Add Malaria to the List of Diseases Brought from the “Old” World to the “New” World?

A new study at the University of California suggests that malaria actually arrived in South America when ships bringing slaves from Africa brought the disease to the continent. While some had previously suggested that Europeans and/or Africans coming from Africa brought the disease to the Americas with them, there hadn’t been any concrete evidence to support such claims. However, in findings published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, the researchers in the UC system say that new genetic discoveries regarding the disease reveal that it only arrived on the continent between the 16th and 19th centuries. The list of food, animals, flora, and diseases involved in the Columbian Exchange was already lengthy, but it appears we can now more confidently add malaria alongside smallpox, typhoid, measles, the flu, yellow fever, and many other diseases to the list of diseases that came from Europe/Asia/Africa to the Americas.


About Colin M. Snider

I have a Ph.D. in history, specializing in Latin American History and Comparative Indigenous History. My dissertation focused on Brazil. Beyond Latin America generally, I'm particularly interested in class identities, military politics, human rights, labor, education, music, and nation. I can be found on Twitter at @ColinMSnider.
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