How many native Americans were killed during the colonization?

Are there any good guesses about how many native Americans were killed during the colonization? I read most were killed by diseases, smallpox, measles, etc., imported by the Europeans. The documentation is very sketchy but is there a rough number that could be considered at least an educated guess? I'd just like to know how many were killed by the colonizer, not diseases, tribal wars and other reasons.

2 Answers

  • ?
    Lv 7
    8 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    There's no way way to tease those apart, when some were deliberately infected, and they deliberately set tribes against each other. The numbers I've seen cited are 80-100 million.

  • 8 years ago

    No one can really give you more than a rough estimate, because there were so many epidemics among the natives in terms of European diseases to which they had no immunity, such as smallpox, measles, scarlet fever, whooping cough, and more besides.

    Inter-tribal fighting also killed a percentage, and of course there were the European conflicts with the natives (as Will Rogers, an American humorist with strong ties to the Cherokee Band in Oklahoma once observed, tongue in cheek--"All you had to do to get more land was kill another Indian.")--many times justified by European colonists who viewed themselves as the ancient Israelites and North America as the Promised Land, and the Native Americans as so many heathens to be exterminated.

    Then consider other parts of the Western Hemisphere that were under the control of Spain--people in these areas often had conversion forced on them, only to be treated like slaves rather than as brothers and sisters in faith.

    How many died? Taken all in all, from the time of the first explorations to a little more than a hundred years ago, I'd say the body count would be in the millions.

Still have questions? Get your answers by asking now.