I don't know who wrote this but I hope he or she sticks around! A very nice concise article! --LMS
Concise, but not entirely helpful. I think that 90% is an extreme estimate for a new encyclopedia looking to develop a reputation for accuracy. I don't want to revise the article myself (New World, demography, disease -- none of these are my field), but I did a quick google search and came up with these links. http://www2.kenyon.edu/Depts/PSci/Inst21/demography.htm --- helpful, and notice the chart labelled "contending views":
http://www.hist.umn.edu/~rmccaa/vircatas/ ---- a LOOONG article which ends up deciding that the revisionists (the "yes, there was smallpox, but FEW died") are wrong, but that the over-50-percenters are wrong, too.
I am not a revisionist, I certainly understand that new European and African diseases ravaged the Americas, but please! A 90% death rate doesn't happen even with Ebola!
We are not here claiming that one singular disease or epidemic carried off 90% of the Native Americans. But if one epidemic could kill half or even say only a quarter, it is easy to see how frequent epidemics over 300-400 years could reduce the vulnerable population. Several other diseases were also involved, as measles, however smallpox was probably the major one.
Also the initial 1976 Ebola epidemic had a fatality rate of 93% although subsequent rates have been lower and the most recent outbreak set a record low of only 43% dead! -rmhermen
"Smallpox was largely responsible for the death of perhaps 90% of the native population" That looks like one singular disease killing them. We need to sort out 'infection rate' and 'fatality rate', too. MichaelTinkler.