Journal of California and Great Basin Anthropology
Serpent in Eden: Dispersal of Foreign Diseases Into Pre-Mission California
- Author(s): Preston, William
- et al.
The purpose of this paper is to show that California was in close and intimate proximity to the germs and vectors required for pre-mission pestilence. In addition, the perception of California's geographic immunity will be revealed as unwarranted owing to the multiple pathways available for conveyance of microbial infection into the state. This examination will trace the routes which may have channeled exotic diseases into pre-mission California and illuminate the dispersal mechanisms that transported them. Once California specialists are convinced of the probabilities of pre-mission pestilence, they may be motivated to more confidently search for new evidence of its arrival and reevaluate the old. The goal of this geographic assessment is to stimulate these long overdue efforts.