The purpose of this paper is to look at research from reliable sources to determine whether: disease was the key factor in the depopulation of Native Americans in the Americas. My thesis statement is: I agree that Disease was the Key Factor in the Depopulation of Native Americans in the Americas.
At the start of the European invasion, there were approximately eighteen million healthy, virtually disease-free Native Americans living to the north of Mexico. It was very uncommon for Native Americans to lose their lives to disease, yet as the European colonists and explorers started to go to the Americas, they brought with them European diseases. The adverse effect on Native Americans was so severe that eighty to ninety percent of them died (Native American Roots).
Between the 16th Century and the start of the 20th Century, there were at least ninety three confirmed pandemics and epidemics. These were all seen to be due to European contagions, and were a major cause for the eradication of the native American population (Lippert).
A large number of the diseases which originated from Europe including: bubonic plague, mumps, measles, smallpox, and syphilis played a large role in the depopulation of Native Americans as the latter had very little immunity to these afflictions, and: “this caused greater mortality than would have occurred if these diseases been endemic to the Americas” (Halverson).
When discussing human migration and de-population, Alfred Crosby, the researcher, stated that this is: “the chief cause of epidemics” (Gettsburg), and that this clearly played a part in the huge loss of Native American lives.
In summary, as evidenced by the research presented in this paper, my thesis statement: I agree that Disease was the Key Factor in the Depopulation of Native Americans in the Americas has been backed up.
- Gettsburg. “Diseases.” N.d. Web. 25 May, 2016. Retrieved from http://public.gettysburg.edu/~tshannon/hist106web/site19/diseases.htm
- Halverson, Melissa, Sue. Early America. “Native Americans and the Smallpox Epidemic.” N.d. Web. 25 May, 2016. Retrieved from http://www.earlyamerica.com/early-america-review/volume-11/native-americans-smallpox/
- Lippert, Dorothy. Dummies. “Diseases Decimate Native American Populations.” N.d. 25 May, 2016. Retrieved from http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/diseases-decimate-native-american-populations.html
- Native American Roots. “American Indians and European Diseases.”28 December, 2009. Web. 25 May, 2016. Retrieved from http://nativeamericannetroots.net/diary/325