The fearless Spaniards who conquered America did not know how dangerous is Inca gold. After all, ancient civilizations mined gold with mercury, which slowly but surely doesn’t kill only the owner of treasures, but even his future progeny…
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The beginning of the 16th century, when as a result of the Great Geographical discoveries on the map appeared a new continent America, Europeans do not suspected what it threatened them with. And the first decades of conquest new lands conquistadors enthusiastically listened to overseas gifts: potatoes, tobacco, coffee and the main wealth of the new colonies – to gold. From the very moment when the soldiers of Cortez saw that the new earth is literally filled with precious metal, they are more thought of nothing. Amazing architecture, deep knowledge astronomy and mathematics, the ability to predict disasters, grow rich crops and deal with drought – all the richest knowledge of the Incas, Mayans and Aztecs was a free application to the main treasure of ancient civilizations. “Yellow Devil” (so in Europe was called gold) so conquered the eyes of the conquerors that they didn’t want to know anything else. And no one thought about where do these essentially wild ones that are at a low stage of development peoples so much gold? After all, Europeans knew that mining noble metal – a difficult technological process, and for smelting and manufacturing of jewelry requires considerable knowledge and skills. And the fact that the methods used in gold mining, not at all harmless. Where is the metal from? Gold that the Inca empire was famous, it was considered their sacred metal – the metal of the sun god. Gold lay in the temples in bulk, they were walls, floors and ceilings are finished (the ceiling of one of the temples was strewn with openwork golden stars, golden dragonflies, butterflies, birds that soared over people and were so magnificent that their beauty caused awe among all who saw them).
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In 1532, the Spanish conquistadors kidnapped the Inca emperor Atahualpu, to take for him a ransom in the form of gold in quantity, equal to the volume of the room in which the arrested emperor was kept. The Indians went to comply with the requirement of the conquistadors. Caravans mules and endless strings of people were transported to the capital during the week statues, gold jewelry, precious vessels and other products from noble metals. The gold captured by the Spaniards was so a lot that, remelting it into bullion, the Spaniards drove it home galleons. It is estimated that in the entire history of mankind in the world only 161 thousand tons of gold were mined. But in the XVI century, Spanish galleons delivered to the court of the Spanish king in just one year more than 100 tons of gold (in Europe then mined no more than 1 ton gold per year). Of course, such “rich times” were only at the beginning, when the Spaniards ravaged the treasures of the Aztecs, Incas, Mayans and others peoples. In total, the Spaniards exported more than a thousand from South America. tons of poisonous gold. But to have such a breakthrough precious metal, ancient civilizations had to mine it on an industrial scale. And so they got it. But conquistadors didn’t care about Inca technology, they needed to take away as many treasures as possible. And what quality is it, poor or completely poisoned – they did not want to know. And between As it turned out later, Inca gold was produced with gross violations of technology: it was smelted using mercury. And therefore, all the gold brought to Europe is actually was poisoned. So hard-hearted conquistadors doomed to death is not only the ancient civilizations of America, they planted a mine Slow motion and under European civilization. Fruit thoughtless greed and predation Europe has reaped for several centuries. However, she reaps them to this day, which visible to the naked eye. But what is this method that like an old woman with a scythe mercilessly knocked down the descendants of the proud conquerors? While there is life there is hope? To the moment Spanish conquest of gold smelting technology was well known in Europe – the ancient Romans used a similar method. is he consisted of the following: to extract crushed gold from ore the breed was mixed with liquid mercury. In this case, the resulting the alloy, or amalgam, was easily separated from the total mass as more heavy. Amalgam was heated to high temperature, mercury evaporated, and as a result, pure gold remained. Some consider that similar technology was brought to America by Spaniards. And in in fact, Spain had the largest field in those years mercury, and local gold miners were considered monopolists on European continent. Therefore, no one was surprised that all the gold, melted before the period of the American conquest, it was mixed mercury. But it was not very much, so no one of this feature did not attach much importance. And here are the gold products of the Aztecs, Maya, Incas smelted before the advent of Europeans have always been considered “clean” – everyone thought that they somehow did not know mercury and smelted gold according to its ancient and, of course, harmless recipes. But how it turned out nothing like that – recent studies have shown that ancient civilizations also used mercury, and no less intensively, than the Europeans. The same Incas, as it turned out, in addition to smelting gold mercury was also used for the production of cinnabar used in as a dye.
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Clothing dyed red-orange was considered belonging to the rich and was the favorite clothing of the nobility. Addiction to this extremely dangerous and harmful substance, according to one version, and became the cause of the degeneration of an entire people – because by the time of arrival Spaniards the Incas were so weakened that the conquistadors conquered continent in a small detachment and almost without casualties. Revenge of the gods But the revenge of the ancient gods was not far off: after all the gold that came to the courts of European monarchs was deadly dangerously. Europe is actually covered by a golden (read “mercury”) wave – there was not a single royal court on the continent, not a single noble family, which in one way or another did not have on hand American gold (and how else if its quantity increased almost 200 times?). On gold they ate plates, bowls, goblets, dishes, forks, spoons; slept on gold – beds, armchairs, chairs, thrones; gold worn – crosses, jewelry, crowns, scepters, rings, chains.
Ugly Duchess, 1525-1530 National Gallery, London Photos from open sources
And it is not surprising that most European royal courts were ultimately doomed to degeneration – there was not a single crowned family that could do without serious diseases transmitted from generation to generation. And for all this can be “thanked” by the Incas, who not only doomed themselves to death, but also passed the “baton of death” to the European civilization. Or maybe it was the sophisticated revenge of the departed in nothingness of the people? Egor SHVARTS
Inca Civilization Mayan Civilization