Why Didn’t Vikings Bring Disease To The Indigenous People Of Greenland?

Why didn’t the Norse people bring the same kind of devastating diseases to the native people of Greenland that would characterize later European-Indigenous contact in the Americas?

The Norse never had large-scale cities or towns on the island, to my knowledge, but I would think that after having a presence there for nearly five centuries they would have exposed the native population to the various diseases that would later wreak so much havoc further south.

Any ideas?

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What do you think?

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  1. The 500 years you’re referencing was just in Greenland and Greenland was uninhabited when the Norse arrived. The more mainland settlement didn’t last very long (less than a decade) and was confined to a small portion a lightly populated island.

  2. The contact period wasn’t long enough, one would assume – the settlements only survived for a couple years after all. Transmitting diseases usually isn’t a game of tag and it seems that the long period during which a constant stream of contacts between the Americans and european fishing vessle crews happened is generally not a subject talked about in school.

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