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  1. Introduction

  2. Pre-conquest (or invasion, infection, pestilence) medicine 13000 ybp American habitation Hunter gatherers and pastoralists: zoonoses, animal parasites, violence, accidents, famines, exposure Sedentary groups: infectious reservoirs sanitation problems, crowdedness Dysentery, upper respiratory disease, tb, but not malaria, yellow fever, measles, smallpox Yet, esp. in sedentary settings, low lifespans: among adults > under 35

  3. Conquest and virgin soil epidemics • The usual picture: • Unsettled America, the great wilderness • Conquest by military, technical, cultural superiority • Not empty, emptying decimation • Hispaniola population, 1492: 60K-1 million, 1517, 10-18K: flu, from the animals of the portmanteau biota (Crosby)

  4. Variable responses to VSE • Small pox, then measles and childhood diseases, later yellow fever • Strongest in SW, Spanish deadly settlement • NE epidemics of 1616,1619 70-90% mortality; NY, 1633-1650, 87% mortality • Views of conquerors and conquered. • Why no equilibrium? • Genetic predisposition • Social destruction/enslavement • Cultural upheaval