Smallpox A Virus gone Today, but bad in the past

Smallpox may be gone today, but it was a horrible killer during the time of the Spanish up until 1979.

Smallpox was first seen in North America during the Spanish exploration. Many Aztecs and other Native American groups had never seen the virus and started to die spontaneously.

Many famous people survived smallpox. They include Queen Mary II, Joseph I of Austria, King Luis of Spain, Mozart, Beethoven, George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.

When smallpox arrived, nobody knew how to treat such a deadly virus. For example, when the Inca first saw smallpox spores on people, they were really confused and did not know any treatment methods.


When the Spanish arrived in America, they spread smallpox by accident. Since the Aztecs and Inca's had never been exposed to smallpox, they died really fast from the deadly virus. This lead to an easier group of people to conquer for the Spanish.

Smallpox helped the Spanish conquistadors conquer the Inca, Aztecs and many other locations in the Caribbean, beaucse it would kill off soldiers and citizens. This made the military weaker and less civilians that could cause problems for the Spanish.

Smallpox caused one of the worst virus related death tolls ever. 80 million native people died from having no cure to smallpox. The Spanish where immune. That is what made there plan work for taking over the New World.

Today smallpox is a virus that is gone. The last natural case was in 1977 and the final case before the eradication by the WHO was in 1978, due to a lab accident.


"Smallpox." Britannica School, Encyclopædia Britannica, 3 Feb. 2017. Accessed 24 Apr. 2017.

Wojcik, Lauren. “Smallpox.” Encyclopedia of Native American History, Volume 3, Facts On File, 2011. American Indian History, spanish. Accessed 2017.

All images from Image Quest.

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