1. At the time of the first Europeans arriving in the 1400, theindigenous population of the Americas was estimated over 90 million individualsWhat caused them to disappear?2. Nope not the Spanish, they killed a lot of people, but theirdeath count is a drop in the ocean compared to the real killer: Plagues At theheight of the black death 1/3 Europeans died but when the deadly diseases hitthe Americas 19 out of 20 people died… 3. But why didn’t Europeans get sick? If Native Americans werevulnerable to old-world diseases, then surely Europeans would be vulnerable tonew world diseases.4.
But, there was no new disease spreading. Had that disease existedit would have deemed European ability for expansion extremely difficult.5. To answer why this didn’t happen: we need first to distinguishregular diseases from what we call plagues.§ Spreadquickly between people.§ Theykill you quickly or you become immune.6.
The answer to this question is that the new world didn’t have plagues for them to catch. Theyhad regular diseases but there were no plagues.7. why? Cities are the key to our complicated lock 8. Historically in cities, plagues killed faster than people could havechildren.
Cities grew because more people moved to them then died inside ofthem.9. So, the deeper, answer is that The Americas didn’t have plaguesbecause the Americas didn’t have big cities for places to thrive.10. But the Americas weren’t completely devoid of cities. And theyweren’t isolated, otherwise smallpox and the rest of the diseases in the 1400scouldn’t have spread.
11. Cities play a large part in the game, but cities don’t create thegerms that start the plagues — those germs come from animals 12. Cows alone is responsible for measles, tuberculosis, and smallpox.The delicious pig well he is responsible for the flu, ring worn and salmonella.The thing is most germs don’t want to kill you, germs live in you. 13. For the cow these diseases are no big deal.
But when cow germsget in humans it makes us Deadly sick. Germs jumping species like this is rare.14. But in a colonial-age city there used to be animals everywhere,horses pulling , livestock in the streets, slaughterhouses, meat markets and ariver of literal human and animal excrement running through it all.15. But, why wereEuropean cities filled with animals, but The Americas weren’t? That is because of Domestication.
16. The Americas didn’t have good animal candidates fordomestication. Almost everything big enough to be useful is also was to toodangerous too big or too agile.17. Meanwhile Europe had: cows, sheep, pigs, goats and horses. In the New World the onlynative animal up for the job was: llamas. which is probably why the biggest cities existed in South America.
18. We have domesticated maybe adozen of unique species the world over. These early European tribes weren’t smarter.
Europe had more valuable and easier to domesticate animals. 19. The lack of new world animals to domesticate, limited not onlyexposure to germs but also limited food production, which limited the population,which limited the size of cities, which made plagues in the Americas animpossibility. 20. In Europe, exactly the opposite.
And therefore, a continent full of plague and two continents devoid of it.