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How Colonization's Death Toll May Have Affected Earth's Climate

January 31, 2019 in History

By Sarah Pruitt

As the 15th century drew to a close, some 60 million people lived across the Americas, sustaining themselves with the bounty of the vast lands they inhabited.

But with the arrival of the first European settlers, waves of new diseases, along with warfare, slavery and other brutality would kill off around 56 million people, or around 90 percent of the indigenous population.

Now, scientists from the University College London (United Kingdom) argue in a new study that this “Great Dying” that followed European colonization of the Americas may have actually affected Earth’s climate.

Their version of events, . The new study suggests that human impact on the planet stretches back centuries before the Industrial Revolution began, with the collapse of farming in the Americans hundreds of years ago.

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