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By Ken De Bevoise

As waves of epidemic illness swept the Philippines within the past due 19th century, a few colonial physicians started to worry that the indigenous inhabitants will be burnt up. Many Filipinos interpreted the contagions as a harbinger of the Biblical Apocalypse. although the direct forebodings went unfulfilled, Philippine morbidity and mortality premiums have been the world's maximum in the course of the interval 1883-1903. In brokers of Apocalypse, Ken De Bevoise indicates that these "mourning years" resulted from a conjunction of demographic, fiscal, technological, cultural, and political tactics that have been development for hundreds of years. the tale is certainly one of unintentional outcomes, fraught with tragic irony.De Bevoise makes use of the Philippine case examine to discover the level to which people perform growing their epidemics. analyzing the archival checklist with conceptual tips from the healthiness sciences, he units tropical ailment in a historic framework that perspectives humans as interacting with, instead of performing inside, their overall atmosphere. The complexity of cause-effect and agency-structure relationships is thereby highlighted. Readers from fields as varied as Spanish, American, and Philippine background, scientific anthropology, colonialism, diplomacy, Asian stories, and ecology will reap the benefits of De Bevoise's insights into the interdynamics of historic approaches that attach people and their ailments.

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Extra info for Agents of Apocalypse: Epidemic Disease in the Colonial Philippines

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Moro incursions could destabilize a community as completely as American army depredations would centuries later. Raiders beseiged Ilog, Negros, for a month in 1722, finally destroying everything. Pedro Fariz reported that they burned all the houses in the town and fields as well as the growing rice. “As for plants, fruit trees and coconuts, they cut them down. ” Raids took the form of frontal attacks against poblaciones on Samar, with seiges lasting as long as five weeks. One priest described the consequences: “When the Moros besiege the town, as they usually do, the people are subject to epidemics .

Kathirithamby-Wells has characterized as commercial adventurism. Starting in 1785, a series of royal decrees had the de facto effect of removing restrictions on foreign shipping in the port of Manila. In order to take advantage of that move toward freer trade, the Real Compañía de Filipinas was created on the model of the successful Dutch and British East India Companies. The opening of the port legitimized much of the commerce that had long taken place under various covers, but the Crown still failed to benefit.

24 Much of what eventually made the population’s increase so epidemiologically significant resulted directly from new economic policies that reflected a changed conception of the colony’s role in the faltering Spanish empire during the eighteenth century. The agricultural and commercial transformations that followed are arguably the fundamental determinants in modern Philippine history. The internal economy, based on semisubsistence agriculture and local exchange of handicrafts, had traditionally been of little concern to the Crown since it held out no obvious promise of imperial gain.

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