How many Native Americans were killed when the Europeans came to America?
I have heard rumors that there was a mass genocide in which Native Americans were killed at numbers larger than the Holocaust. Any truth in that?
Yes. But it wasn't so much of the Europeans themselves that killed off the Indians of mesoamerica it was the diseases they brought over like small pox. It wiped out over 90% of the Indians of that time period.
Historian in an attempt to push a certain ideology, have in many instances, either over looked the truth or just omitted it. Funny, you would pose such a question. I am currently reading "Disease and History", by Frederick F Cartwright. This will take assist with you answer.
Nobody knows how many Native Americans were killed because nobody knows how many Native Americans that there were.
It's not like they took a census. How the hell would anyone know?
Yes, lots of hate went down - no different than anywhere else on the planet Earth. You show me that land mass where there has been no hate or genocide, please.
IntimateEvolution is right: there was an apocalyptic death rate in the years between first contact between Europeans and Americans and the settlement at Plymouth, and this was almost entirely due to disease. Nobody really knows how many people died, but it was a heck of a lot, and many more than we used to think.
Lots of modern Americans believe that the continent was largely empty and ready for settling. Well, yeah, it was pretty empty, but that was because the people who lived there had mostly died of smallpox and other diseases over the previous 50-75 years or so. Before those diseases hit, however, historians and archeologists now believe that the continent was much more densely populated. It's important to note that this is nobody's fault: nobody knew what the heck a germ was, and it's not like the Europeans went around deliberately sneezing on everybody in America.
Of course, many Europeans did take the (relatively) sudden depopulation of America as a Sign from God (tm) that the New World was ordained to be theirs for the taking, which probably played a part in the deliberate genocide(s) that happened much later, and we don't really know how many people were killed as a result of those policies, either. But it was a lot.
As for early wars between Native Americans and European settlers, some of us need to do some more research. Pontiac's uprising, for example, was hardly unprovoked. And if you look up the Pequot war, you'll find that the brutality of the English colonists (they burned down a Pequot village with the inhabitants in it, and shot anyone who tried to escape) was so horrifying to their Narragansett and Mohegan allies that they refused to fight alongside the English any more, saying that their way of war "... is too furious and slays too many people." Who were the real savages?
There were battles and fighting when the European nations discovered the "New World," which caused Native Americans to die. But what killed the vast majority was the diseases that the Europeans brought with them, either intentionally or unintentionally. Some brought them over by accident, but once they realized how bad the diseases affected the Native Americans, they would use that to their advantage. I've read stories of Europeans giving Native Americans blankets covered in small pox, under the pretense of peaceful negotiation. After everything was said and done, I've read figures that range from 85% to upwards of 95% of the indigenous population was wiped out by the Europeans.
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