- The Oxford Handbook of American Indian History
- America in 1492
- European Invasions and Early Settlement, 1500–1680
- Living in a Reordered World, 1680–1763
- The Age of Imperial Expansion, 1763–1821
- US Expansion and Its Consequences, 1815–1890
- Surviving in the Twentieth Century, 1890–1960
- The Indian Renaissance, 1960–2000: Stumbling to Victory, or Anecdotes of Persistence?
- Contemporary History: Native America in the Twenty-First Century
- The Great Lakes
- The Southwest
- The Plains
- The Pacific Northwest
- The South
- The Atlantic Northeast
- Indian Territory and Oklahoma
- The Great Basin
- Gender, Sexuality, and Family History: Naynaabeak’s Fishing Net
- Population, Health, and Public Welfare
- Native American Expressive Arts
- Collectors and Museums: From Cabinets of Curiosities to Indigenous Cultural Centers
- Indians in the Marketplace
- Intellectual History
- Treaties and Treaty Making
- Urban Native Histories
- American Indians in Popular Culture
- American Indians in World History
Abstract and Keywords
Few developments in human history match the demographic consequences of European arrival in the Americas. Between 1500 and 1800, European powers extended their influence throughout much of the globe, but while the indigenous populations of Asia and Africa largely remain, the population of the Americas was transformed. The most popular explanations for this transformation emphasize epidemics caused by Eurasian pathogens. These familiar narratives, however, oversimplify the history. Uncertainty persists about, for example, the size of precontact populations, the timing of the mortality, its causes, and its consequences. It is important to appreciate the demographic history of American Indians in its full complexity, but not just for the historical record. Native American populations continue to suffer dire health inequalities. The stories that historians tell about demographic history influence how we thing about inequalities today, and this can have profound consequences for population health and health policy.
David S. Jones is the A. Bernard Ackerman Professor of the Culture of Medicine at Harvard University. His first book, Rationalizing Epidemics: Meanings and Uses of American Indian Mortality since 1600 (2004), examined how European colonists responded to the epidemics that struck American Indians. He has also published a critique of deterministic theories of Indian mortality, "Virgin Soils Revisited" (William and Mary Quarterly, 2003). His current work examines the complexity of medical decisions.
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