Re: diseases and immunity

Eric Brunner (
16 Jul 1996 14:14:03 GMT

Philip Deitiker ( wrote:
: (Philip Deitiker) wrote:

Following up your own posts. Novel.

: >Joel and Lynn Gazis-Sax <> wrote:
: ........
: >>* Another interesting statistic that comes out in looking over several
: >>chronologies is that in 1505, the population of New Spain was over
: >>11 million people. Ten years later, it had around 6 million and ten
: >>years later only one million people. Reports of epidemics were rife
: >>during this period, which matched the period of first contact and
: >>conquest of Mexico.
: ... I wrote ....
: >How much of the loss of life was due to disease and aggresion, how

As the Spanish record of organized military resistance and intra- and
inter-client/allies conflicts shows a paucity of instances of the 2nd
cause, the first is presumptively the primary causal mechanism. Heck,
even 16th century barely literate Spanish lay and clericals could see
(and record what they saw) with their own eyes. See the primary sources.

: >long did it take for the native populations to rebound. If I loosely
: >take the population of mexico today and estimate that 2/3 of gene
: >originated from native american I have a population of about 70
: >million people. From that 1 million the population must have grown a
: >whole bunch. Is it fair to not include other reasons for the decrease
: >in population.
: > I seriously doubt the population of endemic americans in mexico
: >every dropped to 1 million.

Your doubts are your personal property. 16th century ethnographic, taxation,
and other historical records are available, and the secondary sources in
this field are so voluminous that reliance upon personal unread doubts is

: My statement is incorrect because the statistics don't even apply to
: Mexico, Mexico remained under aztec control until 1521 when the last
: of the aztec leaders subjigated to the sapnsih and was later executed.

Wrong yet again. "Control" was exercised by non-Spanish polities well into
the late 1600's, with litigation as well as taxation records showing the
areas of (non-violent) conflicts between early Colonial and late Indigenous
polities. The Triple Alliance (Azteca) was only _one_ such polity, and to
be blunt, hegemony was not then thought to be causal in depopulation events,
except in the extream chattel-slavery areas (the Caribbian, portions of the
early mainland conquest areas), then or now, as disease was not constrained
by polity boundaries or areas of relative political dominance.


: Secondly, the lead in focuses primarily on disease as the sole cuase
: of death. There are clear indications that the inhabitants of the
: greater antilles where overexploited in order to aquire wealth for
: spain, and that the decline in numbers correlated with the decline of
: precious metal resources on those Isalnds. This is not a situation to
: fairly say all things being held equal the inhabitants died of
: disease. The inhabitants, probably more than anywhere else in spanish
: colonize america, suffered more acutely from the affects of spanish
: colonization, disease being one of many contributing factors.

See above. Utterly refuted. The primary so vastly overshadows secondary
contributing factors as to make their elevation to pseudo-primaries one
of denial, not honest scholarship.

: In addition when the spanish arrived the inhabitants were already
: in a conflict with island hopping 'cannabal' which the diseases and
: the removal of vital strongholds in the greator antilles probably put
: the colonized arawak indians at a disadvantage. Since the spanish had
: no qualms about killing cannabals I suspect that the victors proably
: placed themselves in equally perilous situation.

Oh mega piffle. What next? The Arawaks were dining on the indigenous of
the Cannaries also? We _know_ what happened before the Columbian Contact
events in the Cannaries. Again, see the literature as an alternative to

: >>* That populations in the Americas dropped up to 90% or more when Europeans
: >>brought their diseases with them. (Note that African slaves also brought
: >>diseases with them -- things like Yellow Fever and Malaria which decimated
: >>American cities from time to time until the mosquito link was found!)

: Since this is probably the best example of contributing factors.

Nonsense yet again! The demographic event of the early Contact Period is not
"explained" by "contributing factors" which emerge one hundred years after
the events. Both of these pathogens are environmentally vector-limited, yet
the event of New World human die-back is known to be from the Circumpolars
in the North, to the Circumpolars in the south. _All_ of the OW isolates
got clobbered, even those outside of the ranges of pathogens which became
vector-established well-after near-complete population collapses were on

These are simply examples of secondary, in terms of sequential arrival, and
mortality/morbidity, regional pathogenic contributions to the NW pathogen
repository after Contact.

: Philip

Eric Brunner