Lecture 2. Crossing the Pacific: Illness and Transmission in the post-Columbian Era (1510-1772 CE)

This lecture begins with the reemergence of Europe during the so-called “Renaissance”, and new mechanisms of transmission due to trans-Pacific travel. Decimation of the native American population played a key role in an emerging global order. The first use of the term quarantine – coming from the Italian quarantena meaning forty days, as the time required to hold a ship in harbor became an accepted response to the Black Death. Conceptions of disease as miasma – or bad air – were common from the Sui Dynasty to the Americas. Containment of regional outbreaks reveal successes in limiting pandemic expanse. Girolamo Frascstoro in Italy, Wu Youke in the Ming Dynasty and others advanced new conceptions of disease transmission.

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