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Medicines And Mortality

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Chapter Summary

Medical practice in sixteenth-century Spain was dominated by the views of Galen and Hippocrates, which during the Renaissance received renewed interest as humanist scholars turned back to Ancient Greece for their inspiration and began to examine the original Greek sources. Most medicines arrived in the New World through the normal trade routes from Spain, although merchants based in Lisbon, Antwerp or Venice supplied them. Doctors, hospitals and monasteries initially obtained their medicines from merchants or from boticarios. Mortality on land was considerably higher, though it varied significantly from year to year. As in Panama, the highest mortality among slaves once they arrived in Lima appears to have been associated with smallpox, measles or dysentery. Overall mortality from Cartagena to Lima was highly variable, with outbreaks of smallpox or measles being the main source of the variation.

Keywords: Cartagena; medicines; mortality; slave trader



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