A JOURNAL OF THE EXPEDITION TO CARTHAGENA


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Coletrain with the remainder of his Company viz. Gooch to Duke of Newcastle dated New York 8. July As to the American Levies they go on briskly even beyond what could have been expected during high Harvest and high Wages M r Belcher writes that he shall be able to send ten or twelve companies from his Province: M r Thomas eight from Pensylvania M r Johnson five or six from North Carolina and indeed all of them wrote that they were surprised taking it from the number of Commissions sent them to find themselves restricted to any number of Companies.

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Indies Vol. Ind Vol. Blakeney to Duke of Newcastle Hampton in Virginia Oct Carolina Colonial Records Vol. Johnson to Duke of Newcastle dated Edenton in North page 44 Carolina.

No 23 p. In those Northern parts of the Colony adjoyning to Virginia We have got 3 Companies of men each tho' some few deserted since they began to send them on board the Transports at Cape Fear. There is one Company consisting of above Men whom I am just now going to see embarked. I have good reason to believe that we could have easily raised more if it had been possible to negotiate the Bills of Exchange in this part of the Continent But as that was impracticable we were obliged to rest satisfied with four Companies.

No It has been suggested that Salvany's eye disease was also due to tuberculosis [ 10 ].

Some of the expedition members were commissioned by Salvany to continue the journey to Quito Ecuador and Piura Peru , where they arrived on 23 December [ 10 ]. The harshness of the journey through rivers and the rugged paths in the Andes in Peru was eased by the welcoming gestures they received in the Native American villages [ 10 , 16 ]. While they were in Piura, they received written communication from the local authorities of the capital city of Lima, Peru, which stated that vaccination was widely taking place in Lima.

The expedition were relieved to hear this. However, when they reached Cajamarca Peru on 9 March , and Lima on 23 May , the expedition did not receive the welcome they were accustomed to [ 10—12 ]. The vaccine had been previously introduced in Lima by the viceroy of Buenos Aires [ 10 ]. Salvany appealed to the viceroy of Peru, but the decrees calling for mass vaccinations in Lima were not heeded.

Vaccination had become a profitable business for local physicians, who resented the potential loss of income that would be caused by the expedition. Luckily, a new viceroy arrived in Lima who strongly supported the expedition's endeavors [ 10 ]. More than , vaccinations were administered in Peru [ 10 , 16 ].

Salvany subsequently died of tuberculosis while traveling from La Paz Bolivia to Buenos Aires Argentina [ 1 , 4 , 10 ]. De Balmis's expedition route. De Balmis also established a vaccination board that was responsible for procuring the vaccine and distributing it to Maracaibo, Margarita Island, and Cumana now Venezuela [ 1 , 4 , 10 ].

The expedition left Caracas on 6 May, after the crew had vaccinated nearly 12, people, and arrived in Havana Cuba , where they found that many Cubans were already being vaccinated [ 10 , 17 ]. De Balmis's expedition arrived in Mexico through the port of Sissal in Yucatan on 25 June [ 10 , 18 , 21 ].

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Vaccination boards were mostly comprised of members of the Catholic clergy who would gather on a weekly basis to review vaccination efforts in the different Mexican regions. Detailed immunization records were kept at the local churches [ 4 , 10 ]. A royal decree by Charles IV directed the de Balmis expedition to continue to the Philippines [ 10 , 16 ].

De Balmis left Mexico for the Philippines in a different corvette name unknown , which sailed from the port of Acapulco on the Pacific coast of Mexico in February For this endeavor, he was accompanied by 25 orphaned Mexican children [ 4 , 10 ]. The orphaned children from Spain who had been part of the original expedition stayed in Mexico under the supervision of the Bishop of Puebla [ 10 ]. Despite the termination of her contract on the Spanish children's arrival in Mexico, Isabel de Zendala y Gomez decided to continue the journey with de Balmis.

This allowed her to care for the Mexican orphaned children on board [ 10 ]. The expedition arrived in Manila Philippines on 15 April [ 1 , 16 ]. It is estimated that close to 20, individuals were vaccinated by de Balmis's crew in the Philippines [ 10 ]. After establishing vaccination centers for the production and distribution of the vaccination in different regions, the crew left the Philippines on a Portuguese ship named La Diligencia.

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It sailed westbound to Macau now part of China with 3 children on board who were to preserve the vaccine to promote smallpox vaccination [ 1 , 4 , 10 ]. On the ship bound for Macau, 20 members of the crew died as a result of a storm. It is unclear which specific members of the expedition perished. From Macau, de Balmis's expedition sailed to Canton now Guangzhou, China , where he is reported to have widely distributed smallpox vaccination [ 10 ]. The records of the expedition from Canton to Lisbon, Portugal only make reference to La Diligencia stopping at the British island of Saint Helena while sailing through the South Atlantic [ 1 , 3 , 4 , 10 ].

While on Saint Helena, de Balmis offered the vaccine to the local population, despite the prevailing political rivalry between Spain and England [ 4 , 10 ]. He returned to Spain in July , and presented his activity reports to the Council of the Indies [ 4 , 16 ]. A few years after the expedition, de Balmis died, neglected and forgotten [ 3 , 6 , 10 ]. The territory covered by the expedition in the Americas and Asia was not only vast, but also brutally harsh, with dense jungles, mountains, and uncharted rivers [ 16 ]. In some places, members of the expedition were received with popular enthusiasm and welcoming celebrations [ 16 ].

In other places, they encountered political rivalry, financial interests, or cultural beliefs that thwarted vaccination efforts [ 6 ]. Resistance to the introduction of the vaccine continued in some areas. A relevant example of this occurred a few decades after the expedition arrived in Mexico. Because of cultural beliefs and political rivalry in the mountains of Sinaloa and Durango, resistance to vaccinations led to the killing of the nurse Lucia Salcido, a nationally recognized promoter of vaccination in Mexico [ 6 ]. It is worth noting that Portuguese sailors attempted similar vaccination efforts in their own colonial territories a few years later, based on the experiences of de Balmis's expedition [ 16 ].

Charles IV's undertaking of this enterprise during an era of political instability and war in Spain is evidence of his philanthropic commitment driven by the growing spirit of enlightenment and advancement of science of the early 19th century [ 1 , 3 , 10 ]. At the same time, it would be irresponsible to ignore the fact that, although de Balmis's expedition was mostly humanitarian, economic and political motivations were also involved, because it was a time when imperial colonial powers dominated Europe.

It was only 7 years after Jenner's invention of the smallpox vaccine that the vaccination expedition reached 2 other continents. The passing of vesicle fluid from the ulcerated skin of one child to another child, thereby forming a living transmission chain, may not be an acceptable vaccination method by our current hygienic and professional standards; yet it was a creative and effective way of carrying the vaccine at a time when refrigeration, sterile containment, and asepsis were nonexistent [ 1 , 4 , 10 , 16 ].


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In retrospect, the expedition achieved relative initial success [ 1 , 4 ]. Vaccination efforts contributed to the growth of population by the late 19th century in the Americas [ 3 , 5 ]. Nevertheless, it should be noted that smallpox continued to ravage the Americas and Asia for more than years after de Balmis's expedition [ 5 , 9 , 14 ]. However, the practice of smallpox vaccination was intermittently continued. Some organized vaccination campaigns were developed in the Americas in the early 20th century, with some success [ 2 , 5 ]. These efforts finally paid off; the last identified case of smallpox appeared in Mexico in , almost years after Jenner's discovery and years of de Balmis's expedition [ 1 , 3 , 5 ].

Subsequent improvements in smallpox vaccination techniques led the Pan American Sanitary Organization to undertake a continent-wide eradication campaign in [ 23 ]. King Charles IV's vaccination campaign was visionary, occurring almost years before the World Health Organization and years before the Pan-American Health Organization were established. The success of the expedition was due not just to the heroic perseverance and dedication of those who took part in it, but also in their foresight and focus on public education and the use of local molders of public opinion to help get the message across.

In this, the expedition is a model of how an expensive, logistically complex international public health effort can translate advanced medical therapy into local cultural contexts. Historic achievements, such as this smallpox vaccination mission, should inspire the ongoing international efforts to control the plagues of our time.

Oxford University Press is a department of the University of Oxford. It furthers the University's objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education by publishing worldwide. Sign In or Create an Account. Sign In. Advanced Search. Article Navigation. Close mobile search navigation Article Navigation. Volume Article Contents. Smallpox in the New World.

Variolation and Vaccination. Legacy of the Vaccination Expedition. Reprints or Correspondence: Dr. Oxford Academic. Google Scholar. Lorena Lammoglia. Cite Citation. Permissions Icon Permissions. Abstract The New World was ravaged by smallpox for several centuries after the Spanish conquest. Open in new tab Download slide. De Micheli-Serra. Google Preview. Mc Neill.

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Search ADS. Accessed 11 June Smallpox vaccination in the early 19th century using live carriers: the travels of Francisco Xavier de Balmis.

A JOURNAL OF THE EXPEDITION TO CARTHAGENA A JOURNAL OF THE EXPEDITION TO CARTHAGENA
A JOURNAL OF THE EXPEDITION TO CARTHAGENA A JOURNAL OF THE EXPEDITION TO CARTHAGENA
A JOURNAL OF THE EXPEDITION TO CARTHAGENA A JOURNAL OF THE EXPEDITION TO CARTHAGENA
A JOURNAL OF THE EXPEDITION TO CARTHAGENA A JOURNAL OF THE EXPEDITION TO CARTHAGENA
A JOURNAL OF THE EXPEDITION TO CARTHAGENA A JOURNAL OF THE EXPEDITION TO CARTHAGENA
A JOURNAL OF THE EXPEDITION TO CARTHAGENA A JOURNAL OF THE EXPEDITION TO CARTHAGENA
A JOURNAL OF THE EXPEDITION TO CARTHAGENA A JOURNAL OF THE EXPEDITION TO CARTHAGENA

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