R. Alan Covey, "Inca Apocalypse: The Spanish Conquest and the Transformation of the Andean World" (Oxford UP, 2020)


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The arrival in 1532 of a small group of Spanish conquistadores at the Andean town of Cajamarca launched one of the most dramatic – and often misunderstood – events in world history. In Inca Apocalypse: The Spanish Conquest and the Transformation of the Andean World (Oxford UP, 2020), R. Alan Covey draws upon a wealth of new archaeological and archival discoveries to detail the remarkable events that ended one empire and transformed another. From this he builds a new narrative that highlights the apocalyptic mindsets of the two empires and how these shaped the interactions between the Spanish and the Inca. As Covey explains, the Spaniards arrived at a point when the Incan empire was coping with the disruptions caused by a civil war and a devastating pandemic. To the Inca and their neighbors, the Spaniards were yet another disruptive force, one that different groups in the region sought to exploit for their own purposes. The result was twenty years of political infighting and warfare, culminating in the defeat of insurrectionary Spaniards by a force of Incans fighting on behalf of the king of Spain. Though such maneuvering helped preserve a degree of status for the Inca elite, it opened the way for the gradual absorption of the Inca into the Spanish empire in a process that played out over the following century.

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