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Lecture 12 : The Early Modern Period Overview. INTRODUCTION EUROPE The English Sweats Typhus Syphilis AMERICAS Yellow Fever Malaria. The English Sweats. Epidemics in 1485, 1506, 1517, 1528, 1551 and 1571.

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lecture 12 the early modern period overview
Lecture 12 : The Early Modern PeriodOverview



The English Sweats




Yellow Fever


the english sweats
The English Sweats
  • Epidemics in 1485, 1506, 1517, 1528, 1551 and 1571.
  • Death in 3 to 18 hours. Survivors recovered completely, but were susceptible to further attacks.
  • Epidemics occurred late spring or summer.
  • Posibly a form of relapsing fever (cause by a spirochete Borrelia transmitted by ticks or louse).
  • Appeared in a milder form in France in 18th and 19th centuries (Picardy sweats).
  • May have been introduced to England by French mercenaries brought in by Henry VII.



Bed Bugs


Body Louse

Pubic Louse (Crab)

Head Louse (Nit)

  • Caused by Rickettsia prowazeckiiand transmitted by body lice.
  • First known epidemic was amongst Spanish troops beseiging Moorish Grenada in 1489 – 17,000 deaths.
  • Killed half of French army beseiging Naples in 1528.
  • Napolean’s ‘Grande Armee’was reduced from 600,000 to 30,000 by cold, starvation and typhus.
  • Major cause of death in Irish Potato Famine (1846-49).
  • Likewise World Wars I and II.
  • Associated with poverty, overcrowding and war.
  • First outbreak was in French army beseiging Naples in 1495.
  • Rapidly spread throughout Europe and beyond.
  • Brought to Calcutta by Vasco da Gama in 1498.
  • Initially highly virulent, but became much less lethal within 50 years.
  • Possibly brought back from the Americas by Columbus.
  • Causal agent Treponema pallidumsimilar to the causes of pinta, yaws and bejel. Possibly brought from Africa by Arab traders.
the slave trade
The Slave Trade
  • Spanish started importing African slaves to work mines only 11 years after Columbus.
  • Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, French and British later imported slaves for fruit, tobacco, cotton and sugar plantations in the ‘greater Carribean’.
  • The Africans carried diseases such as malaria, dengue, sleeping sickness, schistosomiasis and worms. Many also died in transit from scurvy, dysentery, yellow fever, typhoid, and typhus.
  • Afro-American population did not increase until 19th century due to poor health.
yellow fever
Yellow Fever
  • Caused by a virus transmitted by a mosquito (most frequently Aedes aegypti).
  • Deadly to Europeans and Amerindians, but common childhood disease in West Africa.
  • First epidemic in Cuba, West Indies and Yucatanin 1647-48. Spread to Spanish Florida in 1649.
  • Epidemics became common as far north as Nova Scotia. New York had epidemics in 1702, 1732, 1741, 1743, 1745, and 1747 and yearly from 1793 to 1805.
  • Philadelphia lost 10% of its 50,000 population in 1793.
lousiana purchase
Lousiana Purchase
  • Napolean sent 60,000 troops to put down a slave rebellion in Haiti in 1802.
  • 23,000 died from Yellow Fever.
  • France abandoned its plans to consolidate its territories west of the Mississippi.
  • Territory sold to the US for $15m – about 3 cents per acre – more than doubling the territory of the United States and opening up the west.
  • Different types of malaria are caused by four species of Plasmodium which is transmitted by over 60 species of Anopheles mosquito.
  • Malaria is endemic in tropical areas in the Americas, and was a major problem in North America until mid 20th century.
  • No evidence of malaria before Columbus, but it was well established from Brazil to New England by 1750.
  • Quartan malaria (P. malariae) was probably introduced from Europe, and malignant tertian malaria (P. falciparum) from West Africa.
  • The relative immunity of blacks to malaria may have been an economic disincentive to the abolition of slavery.