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Imported disease did NOT kill the Aztecs - shocking new theory!

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posted on Jul, 16 2010 @ 01:21 PM
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According to a National Geographic documentary: "Earth Investigated: What killed the Aztecs?" (www.youtube.com...) there is little doubt that after the political conquest of Mexico, 8 out of 10 native Mexicans died from disease during the 1500s. It is considered one of the biggest viral catastrophes in history.
However, a new theory on diseases challenges the recieved history that a virus imported by the Spanish (like smallpox) was the cause of this catastrophe. Although isolated epidemics of smallpox did occur, the Spanish were baffled by the mass dying of the Indians and the priests who worked amongst them. The disease was like nothing the Spanish knew, and was actually characterized by bleeding from the mouth and ears. The locals even had a name for it, Cocoliztli: www.earthmatrix.com...
The hemmorhagic fever (similar to ebola) actually came from rodents. The conquest did contribute to new viral strains by forcing the Amerindians into crowded, squalid conditions. Growing the foreign wheat instead of native corn also meant that the Indians were forced to work in fields (where they came into contact with rodents) for much longer hours, and over wider areas than they did with their native crops. But ultimately it was forcing dozens of people to share one room that caused the rodent sickness to mutate into a killer virus that became infectious between people.
What is shocking is that the disease may lie dormant to cause a similar catastrophe in future. A virus from rodents has already caused dozens of deaths in North America, before it was contained.
However, can this really be true? Could a native virus really have been to blame for the mass dying?


[edit on 16-7-2010 by halfoldman]




posted on Jul, 16 2010 @ 01:31 PM
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If it truly was a hemorrhagic fever spread by rodents, I would put a good deal of money on the culprit being Hantavirus. It's relatively common in most of Central and South America, though I doubt it would have been widespread and fatal enough to wipe out the Aztecs. More likely, there was an outbreak of Hanta that coincided with the small pox outbreak, which could account for the scattered reports of bleeding from the gums/eyes/ears.



posted on Jul, 16 2010 @ 01:36 PM
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Nice find, I did not know they were bleeding from the ears and mouth, geez!
What a horrible way to die, or watch someone die like that.
A native disease, scary stuff. I was unaware of the Mexican outbreak in the 1500's too.
I wonder why this is not commonly/widely known?


Peace



posted on Jul, 16 2010 @ 01:43 PM
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Originally posted by VneZonyDostupa
If it truly was a hemorrhagic fever spread by rodents, I would put a good deal of money on the culprit being Hantavirus. It's relatively common in most of Central and South America, though I doubt it would have been widespread and fatal enough to wipe out the Aztecs. More likely, there was an outbreak of Hanta that coincided with the small pox outbreak, which could account for the scattered reports of bleeding from the gums/eyes/ears.

You are spot on with the "Hantavirus"!
They mentioned it on the the documentary (I haven't seen it written, so I was just fruitlessly searching for "Hunter virus").
I think there was certainly more going on than the environmental history explanations of the documentary. It eventually becomes quite convoluted (to my taste) attemting to explain why the Europeans had more resistance with genetic type bottleneck theories. Well, from Aids in Africa we know that viruses often team up to become "terrible twins" (like Aids and TB), so while imported disease may not have mutated with local viruses, the combinations further weakened immune systems with double onslaughts.
The explanation in the doccie still makes the conquest out as somewhat co-incidental, and I think it was far more significant than just squalid conditions.



posted on Jul, 16 2010 @ 03:03 PM
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reply to post by halfoldman
 


I would say that's a reasonable theory, certainly not outside the boundaries of science: smallpox could be the main culprit, which would have ripped through the native population, but it would also have lowered the immune response in those infected, allowing hanta (or a plethora of other diseases) to infect them and spread, as well.



posted on Jul, 18 2010 @ 01:40 PM
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The following illustration (Sahagun from De Las Casas: "The Conquest of New Spain") was used for both the traditional (samllpox) and new (hemorrhagic fever) arguments. To me it is an unclear bone of contention:
history.binghamton.edu...
The new theorists in the doccie would point to the coughed blood, and blood around the mouth and eyes. However, the rash does also point to smallpox, unless it shows a collective view of afflictions, the person had both, or a rash is also typical of Cocolitzli.
Certainly open to interpretation.


[edit on 18-7-2010 by halfoldman]



posted on Jul, 18 2010 @ 01:45 PM
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reply to post by halfoldman
 


Bloody conjunctiva and vomit would certainly suggest a hemorrhagic fever. However, my opinion is that there was a SMALL outbreak of hanta that occurred at around the same time as smallpox was ripping through the population. A disease as gruesome as hanta would certainly be spoken about among the tribes, and when you couple a story about a bloody, fatal disease with the relatively new invaders (Spanish), it's likely the story will spread and become exaggerated.



posted on Jul, 18 2010 @ 02:05 PM
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reply to post by VneZonyDostupa
 

Quite strange, I've seen historical doccies where they showed "Aztecs" with smallpox make-up (also in the Maya girl in Apocalypto), and here (as one can see from the above promo clip) it is only the bleeding that is shown. Never the twine shall meet - except, it appears, in the true historical depiction! It seems to be a position without compromise, a thesis (smallpox) vs antithesis (Cocolitzli) argument. Could this be because a new theory requires more hardcore argumentation, especially in medicine? A lot also stands against the new theory, mainly a 500 year absence of human-to-human hemorrhagic fever in the Americas.
Just to make sure, does smallpox leave any physical evidence on the skeletons? The doccie begins with a mass grave of young, well-fed Indian skeletons from the period.
Of course there may have been many other flues and viruses about too.

In South Africa we were once taught that two smallpox epidemics wiped out the Khoi-khoi (Cape Hottentots) selectively, but now it appears that settler and slave communities were similarly affected.



posted on Jul, 18 2010 @ 02:28 PM
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reply to post by halfoldman
 


Smallpox does occasionally leave it's mark on skeletal remains. It's rare, but in some cases you can see damage to the elbow and knee joints. Some remains may also have inactive smallpox spores in them, which would be another big sign. I haven't been able to find any papers that looked for these sorts of things in Aztec remains.

[edit on 7/18/2010 by VneZonyDostupa]



posted on Jul, 18 2010 @ 03:22 PM
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reply to post by speculativeoptimist
You pose the question on why the "native fever" theory is not well known.
I thinks it's quite new and not entirely proven? I suppose many scholars of that period will not retract their research on smallpox and Western viruses without a fight.
But there may be ideological reasons for this too.
Firstly, horrific disease like Ebola are easier imagined elsewhere (in Africa) by the large US population, while "wild" smallpox was contained by 1977. Diseases can also carry stigmas (as we know from AIDS, during which gays and the Haitian immigrants were heavily stigmatized), and I believe there's already xenophobia and a tense situation around the US/Mexican border.
Viruses brought by the invaders also satisfy politically correct views of history, since at least superficially they explain the conquest of perhaps 15 million Amerindians by relatively small groups of invaders. A more recent view (also supported by Apocalypto) claims that the Aztecs and Inca were already weakened by imported dieases, which preceded the conquests along native trade routes.
However, the Aztecs and Inca were not very popular amongst the people they ruled, and both Pizarro and Cortez were supported by massive Indian armies. Pizarro was saved by his Indian concubine, Donna Angelina, whose mother sent armies to defend him at the Battle of Lima, and Cortez was supported by the Tlaxcalans and other rebellious city states ruled by the Aztecs. To see the conquests as indigenous civil wars merely inspired by foreigners complicates simplistic views, which extend from politics to viruses. In fact the term "Aztec" is used generically in the documentary for all the Mexicans, which to my knowledge is anthropologically incorrect.
So, from a number of positions the post-conquest "native virus" theory is not very convenient. It complicates things that people thought they had figured out.

[edit on 18-7-2010 by halfoldman]



posted on Jul, 18 2010 @ 05:01 PM
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reply to post by halfoldman
 

Perhaps, focusing on conspiracy one could also refomulate the question: why is it becoming a well known theory at THIS point in time.
Is there a subltle racism/propaganda going on? (People living in those regions should be more qualified than an African like myself to answer that.)
Why does the doccie begin with Aztec sacrifices, because the vast majority of the population were neither ruling class "Aztecs", nor did they personally sacrifice people.



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