Living may be hazardous to your health—a copied platitude universally true throughout the prehistory and the history of the human race. When Columbus "discovered" America, the natives of the North American Continent were contending well enough with the ecology of their time. The flora and fauna provided them with food, clothing, and shelter. A few of them engaged in crude farming of crops among which was maize, now our delectable corn on the cob. Still, they experienced hunger, cold, drought, and lack of a means of transportation other than by waterways and shanks' mare. And they fought, tribe against tribe, dying while playing one of man's oldest contact sports.
Some of the first white settlers found the environment of the New World more than they could withstand. The Spaniards succeeded in establishing the first permanent colony at St. Augustine, Fla. Earlier the French Huguenots had failed in areas of present-day
The Environment. JAMA. 1970;211(12):2009. doi:10.1001/jama.1970.03170120053010
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