The thesis that California's native peoples were infected with Old World diseases prior to the founding of the first mission in 1769 is attracting increasing attention but is not widely accepted by students of the state's prehistoric and colonial periods. The perceived lack of irrefutable proof that exotic pestilence was transmitted to California after the Columbian landfall but before foreign settlement is, in part, responsible for this lack of recognition. This article scrutinizes many varied lines of evidence that are interpreted as strong indicators of premission pestilence. As a consequence,researchers of California's prehistoric and colonial past are urged to seriously consider the profound implications for the interpretation of archaeological, biological, and ethnographic data.
William L. Preston; Portents of Plague from California's Protohistoric Period. Ethnohistory 1 January 2002; 49 (1): 69–121. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00141801-49-1-69
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