The smallpox devistation of the American Plains Indian did not occur that early. Desoto did not go that far west and the infection he brought had not spread much west of the Mississippi.

"Smallpox and the Plains Indians:
A smallpox outbreak in 1780-82 followed the distribution and trade route of the Indian horse (Haines). The outbreak in 1800-02 spreads from the Plains Indians to the Indians along the Pacific coast. Despite heavy losses during these periods, the most devastating outbreak of smallpox was yet to come.

In 1832, the first steamboat, a small side-wheeler named, Yellow Stone, reached Fort Union at the mouth of the Yellowstone River. The use of steamboats on the Missouri allowed large quantities of trade goods to move up and down the river. The buffalo hide trade now become more important than the trade in furs. Remote Indian villages brought their buffalo hides to the American Fur Company posts. This set the stage for ensuing disaster.

In June of 1837, the St. Peter arrived at Fort Clark, sixty miles north of present day Bismarck, North Dakota. Knowing there were men aboard the boat with smallpox, F. A. Chardon and others of the American Fur Company tried to keep the Mandans away from the boat, but to no avail. The two Mandan villages that had provided aid to Lewis and Clark during the winter of 1804-05 were devastated. Thirty-one Mandans out of a population of sixteen hundred survived the epidemic...these figures vary, but needless to say it was devastating to the Mandans.

The 1837 smallpox outbreaks were initially confined to the Indian tribes that lived by, or had come to trade at, the upper Missouri River trading posts. The Mandan, Blackfeet, and the Assiniboine nations suffered the highest number of deaths. The 1837-40 smallpox outbreaks were said to have a ninety-eight percent death rate among those infected (Bray)."

The large number of bison existed prior to the decline of the native plains indians from smallpox. Actually, the decline of both were almost simultaneos.

So I guess you could say the decline of both was caused by globaliztion, but I do not see how the increase in population of the bison could be attributed to that.

Last edited by bywarren; 07/20/09 02:11 PM.