Re: New world populations

Lee Sultzman (
Wed, 21 Dec 1994 22:23:23 GMT

> I haven't heard of TB invested blankets, but Europeans were proud enough
> of their endeavors with smallpox infested blankets to document it quite
> often. In addition, they obviously knew of the insidious effect of such
> diseases, as I recall Mourt (1622) brags, they motivated their indigenous
> neighbors by claiming to keep the *plague* chained up in a cellar, to
> unleash at their will.... Whose to say that they didn't do as they
> threatened? Granted, encircling and burning pallisaded villages such as
> Fort Mistick, making sure to shoot any escapees of course, was just as
> effective as a few well placed blankets...
> MB Williams
If the use of infected blankets was documented quite often, then it should be easy for us to find actual examples. This hasn't been the case. Mourt's (1622) statement appears to have been only a threat used to intimidate natives. Fort Mistick is an example of brutal warfare, but warfare accounts for only a small percentage of the rapid population decline.

Most agree that disease was the culprit. The important question becomes whether this was inadvertent or intentional. I am more than ready to place the blame on the responsible parties if something besides rumor and suspicion can be found. If you know of actual places and dates, please share! Otherwise we are stuck with these emotional arguments that go nowhere.

Happy Holidays