Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 11th grade July 2001

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Cancer, AIDS, Ebola "" when mentioned, one can only shiver in fear about what it must be like to be infected with one of these terrible diseases. However, when the disease smallpox is mentioned in today's society, many think nothing of it. Lack of education about smallpox has made some humans unaware of its existence. For others, they could care less about this recently "eradicated" disease. But, for those who lived during major outbreaks of smallpox, it was a very serious issue that everyone knew about and paid much attention to. After all, it was not known as "one of humankind's greatest scourges since time immemorial"(The Triumph over) for no reason at all.

"The term small pockes (pocke meaning sac) was first used in England at the end of the 15th century to distinguish the illness from syphilis, which was then known as great pockes."(Facts And Figures) Smallpox has much history behind it.

It is believed that smallpox existed as far back as 10,000 BC. Scientists found evidence of smallpox on the mummified corpses of Egyptian Kings from the 18th and 20th Dynasties, which were around from 1570 BC to 1085 BC. The first recorded epidemic was in 1350 BC, during the Egyptian-Hittite War. As the Egyptians were captured and made prisoners, they brought with them a strain of smallpox and infected the Hittite soldiers along with King Suppilutiumas I. This nearly wiped out the entire Hittite civilization. In 180 AD, nearly 7 millions Romans were killed in the plague of Antonine.

"The Arab expansion, the Crusades, and the discovery of the West Indies all contributed to the spread of the illness."(The Triumph over) Smallpox was brought to the New World by the conquistadors of Spain and Portugal. It destroyed millions of people that lived in the New World.