"Great Dying"

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"Great Dying"


King Philip's War (1675-1676), a brief but bloody conflict between Native Americans and English colonists in southern New England, marked a turning point in 17th century encounters between Indians and Europeans. However, it was not the worst disaster to occur during a long period of tension and upheaval. That honor goes to the "Great Dying," a cataclysmic scourge brought upon the native population by epidemics—notably smallpox, measles, and typhus—from which they had no immunity. Spreading into this region from the mouth of the Saco River in 1617 and up the Connecticut River by 1635, these contagious diseases seriously reduced Abenaki numbers, perhaps by as much as 90 percent.



Still Image Record