Some of the events that McNeill recounts are astounding, and as he writes the reader can detect the barest hint of his raised eyebrows. Knowing McNeill a bit was how I first heard of this book, but not why I enjoyed reading it so much. Kindle Edition Verified Purchase. I am a very eclectic reader, and knowledge of our greatest evolutionary and now in this book social selection effector is somehow entertaining, important, and mentally stimulating. One person found this helpful. This book is exactly what it says it is; a detailed history of the role of yellow fever and malaria in the colonization of the Caribbean.
The book is a carefully researched volume with many footnotes for anyone who might want to read further into the topic. This is a scholarly work and may not appeal to general readers, although it certainly reveals the extent to which the two diseases influenced the process of colonization in the Caribbean.
The premise of this book is very interesting. I loved learning about how disease shaped the world of the Caribbean. However, there is far too much information about battles that could be summed up in the sentence "Most of them died".
McNeill obviously put an incredible amount of work and effort into this book, but it isn't the most enjoyable read because of all of this sometimes superfluous information. He also tends to repeat his thoughts, which can get annoying. Despite all this, I am very glad I read through it. I would recommend to anyone interested in environmental history or military history of the greater Caribbean. The author does not pretend that Washington's strategy and the timely intervention of the French fleet were not instrumental in causing Cornwallis' surrender at Yorktown, but he makes a pretty persuasive case that both generals' strategies were made in the context of their awareness of the prevalance of malaria not that either of the two knew malaria by that name or had any idea of the mechanism of disease transmission.
This is just an interesting to "Americans", at least coda to a very good book focused on the impact of yellow fever and malaria on fortunes of Spanish, Portugese, French, Dutch and American competitions in what the author calls the "Greater Carribean Area". Served the purpose of purchase. Increadible how disease changed history. I read this book because it was one of the references in "".
This is one of those eye-opening books that every reader interested in caribbean and americas' history should read. See all 19 reviews. Most recent customer reviews.
Enjoyed the first half or so about the Caribbean dynamics, but lost interest around Chapter 6 and it was a slog to finish off. Steckel , Richard H. McNeill obviously put an incredible amount of work and effort into this book, but it isn't the most enjoyable read because of all of this sometimes superfluous information. Parsons , James But her story is not merely the personal history of a woman, or the social history of a colonial Brazilian town. Your Kindle email address Please provide your Kindle email.
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Would you like to report poor quality or formatting in this book? Fascinating, but repetitive The premise of this book is very interesting. I loved learning about how disease shaped the world of the Caribbean. However, there is far too much information about battles that could be summed up in the sentence "Most of them died". McNeill obviously put an incredible amount of work and effort into this book, but it isn't the most enjoyable read because of all of this sometimes superfluous information. He also tends to repeat his thoughts, which can get annoying.
De Fascinating, but repetitive The premise of this book is very interesting. Despite all this, I am very glad I read through it.
Editorial Reviews. Review. "Brilliant. Ranging freely across the 'Greater Caribbean' McNeill makes a riveting case that the primary driver in the colonial . Mosquito Empires: Ecology and War in the Greater Caribbean, (New Approaches to the Americas) [J. R. McNeill] on domaine-solitude.com *FREE* shipping.
I would recommend to anyone interested in environmental history or military history of the greater Caribbean. Feb 10, Micah Medina rated it liked it.
Poor editing aside, this started out interestingly enough. Enjoyed the first half or so about the Caribbean dynamics, but lost interest around Chapter 6 and it was a slog to finish off. Human beings imagine themselves the masters of their environment, but in changing that environment they sometimes create ideal conditions for creatures that in turn master them. In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, Western Europeans transformed much of the Caribbean into a giant sugar factory, a source of profits and cheap if empty calories for the colonizing countries.
In so doing they turned those colonies into ideal homes for mosquitos, both the ubiquitous anopheles and the fragile ne Human beings imagine themselves the masters of their environment, but in changing that environment they sometimes create ideal conditions for creatures that in turn master them. In so doing they turned those colonies into ideal homes for mosquitos, both the ubiquitous anopheles and the fragile newcomer aedes aegypti, and for the pathogens - respectively, malaria and yellow fever - these prolific insects carried.
Replacing the indigenous human inhabitants whom they killed with African slave laborers, Europeans provided an ocean of warm human blood for female mosquitos to drink and infect. Cutting down the forests, they destroyed the habitat of birds and small mammals who fed on mosquitos. Planting cane fields, digging ditches, and building cisterns, the colonizers and their bondsmen created the pools of stagnant water where mosquitos bred. By the Caribbean and its shorelands had become not only a domain of wealth but a place of death: Europeans coveted the Greater Caribbean for its hugely valuable exports, but their efforts to found new Caribbean colonies or conquer older ones almost inevitably failed in the eighteenth century.
Newly arrived colonists and soldiers, attempting to found a Scottish settlement at Darien, build a French colony at Cayenne, or conquer Spanish ports like Cartagena and Havana, instead died by the tens of thousands, succumbing to fevers their bodies could not fight. By the end of the s colonial defenders had learned that mosquitos or at least the infections they carried were their best allies against European armies. If a seasoned local garrison force could hold out until summer, disease would destroy their adversaries. In the Napoleonic era, revolutionaries throughout the hemisphere turned their differential immunity to advantage.
The norteamericanos managed to conquer Mexico in only by scrambling out of their lowland supply port Veracruz and into the Mexican highlands before the mosquito breeding season began. The Americans could only hold their imperial gains, however, by applying newly discovered sanitation and mosquito eradication techniques, first in Havana and then in the Panama Canal Zone.
With these serendipitous discoveries, a discrete epoch in Caribbean and imperial history came to a close. It attains its greatest successes by telling a story we all thought we knew - the early Caribbean was a place of profits and death - in a new and better way. The deadly Caribbean disease environment was created not by God or evolution but by human intervention. Humans eventually discovered that they could turn that environment into an asset if they had manpower - seasoned colonial laborers slave or free with acquired immunities - who could withstand the fevers that killed invaders.
To the noble ranks of these anti-imperialists, John McNeill concludes, we should add a few members of the animal kingdom, particularly the despised but efficacious mosquito. Jul 31, Tom rated it really liked it. An eye-opening and strongly recommendable read. The book aims to prove the strong influence of rapid demographic and economic change on the tropical environment of the Greater Caribbean. McNeill shows that game theoretical mass-immunity could be a shield for the uninitiated against tropical desease, especially the slow crawling Malaria and the rapid and merciless Yellow Fever.
This status quo of the nessicity of mass-immunity strongly influenced European competition and empirebuilding in the Ca An eye-opening and strongly recommendable read. This status quo of the nessicity of mass-immunity strongly influenced European competition and empirebuilding in the Caribbean. McNeill eventually reaches two major conclusions. Men, locally born and immune either completely against Yellow Fever or partly against Malaria , were the vital backbone of any succesful European army in the Caribbean.
Any European power that gained a foothold in the Caribbean could put tropical diseases to good use as a defense, and any European power that succeeded in doing so saw itself reliant on locally born, immune man, to garrantee herd-immunty. McNeill uses this status quo to convincingly point out how the American revolutions spearheaded by Washington, Toissaint Louverture and Bolivar were at least partly the colonial immune turning on the Europeans, who couldn't bolster European bred army in the hostile environment and be victorious. This book also gives a interesting overview of the racial history of the Greater Caribbean.
Some peoples, more than others, were more immune to especially Malaria. McNeill also maps the spread of industrial slavery, which often had a devastating effect on the local environment, and influenced the conditions for diseases greatly. But McNeill also does this to point out which people had which stakes in supporting the Europe-based overlords, and in what places the European powers would find either support or disloyalty among the immune inhabitants. In general, McNeill gives an valuable insight into how environmental context can shape history. Everyone who wants to know more about environmental history, John McNeill, who's father too is a renowned environmental historian, is a reliable starting point.
Feb 01, Bryan Schwartz rated it liked it Shelves: A few days ago, I was discussing this book with a fellow Georgetown student in the history department over some coffee and lunch. My colleague was not nearly as convinced by McNeill's approach as I am. My friend noted that McNeill unjustly inflated the impact of mosquitoes and the diseases that they communicated on the course of Caribbean history. Though my friend may have a point, I felt that McNeill offered a thorough exploration of how a number factors e.
What's more, McNeill spends some time a whole sub-chapter at the beginning of the book outlining the limits of his vector based theory of Caribbean history p. Though Geoffrey Parker and Robert Marks were also careful to explain the limits to their respective arguments, McNeill illustrates the transnational method both more clearly and more eloquently. Though it may sacrifice the global scope explored in The Military Revolution and The Origins of the Modern World, the tighter focus of Mosquito Empires leaves less room for holes and glaring omissions.
Put another way, McNeill manages to make a convincing argument for the impact of disease on Caribbean history in the kind of focused and detailed approach that I craved from Marks. In expressing his grievances, my colleague also noted that McNeill does not venture into the realm of global history. And yet, while I partially agree that McNeill could have applied his thesis to areas of Asia as well, it seems a stretch to criticize an author for not including an area well removed from the stated region of focus.
Even without Asia, however, I was impressed by the number of connections that McNeill explored between mosquitoes and the much of the world. By examining the affliction and death of British Scottish and English men and women, Spaniards, Frenchmen, Germans, Africans, and American colonists as well as South American natives, McNeill ties much of the world together through a collective experience of disease and death.
Jun 27, Nora Ilacqua rated it really liked it. When I saw the listing of books the first one that caught my attention was "Mosquito Empires", because of its description which explained malaria and yellow fever and its affect on history. One of my favorite topics of ancient history is the Black Death, from the symptoms and actual deaths to seeing how culture like art and religion changed.
Also having read a book previous to this called " Fever " a fictional story about how yellow fever impacted a young girl in Philadelphia, and I felt tha When I saw the listing of books the first one that caught my attention was "Mosquito Empires", because of its description which explained malaria and yellow fever and its affect on history. Also having read a book previous to this called " Fever " a fictional story about how yellow fever impacted a young girl in Philadelphia, and I felt that Mosquito Empires would give me a bigger picture on how the diseases affected everyone in the world.
McNeill showed throughout the book how the world of humans and the nature around them couldn't coexist for to long before they were thrown back together again because of humans affects on the environment. Once multiple groups obtained territories in Europe a climate change caused the perfect temperature for mosquitoes which spread the diseases of malaria and yellow fever. This hurt human development but also helped it.
The Spanish army physically killed less people than the mosquitoes that brought disease in the lands they conquered giving them an edge over other civilizations. McNeill also explains how plantations spread disease because the conditions were perfect for mosquitoes including , rat infestations, soil erosion, and sugar from crops. Many great examples of how disease affected everyone across the world were shown in this book.
I gave this book four out of five stars because even thought it contains great facts and showed the expansion of malaria and yellow fever throughout the world, but it was very dry and the author only really expressed excitement when trying to prove the relations between ecological and political affairs. Sep 12, Samuel rated it liked it.
Environmental history has the amazing potential of answering staggering research questions with surprising and interesting explanations for causation. For example, in this book, John Robert McNeill shows that mosquitos carrying yellow fever and malaria were the reason the militarily inferior nation of Spain was able to hold onto its colonies into early 20th century despite many attempts by the British to conquer their holdings. By exhaustive research into both scientific pathology and 18th- an Environmental history has the amazing potential of answering staggering research questions with surprising and interesting explanations for causation.
By exhaustive research into both scientific pathology and 18th- and 19th-century historical records, McNeill shows that Spain got into the greater Caribbean region first. After benefitting from a few generations of "differential immunity"--in the case of yellow fever--and "differential resistance"--in the case of malaria--they were able to occupy and hold a few key ports and forts that the British could never quite overthrow due to setbacks in illness and decimation of their troops thereby.
The importation of large mammals and old world monkeys to the area allowed for yellow fever to survive for long periods of time of islands and land masses with large enough forests. These forests also provided the fuel, which combined with free labor--slavery--accounted for why sugar production which requires a lot of fuels to boil down the cane into sugar was able to do so well in the region even in comparison to the crop's origin: Similarly bananas and citrus fruits would be successfully moved from Asia to south America and the Caribbean.
My professor assigned "the most interesting" portions of this book, but if you are loving it, read on. It really has wonderful footnotes Jul 30, JR Bricksfield rated it really liked it Shelves: When people talk about the imperial wars between England, France, and Spain in the Caribbean during the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries, deadly diseases are mentioned, but usually as an aside. The number of people lost to malaria and yellow fever in a campaign are typically a footnote.
But, in Mosquito Empires, McNeill thrusts the issue front and center. Using this incident as a catalyst, the book discusses African religion and its place in a slave society, analyzing its double role as a refuge for blacks as well as a bridge between classes and ethnic groups such as whites who attended African rituals and sought help from African diviners and medicine men. Ultimately, Divining Slavery explores the fluidity and relativity of conditions such as slavery and freedom, African and local religions, personal and collective experience and identities in the lives of Africans in the Brazilian diaspora.
In this second edition of her acclaimed volume, The Women of Colonial Latin America, Susan Migden Socolow has revised substantial portions of the book - incorporating new topics and illustrative cases that significantly expand topics addressed in the first edition; updating historiography; and adding new material on poor, rural, indigenous and slave women.
Despite several studies on the social, cultural, and political histories of medicine and of public health in different parts of Latin America and the Caribbean, local and national focuses still predominate, and there are few panoramic studies that analyze the overarching tendencies in the development of health in the region. This comprehensive book summarizes the social history of medicine, medical education, and public health in Latin America and places it in dialogue with the international historiographical currents in medicine and health.
Ultimately, this text provides a clear, broad, and provocative synthesis of the history of Latin American medical developments while illuminating the recent challenges of global health in the region and other developing countries. Kuethe , Kenneth J.
This volume elucidates Bourbon colonial policy with emphasis on Madrid's efforts to reform and modernize its American holdings. Set in an Atlantic world context, the book highlights the interplay between Spain and America as the Spanish empire struggled for survival amid the fierce international competition that dominated the eighteenth century.
The authors use extensive research in the repositories of Spain and America, as well as innovative consultation of the French Foreign Affairs archive, to bring into focus the poorly understood reformist efforts of the early Bourbons, which laid the foundation for the better-known agenda of Charles III. As the book unfolds, the narrative puts flesh on the men and women who, for better or worse, influenced colonial governance.
It is the story of power, ambition and idealism at the highest levels. Immigration, Ethnicity, and National Identity in Brazil, to the Present examines the immigration to Brazil of millions of Europeans, Asians and Middle Easterners beginning in the nineteenth century. Jeffrey Lesser analyzes how these newcomers and their descendants adapted to their new country and how national identity was formed as they became Brazilians along with their children and grandchildren.
Lesser argues that immigration cannot be divorced from broader patterns of Brazilian race relations, as most immigrants settled in the decades surrounding the final abolition of slavery in and their experiences were deeply conditioned by ideas of race and ethnicity formed long before their arrival. This broad exploration of the relationships between immigration, ethnicity and nation allows for analysis of one of the most vexing areas of Brazilian study: He fought to shape the newly established republics, and between and he created the Peru-Bolivia Confederation. The epitome of an Andean caudillo, with armed forces at the center of his ideas of governance, he was a state builder whose ambition ensured a strong and well-administered country.
But the ultimate failure of the Confederation had long-reaching consequences that still have an impact today. The story of his life introduces students to broader questions of nationality and identity during this turbulent transition from Spanish colonial rule to the founding of Peru and Bolivia. This survey is a synthesis of the economic, social, cultural, and political history of the Atlantic slave trade, providing the general reader with a basic understanding of the current state of scholarly knowledge of forced African migration and compares this knowledge to popular beliefs.
The Atlantic Slave Trade examines the four hundred years of Atlantic slave trade, covering the West and East African experiences, as well as all the American colonies and republics that obtained slaves from Africa. It outlines both the common features of this trade and the local differences that developed. It discusses the slave trade's economics, politics, demographic impact, and cultural implications in relationship to Africa as well as America. Finally, it places the slave trade in the context of world trade and examines the role it played in the growing relationship between Asia, Africa, Europe, and America.
This new edition incorporates the latest findings of the last decade in slave trade studies carried out in Europe and America. It also includes new data on the slave trade voyages which have just recently been made available to the public. This book explores the links among ecology, disease, and international politics in the context of the Greater Caribbean - the landscapes lying between Surinam and the Chesapeake - in the seventeenth through early twentieth centuries.
Ecological changes made these landscapes especially suitable for the vector mosquitoes of yellow fever and malaria, and these diseases wrought systematic havoc among armies and would-be settlers. Because yellow fever confers immunity on survivors of the disease, and because malaria confers resistance, these diseases played partisan roles in the struggles for empire and revolution, attacking some populations more severely than others.
In particular, yellow fever and malaria attacked newcomers to the region, which helped keep the Spanish Empire Spanish in the face of predatory rivals in the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries.