Did A Salmonella Outbreak Cause Aztec Society To Collapse?

Kristine Moore - Author

Feb. 20 2017, Updated 11:50 a.m. ET

Aztec society perished for a number of reasons, but new evidence is now pointing to a deadly outbreak of salmonella as very possibly being the main culprit responsible for the demise of the Aztecs. In 1519, Spanish forces arrived in Mexico, and the Aztec population was then estimated to be at 25 million. In the century that followed, Aztec society had dwindled to just 1 million people.

Scientists have now put forward fresh evidence from the DNA of a bacterial species, suggesting that a deadly salmonella outbreak may have been responsible for the death of Aztec society.

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Science Alert reports that after the Spanish arrived in Mexico, there were a number of forces at play that would have affected the Aztecs. One of these includes the fact that Spaniards brought with them a number of European diseases, which caused outbreaks in the native population and which the Aztecs would not have built up a resistance to. The worst out of all of these outbreaks was called cocoliztli, which is from the word “pestilence” in Nahuatl, the Aztec language.


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