Some scholars estimate that the Western Hemisphere at the time of the first European contact was inhabited by 40 million people who spoke 1,800 different tongues. Another widely accepted estimate suggests that at the time of Columbus more than 15 million speakers throughout the Western Hemisphere used more than 2,000 languages; the geographic divisions within that estimate are 300 separate tongues native to some 1.5 million Native Americans N of Mexico, 300 different languages spoken by roughly 5 million people in Mexico and Central America, and more than 1,400 distinct tongues used by 9 million Native Americans in South America and the West Indies.
By the middle of the 20th cent., as a result of European conquest and settlement in the Western Hemisphere, perhaps two thirds of the many indigenous American languages had already died out or were dying out, but others flourished.
Just the fact that the Indigenous People were constantly on the move hunting and gathering means each tribe will encounter other tribes. This means a constant fight between tribes over wild animals for food, and hunting lands.
And if there is drought, then the wild animals will be less for hunting for the indigenous people. Basically a domino effect in the fragile food chain for the indigenous people.
SMALL POX KILLED THE INDIGENOUS INDIANS?
When you have 1,000 languages, pre-1492, you can bet each Indigenous Indian tribe was on the verge of starvation and death via either drought, famine or border wars with other tribes. Note, there were no Walmarts, Welfare, 911, electricity, running water back then.
Nomadic, Hunter-Gatherers were always having border skirmishes and wars with other tribes.
Next, early explorer accounts of "completely empty" villages and fields are no different than those Mayan cities completely collapsing. A single drought can cause the same thing.
Smallpox? First, it's not like explorers had cars back then. Travel was minimal back then, mostly by foot, or horseback, and then you had to carry your own food and water.
most people lived "remotely" and grew and raised their own food and livestock. There were no large event places and restaurants were very uncommon and fast food did not exist.
Next, you didn't exactly have roads either. You had to travel in the wilderness, thick brush, and forest. Very hard to make any distance. So if you had Small Pox or were sick, your whole team probably camped and stayed put under the hot sun and looked for water. Traveling by foot when you are sick is not a good idea. And by the way, there was no GPS and maps were very primitive and inaccurate. So you didn't exactly travel to where you hope you wanted to go in the shortest amount of time.
WHY EVEN GO THAT WAY TO MEET THEM?
Another question to ask is, "Why would anyone be going to the Indians in the first place? And next Indians are continually moving, so how is anyone going to know where they would be? There are no cell phones, text messaging, or email. Communication would be very hard, and if you did contact them, why would they wait for you or meet you in the first place? They have important things to do, like hunting for food and waiting-for-some-stranger goes to the bottom of the To-Do List.
IN A NUTSHELL So the spread of Small Pox (an airborne contagious disease) by sick explorers traveling on foot in thick wilderness brush and forests, who had to carry their own food and water, with no GPS, and under the hot sun, is extremely unlikely as the sneezing and coughing from Small Pox would have cleared up before traveling again.
Clearly, Small Pox infecting Indigenous Indians from European Explorers is a wild idea that has no basis in a time when there were no automobiles or modern-day transportation.
If anything, it would be *drought* like what happens all over the world, and on a regular basis.
SMALLPOX BLANKETS - BIOLOGICAL WARFARE?
There are supposed letters from Jeffery Amherst (i.e.. 1st Baron Amherst) that are all photos of microfiche. Next, those photos are only snippets of a letter, not the entire letter. Third, these microfiche fragments appear to have excellent contrast and clarity for a letter well over 100 years old. This as opposed to official documents at the time. And notice how all the recoverable parts of these over 200-year-old letters are enough to speak of Small Pox and nothing else.
Additionally, notice the amazing quality of the paper and ink, (and just for simple communications), was able to last for so long.
Lastly, why all the trouble to give infected blankets to the enemy that hasn't ever been tried before and known to have worked? Where does it say in those letters that Amheart discovered germs are are in saliva?
Why not just shoot them on first sighting instead of giving them a blanket infected with Smallpox? Are they not the enemy? Why, yes, they are. And this enemy would attack you first before you could get anywhere near them to give them a blanket.
Yet, the story gets more detailed as two (2) Blankets and a handkerchief was a peace offering (under the guise of Smallpox)?
Such a gift to make peace! Imagine the sacrifice it took to give away those blankets and the handkerchief?
The peace conference conversation perhaps went like this,
"Hey Big Chief Indian, Indian! Here are two pristine blankets and a designer handkerchief. This sacrifice of our precious blankets and handkerchief proves we will not invade your lands anymore."
Can you imagine the look on Big Chief Indian when he saw those two super clean blankets? And then that handkerchief? Wow, that would be the icing on the cake. How thoughtful Amherst was?
You see, the soldiers under Amherst had to WASH, clean, and perhaps iron the blankets and handkerchief to make them look presentable. This tactic, as opposed to giving the Big Chief Indian, Indian a wrinkled and used pair of blankets and handkerchief.
Ooops! Did these soldiers wash and clean them to make the blankets and handkerchief presentable to Big Chief Indian, Indian inadvertently remove the Smallpox?
Note: These Amherst letters seems like total Snake Oil Historian only to get a research grant to a starving professor. Again, no raw data except easily forged photocopies of only snippets of letters.
THE BUFFALO WAS DELIBERATELY KILLED OFF TO STARVE INDIGENOUS PEOPLES
To think that someone just killed buffalo to starve to death the Indigenous Indians when food by the European Explorers was one lousy harvest from starvation itself is just another modern day historian type of thought that cannot be applied to the distant past.
Next, it would be some tough to do, to begin with only limited arms and ammo.
Third, you only have one horse, and that horse needs water. Then there is a need for a massive posse.
Four, when that first rifle shot goes off, you can bet that herd of buffalo is off to the races, so you better have Triple Crown Winner Secretariat as a horse if you plan on shooting more than one buffalo.
Again, what a really dumb idea when you actually try to do it in the real world.
1,000 LANGUAGES MEANS 1,000 YEARS OF INFIGHTING and SAVAGERY
Since the Indigenous People were constantly on the move hunting and gathering and likewise one meal from starvation, they probably had savage infighting between the tribe members on what to do next, and where to go and hunt.
Indigenous mating and courtship could have animalistic traits and events.
With over 1,000 languages, it was probably over 1,000 years of savagery even within a tribe.
Note, the Europeans were probably horrified by what they saw between these Indigenous Indians tribes and even the infighting within a tribe.
DROUGHT and FOREST FIRES EXISTED BACK THEN
In both North and South America, drought and famine have always existed. Next, a lightning bolt can start a fire, and even more so during a severe drought. Forest Fires, as you see recently in California and Australia, can affect vast amounts of land and are even worse if unchecked.
This is unlike Today, where you have thousands of firefighters deployed to stop the forest fires.
Hence, because of drought and forest fires, the Indigenous Indians could easily be affected. The same goes for those Indians in South America.
CAN YOU REALLY BLAME THE EUROPEANS?
With well over a thousand languages, it stands to reason many of the indigenous languages had already"died out" via internal wars before 1,492. Second, it also stands to reason these same internal wars between the Indigenous Peoples continued even after the year 1,492.
And with this many languages, these Indigenous Peoples were always teetering on extinction within one generation via constant border skirmishes and border wars between themselves.
Furthermore, being a nomadic, and hunting and gathering type of people will inherently cause non-stop border wars between these people.
Hence, can anyone actually blame the Europeans for the demise of these Indigenous Peoples as these Indigenous Peoples have a long history of internal wars just like you saw in early Europe and early China?