Mumps in the Columbian Exchange

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The Columbian Exchange was a trade network that was indisputably a major event in world history due to the exchange of ideas, crops, animals, and diseases between the Old World and the New World, making the world “smaller”; it is undeniable that had the Columbian Exchange not happened, all of our lives today would be drastically different. During 1450 to 1750 – the time period of the Columbian Exchange – the mumps, a virus that was originally discovered in Europe, was transferred from the Old World to the New; in both hemispheres, diseases were transmitted unknowingly until people started noticing the correlations between those who got sick and what might have caused them to contract it, which led to diseases being used as weapons in biological warfare, causing the indigenous peoples to die off and allowing the Europeans economic prosperity. The mumps were used in biological warfare in order to kill off the natives – this was effective due to the fact that the indigenous people had never encountered this disease before and it resulted in the native population dropping by about 90%. The mumps is a common disease that is easily spread but has long since lost its fatal effect on humankind. Due to the easiness of spreading and contracting this disease, it traveled easily from the Old to the New World on the backs of explorers, conquistadors, colonists, and merchants. This disease wasn’t a very big issue for Europeans and Africans because most had developed an immunity to it – it was discovered in Ancient Greece by Hippocrates (American Academy of Pediatrics) – but for the natives in the Americas, it was their first time being exposed to such a disease. The Europeans noticed this at some point and started giving disease to the Native... ... middle of paper ... ...hat brings us here today. Works Cited C, T. E., Jr. "Hippocrates Describes Mumps Followed By Orchitis." Hippocrates Describes Mumps Followed By Orchitis. The American Academy of Pediatrics, 1967. Web. 15 Nov. 2013. . Green, Tim. "Further Findings." Further Findings RSS. WordPress MU, n.d. Web. 15 Nov. 2013. . Lippert, Dorothy Thompson, and Stephen J. Spignesi. Native American History for Dummies. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley Pub., 2008. Print. Nunn, Nathan, and Nancy Qian. "The Columbian Exchange: A History of Disease, Food, and Ideas." Journal of Economic Perspectives. 2nd ed. Vol. 24. N.p.: n.p., 2010. 163-88. Yale. Web. 15 Nov. 2013. .
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