Financial History Issue 119 (Fall 2016) | Page 13

EDUCATORS ’ PERSPECTIVE brutal Incan rule , many non-Incan natives embraced the Spaniards as liberators , and they were eager to take up arms against Atahualpa . The political and economic institutions created and fostered by the Inca Empire were ending .
Successful Entrepreneurial Endeavors Do Not Take Place in a Vacuum
The myth of the great men argues that the Conquistadors prevailed because they were extraordinary men with superior technology . While it is certainly true that the Spaniards possessed superior technology , the claim that they were great men does not hold up to close scrutiny . As mentioned previously , the Conquistadors prevailed by allying themselves with the non-Incan natives who were fed up with oppressive Incan rulers . Without their aid , it is doubtful that the Conquistadors would have succeeded in their conquest of Peru . They also had help from the Spanish government .
Don ’ t Ignore the Government
The Spanish crown helped the Conquistadors by giving them exclusive rights to exploit certain areas in the New World in exchange for 10 % of all of the precious metals obtained in the venture . Although the king was not a major source of financing for the Conquistadors , he did provide them with some military equipment .
The crown also retained the right to govern the New World , but it was a world far removed from the courts of Europe . The Conquistadors had a tendency to take the law into their own hands and ignore edicts and directives from across the ocean . For instance , although the king discouraged slavery in the Americas and eventually prohibited the practice , it was widespread in Spanish America . As conditions in Peru began to deteriorate into lawlessness , the king attempted to restore order by sending a personal representative to take over the reins of government .
Age and Education Aren ’ t Necessarily Important
Francisco Pizarro was in his early 50s when he conquered Peru . By the standards of his age , he was an old man . He spent the better part of 30 years in the New World and was already wealthy . Nevertheless , he was not too old to take on a new venture .
Although Pizarro was the illiterate , illegitimate son of a Spanish farmer , he did not let these disadvantages stop him from pursuing the opportunities that were available to him in the New World . He serves as an inspiration to those who fear that their age , lack of education or low social standing prohibit them from engaging in entrepreneurial activities .
Profits Should Be Distributed Equitably
We previously noted that in order to participate in the profits of the Company of the Levant , a shareholder had to be present at the event that generated the wealth . So when Diego De Almagro missed out on the capture of Atahualpa at Cajamarca because he was busy obtaining additional men and supplies for the expedition in Panama , his share of the wealth wrested from the Inca overlord was a pittance . This single act eventually led to the demise of Almagro at the hands of Hernando Pizarro and to the death of Francisco Pizarro .
Had the Conquistadors paid more attention to their Catholic faith , they may have become familiar with the story of David ( of David and Goliath fame ) at the brook Besor . David was living in exile after Saul , the king of Israel , made several attempts on his life . He was living in enemy territory in the Philistine city of Ziklag . While David and his men were off on a military mission with the Philistine king Achish , Amalekite raiders attacked , looted and burned defenseless Ziklag and made off with all the women and children .
David ’ s men were upset and threatened to stone David for leaving the city in such a vulnerable state . David , however , rallied his troops and set out to apprehend the Amalekites . They rode with such furious abandon that when they reached the brook Besor , one third of them were too exhausted to cross the brook . Those who could not continue stayed behind with the supplies while David and the rest of his men continued their pursuit . Luckily , they came upon an abandoned Egyptian slave of one of the Amalekites . The slave revealed the Amalekites ’ location to David , who immediately mounted an attack on the unsuspecting rogues .
David recovered all the women and children and seized all of the Amalekites ’ flocks and herds . When the victorious war party returned to the brook Besor , “… all the wicked and worthless fellows among the men who had gone with David said , ‘ Because they did not go with us , we will not give them any of the spoil that we have recovered , except that each man may lead away his wife and children , and depart .’”
David disagreed and said , “ For as his share is who goes down into the battle , so shall his share be who stays by the baggage . They shall share alike .” And he made it a statute and a rule for Israel from that day forward to this day .” ( 1 Samuel 30:22 – 25 ESV )
According to pastor and author Eugene Peterson , “ The brook Besor marks an important event in human history .” David , he argues , “… didn ’ t bend to the cowardice that we neutralize with our phrase ‘ peer pressure ’… He had no interest in a security gained at the expense of the people with whom he lived . He wasn ’ t out to save his own soul . He was , in a word , compassionate .”
David ’ s wise decision at the brook Besor engendered the loyalty and trust of these men for the next 40 years , as he led Israel into its golden era .
The Conquistador ’ s decision to reward those present at Cajamarca and stiff everyone else led to disastrous consequences and divided the Conquistadors into two warring factions . Hernando Pizarro , who would later spend over 20 years in a Spanish prison for this act , executed Almagro at Cusco . Almagro ’ s angry followers never forgave the Pizarros and vowed vengeance . On a foggy June morning in 1541 , less than nine years after the capture of Atahualpa , Almagristas stormed Francisco Pizarro ’ s home in Lima and killed the 63-year-old Conquistador .
Did the Conquistadors Take on Too Much Risk ?
In the 16th century , it was risky to cross the Atlantic to reach the New World , it was risky to encounter the hostile natives of
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