Genocide Of Native Americans So Devastating “It Literally Cooled the Planet”

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Above photo: Native people encounter Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto in the 19th century. (Photo: Wikimedia)

The mass genocide of the Native American people by European colonizers during the 15th and 16th centuries—in which an estimated 56 million indigenous people, or 90 percent of the population, were wiped out by violence and disease—was so complete and devastating, new research shows,that it triggered a planetary cooling.

According to scientists at the University College London,the Europeans’ mass killing of natives in the Caribbean and the Americas led to the populations’ agricultural systems to go untended, leading to an overgrowth of vegetation all over the region. So many new trees and plants grew over a total area of about 55 million hectares, that the vegetation absorbed significant amounts of carbon from the atmosphere and caused the planet to cool down.

This period was marked by a drop in global temperatures by .15 degrees Celsius (or .27 degrees Fahrenheit), disrupting agriculture around the world and leading to several famines in Europe.

The genocide was so complete, the study says it led to what historians call the Little Ice Age in the late 16th and early 17th centuries.

Author and co-founder Bill McKibben pronounced the findings “beyond horrifying.”

The report, published in Quarternary Science Reviews, “demonstrates that human activities affected the climate well before the industrial revolution began,” Reading University climate science professor Ed Hawkins, who was not involved in the study, told theBBC.</>

The study also shows, researchers said, how much work is needed to reverse the current trajectory of deforestation and fossil fuel extraction—both of which cause carbon dioxide to build up in the atmosphere.

The genocide “resulted in an area the size of France being reforested and that gave us only a few parts per million” of carbon dioxide which was absorbed us from atmosphere, researcher Chris Brierley told the BBC.

That “shows us what reforestation can do,” he added. “But at the same, that kind of reduction is worth perhaps just two years of fossil fuel emissions at the present rate.”

  • tibetan cowboy

    I’m glad to read this article describing the genocide of all Native Americans from the Arctic Circle to the Cape of Good Hope, the entire Americas was wiped nearly clean of its native peoples. The 15 million Native Americans (North Americans) killed is a solid number and well-known. Not so well-known is the additional 35-50 million native killed by Europeans throughout Central America, the Caribbean and South America as described in this article. Details of that genocide by Europeans are in these 2 excellent non-fiction books: “The Lost City of Z”, and “Lost City of the Monkey God”. Despite these goofy titles, the contents are erudite, scholarly and astounding information to most people.