Wednesday, May 09, 2007

How Jamestown Changed The New World's Ecology

Here are some interesting facts we gleaned from a revealing National Geographic piece on Jamestown:

--Before European settlers came over, there were no earthworms in North America!

--There also were no honeybees. Without them, Virginia probably wouldn't be a major apple producer today.

--And this was a big surprise: the malaria parasite was introduced to the New World by settlers from swampy southern England, then picked up by native mosquitoes and spread through the natives. (Nat'l Geo speculates that one reason the natives didn't rise up and drive the famine-stricken English settlers away was that they severely weakened by a malaria outbreak.)

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