Blood of the Leviathan: Western contact and warfare in Amazonia

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Abstract

This article argues that reported wars among Native peoples of Amazonia are not representative of pre-Columbian warfare. The well-known cases that are the bases for our conceptions of Amazonian warfare, as well as dozens of less prominent instances of war, can be attributed largely to circumstances created by the European intrusion. The broader implication is that anthropological theory and teaching about war are distorted by an unexamined premise that reported cases of war among nonstate or tribal peoples are self-generated phenomena. [warfare, Amazonia, Western contact, anthropology and history, the Columbian encounter]

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