Saturday, October 30, 2010

Syphilis & The New World

For a very long time, it was believed that Columbus's crew brought syphilis back from the New World, because it is frequently identified as a new disease shortly after his return.  This theory of a New World origin was the subject of considerable investigation.  Lewis & Clark's expedition asked questions everywhere they saw evidence of syphilis: how long has this disease been present?  When was it introduced?  Even in places where the Indians had not ever seen a white man before, but had not even heard of white men, syphilis had always been present.  This was one of the many pieces of evidence that seemed to suggest a New World origin.

I have been reading for the last twenty years or so evidence suggesting that what may have been New World was not syphilis, but a particularly virulent strain of it.  Yet more evidence is discussed in this October 25, 2010 Fox News article reports on a recent excavation of skulls in England that are clearly before Columbus, and have clear signs of syphilitic lesions.

No comments:

Post a Comment