It is a well-known fact that in 1492 Columbus sailed to America. What is not well known is the population of the Native Americans before European arrival in the New World is agreed by historians to be somewhere around fifty million people (Taylor 40). When people came to the new world, they brought along great things such as the modern technology of that era, but they also brought with them disease. Eventually, disease was the killer of an estimated ninety percent of the Native American population (Roberts). This significant number of deaths in the Native American population had a major impact on the United States’ history. This event was a major part of history, and many people wonder where we would be today had it not happened.
If the Native Americans had not been affected so severely by the diseases brought by the Europeans, the United States could be different in so many ways. When the settlers came from Europe they brought diseases with them. The most common of these diseases were influenza, typhus, measles, and smallpox. There are many factors that contributed to the deadliness of these diseases. To start, the Native Americans had never been exposed to these diseases before. The Natives were also very isolated, unlike the Europeans, and their immune systems were not built up enough from contact to be prepared for these types of diseases. Since the Native Americans had no immunity to the diseases brought by the Europeans, the diseases ended up killing ninety percent of the population. This event in history is often overlooked, but it was significant in shaping the U.S. and even the world into what it is today. Some things that might not have been possible had the Native Americans survived are the settling of the colonies, the American Revolutionary War, and the U.S. Industrial Revolution. Many would argue that without any one of these events the world would be changed for the worse.
Although the tragic mass death of the Natives was crucial in shaping the United States to be what it is today, it is almost impossible not to wonder what our country would have been like had they not died from these diseases. What if, in an alternate version of history, the Native Americans didn’t die from disease but instead recovered. The Native Americans would be threatened by the Europeans because they brought these terrible diseases with them. If they felt threatened, they may try to attack the European settlers or their settlements in an effort to force them out. Despite their lack of advanced weaponry, they greatly outnumbered the Europeans; they would be more than powerful enough to destroy settlements and at least be able to negotiate peace with the colonists if that’s what they wished. If peace was negotiated, there would be a good opportunity to trade between the Native Americans and the colonists. The trading over time could lead to a healthy relationship between the Natives and the colonists. They could learn each other’s ways, and this would greatly impact the culture of the United States today because the Native Americans could influence the colonists with their beliefs and ideas. The Natives preventing the colonists from settling or the Natives negotiating peace between themselves and the colonists are both major things that could have had a snowball effect in how history played out past that point.
One of the most impactful events in world history is the Revolutionary War. It gave the United States independence, and it inspired many other countries and people to fight for their own independence. If the Jamestown settlement was destroyed while the Native Americans were making an effort to force the Europeans out, it is a possibility that early settlers may not have gotten the idea to grow tobacco. Without tobacco, there was not much money being made in the colonies. People may have continued to come to the colonies to escape religious persecution, but the rapid flood of people coming for money would not have happened. The people coming would have settled as close to the coast as they could get. Therefore, the French and Indian war could have been avoided, along with the expenses that came along with the war. This means that the colonies would have avoided “unfair taxation.” Since the colonies began to rebel because they felt that they were being taxed unfairly, there would not be a Revolutionary War. This would have a major impact on the entire world. The Patriots winning the American Revolution was a very important thing not just for the United States but for the world. Winning the American Revolution didn’t just