Review Of John F. Richards's Book 'The Unending Frontier'

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In chapter nine (The Columbian Exchange) of his book, The Unending Frontier, John F. Richards argues that the “Columbian discovery and colonial rule in the West Indies brought drastic changes to the people and natural environment of the Greater and Lesser Antilles.” For instance, the biological exchange of diseases such as smallpox and swine flu to which the indigenous peoples had developed no antibodies for “thinned (the native’s) numbers, destroyed their institutions, and broke their resistance to Spanish aggression.” In fact, after only a century after European contact, the indigenous population in the New World shrunk to one tenth its previous size from 53 million to 5 or 6 million people. Spanish rule, therefore, only expedited the eventual

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