Pestilences of the Just War: An Epidemiologic Investigation of the Pequot War

Author(s): Ashley Bissonnette

Year: 2016


The Pequot War (1636-1637) destroyed infrastructure, resources and production, mobility, lines of communication and social networks that comprised a complex preventative health system for both native and colonial peoples. The destruction and change in physical and social environments and the disproportionate burden of conflict, for the purposes of this paper, is defined as colonial trauma. Physical and social stressors exacerbated disease that changed the course of colonial battles and heightened the effect of conflict on military and civilian populations.

A process of historical epidemiology is applied to explain the toll of colonial trauma and its gateway effect on disease and people’s preventative health strategies. Historical epidemiology facilitates an understanding into the social and natural history of disease and the pathways and patterns that are unique to war-torn communities. Due to the nature of fragmentary 17th century records, a variety of health approaches, and historical and archaeological evidences will be applied. Together, these will provide deeper insight into the Pequot War, and new ways of organizing and understanding the archaeological and historical records.

Cite this Record

Pestilences of the Just War: An Epidemiologic Investigation of the Pequot War. Ashley Bissonnette. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 404174)

Spatial Coverage

min long: -80.815; min lat: 39.3 ; max long: -66.753; max lat: 47.398 ;