By Paul Hackett
Read or Download A Very Remarkable Sickness: Epidemics in the Petit Nord, 1670-1846 PDF
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Additional resources for A Very Remarkable Sickness: Epidemics in the Petit Nord, 1670-1846
According to Williams's informants, they had been struck by four earthquakes, in about 1568,1574,1584, and 1592, and each was associated with an epidemic. None of these diseases was described or identified. By adjusting the dates, Dobyns suggested that three of these were part of pandemics that spread from Florida. Anthropologists Dean Snow and Kim Lanphear presented evidence suggesting that the Aboriginal people of New England remained numerous until a devastating epidemic struck them early in the seventeenth century.
1 Old World Disease Transmission Patterns THE ISOLATION THAT HAD LONG PROTECTED THE NEW WORLD from the diseases of the Old World shattered with the coming of the Europeans in the late fifteenth century. 1 The historical period did not begin in the Petit Nord until a century and a half later. In-between lay a long period of uncertainty during which exogenous, or external, influences, including epidemics, may have made their way to the region. Although the fate of the people of the Petit Nord during this obscure era must remain a mystery in the absence of any direct evidence, we can still examine the changing conditions that favoured or, conversely, would have hindered such protohistoric diffusion.
15 Had there been massive protohistoric pandemics among the people of northern North America during the sixteenth century, it is likely they would have left some clear indication in the archaeological record. However, the crowd diseases do not generally leave direct paleopathological evidence in the skeletons of their victims, and so researchers have instead had to work with indirect indicators of sudden population decline. The archaeological record among the village tribes was ambiguous regarding sixteenth-century episodes, but indicated population decline during the mid- to late seventeenth century.