Skip to comments.The mixed legacy of 1492 (European viruses wipe out population)
Posted on 10/11/2010 3:55:41 PM PDT by Libloather
The mixed legacy of 1492
By James Carroll
October 11, 2010
IT IS commonly observed that 1492, in addition to being the year of Christopher Columbus, was also the year of the Jews their expulsion from Spain by the same Ferdinand and Isabella who sponsored the Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria. But the overlap of events (actually, Columbus set sail in the very week of the banishment) has historic significance, for it was in Iberia that ancient Christian anti-Judaism had recently morphed into genetic anti-Semitism the idea that Jews are contemptible not because of their religion, but because of their blood impurity. This notion of a groups innate biological inferiority tragically gripped the European imagination just as the encounter with the New World occurred. It was a decisive factor in the creation of modern racism that determined so much of what came in the wake of Christopher Columbus. Contempt for Jews was practice for contempt for aboriginal peoples.
The racist myth of European superiority still shapes the story of the colonial conquest starting with how the Caribs, Mayans, and Aztecs are remembered as never having had a chance against Spanish steel and gun powder. But it wasnt technological genius that led to the dominance of the newcomers, nor was it their courageous soldiering, intellectual heritage, or moral superiority much less the favor of God.
By far, the most decisive factor in the quick establishment of European control was the accident of disease. The immune systems of Western Hemisphere indigenous peoples were overwhelmed by pathogens that accompanied the Europeans, with the result that populations of so-called Amerindians were almost instantly decimated. The population of Mexico, to take one example, fell from 25 million in 1517, when Europeans first came there, to 1.5 million a century later.
(Excerpt) Read more at boston.com ...
Happy Columbus Day!
Too bad those viruses don’t work on Muslims
Up to 50% of the white population was wiped out by disease from the Asians, diseases are something that is tough to whip, they still kill millions of people every year.
Well, speaking of diseases, the Indians pretty certainly gave Columbus’s crew syphilis in return. Because it appeared in Europe for the first time just about then.
Well, just to play devil’s advocate, how can they say that microbes were not part of God’s plan? But seriously, why didn’t the people already here have some microbe they gave to Europeans? Has anyone ever wondered about that? Why is it always the invaders who seem to have the stronger immune systems?
I watched a show the other day that seems to indicate pretty strongly that the Japanese visited south America. Pottery that is identical to ancient pottery found in southern Japan and one small area of south America.
The strongest evidence are the very Asian features existing among natives today and a genetic disease found only among Japanese and a small isolated population in south America.
Polynesian skulls are found all around the pacific rim and they obviously made it to Hawaii and Easter Island.
I tend to think there was a lot more “traffic” in the ancient past but civilization didn’t come (and stay) till Columbus
Many Indians did die from disease, but still the Europeans fought and defeated armies of many time their number due to the superiority of their weapons and their horses, and both the men and horses were usually armored.
Dem evil white dudes.
It went both ways. Contrary to what left wing “experts” say, there was little or no syphilis in Europe before it was brought back from the New World.
Same as it ever was. Get over it, already.
How did they arrive at an estimate of 25 million and how accurate is the methodology.
Oh right, it’s just a wild ass guess.
while I support using antibiotics and the like to augment our immune systems we’ve grown far too dependent on them. Kids and people used to get dirty and sick on occasion and build up immunity. Now people santize the immune system right out of themselves. By not being exposed to anything if your bodies hit with the right virus or disease it has no defense.
Unless we can develop better medicines thats where the new plagues are going to come from.
It was much cooler I think in those days and the seas were much calmer than now. That would explain crossng an ocean in a catamaran
The mutation is thought to have occurred because of the European life style versus the South American life style.
That is, heavy, rarely washed clothes versus rarely clothed natives prancing around the "rain forests".
The original bacterial infection sores, covered by clothes, and not exposed to UV, O2, etc, eventually mutated in to "syphilis".
It wasn't until earlier this decade that the last known infections of the original bacteria were wiped out in the Western Hemisphere.
“it was in Iberia that ancient Christian anti-Judaism had recently morphed into genetic anti-Semitism the idea that Jews are contemptible not because of their religion, but because of their blood impurity. This notion of a groups innate biological inferiority tragically gripped the European imagination just as the encounter with the New World occurred. It was a decisive factor in the creation of modern racism that determined so much of what came in the wake of Christopher Columbus. Contempt for Jews was practice for contempt for aboriginal peoples.”
This is why historians suck at thinking. There always have to be connections. A drop of rain water hitting a Chinese emperor in 908 AD has striking reverberations in the Sudan in 2007, or whatever. Which has the advantage of both seeming to uncover something unrecognized before and appealing to the wild paranoia that runs through everyone’s head on a moment to moment basis. (Hey, what do I mean by THAT?)
There’s also got to be a “first,” right? Have to have our turning points. Some distinct moment when regular racism became really, really bad racism. And why not just when Europeans happened to commence permanent contact with the New World. ‘Cause imperialism is bad, colonialism is bad, and really, really wrong racism was behind all the badness (though diseases actually don’t care what sort of “blood” they’re infecting). Nevermind that everyone and their mother hurt the Jews. Europeans must have had a special hatred for them, ‘cause they’re Europeans. And Europeans are bad, ‘cause of the colonialism and imperialism. Which was caused by the racism. Which wasn’t like other people’s racism. ‘Cause of Colombus or the Jews or something. Can’t remember which.
The dominant hypothesis is that Amerindian extirpation of 35 of 44 Pleistocene megafauna species rendered their immune systems unaccustomed to zoonotic diseases.
To which I would add that hunting the domesticable animals into oblivion seriously retarded agro-urban development and condemned many tribes to permanent seasonal nomadism.