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the inciting of the remnants of the last Ice Age, about 10,000 years ago. During that period humans populated Australia and neighboring islands and later crossed the tundra bridge from Siberia into the Americas. In both regions, the human invasions coincided with the extinction of many large mammals, including mammoths, mastodons, giant buffalos, and horses in the Americas. Much of this disappearance may be attributed to human hunting skill, including the use of fire, and the defenselessness of animals unfamiliar with these two-footed hunters. But the hunters were only part of the story. The parasites and pathogens they brought with them were probably major contributors to the transformation of the American and Australian eco-systems. With the Neo-Europes once again isolated by rising oceans, Crosby considers the differing rates of evolution of the Old World and New World civilizations. He concludes that popula tion pressures drove the more rapid rise of Old World civilizations, which were based on “the direct control and exploitation of many species for the sake of one: Homo sapiens.” This included the domestication of lentils, barley, wheat, sheep, pigs, goats, then cattle, horses, and camels. Stable civilization pro duced concentrations of garbage, leading to the rapid multiplication of rats, mice, roaches, houseflies, and mosquitoes and the dis eases they carried. The close proximity of humans to each other and to animals provided the breeding grounds for bacteria and viruses, including smallpox, measles, and influenza. For nearly 10,000 years, East was East and West was West until the Conquest began, fueled by population growth and technological advances. The Europeans appeared on American shores with horses and advanced weaponry. But they also brought crops and weeds, cattle and pigs, European honeybees and. a multitude of diseases. Smallpox reached the island of Espafiola in 1518 and was reported in both the Great Lakes and the Argentine Pampas by the 1520s and ’30s. An infected soldier in Cortes’s forces brought the disease to Mexico. It killed a large portion of the Aztecs and the Incas in Peru. “The miraculous triumphs of that conquistador [Pizarro, in Peru], and of Cortes,… are in large part the triumphs of the virus of smallpox.” In the 1630s and ’40s it was reported to have killed half the Huron and Iroquois populations. In the early 1800s, it was reported to have destroyed half the indigenous population between the Missouri River and New Mexico. The invading Europeans also brought dysentery and respiratory diseases that wiped out huge numbers of people. When Hernando de Soto plowed through the southeastern corner of North America, his troops reported dense population centers, large-scale farming, temples on low pyramids, and a rigid social structure. By 1700, the region was virtually vacant. Wilderness had replaced fields, and buffalo were plentiful where before there were none. Epidemics, brought by the Spaniards and their animals, had wiped out almost all the human population of the region. “The exchange of infectious diseases… between the Old World and its American and Australasian colonies has been wondrously one-sided,” Crosby concluded. Once the Europeans had cleared a path through intentional and unintentional genocide, the European population in the Americas and Australia exploded, fueled by relative good health, the availability of food, and expanding population pressures back home. The productive lands of the Neo-Europes became the largest source of food surpluses, as well as raw materials for European industry. Most of the world’s wheat, soybeans, mutton, and beef come from Neo-Europe. Consequently, food produced in NeoEurope fed the Europeans so well that their population growth forced continual migration to Neo-Europe. European hegemony in the New World was solidified. With the completion of Ecological Imperialism, Crosby’s obsession with European dominance wasn’t entirely satisfied. There were more questions continued on page 34 B/2/02 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 15