Medical historian Frank Snowden on how disease devastated Indigenous populations in the Americas

Pandemics, like revolution, war and economic crises, are known to be key catalysts of historic change. Medical historian, professor and author of “Epidemics and Society: From the Black Death to the Present” Frank Snowden describes one such shift: the spread of scores of infectious diseases with the arrival of European colonizers on the island of Hispaniola, present day Haiti and Dominican Republic. Particularly devastating were smallpox and measles. Professor Snowden explains that when Columbus touched down on the island in 1492, it was populated by millions of Indigenous people, but “15 to 20 years later, there were just a couple thousand left.” This “differential mortality” would set in motion a chain of events leading to the disappearance of Indigenous religions, the collapse of the Mayan and Incan empires, and the start of the trans-Atlantic slave trade. It was all due to the “tremendous impact” of new, deadly diseases on the continent.

We spoke with leading medical historian Frank Snowden to examine the history of epidemics, from the Black Death to smallpox to COVID-19, and discuss how the coronavirus will reshape the world. Watch the full interview: https://youtu.be/UIzYu2YEzvw

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Democracy Now | Radio Free (2021-12-08T01:12:04+00:00) » Medical historian Frank Snowden on how disease devastated Indigenous populations in the Americas. Retrieved from https://www.radiofree.org/2020/05/26/medical-historian-frank-snowden-on-how-disease-devastated-indigenous-populations-in-the-americas/.
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" » Medical historian Frank Snowden on how disease devastated Indigenous populations in the Americas." Democracy Now | Radio Free [Online]. Available: https://www.radiofree.org/2020/05/26/medical-historian-frank-snowden-on-how-disease-devastated-indigenous-populations-in-the-americas/. [Accessed: 2021-12-08T01:12:04+00:00]
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» Medical historian Frank Snowden on how disease devastated Indigenous populations in the Americas | Democracy Now | Radio Free | https://www.radiofree.org/2020/05/26/medical-historian-frank-snowden-on-how-disease-devastated-indigenous-populations-in-the-americas/ | 2021-12-08T01:12:04+00:00
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