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Estimate Death Toll from war, murder, genocide, aggravated disease and avoidable famine: Norton, The number of Indians who died at the hands of the European invaders is highly debatable, and it basically centers on two questions: How many people lived in America before the population plummeted?
How many of the deaths during the plummeting can be blamed on human cruelty? Pick a number, any number. Sometimes it seems that this is the way historians decide how many Indians lived in the Americas before the European Contact.
The estimates range from 8 to million. If you want to study the question of pre-Columbian population and its subsequent decline in detail, two good books to start with are David Henige, Numbers From Nowhere and Russell Thornton, American Indian Holocaust and Survival Population of the Western Hemisphere in according to various experts: Over the past 75 years, estimates have bounced around wildly and ended up right back where they started -- around 40 million.
Native American history is traditionally treated as marginal -- a handful of primitive kingdoms that were easily overwhelmed by the most dynamic civilization on Earth -- but if it could somehow be proven that the Americas had even more people than Europe, then history would be turned upside down.
The European conquest could be treated as the tail wagging the dog, like the Barbarian invasions of Rome, a small fringe of savages decending on the civilized world, wiping out or enslaving the bulk of humanity.
The advocates of large numbers, however, are often their own worst enemies. Now go back and read what Stannard has written. I find the estimates for Virginia even more awkward because I live here.
Artifacts of any kind are rare -- barely even a single burial mound worth pilfering. I also find it difficult to believe that the Europeans obliterated all traces of the earlier inhabitants. And then, within a century of the European Contact, the hemispheric population plunged to a fairly well-proven residue of less than 10 million.
How many of these deaths count as indictable atrocities?
In American Holocaust, Stannard estimates the total cost of the near-extermination of the American Indians as , He blames the Europeans for bringing new diseases which spread like wildfire -- often faster than than the Europeans themselves -- and depopulated the continent.
Since no one disputes the fact that most of the native deaths were caused by alien diseases to which they had never developed immunity, the simple question of categorization is vital. If a tribe was enslaved or driven off its lands, the associated increase in deaths by disease would definitely count toward the atrocity The chain of events which reduced the Indian population of California from 85, in to 18, in certainly counts regardless of the exact agent of death, because by this time, the Indians were being hunted down from one end of California to another.
Consider the Powhatans of Virginia. As I mentioned earlier, Stannard cites estimates that the population wasbefore contact.
In the same paragraph, he states that European depredations and disease had reduced this population to a mere 14, by the time the English settled Jamestown in Now, come on; should we really blame the English for 86, deaths that occured before they even arrived?
As far as I can tell, the handful of European ventures into the Chesapeake region before were too small to do much depredating, and in what conflicts there were, the Europeans often got the worst of it. Curiously, the Black Death was brought to Europe by the Mongols.
Should we blame them for it?
David Barrett, World Christian Trends: Original population of 11M to 25M "lower figure commands more support" fell to 1. Original population of 2. Population fell from 6. Probably meansbecause he cites Thornton ] R.Fun is back, find the equilibrium with machine translation. Will it converge?
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(Sarah Parnass/The Washington Post). This is an incomplete listing of some very bad things that happened before the 20th Century. I've scoured the history books and collected most of the major atrocities that anyone has bothered to enumerate. However, just because an event is missing from these pages doesn't mean that it wasn't very bloody.
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