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View Diary: History of Chemical/Biological Arms Race: Chapter One (37 comments)

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  •  wow, very detailed study (5+ / 0-)

    One small detail: the 1763 incident where the English used smallpox infected blankets against the Indians, is documented to have happened, however, it is more likely that more deaths resulted from Indians getting infected during invasions of towns where smallpox was widespread... they would have gotten sick from it anyway; and there is little evidence that the blanket-gift ruse led directly to more than a few smallpox deaths.

    "Kossacks are held to a higher standard. Like Hebrew National hot dogs." - blueaardvark

    by louisev on Fri Sep 06, 2013 at 11:19:29 AM PDT

      •  Another quibble with the smallpox blankets (0+ / 0-)

        That practice occurred well before 1763; IIRC the Spanish also spread smallpox in this fashion to Native Americans in their colonies in the 16th and 17th centuries

        •  despite the fact that it seems to have been a (0+ / 0-)

          common occurrence throughout North American colonial history, there are only rare actual written accounts of it happening. Amherst's letter describing his actions seems to be the earliest actual written record of this practice that has been found by historians. Although the Spanish did introduce smallpox, measles, and other European diseases that were lethal to huge numbers of natives, and although there were many later stories that some of this was deliberate, there don't appear to be any earlier written contemporary accounts describing this.

    •  Smallpox had been in N. America for 250 yrs (0+ / 0-)

      The indigenous peoples had already been devastated.  There is no evidence that this single event causes an epidemic or even an outbreak.  The only confirmation this tactic was ever carried out comes in the  Journal of William Trent, 1763

      Trent's entry for May 24, 1763, includes the following statement:
      ... we gave them two Blankets and an Handkerchief out of the Small Pox Hospital. I hope it will have the desired effect.
      Certainly damning, but not likely to have amounted to a lot.

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