Smallpox and Native American mortality: The 1780s epidemic in the Hudson Bay region
The smallpox epidemic of 1781–82 in the Hudson Bay region is said to have devastated the native population, causing mortality of at least 50%. We reassess this claim using a four-pronged approach. First, we total smallpox deaths reported by two fur trading posts that were in the midst of the epidemic. Second, we review case fatality rates in other smallpox outbreaks, and discuss the likely incidence of the disease among Native Americans. Third, we analyse trade during the period of the epidemic. Fourth, we estimate the native population prior to the epidemic based on the carrying capacity of the region. All four approaches lead to a similar conclusion. Mortality from smallpox was likely under 20%, which is much less than previously asserted.
If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Carlos, Ann M. & Lewis, Frank D., 1993. "Indians, the Beaver, and the Bay: The Economics of Depletion in the Lands of the Hudson's Bay Company, 1700–1763," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 53(03), pages 465-494, September.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:exehis:v:49:y:2012:i:3:p:277-290. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Zhang, Lei)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.