Pre-Columbian Cotton Armor: Better than Steel

According to Jared Diamond, the Spanish conquered the Aztecs and Incas with guns, germs, and steel. At first blush, his conclusion seems undeniable. But I’m actually not so sure about the steel. If steel gave the Spanish such an advantage in the 1500’s, why did so many conquistadors abandon their European breastplates in favor of Aztec and Inca cotton armor?

cotton armor in action: Native Mexicans vs. conquistadors
Native Mexicans vs. conquistadors (facsimile of a mid-1500’s illustration).

Continue reading “Pre-Columbian Cotton Armor: Better than Steel”