Was disease the key factor in the depopulation of Native Americans in the Americas? There can be no denying that disease played its role in the depopulation of the Americas. Populace tribes went from tens of thousands to hundreds in a matter of years. But the question here is was it the “key” factor or did something else cause their demise?
"European opinion ran the gamut from admiration to contempt; for example, some European poets and painters expressed admiration for the Noble Savage, while other Europeans accepted as a rationalization for military aggression the sentiment that “the only good savage is a dead one.”" (Text p. 184) It was very …show more content…
How an area was colonized had a huge impact on the disease rate. For example, the Navajos fared better than the Hopis because their lifestyle was naturally more akin to the European settlers. (Text p. 198) The higher the physical and mental stress of a group the more susceptible to disease they become. "The kind of colonial contact that occurred was of enormous importance.” … “diseases rarely act as independent forces but instead are shaped by the different contexts in which they occur.”"(Text p. 198)
I agree with David Jones that outside influence played a larger role in the demise of the American populations than disease alone. For one, being that all peoples are basically the same, particularly biologically, it doesn’t make sense that natives are any different immunologically speaking. To me it makes sense that over time had the natives been allowed to recover properly, they would have survived the onslaught of disease. I believe that this is a truly complicated question however. So many factors from the first contact with Europeans to their own religious beliefs affected the depopulation of the Americas. “Although there is no way to test this .., medical data on living American aborigines do not sustain it … native Americans have no special susceptibility to Old World diseases that cannot be attributed to environmental influences and probably never did have.” (Crosby) Natives were simply