A recording of this Washington History Seminar is available in the C-SPAN Video Library.


Washington History Seminar
Historical Perspectives on International and National Affairs

 "Revolutionary Mosquitoes: Malaria, Yellow Fever, and Independence in the Americas, 1776-1825"

John McNeill

John McNeill argues that yellow fever and malaria, both mosquito-borne diseases, helped make the Americas free. In the campaigns of 1780-81 in the Carolinas and Virginia, in the Haitian Revolution of 1791-1804, in the wars of independence in the Spanish Americas of 1808-25, locally born and raised soldiers and militia enjoyed a strong advantage over European troops in terms of their resistance to these two infections. Did disease tip the military balance?

Educated at Swarthmore College and Duke University, John McNeill is currently Professor of History and University Professor in the Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. His books include The Mountains of the Mediterranean World (1992); Something New Under the Sun: An Environmental History of the 20th-century World (2000); and Mosquito Empires: War and Ecology in the Greater Caribbean, 1620-1914 (2010). His next research project will be a global environmental history of the Industrial Revolution.

Report from the Field:
Richard Immerman, Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations

Monday October 7, 2013
4:00 p.m.
Woodrow Wilson Center, 6th Floor Moynihan Board Room
Ronald Reagan Building, Federal Triangle Metro Stop

Reservations requested because of limited seating:
mbarber@historians.org or 202-450-3209
Photo ID required for admittance to the building.

Oct. 21: Bernd Schaefer (WWC) & Baskara Wardaya (Sanata Dharma) on Indonesia 1965-66

Co-sponsored by the National History Center of the American Historical Association and the Wilson Center, the seminar meets weekly during the academic year. See www.nationalhistorycenter.org for the schedule, speakers, topics, and dates as well as webcasts and podcasts. The seminar is grateful for the support of the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations.


  • John McNeill

    University Professor, School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University