Good post. This whole smallpox-blankets charge has taken on a life of its own in recent decades. As the article notes, there is only one remotely documented episode, at the hands of a British officer during the French & Indian War. There were rumors of British attempts to spread smallpox during the Revolutionary siege of Boston and in the runup to Yorktown, but they are undocumented.
The treatment of the aboriginals by the government of the U.S. was a fairly straightforward military conquest, full of atrocities (the Nez Perce, the Cherokee, Sand Creek, etc.) and leaving us little of which to be proud. But it did not include biological warfare, nor was it an organized attept to wipe out American Indians. It is important not to ignore it, but it is also important not to simply make stuff up.
The spread of disease among Native American peoples was completely intentioned
European settlers carried with them diseases that they themselves were Immune to. Native Americans had never come into contact with foreigners did not have these natural immunities to European Disease.
I was actually thinking about the smallpox blanket myth the other day (when I didn't know it was a myth) and I wondered how it was possible for the US army to know that diseases spread this way. Pre modern medicine The 1830s. If you think about how many people died from infection and disease - and Doctors knew little about Sterilization.
posted on 02/08/2005 8:58:50 AM PST
(Forgive Russia, Ignore Germany, Punish France - Condoleezza Rice)
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