The effect of disease upon trade and migrationby Rit Nosotro
Change Over Time essay
Describe the impact of virus control on trade and migration through history.
"I've caught the bug that's been going around." Countless people in countless cities all over the world have said this when they catch an illness. Some “bugs” are simply wintertime illnesses that are inconvenient, yet survivable (e.g. the common cold), while others are Uber-viruses that can, if not prevented, wipe out humans easily (e.g. Bubonic Plague, etc.). However, thanks to modern medicine, man has in recent years gained the upper hand in the battle against bugs. Penicillin is just one of many drugs out on the market today that can effectively battle viruses of all shapes and sizes. The downside to drugs though, is that overuse of them have made viruses immune to treatment, thus causing scientists to forever come up with stronger medicine. In view of some ultra-deadly-bugs going around these days (e.g. SARS, AIDS, etc.), how have humans tried to combat illness throughout history? Or most significantly, how has the control of virus impacted global trade and migration?
History is full of examples of disease and illness sweeping countries and forcing an end to trade between nations. It all started back with the fall of Adam and Eve (Gen 3). After they disobeyed the Lord and ate the forbidden fruit, He cursed them, and sent them from the paradise they had known to live in a harsh world (Gen 3:17-19), illness and disease being among the hardships they faced. When Moses pleaded with Pharaoh to release his people, the Lord sent ten deadly plagues to Egypt, three of which involved diseases (Ex 7-12). The result was Pharaoh’s agreement to release the Hebrews, who promptly migrated to another land.
Over 100,000 Assyrians were mysteriously killed while setting seige to Jerusalem in the days of King Hezikiah.
In 430 B.C., the Athenians were devastated by a plague that was described by the historian Thucydides as being completely different from any plague he knew. He also noted that the people of Greece, believing no greater punishment than that of dieing from the plague, indulged in acts of violence and dishonesty. If a rich man fell ill of the plague, his possessions were considered fair game, as he was more than likely to die. In those days, physicians not only failed to cure it, but also died the worst deaths, seeing as they were near the ill so frequently. But that was not the only plague to have an impact on history.
One well-known plague, the Bubonic Plague, first broke out in China in the early 1300’s. Due to world trade routes, the disease quickly spread to Italy, then all through Europe, even reaching as far as England. The people there called it the Black Death, after the black marks that appeared on the infected. Summer was the worst time, since the fleas that transported it were active then, but it seemed to die down during the winter, when the fleas were dormant. Only in the 1600’s did the plague disappear, but still not for good. By that time, 25 million people-one third of Europe’s population- had died. As a result, there were not enough people to do the work. This allowed workers to demand higher wages, which were often refused by the landlords. This partly resulted in peasant rebellions throughout Europe.
Another example of widespread illness being transported from coast to coast is shown in the Spanish colonization of The Americas during the 1500s. Cortes and Pizzaro are a few of the Spanish captains who sailed forth to conquer the Indians. But what made their job a lot easier is that they transmitted many diseases to the Indians who, until the Spanish invasion, mat have lived relatively healthy lives. Among those fatal diseases contracted were smallpox, malaria, and yellow fever. Everyone in the tribes, from workers to the chief, became infected with horrible, overwhelming diseases. The weakened Indians were thus easily subdued by the Spanish Conquistadors, who would pillage any town they came into.
Ireland was another nation that was completely subdued by disease. In the 1840’s, what started as a simple blight on one crop of potatoes, soon overtook all of Ireland, rotting crop upon crop of precious potatoes. Over 1 million Irish died from hunger and diseases such as cholera and typhus. The result of this widespread devastation was a huge Irish migration to America, and other English-speaking countries. But mode of travel wasn’t easy. Hundreds of Irish people, anxious to get away from the starvation and death of their homeland, were crowded onto unsound boats called “coffin ships” that were embarking to the favored destinations. For every coffin ship that made it, about a third of the passengers died on the crossing from hunger or disease. This depopulation of Ireland, from 8 million to 5 million, forced the Irish to reconsider their form of government, as well as the established, crop-growing method of keeping mainly potato crops.
The next pandemic was the Spanish influenza that struck down millions more than died in WWI.
These diseases, and others, were unbearable to those who experienced them, but when exactly did we discover just WHAT a disease was, or how to control it? In the 1500’s, an Italian physician named Girolamo Fracastoro stated the Germ Theory of Disease, which was later expounded upon by Louis Pasteur. Louise Pasteur lived in the late 1800’s, and improved on Fracastoro’s germ theory. With such information, man made terrific progress in medicine with discoveries like Penicillin, the wonder drug discovered by Alexander Fleming in 1928.
However, wonderful as disease-combating drugs are, they are not perfect. In recent decades, overuse of antibiotics and other drugs have made some diseases immune to them, thus increasing the risk of another Black Death epidemic.
What should be the Christian's response to illness? Although they may use modern medicine and seek the advice of a doctor, they know that real comfort and healing come only from the Great Physician. "Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him" (James 5:14-15).
And what if the Lord allows the sickness to continue as he did by allowing Satan to "smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown" (Job 2:7). Yet Job was still resigned to trust God. It was an example of a man who believed, "all things work together for the good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose" (Romans 8:28). From over 3000 years ago to today, people of faith have looked to their creator for an understanding of illness knowing that the eternal condition of one's soul is infinately more important than the temporal shell of one's body.
1. What are two examples of the most ultra-deadly bugs going around today?
a. Malaria, Typhus
b. SARS, AIDS
c. Mosquitoes, lady-bugs
d. Cholera, yellow fever
2. How many of the ten plagues were disease-related?
3. Which country referred to the Bubonic Plague as the “Black Death”?
4. Which remedy for illness has eternal consequences?
a . Chicken soup
b . Steam wrap
c . Tea
d . Prayer
“European voyages of Exploration” World History. 31 Jan 2004
“Strange Science Timeline” World History. 31 Jan 2004
“Thucydides and Herodotus” World History. 31 Jan 2004
“The Irish Famine, 1845-50” World History. 31 Jan 2004
“Girolamo Fracastoro” World History. 31 Jan 2004
“Louis Pasteur- Germ Theory of Disease” World History. 31 Jan 2004
“Discovery of Penicillin” World History. 31 Jan 2004
“Daily Bible Study – the Ten Plagues” World History. 31 Jan
New International Version. The Bible.
Additional information about <http://hyperhistory.net/apwh/essays/cot/t0w14disease.htm>
The above essay was donated to hyperhistory.net.
of inaccuracies or plagiarism.
Post a link to this essay,
a great essay
on your blog or website :
|Comparative Essays||Biographies||Doc. Based Questions||Change Over Time|