Scurvy contributed to failure of town founded by Columbus


With all due respect to the article, the first European-founded towns in the New World were in Newfoundland 5 centuries before Columbus, and were wiped out by war with the locals and by the Little Ice Age.


“Packed behind their stockade in La Isabela, they seem to have sampled next to nothing of the rich menu of the Caribbean,” Mann says. “It was a lethal mistake.”

“They also faced constant attacks” by the native people, Tiesler says.

Some of the bones do show some signs of healing, likely as a result of the colonists eating limited amounts of some foods containing vitamin C, says Maat. A. E. van der Merwe, Maat’s Leiden University colleague and fellow scurvy expert, concurs. Some vitamin C must have been present in the diets of some of the dead, she says, because they had been healed of scurvy when other diseases killed them.

To be fair, no one knew the cause or cure to scurvy for sure until much later.

Sounds like scurvy was only a secondary complication brought on by deadly ignorance.

The local people Columbus murdered could have told the colonists what was good to eat, so there’s a little bit of karma there too.

And ignorance, and arrogance, according to Jared Diamond anyway. Why are all the peoples who colonise the Americas such arseholes? Is it a curse or something?

This topic was automatically closed after 5 days. New replies are no longer allowed.