(AP) -- Mexicans have long been taught to blame diseases brought by the Spaniards for wiping out most of their Indian ancestors. But recent research suggests things may not be that simple.Well of course some historians are offended. Making the diseases native removes a popular and convenient scapegoat, and effective scapegoats are rare treasures which are not to be abandoned without a fight. I mean, if the Spanish are not wholly to blame for wiping out the indigenous population of America, what other things might they not be to blame for?
While the initial big die-offs are still blamed on the Conquistadors who started arriving in 1519, even more virulent epidemics in 1545 and 1576 may have been caused by a native blood-hemorrhaging fever spread by rats, Mexican researchers say.
"This wasn't smallpox," (Harvard-trained epidemiologist Dr. Rodolfo) Acuna-Soto says. "The pathology just does not fit."
He says some historians in Mexico are offended by his theory.
It will be interesting to see if the theory is opposed (and it will be) using historical evidence or identity politics. I strongly suspect it will be the latter, because in addition to being easier, it makes the victims feel better about themselves.
Which is, alas, one of the main goals of modern secondary education.