Spanish Conquistadors And Native American Diseases

1281 Words 6 Pages
The importance of disease within the encounters between the Spanish Conquistadores and Native American populations, cannot be underestimated. With the introduction of several diseases into the population, dramatic losses were made both culturally and in terms of death rates, impacting almost every sphere of the Native American societies. This essay will discuss the importance of the introduction of smallpox, influenza, measles and syphilis into the Native American populations and examine the consequences and impact these diseases had.

The disease that impacted Native American society the most was Smallpox. This disease dominated during the encounters with the Spanish Conquistadores and the Native American populations, impacting almost every
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These disease is transferred through the air and person to person. The densely populated areas of the societies in the South America’s, contributed to the spread of this disease. An Influenza epidemic that raged through Europe from 1558 to 1559 is surely a contributing factor in the impact that this disease had on the people of the Americas. With people coming from Europe to the South Americas for conquest and colonisation, bringing another highly contagious disease that the people had no immunity towards. This would have impacted the death rates, dropping them even more, as well as impacting society with the indigenous populations unable to resist colonisation and conquest. The diseases that the Spanish brought over that decimated entire societies ‘was what allowed the Spaniards to go as far as they did in transferring their culture and language to the new World.’ The importance of disease on the Native Populations throughout the encounters with the Spanish Conquistadors, cannot be underestimated, with millions of indigenous people …show more content…
Before the first major epidemic of smallpox, Native Americans constituted around a fifth or sixth of the global population. Societies and cultures were profoundly impacted by the introduction of disease, not only taking physical blows such as the losses of so many people, but also the psychological impacts. The people of these local communities lost the will to resist the onslaught of Spanish conquest and colonisation, ‘far more Native Americans died in bed from Eurasian germs than on the battlefield.’ With so many dead and prayers not working, the psychological impact was just as devastating as the medical consequences. Contributing to the decline of the nations was the fertility of the people, this was very difficult with so many dead and many left infertile meaning it was harder for the population rates to bounce back. The Spanish Conquistadors in the exchanges with the people of the South America’s changed global history with the introduction of so many diseases, contributing to the losses of entire communities and

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