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The "ordinary" disease of the Amerindians.
" Our savages are so naturally healthy that they die of old age rather than of disease. However, they are prone to a few that are more often caused to them by cold and hot weather, and by the amount of fruit they eat (when they leave their homes to go to the mountains, they are hot and being there they catch cold). Their illnesses are most often fevers, colic and dysentery. As a remedy for stomach ache, this is what they do. If it is a man who is ill, he cuts off the hair of his wife's nature and then cuts it very small and drinks it in potato wine, and if it is a woman, she cuts off her husband's and drinks the same. If it is children, after the husband and the wife have cut each other's hair, they make their children drink it as above; nevertheless I have seen many of them die. " (Anonyme de Carpentras, 1618-1620, ed. Moreau 2002, 228).
The diseases of the Amerindians were most often transmitted through their prolonged contacts with Europeans carrying smallpox, tuberculosis, etc. This is the case of the freebooters who, from island to island, get supply of fresh water, cassavas, fruit and wood and made stopovers for weeks sometimes. Some sailors even decided to "degrade", i.e. to stay ashore and live among the Amerindians, whose food and "happy" existence they shared. This law of hospitality unfortunately spread epidemics like wildfire among the Amerindians. Entire villages and communities were decimated.