Thornton goes on to report that smallpox spread to the tribes along the Ohio river. How to Use the, United Portsmouth, Hampshire, Copyright © 2010–2021, The Conversation Trust (UK) Limited. He was the only son of noble, though not wealthy, parents. Sahagún transcribed the Historia General de las Cosas de la Nueva Españia ("General History of the Things of New Spain," also known as the Florentine Codex) as it was told to hi… Twenty-ninth Chapter, in which it is told how there came a plague, of which the natives died. Within a few decades of their first contact with Europeans, the Aztec and Inca succumbed to smallpox death at rates as high as 90%. Although CortГ©s was a skilled leader, he and his force of perhaps a thousand Spaniards and indigenous allies would not have been able to overcome a city of 200,000 without help. Smallpox is caused by infection with the variola virus. This drawing from the Florentine Codex is one of the earliest images of Native Americans infected with smallpox. In the meantime, Cortés constructed 13 small ships to launch against the city during his next attack. He wrote The True History of the Conquest of Mexico in the 1560s as a corrective to a very flattering biography of Cortés published in the preceding decade. The Aztec authors of the codex described how smallpox caused many deaths soon after the Spaniards arrived, not only because of the disease itself but also because so few remained healthy enough to feed and tend … to 1085 B.C. Like a covering, covering-like, were the pustules. And the Marquis [Cortés] went to settle himself in Coyoacan, and it became the Marquis's responsibility, as well as the road coming from Acachinanco to Tenochtitlan. No longer could they walk; they only lay in their abodes, in their beds. Part A below consists of the Aztec description of the epidemic. None of the Mexicans died. 1520 Millions of Aztec people die in smallpox epidemic. The native people of the Americas, including the Aztecs, were especially vulnerable to smallpox because they’d never been exposed to the virus and thus possessed no natural immunity. 64­66, 129­131. The Democratic Republic of Congo is fighting a deadly outbreak of Ebola that has killed hundreds. This text is part of the Internet Modern History Sourcebook . Though vastly outnumbered, he and a small force marched on Tenochtitlan, where Montezuma received them with honor. Microbes too small to be seen by the naked eye can render ineffectual even the mightiest machinery of war. It was in Tepeilhuitl that it originated, that there spread over the people a great destruction of men. How did the Aztec elders describe the epidemic? Part B is an image from the Florentine Codex, a pictorial account of what happened. Spanish weaponry and tactics played a role, but most of the destruction was wrought by epidemics of European diseases. Before the arrival of Cortés, 30 million people were living in Mexico. Many times he fought, and the Mexicans contended against him. After helping conquer Cuba for the Spanish, CortГ©s was commissioned to lead an expedition to the mainland. Richard Gunderman is a Friend of The Conversation. 1800's Vaccinia virus used in vaccinations against variola 1950 He became fascinated with tales of Christopher Columbus' New World explorations. As presented here, how frightful was the event for the inhabitants of Tenochtitlán? At age 14, Cortés was sent to study law at the University of Salamanca, but he was restless and unhappy. — They moved there from Texcoco; they went to set forth by way of Quauhtitlan; they came to settle themselves at Tlacopan. But it was two cataclysmic epidemics that occurred in 1545 and 1576, 25 and 55 years after the Spanish conquest, which swept through the Mexican highlands and claimed as many as 17 million lives. Source: Happily, worldwide vaccination efforts have been successful, and the last naturally occurring case of the disease was diagnosed in 1977. Online, Oxfordshire, Angela Saini - Race, Gender and Power — Owner: University of New Mexico Press. How does the Aztec account compare to that of the "first plague" described by Motolinía? States History, European The Spaniards hoped to use the information in his record to convert the Indians to Catholicism. - The Aztecs contracted smallpox from the dead soldier. In the meantime a Spanish priest left a description of what happened: Columbus had landed at San Salvador and explored the West Indies in 1492, when Cortés was a young boy. Of course, the Aztecs were not the only indigenous people to suffer from the introduction of European diseases. After 1570, why was Japan supplanted as the primary source of silver for China? A 16th-century Aztec drawing of smallpox victims. Some it indeed covered [with pustules]; they were spread everywhere, on one's face, on one's head, on one's breast, etc. More than three million Aztec succumbed to the disease. Epidemics are nothing new, of course. Introduction of smallpox into Mexico by the Spanish around 1520 was one of the factors that led to the demise of Aztec Empire. Smallpox is caused by an inhaled virus, which causes fever, vomiting and a rash, soon covering the body with fluid-filled blisters. Smallpox existed in ancient times in Egyptian, Indian and Chinese cultures. The Aztecs made Cuauhtémoc the next tlatoani. There was much perishing. And on some, each pustule was placed on them only far apart; they did not cause much suffering, neither did many die of them. There was death from hunger; there was no one to take care of another; there was no one to attend to another. In what ways do the Smallpox Factsheet and Photographs help you interpret Sahagún's account of the Aztec experience in 1520? One commander wrote, “We gave them two blankets and a handkerchief out of the smallpox hospital. 2. There [the Spaniards] quickly came to reach Nonoalco. And other European diseases, such as measles and mumps, also took substantial tolls – altogether reducing some indigenous populations in the new world by 90 percent or more. ... Smallpox spread rapidly among the Aztec warriors and elites. Many great encounters in world history, including CortГ©s’s clash with the Aztec empire, had less to do with weaponry, tactics and strategy than with the ravages of disease. 1796 Jenner shows persons inoculated with cowpox virus are resistant to smallpox. Called "the speckled monster," smallpox was considered "the most terrible of all the ministers of death." The Marquis knew that the man of Tenochtitlan was a great warrior. Pedro de Alvarado's [a lieutenant of Cortés] responsibility became the road coming to Tlatilulco. What story does the image of the epidemic tell? In turn, CortГ©s took Montezuma prisoner. Indiana University provides funding as a member of The Conversation US. CortГ©s with his 500 men then headed into the Mexican interior. Introduction to the Source. More on Teaching the History of the Early Americas. Primary Source Reading: Aztec Accounts of the Conquest. Smallpox took its toll on the Aztecs in several ways. Sahagún is regarded as a sensitive recorder and translator of the Aztec stories, but it is important to keep in mind that the words you read below have been transferred to paper through the pen of a Spanish interpreter. The document has been formatted to fit perfectly on one paper for easy printing.This primary source document includes background on, the text of, and text-dependent questions for letter correspondence between two British officers planning t. ... 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