The Depopulation Of Native Americans

Topics: Infectious disease, Native Americans in the United States, Smallpox Pages: 4 (823 words) Published: May 2, 2015


The Depopulation of Native Americans
(Colin Calloway v. David S. Jones)
Issue #2

Karen Lee @01234920
History 170
Professor Seiling
M/W-9:05 A.M.
March 4, 2015

Was disease a key factor in the depopulation of Native Americans in the Americas? In “Taking Sides,” issue 2, Colin G. Calloway argues that key factor of the depopulation was through the epidemic diseases contact from Europeans. In contrast, David S. Jones controvert that there were other factors at work that explains the drastic loss of life among the American Indians. Calloway discloses that when the “Columbian Exchange” occurred, Europeans brought in new pathogens into the “new world” and American Indian’s immunity and natural and spiritual remedies were inadequate in providing defense mechanism against the diseases. Jones recognizes that the European diseases demolished the Indians but other factors such as poverty, malnutrition, environmental stress, dislocation, and social disparity all aggravated the conditions within which infectious diseases could spread in greater dimensions. Colin G. Calloway, from “New Worlds for All: Indians, Europeans and the Remaking of Early America”, supports the theory that disease was the key factor in the depopulation of the America. The reciprocal trade with the Europeans and Indians also known as “Columbian Exchange,” introduced horses and other farm animals, human beings, plants and materials, disastrous diseases and ideas. From the moment Europeans set foot in America, hundreds and thousands of Indian people did not have a chance to build up an immunity resistance to epidemics of smallpox, diphtheria, measles, bubonic and pneumonic plague, cholera, influenza, typhus, dysentery and yellow fever (25). Indians neither knew what it was nor how to cure it, leaving them defenseless.

Bioarchaeological studies affirm the evidence of malnutrition and anemia resulting from dietary stress, high levels of fetal and neonatal death and...
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