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The role of epidemics in the demographic collapse of the Amerindians in Mexico and Andean America after the arrival of the Spanish is discussed. Ernst Mayr's categories of ultimate (or evolutionary) and proximal (or functional) causes are used to argue that ultimate causes, such as genetics, which gave the Spanish immunological resistance, were manifested in a very stratified setting, triggering the destruction of the Incas and Aztecs. Recent interpretations of colonization have played down the importance of epidemics or combined them with social, economic, and political factors, interpreted here as proximate causes. We understand that only by articulating these two categories can the importance of epidemics in the Spanish conquest of Latin America be understood.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Historia, ciencias, saude--Manguinhos
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An island in the Lesser Antilles in the West Indies. It is chiefly of coral formation with no good harbors and only small streams. It was probably discovered by the Portuguese in the sixteenth century. The name was given by 16th-century Spanish explorers from barbados, the plural for "bearded", with reference to the beard-like leaves or trails of moss on the trees that grew there in abundance. (From Webster's New Geographical Dictionary, 1988, p116 & Room, Brewer's Dictionary of Names, 1992, p49)
Surgical treatment of pulmonary tuberculosis whereby the lung is totally or partially, temporarily or permanently, immobilized. The procedure was based on the popular concept that collapsing the affected portion of a tuberculous lung allowed the infected area to rest and thereby recover. At the beginning of the 20th century artificially induced pneumothorax (PNEUMOTHORAX, ARTIFICIAL) was popular. Later a variety of other techniques was used to encourage collapse of the infected portion of the lung: unilateral phrenic nerve division, PNEUMONOLYSIS, pneumoperitoneum (PNEUMOPERITONEUM, ARTIFICIAL), and THORACOPLASTY. Collapse therapy has declined since the advent of antitubercular chemotherapy. (Stedman, 25th ed; from Sabiston Jr, Textbook of Surgery, 14th ed, p1733-4)
Strains of Neisseria meningitidis responsible for most outbreaks of meningococcal disease in Western Europe and the United States in the first half of the 20th century. They continue to be a major cause of disease in Asia and Africa, and especially localized epidemics in Sub-Sahara Africa.
A species of ALPHAVIRUS causing encephalomyelitis in Equidae and humans. The virus ranges along the Atlantic seaboard of the United States and Canada and as far south as the Caribbean, Mexico, and parts of Central and South America. Infections in horses show a mortality of up to 90 percent and in humans as high as 80 percent in epidemics.
The sudden collapse and disappearance or diminution of a colony of organisms.