Chapter

Disease and Empire

in Epidemic Invasions

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print November 2009 | ISBN: 9780226218113
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226218137 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226218137.003.0001
Disease and Empire

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During the Ten Years War of 1868–1878 between Cuba and Spain, yellow fever helped the insurgents' cause by decimating the Spanish army. By the end of the war, the disease posed a threat to the health of port cities engaged in trade with Havana and so also to the cities and towns of the interior that were linked to these ports. During the second half of the nineteenth century, the southern United States frequently suffered yellow fever epidemics, nearly all of which had been traced back to the island. Faced with repeated invasions of epidemic yellow fever from Havana in its southern states, America confronted Cuba with the prospect of an epidemic of invasions of the island by U.S. troops. This book demonstrates that the devastating power of the yellow fever virus had a crucial and long-lasting impact on the relationship between the two nations. It also shows that the inherently colonial nature of U.S. efforts against yellow fever in Cuba is paradigmatic of subsequent U.S.-sponsored public health measures in Latin America.

Keywords: Ten Years War; Cuba; Spain; United States; yellow fever; public health; Latin America; epidemic; invasions

Chapter.  4087 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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