The Impact of Disease on Native Americans

1. Introduction

The native Americans had a great impact on the development of the United States of America. They were the first inhabitants of the land and their way of life shaped the country in many ways. Unfortunately, they also suffered from a great deal of disease and violence. In this essay, we will discuss the effect of disease on native Americans.

2. The contact between the natives and European explorers

The first Europeans to arrive in America were the Spanish explorers. They brought with them diseases such as smallpox and measles, which the native Americans had no immunity against. The contact between the natives and European explorers contributed heavily to the onset of the epidemics, but unfortunately, they had very low resistance towards these diseases.

3. The onset of the epidemics

The smallpox epidemic was one of the most devastating diseases that ravaged the native population. It is estimated that up to 90% of some tribes were wiped out by this disease. The measles epidemic was also extremely destructive, killing many children and adults. Other deadly diseases such as cholera and typhus also killed large numbers of people.

4. The low resistance of the natives

The reason why the native Americans were so badly affected by these diseases is because they had no immunity against them. Their bodies were not used to dealing with such illnesses and as a result, they perished in huge numbers. This was a tragic loss for the native population as it led to a drastic decline in their numbers.

5. The British rule and the social stability

The British rule in America was relatively short-lived, but it did have a lasting impact on the country. One of the most significant changes that they made was to introduce a system of slavery which was extremely brutal and oppressive. This had a devastating effect on the social stability of the region and led to many revolts and uprisings.

6. The dragnet effect in the 18th century

The dragnet effect was a policy implemented by the British government in America during the 18th century. It was designed to round up all the native Americans and force them into slavery. This had a disastrous effect on the already depleted population and led to even more deaths.

7. Conclusion

In conclusion, it is clear that disease had a major impact on native Americans. It led to huge loss of life and had a devastating effect on their culture and way of life. Unfortunately, due to their low resistance to these diseases, they were unable to recover from these devastating blow


Many diseases that were brought over by Europeans decimated Native American populations. Smallpox, for example, killed an estimated 90% of the Native American population in the centuries following contact.

Other diseases that affected Native Americans include measles, influenza, and tuberculosis.

In some cases, Native Americans had no immunity to these diseases and thus no way to cope with them other than through traditional healing practices. However, in other cases, they did have some immunity and were able to develop coping mechanisms such as quarantining sick individuals from healthy ones.

Some good did come from these diseases in terms of advancing medical knowledge. For example, smallpox vaccinations were developed as a result of studying the disease's effects on Native Americans.