-3

Can anyone give an actual scientific reason why native Americans all "died from smallpox". Thanks

closed as off-topic by Steve Bird, jwenting, Pieter Geerkens, CsBalazsHungary, mart Mar 27 '17 at 7:55

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "Requests for trivia or basic historical facts are off-topic if they can be easily answered by looking up the relevant topic on Wikipedia. We're trying to complement common historical references, not duplicate them." – Steve Bird, jwenting, Pieter Geerkens, mart
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • Have you read the Wikipedia pages on smallpox and epidemics? – Steve Bird Mar 27 '17 at 6:04
  • and have you considered that there was no organised genocide at all... – jwenting Mar 27 '17 at 6:19
  • 1
  • @jwenting while there was no general plan for the genocide of ALL the Native Americans, and not all of the conflicts between Europeans and Native Americans can be labeled as such; there are certainly specific instances of organized genocide; the most obvious example I can think of would be the Trail of Tears – SJuan76 Mar 27 '17 at 13:30
  • 1
    @SJuan76 while horrendous the trail of tears was never intended to kill the people involved. I doubt those responsible mourned the deaths, but they were a side effect rather than the intent (quite the reverse of the Bataan death march for example). – jwenting Mar 27 '17 at 13:46
3

What genocide of the Native Americans? In specific times and places there were genocides of specific Native American nations, tribes, and other groups. But the vast majority of the Native American population decline was due to natural causes, namely diseases.

Suppose that in each generation a group's population has more deaths than births so that the next generation is 0.9 times as large as the first one. Suppose that each generation is thirty years long. So the first generation is 1.0 units, the second generation is 0.9 units after 30 years, the third generation is 0.81 units after sixty years, the fourth generation is 0.729 units after 90 years, the fifth generation is 0.6561 units after 120 years, the sixth generation is 0.59049 units after 150 years, the seventh generation is 0.531441 units after 180 years, the eighth generation is 0.4782969 units after 210 years, and so on.

So if a certain group had a population of 10,000 in 1600 and 4,782 in 1810 there is no need to suppose that that 5,218 of them were massacred in a battle in 1705 to account for the loss of population over time.

And there are many accounts of epidemics of various old world diseases striking various Native American groups without any inherited immunity and killing, for example, half the population in month.

As a result many Native American groups declined at a rate closer to 50 percent each generation, so that after eight generations and 210 years they might number only 0.0039062 as many as their original number.

Columbus reached the New world in 1492. According to the US census the number of Native Americans in the USA declined until the period of about 1890 to 1900. So for about 400 years and 15 generations the overall population of Native Americans declined until they developed enough resistance to European diseases for births to exceed deaths.

Even old world people who had much greater inherited immunity against smallpox suffered greatly from it. During the 18th century smallpox killed an estimated 400,000 Europeans per year. Smallpox killed 5 European Monarchs during the 18th century. With about 11 monarchies and 4 to 10 successive monarchs in each, that comes to about 44 to 110 total monarchs, so 5 monarchs killed by smallpox means that 0.045 to 0.113 - four and half percent to over eleven percent of - all 18th century monarchs in Europe died of smallpox.

And several other old world diseases cause terrible epidemics in the new world.

  • 1
    indeed. And as most Europeans had no clue what caused those diseases, that the blankets and clothing they supplied the Indians was in any way infected with germs, they can't be blamed for distributing those items. – jwenting Mar 27 '17 at 12:30
  • 1
    Were there indeed any actual "genocides"? Or were there simply wars, no different (except that the Europeans had more advanced weaponry) from the wars that went on between various European groups and various American Indian groups before the two came into contact? – jamesqf Mar 27 '17 at 19:10
  • Your theories are made up – jihn smith Mar 28 '17 at 2:11
  • @jihn smith I made up Mathematics? – MAGolding Oct 28 '18 at 17:02
  • @Jamesqf The settlers in California after 1848 were very hostile to Indians and committed many atrocities and massacres, so it is easy to believe that genocide was attempted against a number of the California tribes. The Yahi were exterminated. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_Genocide – MAGolding Oct 28 '18 at 17:07

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.