact, the only reason Pizarro’s handful of conquistadores had a fighting chance was because the Inca were seriously weakened by three millennia of ecological damage. And then the Spanish and Portugese began inflicting their own ecological damage.

I’m sending you the technical reports, but keep them under lock and key at your office. Don’t want the girls chancing upon them. But these things are interesting, for a number of reasons.

One of my fears with the Inca is that they seem to attract conquistadores in search of gold. Canaries in the mine, as it were.


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