The Devastating Impact of European Diseases on Native American Populations in Indian Land, South Carolina

The indigenous people of America were not prepared for the diseases that European explorers and settlers brought with them. Smallpox, flu, measles, and even chicken pox were all deadly for American Indians, as they had no natural immunity to these illnesses. Native Americans fought against Europeans' attempts to gain more land and control during the colonial period, but they faced a multitude of issues, such as new diseases, the slave trade, and an ever-growing European population. The European era of exploration began in the 15th century, when rulers sought better access to the Far East, where they could trade in spices, silk, tea and other valuable goods.

In the south-east, Spain, France and England were competing for control. In an effort to find a new route to the Indies, Europeans discovered the “New World”. The native populations of North and South America were forever changed as a result of European exploration and settlement. The introduction of European diseases had a devastating impact on native populations.

Many natives perished due to exposure to these illnesses and weapons. Native populations also experienced political, social, and cultural changes as a result of European influence. In the 1950s, the decision was made to transfer services provided by Indigenous Health Services (IHS) from the Office of Indian Affairs to the Federal Department of Health and Human Services. There were even Native Americans expelled from colonies like South Carolina to be turned into slaves in other places, such as Canada.

Native American slave traders from Virginia and Carolina used to arm tribes, such as the Westoes on the Savannah River, in exchange for indigenous slaves and animal skins.

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