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Born to Die

Born to Die
Disease and New World Conquest, 1492–1650


Part of New Approaches to the Americas

  • Date Published: May 1998
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521627306

£ 22.99

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About the Authors
  • The biological mingling of the Old and New Worlds began with the first voyage of Columbus. The exchange was a mixed blessing: it led to the disappearance of entire peoples in the Americas, but it also resulted in the rapid expansion and consequent economic and military hegemony of Europeans. Amerindians had never before experienced the deadly Eurasian sicknesses brought by the foreigners in wave after wave: smallpox, measles, typhus, plague, influenza, malaria, yellow fever. These diseases literally conquered the Americas before the sword could be unsheathed. From 1492 to 1650, from Hudson's Bay in the north to southernmost Tierra del Fuego, disease weakened Amerindian resistance to outside domination. The Black Legend, which attempts to place all of the blame of the injustices of conquest on the Spanish, must be revised in light of the evidence that all Old World peoples carried, though largely unwittingly, the germs of the destruction of American civilization.

    • Compulsory reading for students of the history of the Americas and European expansion
    • Focuses on relationship of biological/environmental factors (especially epidemic diseases) and historical change
    • Refines and extends arguments of Crosby, Stannard, and Thornton, while rejecting Henige
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    Product details

    • Date Published: May 1998
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521627306
    • length: 268 pages
    • dimensions: 215 x 170 x 17 mm
    • weight: 0.37kg
    • contains: 15 b/w illus. 4 maps 13 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. In the path of the hurricane: disease and the disappearance of the peoples of the Caribbean, 1492–1518
    2. The deaths of Aztec Cuitlahuac and Inca Huayna Capac: the first New World pandemics
    3. Settling in: epidemics and conquest to the end of the first century
    4. Regional outbreaks from the 1530s to century's end
    5. New arrivals: peoples and illnesses from 1600–1650

  • Author

    Noble David Cook, Florida International University

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