sociology of medicine Essay

Submitted By mnella14
Words: 1362
Pages: 6


The environment and diseases have played a major part in history and how the world has been shaped today. Specifically, it has played a major part in the reasons why Europeans have been so dominate throughout time. A naturalistic explanation is used in order to take the components of the environment and diseases that have surrounded us and provide a set of examples that constitute the domination of Europeans. Many people believe that Europeans had distinct technological advantages and were much smarter than other human’s beings throughout the world. The naturalistic explanation states that it was actually being in the right place and exposure that led to other drastic advantages. If you looked at a world map there is only one continent that runs east and west more so than it runs north and south, Asia. At one time all of the continents were joined together in a giant landmass called Pangaea. As the tectonic plates shifted they eventually began to resemble and become what we see in the world today. Thanks to this natural design most of Eurasia experiences a rather temperate climate. It also helped travel become much easier and trade routes soon began to develop between the Europeans and Asians in the Far East. A man named Genghis Khan was the catalyst the trade route needed and soon the infamous Silk Road was developed. Genghis Khan was perhaps one of the greatest conquers of all time and his Mongolian brethren and him had one of the greatest Empires the world has ever seen spanning almost the entire continent. One of the major factors that led to their success was their prowess in horsemanship. They were able to ride faster and move quicker than most people had ever seen (class PowerPoint). With everything under one power trade became much easier and soon goods and livestock were being transported between the two groups of people. However, unbeknown to residents of the world at that time they were also sharing diseases. This simple environmental design led to a phenomenon we now call disease hardening. The theory goes like this; the more diseased a community is, the less destructive its epidemics become. (McNeil) As more and more goods, ideas, and diseases flooded into Europe the more and more exposure the people who lived their received. Many people died of the host-to-host, or host-vector-host infectious diseases, but those that lived now possessed immunity. One of the most well-known cases in history is The Black Plague. This disease wreaked so much havoc and decimated so many towns and cities that it literally changed the culture of the time, setting the stage for the Renaissance and emerging the Europeans from the Dark Age. Now out of the medieval times, the people in Europe were flourishing and ready to expand their growing empires themselves. Until, this time there were still two Worlds, the Old and the New. The New World consisted of North and South America, and it wasn’t long before Europeans began to make trips across the ocean starting in 1492. The people in the Americas were actually doing just fine in their own right. They had the technology and ideology to survive and interact with their environment in a productive, un-destructive manner and in most cases the Europeans were outnumbered by the millions! The old world citizens still had one major advantage, they were diseased. Their bodies had been fighting infections for years and years and once they were introduced into a whole new world population, the diseases spread like wildfire. The natives at the time could only stand and watch as body after body succumbed to the biological weapon the Europeans possessed. Smallpox, Influenza, tuberculosis, Typhus and many more ravaged the new world and set the stage for further European domination Entire civilizations stronger and perhaps more civilized were completely wiped out leaving only the memory. It had come down to biological and ecological factors with a splash of luck. This naturalistic