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Logan White Smallpox in South America The highly infectious smallpox disease, having last naturally occurred in October

of 1977, has since widely diminished its role in the destruction of empires and the contamination of its peoples across the globe. First exhibit (Smallpox-infected Spanish soldiers) By 1506, following rapid the colonization of lands inhabited by the uncivilized natives, the New World had been primarily divided between the Spanish and the Portuguese. These explorers hoped to migrate not only many of its peoples, but also the cultural traditions, customs, and tools that go hand-in-hand. However, their greatest impact was one of accidental mass murder of the natives who had once called such lands home. Smallpox hit the shores of Chile originally in 1554 when several Spanish soldiers unknowingly extended the infectious disease. What was initially the oppression of a population in its native lands, the Spaniards quickly and blindly turned this into the spreading of death by a foreign party. This action was again repeated in 1561 and 1591 when smallpox was re-initiated into Chile. Although roughly three hundred had fallen victim to the disease, many Spaniards had avoided being exposed. However, compared to the countless number of infected natives, the Spaniards failed in comparison (). Second exhibit (Jesuit Missionaries) The primary Portuguese colony in the early 1500s was what is todays Brazil. This colony did not prosper as a disease-free settlement for very long before the steady rise in depopulation hit interior Brazil by 1588. The eruption of the smallpox epidemic in this area can be attributed to the Jesuit Missionaries who were entirely misunderstood in thinking that their spread of faith would strengthen the chaos that resulted from the transition from uncivilized to

civilized. These missions were established along the banks of many of the great rivers in the South American continent, primarily for the fact that nearly 100,000 natives had been forced to inhabit such regions along the waters. The spread of faith was accompanied by the smallpox disease, in which nearly 44,000 of these natives were claimed as victims to the incurable madness. As late as 1660, nine years later, another 20,000 fell to the hands of the disease (). Third exhibit (Variolation) In order to hastily control the outbreak of the smallpox disease, Portuguese missionaries somewhat put their practice of spreading religion aside to help prevent further outbreaks. This was accomplished through the discovery of a technique that was initiated in the hopes of immensely cutting down the death rate. This process is known as variolation and is described through the National Library of Medicine, Practitioners developed the technique of variolationthe deliberate infection with smallpox. Dried smallpox scabs were blown into the nose of an individual who then contracted a mild form of the disease. Upon recovery, the individual was immune to smallpox. Between 1% to 2% of those variolated died as compared to 30% who died when they contracted the disease naturally (). Through these preventative measures, along with the isolation and quarantine of some victims, the fatality rate plummeted from 18.5% to 3.5% in those patients who were treated. This also attributed to the fact that roughly three quarters of the estimated 100,000 to 150,000 infected in South America were under the age of 20. Younger, healthier bodies stood a better chance against those of bitter and old ().

Works Cited "Smallpox: Variolation." U.S National Library of Medicine. U.S. National Library of Medicine, 09 Dec. 2011. Web. 12 Apr. 2012. <>. "Chapter 5 - Smallpox in Oceania between 1789 and 1900." History of Smallpox and Its Spread Around the World. 240-42. Whqlibdoc. Web. 21 Mar. 2012.<>