Re: diseases and immunity

Domingo Martinez-Castilla (
Mon, 22 Jul 96 14:55:33 GMT

I want to share with you an important additional reference that may be
of use to those truly interested in the topic at hand.

First, a small book (285 pp) dedicated to epidemics and depopulation in
the Americas (Spanish America only):

Noble David Cook and W. George Lovell, editors
Secret judgments of God : Old World disease in colonial Spanish America
Norman : University of Oklahoma Press, c1992.

This book (which I did not know, shame on me) includes seven studies
specific to Central Mexico, Guatemala, early colonial Ecuador, central
Colombia, Upper Peru (today's Bolivia), Ecuador's Quito in the 18th
century, and Southern Chile for the same period. The 8th chapter is a
duscussion by the editors.

(If you see Peru missing from that list, it is because Cook himself
wrote and published in 1981 what is considered a classic in Andean
depopulation studies --I did not want to mention it before because it is
specific to the region, but now it is needed to complement the essays of
the book I just referred:

Cook, Noble David.
Demographic collapse, Indian Peru, 1520-1620
Cambridge [Cambridgeshire] ; New York : Cambridge University Press,

I especially recommend the Introduction and the first half of the book,
which lay down the methodological problems and alternatives faced by the
contact population scholar.)

To boot, and as a special present for our friends the Great
Domesticators, I want to recommend some easy reading (all 4.5 pages of
it!), because it is evident that heavier material has not been perused:

Diamond, Jared
Zebras and the Anna Karenina principle. (domestication)
Natural History. 0028-0712. Sept 1994, v103, n9, p4(5)

which refers specifically to the domestication of animals (not plants).
A summary? Ok, there we go:

-It enumerates the reasons why or why not large animals could be

-Large domesticated species (the big fourteen --over 100 lb):

--Nine were only locally available: Arabian camel, Bactrian camel,
llama/alpaca, donkey, reindeer, water buffalo, yak, banteng, and gaur.

--Five spread worldwide: cow, sheep, goat, pig, horse.

(Elephants are all captured and tamed, not bred in captivity.)

Things to take into account for success/failure: diet (i.e. efficiency),
growth rate, breeding under captivity, behavior (too agressive, too
panicky), social structure.



Domingo Martinez-Castilla