Small Pox Epidemic

 Week 14: Small Pox Epidemic (1600’s)

READ: K – 5:  Read “Note” and look at pictures of smallpox victims on the internet. (Parents: Some of these images may be disturbing!  Please view these images first before showing them to your children!  To see photos click HERE,  HERE, and HERE. ) 

6 – 8:  Small Pox in the New World (Epidemic!) by Stephanie True Peters (Read Chps 1, 3, and Chapter 4 pgs 33-40)

NOTE:  Smallpox is a deadly disease.  Symptoms include headache, backache, fever, nausea, and a terrible rash that spreads all over the body.  The rash turns to blisters that fill with puss.  The blisters itch terribly and then turn to oozing sores that give off a terrible odor.  Survivors are permanently disfigured.  It spreads by sneeze, cough, or even by touching the clothing or blankets of a victim.  A person who survives the illness will never get it again.  Native Americans had never been exposed to it before.  9 out of 10 Native Americans who caught it died.  Widespread disease also caused starvation for people.  With so many people sick, there were not enough people to tend the fields.  People ran out of food and died.  There were many Indian tribes who were almost completely wiped out because of the disease.    Often colonists were able to take over land previously held by Native Americans when whole tribes died from the disease.  Unfortunately, there were some incidences of “biological warfare” by the colonists.  They deliberately sent blankets of smallpox victims to Native American settlements to kill tribes of people.    Many puritans believed that people who contracted the illness were being punished by God.

People do not get the disease today because of immunizations people receive as children.

DISCUSS:

  • What is Smallpox? (a deadly disease. )
  • What are its symptoms? (headache, backache, fever, nausea, terrible rash that spreads all over the body.  The rash turns to blisters that fill with puss.  The blisters itch terribly, then turn to oozing sores that have a terrible odor.  People who survive are disfigured.)
  • How does it spread? (sneeze, cough, touching blankets or clothing of victim)
  • Can a person who’s had it ever get it again? (no)
  • How did it affect Native Americans? (Thousands and thousands died.  9 out of 10 died)
  • Why did many people starve to death during Smallpox epidemics? (not enough people to tend fields)
  • How did Smallpox give the colonists new land? (They were able to take over land previously held by Indians)
  • Did Smallpox kill colonists too? (yes)
  • What is biological warfare? (when people purposely send diseases to kill others)
  • Were some colonists guilty of biological warfare? (yes)
  • What were Puritan’s views of the illness? (believed it was a punishment sent by God)
  • Do people get the illness today? (no – due to immunizations)

ACTIVITIES:

K – 3: Draw your own picture of a person suffering from Smallpox.

4 – 6: Write your own short story of a person getting Smallpox (1 page) OR pretend you are a newspaper reporter living in the 1600’s.  Write a newspaper article about the smallpox epidemic in your town.

7 – 8: Write your own short story of a person getting Smallpox. (2 pages) OR pretend you are a newspaper reporter living in the 1600’s.  Write a newspaper article about the smallpox epidemic in your town.

Copyright November 11, 2012 by Gwen Fredette

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Filed under Charlotte Mason, Colonial America, Early American History

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