Read for the argument--how does Crosby prove his points
We've seen how the plants succeeded and how the animals succeeded
Third part of the story of the ecological success of the Europeans in the neo-Europes
Aztec smallpox victimsAztec smallpox victims
Smallpox was endemic in Europe
we know more about it just because it is easy to identify
"The role of disease in American conquest was threefold: firstly, it reduced the fighting capability of the Aztec and Incan armies as they became sick and died. Secondly, the deaths of their heads of political leadership left power vacuums, and much of the attention of vassal leaders was occupied with civil wars. The conquistadors played factions against each other. Thirdly, the prevailing beliefs of these cultures led them to believe that the European forces were employing supernatural powers, and many military leaders decided to either join the conquistadors, or flee, rather than fight them. Consequently, resistance was weak, disorganized, and usually nonexistent." (Graeme Kennedy)

What we think of as the indian civilization in North America is actually what was left after diseases had done much harm

the southeastern US had a dense elaborate native civilization before Columbus, perhaps as sophisticated as the Mayans
for another example of that civilization see Anna Site
mound builders city
an image of life at Cahokia Mounds in Collinsville, Illinois

again the exchange was one-sided
at most only one disease imported from the neo-Europes caused significant problems in Europe
Europeans had had to learn to live with the diseases they brought with them
Neo-Europes had fewer diseases because of  less crowded conditions, fewer domestic animals, and
recreation of the giving of smallpox infected
Disease explains how the Europeans were able to displace the native population
it doesn't explain how they were able to remake the entire ecosystem to look like Europe

How we live with diseases--consider chickenpox

This page written and copyright Pamela E. Mack
last updated 2/1/10
Hist 124