The age of exploration is a period of expedition that started around the 15th century and
ended around the 17th century. This period Impacted the Europeans in tremendous ways. With
its impact on geography, including the findings of new continents. New discoveries of methods
of navigation and mapping, and the introduction of new staple diets like corn, and peanuts. The
Native people that the Europeans had met along the way, was likewise impacted but in a less
tremendous way. Since they were infected by new diseases, forcibly indoctrinated into
Catholicism, and their loss of touch with their culture and tradition.
Decades before Columbus and his three ships landed in the new world, it was home to 40
to 50 millions of native Americans, but by the time Columbus had landed the population had
drastically fallen, with only about 3 million natives left.This caused “the greatest genocide in the
history of man.“...The worst of the suffering was caused not by swords or guns but by germs”
(Docs 6). The Early Europeans were spreading these diseases because “Virtually any European
who crossed the Atlantic during the 16th century had battled such illness as smallpox and
measles during childhood and emerged fully immune” (doc 6). Since they were exposed to these
types of diseases as children. They would have survived and become immune to the disease, but
they were an asymptomatic carrier of it, and unknowingly spread it the native that were present
at the time. The diseases spread easily because “the people of the Americas had spent thousands
of years in biological isolation...When the newcomers arrived carrying mumps, measles,
whooping cough, smallpox, cholera, gonorrhea and yellow fever, the Indians were
immunologically defenseless” (Document 6). So just like the Dodo birds, the natives of the New
World had spent thousands of years, not being affected by these diseases, that had ravaged the
continent of Europe. They were doomed the moment they came into contact with the Europeans.
Considering that their immune was unprepared and couldn’t properly fight back, when it was
attacked by these new diseases. Historians knew that the spread of diseases was one of the big
impacts, because of the accounts of the natives that were there. Like the Aztec in document four,
they had an account of a disease that had lasted for seventy days and had ravaged their capital
city Tenochtitlan. This plague had started after the Spanish had fled Tenochtitlan. This plague
sound very much similar to a case of smallpox. The Plague had spread to all of the regions
around Lake Texcoco, and it was so well established that nothing could have stopped it. In the
end, it killed a large number of Aztecs, either through the disease itself or the fact that it had left
so many people helpless so that they couldn’t find food and would eventually starve to death.
This account showed the horror that the Aztec went through, and it showed the horrible impact...