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Small pox - “Everyone was dead“

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  • Small pox - “Everyone was dead“

    “Everyone was dead: When Europeans first came to B.C., they stepped into the aftermath of a holocaust“

    Everyone was dead: When Europeans first came to B.C., they stepped into the aftermath of a holocaust
    Tristin Hopper, February 21, 2017


    The skull, limbs, ribs and backbones, or some other vestiges of the human body, were found in many places, promiscuously scattered about the beach in great numbers,” wrote explorer George Vancouver in what is now Port Discovery, Wash.

    It was May 1792. The lush environs of the Georgia Strait had once been among the most densely populated corners of the land that is now Canada, with humming villages, harbours swarming with canoes and valleys so packed with cookfires that they had smog.

    “An American attempt to invade Quebec broke apart largely because the colonist soldiers were too ridden with smallpox to continue the attack.

    The epidemic soon broke out of the war-torn coastal areas and began penetrating inland, surging across indigenous trading networks and passing between warring enemies.

    Before the Revolutionary War was over, its epidemiological offshoot had surged as far as Mexico and was scything its way through the Canadian Prairies.

    “Boy and Girl arrived from the Swampy River, having left one man behind, these is all that is alive out (of) 10 tents,” reads the journals of Hudson’s Bay Company traders in what is now Cumberland House, Sask.

    For months, the largely Scottish-born traders were visited by wave after wave of doomed refugees bearing reports of whole villages wiped off the map.

    The natives “chiefly Die within the third or fourth Night, and those that survive after that time are left to be devoured by the wild beasts,” they wrote.


    More on early European contact on the west coast:

    Viewpoints and Visions in 1792: The Vancouver Expedition encounters Indians of Western Washington
    Columbia Magazine, Summer 1990: Vol. 4, No. 2
    By Delbert J. McBride

    Those westward-bound land-hungry Americans who began arriving in the 1840s did not initially fare as well as the "King George" men who maintained consistent policies not in conflict with the strong Native belief that the earth could belong to no individual and must be conserved far into the future. ...”

    Last edited by KC; 16-06-2018, 07:10 AM.

  • #2
    Interesting research by the author of this site, Peter d'Errico

    Jeffrey Amherst and Smallpox Blankets

    Lord Jeffrey Amherst's letters discussing germ warfare against American Indians

    Amherst and Smallpox

    “The French and the Indians

    The sharpest contrast with letters about Indians is provided by letters regarding the other enemy, the French. Amherst has been at war with the French as much as with the Indians; but he showed no obsessive desire to extirpate them from the earth. They were apparently his "worthy" enemy. It was the Indians who drove him mad. It was they against whom he was looking for "an occasion, to...”

    “In contrast to these kindly feelings, Long says that Pontiac's attacks on British forts at Detroit and Presqu'Isle "aroused Amherst to a frenzy, a frenzy almost hysterical in its impotence." Long then quotes from Amherst's letter to Sir William Johnson:
    Last edited by KC; 08-09-2019, 06:55 PM.