Biologists have discovered the secret of the disappearance of the Aztec civilization

Biologists have discovered the secret of the disappearance of the Aztec civilization

MOSCOW, February 17 — RIA Novosti. The Aztec civilization had disappeared 20 years after the conquest of Mexico by the conquistadors of Hernan Cortes because of a powerful epidemic of Salmonella that killed 80% of the Aztecs and other Indians, is spoken in article placed in electronic library

Today the history books and many scientists talking about the fact that the population of Indians in South and North America declined sharply in the 15th and 16th centuries after the penetration of the conquistadors and other European travelers. As a result, 20 million Indians, who lived in the New world before the coming of Columbus, remained less than half.

In particular, the anthropologist Henry Dobyns wrote in 1983 that the diseases brought by the conquistadors destroyed about 95% of the total population of America since 1492.

Many other researchers indicate that approximately 97% of the population of the former Empire of the Aztecs and about 90% of the inhabitants of Peru were killed by European infections in the first age after their conquest by the Spaniards.

Known paleogenetic Johannes Krause (Johannes Krause) from the Institute of human history in Jena (Germany) and his colleagues have found further evidence that European diseases were involved in the disappearance of the cultures and populations of Indians in the New world, studying the remains of people buried in 1540-1550 the years in the two cemeteries in southern Mexico.

Here, in the mountain villages and in the cities Teposcolula and Ukunda, the mixtecs lived — one of the most advanced Indian tribes were part of the Empire of the Aztecs, who had developed a written language, culture and traditions of making jewellery from gold and precious stones. Like many other tribes, the mixtecs and their rich culture is almost completely gone in 30-40 years after the conquest of Mexico by the Spaniards.

Chroniclers of the time mention in their records the epidemic of the mysterious illness, which the locals called “collectl”.

As this word is translated from Nahuatl as “Mor”, no one knows what it was really. Scientists for decades arguing about what had killed most of the mixtecs and other tribes of the former Aztec Empire. Her role was nominated for a variety of diseases, starting with smallpox and ending with typhoid fever, and various viral diseases.

Studying the remains of victims of the disease, Krause and his colleagues stumbled upon the answer to this historical mystery — fragments of DNA of the bacteria contained in large amounts in bones and teeth of victims of the mixtecs. Putting them together, the researchers compared this “fossil” DNA with the genomes of several pathogenic bacteria, and found that the culprit of the epidemic was the usual European Salmonella Salmonella enterica.

The strain of Salmonella that killed the Indians, — Paratyphi C, exists on the Earth today, and it primarily affects poorer Asian and African countries.

He appeared in Norway around the 12th century, long before the voyages of Columbus to “India” and the March of Cortes to Tenochtitlan. In General, this infection is highly lethal — if untreated, kills about 10-15% of infected people.

The Indians, apparently, were not familiar with this disease, so their immune system is extremely hard to deal with the penetration of Salmonella in the intestine and development of gastric fever. For this reason, the lethality of infection was significantly higher than the rates that were reached in Europe more dangerous germs, such as typhoid fever or even the plague. Similarly, given the ubiquitous references to “collectly” in the Chronicles of other regions of Mexico, could disappear and other tribes the Aztec Empire, the scientists conclude.