Epidemics, Slavery, Massacres, and Indigenous Resistance 1492-1599
"Virgin-soil" epidemics devastate and depopulate Native communities
European-induced epidemics ravage Native tribes in Florida, the Carolinas, and Virginia, including smallpox, bubonic plague, typhus, mumps, influenza, yellow fever, and measles (Dobyns, 1983; Merrell, 1984). Epidemics force many Native tribes to combine and amalgamate to survive. Estimates of Native population decline due to epidemics and contact range from between 1 and 18 million before European contact (c. 1500) to an estimated 530,000 by 1900. In the Caribbean Basin, along the Gulf Coast, and across northern Mexico and the American Southwest, it is estimated that Native populations were reduced by 70-90 percent through a combination of warfare, famine, epidemics, and slavery.