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Big Bad Voodoo

Viking mystery

64 posts in this topic

My idea would be that the vikings brought few disease with them because of several reasons. First they did not go directly to North America, and did not directly go to interact with the natives. They sailed to Iceland, then Greenland, then North America. And each trip was in an open longboat. Those who were sick either died during the trip, or were toss overboard when they showed symptoms. The diseases basically were not infectious when the vikings reached NA.

The Europeans that invaded after Columbus however were going directly to the New World and looking for the natives and they came in much greater numbers.

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was it the transfer of disease that lead to the 'scalpings'? :unsure2:

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As to the short-term presence of the early Scandinavians in the region of northeastern North America - Research would tend to indicate that the time period in question is associated with the onset of the "Little Ice Age". This climatic shift is well documented, particularly in regards to the northern hemisphere. Thus, one may be dealing with a number of factors, both cultural and climatological. Can provide further detail if desired.

I desired details about LIA and Vikings.

Thanks.

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was it the transfer of disease that lead to the 'scalpings'? :unsure2:

If we are to take Greenland as an example, it would appear that the early Viking settlers were not overly generous in their initial contacts with the indigenous inhabitants. Am not sure if the following connection will function properly, but will attempt such.

http://www.iupui.edu...An_Overview.doc

Edit: Yes, connection would appear to be viable.

Edited by Swede

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One thing to consider: a really bad epidemic might not leave any traces discoverable at this late date. If everybody dies, nobody gets buried, for instance, at least not once the epidemic is full blown. Animals scatter the bones and there's nothing left to find.

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Hello dear UMers!

Recently I read on one Croatian forum interesting thread so no one gave logic conclusion so I will ask here.

We know that Pizzaro and Cortes beside guns,steel and horses bring germs which have devastating effect on native population.

Ofcourse negative effect was seen in North america. How come that Vikings didnt spread germs/disaese to North America Indians?

Were they imun? If so how come? Or natives did suffer from small pox from Vikings?

Thanks in advance.

I would say that probably some diseases were spread between the Vikings and the Native Americans. I think that one thing that has to be considered however is that there was a much smaller population of Native Americans living in the area that the Vikings explored AND that they were spreada out over a geographically larger area. People who were affected by the more virulent diseases were more likely to be quarantined purely because they were more isolated to begin with, whereas with the Incas and Aztecs more were located in large nearly urban areas.

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Good points Orange! :tsu:

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Good points Orange! :tsu:

My pleasure. Today is the one day this week my brain seems to be working at least somewhat well. lol

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I would say that probably some diseases were spread between the Vikings and the Native Americans. I think that one thing that has to be considered however is that there was a much smaller population of Native Americans living in the area that the Vikings explored AND that they were spreada out over a geographically larger area. People who were affected by the more virulent diseases were more likely to be quarantined purely because they were more isolated to begin with, whereas with the Incas and Aztecs more were located in large nearly urban areas.

That cant be explaination. In south America disease spread trough all south America when Spainyards made contact with Smaller tribes. (Notice smaller is big S). Im not virologist to know how but history said so that it was. It spread like wave which cause Europeans.

If Vikings did bring germs I would espect to see even Seminole, Apache, Navajo with imunity when Europeans re discover it again.

Edited by the L

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In Europe, in the 16th century wasn't bathing considered unhealthy,hence the wigs, make-up and perfumes. And wasn't it just reported that the vikings were rather well groomed.

So wouldn't that explain how the spanish, by the filth on their bodies infected the aztec and mayan races while the vikings, being cleaner had nothing to spread to native north american tribes.

I don't think its to much of a stretch to consider the vikings were healthier, cleaner and stronger than the spanish.

Edited by praetorian-legio XIII
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As I remember by the time Pizzaro came in Cuzco 7 years gone before small pox pandemic was in Inca empire. Imagine, before Pizzaro and his 168 soldiers decide to find empire in where their people eat and drink from golden cups as one indian rumor said (Balboa-Native conversation), closest European to Inca empire was 3000 km. Yet small pox find way 7 years earlier then Pizzaro. Besides civil war and unhappy other native tribes which remember thier time when they were free from Inca, small pox was main reason why Inca empire fell soon. Ofcourse sudden attack on sqare and taking emperor as hostage was good starting point.

Lets say that Spainyards went back for some reason, damage was already done in heart of continent as byproduct.

So if Viking went back damage must be done already. Logic? :blink:

Edited by the L

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Microbiology is universe for itself. Microbiologists and Evelutionry biologist still have two big mysteries in that area. How they share DNA and fact that we know 1% of microorganisms what they do. 99% of microorganisms outhere- well we still dont know what they are doing.

With that said thing is that most of life on earth is microorganism. And if they share, mix, pass their DNA I realy cant understand why we learn that living organisms cant share/mix/pass their DNA. :blink:

Edited by the L

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Another thing I think that would have been a factor is that there were actual trade systems amoungst the Native Americans ranging from the Iriquois all the way down to the Inca. These trade routes are documented due to the presence of artifacts in various places that could have come there only by trading, sometimes over thousands of miles. It would have been these trade networks that spread disease, IMHO, and perhaps the area the vikings inhabited on that corner of what would be Canada was just not well connected to the trade network?

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Another point is that the Spanish, the English, the French and the Portugese all made tens of thousands of points of contact. Where each one is a vector starting point for disease, while the Vikings probably had less then a dozen points of origin for disease. And maybe only 3 or 4, if they did not trade with the locals.

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As I pointed out earlier. One boat bring death plaque epidemic in Italy.

7 years before Pizzaro met Inca, 3000 km distance, we have epidemic in Inca empire.

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As I pointed out earlier. One boat bring death plaque epidemic in Italy.

7 years before Pizzaro met Inca, 3000 km distance, we have epidemic in Inca empire.

Then what is your suggestion for why the native americans were spared the epidemics that took out so many of their southern brethren? Immunity to a disease that they had not been exposed to is impossible so there has to be some physical or geographical explanation. That is what I and others have tried to offer, but you keep shooting everything down as if you are some sort of expert on the topic - which you have already admitted you aren't.

It is easy to be a naysayer but much more difficult to offer alternatives, so I ask - what is your alternative? Thanks.

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As I pointed out earlier. One boat bring death plaque epidemic in Italy.

7 years before Pizzaro met Inca, 3000 km distance, we have epidemic in Inca empire.

L - Timelines! Prior to Pizarro's most significant contact with the Incas (1532), there had been numerous European contacts with Central and South America. For example, it is documented that Cortes' conquest of the Aztecs in 1519 included the introduction of smallpox via an infected slave.

While the Aztec and Inca empires are geographically separated by quite some distance, one must take into account the numerous trade and travel routes utilized by the intervening populations. And this would be but one example of a potential mechanism of transmission.

.

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The infections did not happen because of a number of factors. The Vikings did not bring many people and only a few livestock (which was a great vector for disease, smallpox was introduced to Florida by pigs), and they were probably not infected with smallpox, or any other of the diseases that caused the chain of pandemic in the Americas after 1492. The Vikings probably only brought healthy people on their expeditions, for obvious reasons and they did not bring slaves. Furthermore, the explorers came from Iceland, which was far removed from Europe and its diseases.

Unlike the Spaniards, they did not land smack in the middle of heavily populated areas and did not seek contact with the natives. There was some trade, but things quickly deteriorated into a kill on sight policy on both sides The Spaniards did not make contact with smaller tribes. The very first people encountered by the Spaniards may have numbered up to 8 million. As a comparison, when the Norse landed on Newfoundland, there were somewhere between 500 and 2000 members of the Beothuk people (the skraelings) altogether.

But in the end, it all boils down to one point: While one boat brought the plague to italy, even a hundred boats without the plague could not have done the same thing.

Also, as a sidenote, Pizzaro did not conquer the Inca with 168 men and Cortez did not conquer Mexico with 500. Pizzaro overthrew the Inca emperor with that many and the the Spanish only conquered the empire after forty years of hard fighting. The Aztec (or the Triple Alliance, as historians now refer to it) was conquered by Cortez's 500 plus over a thousand Spanish reinforcements plus tens of thousands of native soldiers.

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Then what is your suggestion for why the native americans were spared the epidemics that took out so many of their southern brethren? Immunity to a disease that they had not been exposed to is impossible so there has to be some physical or geographical explanation. That is what I and others have tried to offer, but you keep shooting everything down as if you are some sort of expert on the topic - which you have already admitted you aren't.

It is easy to be a naysayer but much more difficult to offer alternatives, so I ask - what is your alternative? Thanks.

I never did say or think that Im expert. But I would rather have right question then wrong answer. I cant offer alternative idea. It isnt must thing. Why rushing? Threads are here open as long as mods close them. There is no hurry. Maybe someone offer good explaination in a year from now. Because that I will be naysayer as long as it takes.

I dont need to have explaination on all question. I do not panic. Im patient.

Edited by the L

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While the Aztec and Inca empires are geographically separated by quite some distance, one must take into account the numerous trade and travel routes utilized by the intervening populations. And this would be but one example of a potential mechanism of transmission.

Doesnt that support my idea that trough trade and travel routes in North America small pox would spread too. From Vikings ofcourse.

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The infections did not happen because of a number of factors. The Vikings did not bring many people and only a few livestock (which was a great vector for disease, smallpox was introduced to Florida by pigs), and they were probably not infected with smallpox, or any other of the diseases that caused the chain of pandemic in the Americas after 1492. The Vikings probably only brought healthy people on their expeditions, for obvious reasons and they did not bring slaves. Furthermore, the explorers came from Iceland, which was far removed from Europe and its diseases.

Unlike the Spaniards, they did not land smack in the middle of heavily populated areas and did not seek contact with the natives. There was some trade, but things quickly deteriorated into a kill on sight policy on both sides The Spaniards did not make contact with smaller tribes. The very first people encountered by the Spaniards may have numbered up to 8 million. As a comparison, when the Norse landed on Newfoundland, there were somewhere between 500 and 2000 members of the Beothuk people (the skraelings) altogether.

But in the end, it all boils down to one point: While one boat brought the plague to italy, even a hundred boats without the plague could not have done the same thing.

Also, as a sidenote, Pizzaro did not conquer the Inca with 168 men and Cortez did not conquer Mexico with 500. Pizzaro overthrew the Inca emperor with that many and the the Spanish only conquered the empire after forty years of hard fighting. The Aztec (or the Triple Alliance, as historians now refer to it) was conquered by Cortez's 500 plus over a thousand Spanish reinforcements plus tens of thousands of native soldiers.

But you can be healthy and be carrier of germs which cause disease. Although I must agree that only logic explaination was that Vikings didnt bring germs. But thats also very interesting. How come?

As side note. Pizzaro DID conquer Inca with 168 people. To precise he had 62 mount soldiers and 106 footsoldiers. Closest european to Pizzaro when he entered in Cuzco was 3000 km distant. Thats difference with Pizzaro and Cortez. Cortez could easily get back up. Also Cortez used natives in army. Pizzaro didnt.

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I have a few clarifications and points to add to the discussion.

People have mentioned the isolation of Iceland compare to mainland Europe. This is a very important point. You also have to remember that the Vikings that settled in Vinland came from Greenland. They were led by Erik the Red who had been banished from Iceland for murder and started the first colony in Greenland ~986. It was his son Leif Ericson that settled Vinland (L'Anse Aux Meadows) in 1000.

The first recorded epidemic of any significance occurred in Erik the Red's settlement in 1002, and it killed him among many others. This would mean that this first epidemic arrived in his settlement after the start of Leif's voyage.

Secondly, there was never prolonged interaction between the Vikings and the Skraelings (Maritime Archaic Indians probably, or very, very early Beothuks). On their first encounter the Vikings massacred them. Later there was a peaceful encounter with some trading. Another was when the Skraelings attacked the Vikings after being frightened by a bull that had gotten free from the Viking camp. Again, the Vikings killed most of them.

Of course, if the circumstances are right a disease/virus/etc can spread in that time. But that brings me to my third point; the native population here at the time was very small and very isolated. There was never any sort of large trading or settlement network until much, much later. So, even if a disease was passed on the the Skraeling group the Vikings encountered, the chances of it spreading on to the others in Newfoundland are extremely slim. And they could have very well died of disease, but we may never know. To the best of my knowledge there are only a handful of burial sites known.

As a disclaimer I'm from the area around L'Anse Aux Meadows, so I grew up hearing and learning about this stuff and going to the archeological site. I'm a big history nerd so I've been lucky to live in a place with such historical significance.

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But you can be healthy and be carrier of germs which cause disease. Although I must agree that only logic explaination was that Vikings didnt bring germs. But thats also very interesting. How come?

You could be. But probably not of the diseases that caused the most destruction in the Americas. Smallpox has an incubation time of about 12 days and while theoretically people can be carriers without developing symptoms, it's kinda impossible for people who came from Iceland, where smallpox only appeared hundreds of years after Vinland was abandoned.

We should not forget that we are talking about peoples with vastly different socio-economic and cultural environments, the 11th century Vikings and the 16th century Spanish. The Vikings lived in smallish communities, it seems that they were generally healthy and put an emphasis on cleanliness. The Spaniards, on the other hand, came from overcrowded settlements (and then there were the slaves, who were far-far worse off) and did not care that much about personal hygiene. But, of course, the minimal contact with the natives was also very important.

As side note. Pizzaro DID conquer Inca with 168 people. To precise he had 62 mount soldiers and 106 footsoldiers. Closest european to Pizzaro when he entered in Cuzco was 3000 km distant. Thats difference with Pizzaro and Cortez. Cortez could easily get back up. Also Cortez used natives in army. Pizzaro didnt.

No, he did not. He captured Atahualpa, and put and end to the Inca Empire. But the actual territory and peoples of the empire were conquered after decades of fighting when Vilcabamba, the last capital of the Inca and the seat of Túpac Amaru was taken and the ruler executed.

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No, he did not. He captured Atahualpa, and put and end to the Inca Empire. But the actual territory and peoples of the empire were conquered after decades of fighting when Vilcabamba, the last capital of the Inca and the seat of Túpac Amaru was taken and the ruler executed.

Rebelions did happened but Spainyards never left initiative from their hands. Inca empire shifted troguh turmoil period. At one point Spainyards were almost exiled to Pacific.

Mostly those Inca empires during Spanish were at corner of previous empire. But heart of Inca empire Cuzco (belly button on their language) from area which Inca originate and Capital city was under spainyards.

When you conquer most of empire roads and capital city I would call that conquered land. Inca mosty live in peace with Spainyards. Tupac Amaru wasnt smart.. He started rebelion after Spainyards were in Peru for 40 years. Only legacy he left is El Movimiento Revolucionario Túpac Amaru.

Edited by the L

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