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Germs, Genes, & Civilization: How Epidemics Shaped Who We Are Today by Southern Illinois University David P. Clark - Department of Microbiology

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9. Manpower and slavery

Legacy of the last Ice Age

During the last Ice Age, the Bering Strait between Asia and North America became a land bridge joining the two continents. Primitive Asian tribes wandered across into North America and migrated southward. As Earth warmed up again, the ice retreated, and some 10,000 years ago, contact between America and Asia was sundered. For some ten millennia, the inhabitants of the American continent remained isolated from the rest of mankind. During this critical period, most of the epidemic diseases characteristic of the Old World made their appearance.

About 500 years ago, contact resumed when Portugal and Spain, soon followed by the other European naval powers, discovered and conquered the Americas. ...

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