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Question: What happened to malaria in the American colonies? I tell my students that early colonists in the Chesapeake suffered from malaria. One asked me why we don't have malaria anymore. Ideas?

Answer: Quinine, from the bark of South American Cinchona trees, protected millions of people from malaria in colonial times, enabling exploration and colonization in areas otherwise habitable but for this deadly disease. When administered promptly, quinine has the ability to halt malaria symptoms in just a few days (Garrett, 1994). Qunine has significantly affected the earth's population, for better or worse, by greatly reducing malaria's ability to control populations, especially in cities where large numbers of people were in constant close contact with each other. Before quinine was introduced to India in the 1850s, malaria was killing 1.3% of the population annually. Quinine has allowed India's population to grow to 700 million, whereas without it, India's population would be about 7 times less (Hobhouse, 1986). Populations of natives from western Africa had a high frequency of sickle cell anemia, which has deleterious symptoms, but had the great benefit of rendering afflicted persons largely immune to malaria. For many centuries, blacks from western Africa were preffered slaves because they could work in areas where other people would contract malaria, an

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