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Great War Leaders Who Never Held A Crown

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Kveto from Prague
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Post by Kveto from Prague » Tue November 30th, 2010, 2:44 pm

[quote=""parthianbow""]was about five different people, but it's very interesting adding other 'nearly' characters from history. ;)

Hannibal Barca (surely he's a major candidate?)
Stilicho (5th C AD; saved the Roman Empire's a*s on numerous occasions.)
William Wallace[/quote]

good ones. Hadnt remembered Wallace.

id add one of my personal favs Guiseppe Garabaldi as he was a kingmaker who took nothing for himself (besides Italian soverienty).

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Katherine Ashe
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Post by Katherine Ashe » Sat December 4th, 2010, 1:41 am

Parthianbow,
Nice list, but would Hannibal qualify? Would he not have made himself emperor if he hadn't been defeated?

Thomas Jefferson seemed at one time to be under the impression that Aaron Burr meant to kidnap him from Washington and make himself king -- or whatever. Burr might actually have been aiming to make himself King of Mexico.

He and Jefferson had been tied for the presidency though hopefully tie-breaking 33 votes in Congress, during which time Burr retired to his home and did not campaign. I feel there's something in Burr's forbearance that might rate as a demurring king. That's a long shot, and may only point up my liking of Burr.

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Kveto from Prague
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conquistadors

Post by Kveto from Prague » Sun December 19th, 2010, 10:00 pm

I think you'd have to include Hernando Cortez and Francisco Pizzaro on this list. No matter what you think of them personally, they defeated vastly numerically superior forces.

Pizarro in particular must have been a brilliant leader (even if he was not a nice person). No matter what advantages Pizzaro had in guns and cannon, there is no way that an army of 200 soldiers should be able to defeat 100,000 Incan warriors (plus about a million person empire). I cant imagine that such a numerically inferior force ever defeated such a larger force at any other point in history.

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LoveHistory
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Post by LoveHistory » Mon December 20th, 2010, 12:45 am

Pizzaro had an advantge in that the Incans considered him and his army to be gods. By the time they recovered from that delusion it was too late. Don't think we can give him credit for their belief system. He just got lucky there.

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Kveto from Prague
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Post by Kveto from Prague » Mon December 20th, 2010, 9:35 pm

[quote=""LoveHistory""]Pizzaro had an advantge in that the Incans considered him and his army to be gods. By the time they recovered from that delusion it was too late. Don't think we can give him credit for their belief system. He just got lucky there.[/quote]

Ok, Pizarro had the knowledge of how he might be recieved from Cortez's experience with the Aztecs. So you could say he exploited the situation to his own advantage, like any good war leader.

Once again, I may dislike Pizarro and what he did, but I won't take away from him for his accomplishment (if thats what you call it). A victory of 200 over 1,000,000 is almost unimaginable in any terms. I can't think of any other military situation comperable. While he used underhanded tactics, they were successful (and probably his only chance of success)

And I tend to believe that the "gods" angle has been played up unnecesarily by Westerners trying to explain the Aztecs' and Incas' defeats. Both of these empires were advanced civilizations with writing, industry and battle experience. They were not so primative as to worship the first white guys who came along. Moctezuma treated Cortez as an ambassador of his country and allowed him access to the city but did not bow to him or worship him (as has been a historical myth for a long time). Moctezuma was nowhere as primative as the "gods myths" would have us believe.

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Michy
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Post by Michy » Tue December 21st, 2010, 2:16 am

I don't know a lot about South American history, but I'm guessing those underhanded tactics involved whiskey, peote, smallpox and such like? I can't imagine how else the Spaniards could have won over such odds. Unless the Incas fought blindfolded and with both hands tied behind their backs.

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MLE (Emily Cotton)
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Post by MLE (Emily Cotton) » Tue December 21st, 2010, 3:03 am

According to the chronicler who married Atahualpa's widow (who was there for the massacre) the Inca was completely drunk at the time. When the messenger arrived to tell him that his pet 'gods' were misbehaving, he had the man beheaded on the spot. Twenty minutes later, he was too sotted to give the orders to fight when two small hand-carried cannons and seventy-five cavalry charged the packed masses in the square of Cajamarca. The native soldiers didn't dare fight without orders, they were packed like sardines until the press broke down the six-foot walls around the square, and by then the Spaniards had Atahualpa as a captive, and they didn't dare do anything.

The Inca nobles knew very well that the Spaniards weren't gods, but they couldn't abandon Atahualpa's cause--most of the Empire was still behind his brother Huascar, the rightful Inca, who had just been defeated in a bloody battle of the civil war started when smallpox killed their father Inca Huayna Capac AND Ninian, his first choice of heir. By the time Pizarro arrived, over half the population had died from smallpox and civil war.

And as for Pizarro, he had his partner Diego Almagro to deal with. Within a few years, the spanish would be fighting each other; Pizarro would kill Almagro, and later Almagro's supporters would assassinate Pizarro.

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Post by parthianbow » Tue December 21st, 2010, 9:43 am

[quote=""MLE""]...the Inca was completely drunk at the time. Twenty minutes later, he was too sotted to give the orders to fight when two small hand-carried cannons and seventy-five cavalry charged the packed masses in the square of Cajamarca.[/quote]

Ye gods and little fishes...there but for the grace of some Inca moonshine.

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Michy
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Post by Michy » Tue December 21st, 2010, 7:03 pm

The native tribes of North and South America were largely undone by a little whiskey, a little smallpox and the like. Sad. But I know such nefarious tactics have been used by all civilizations since the dawn of human history ....

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MLE (Emily Cotton)
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Post by MLE (Emily Cotton) » Tue December 21st, 2010, 7:40 pm

The Far Northern American tribes didn't use alcohol until the white man came (as far as I know, I'm no expert on North American indigenous peoples) but I can assure you that drink was no stranger to the Aztecs and the Incas, or any of the cultures that preceded them. It seems a little disingenuous to weep over those Empires going down at the hands of the Spanish, since both Aztecs and Incas had been very busy committing atrocities and genocide on the peoples and cultures they had very recently conquered. (I may be prejudiced, but the Aztecs were a good deal worse than the Incas. Until Atahualpa and his civil war--he had mass slaughters of all the villages that supported his brother, and wiped out nearly all the Canari people. I really have a hard time getting into the hand-wringing 'poor betrayed Inca' for that guy.)

In both cases (and in the case of North America) the reason the European cultures were able to take over so completely wasn't just because of germs and steel. (I'm going to leave out guns, those 16th-century harquebuses weren't nearly as deadly in battle as a halfway decent archer). It was because all of the conquered tribes were more than happy to join with the white strangers against the overlords that had destroyed their own tribe.

And when it comes to survival and/or conquest, all tactics are underhanded by today's standards.

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