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Pandemics in Chile

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Across the 19th century and into the 20th, a series of epidemic nightmares swept Chile, causing enormous damage to the nation’s welfare and economy. Among the worst were pandemics that framed the long nineteenth century: the smallpox outbreak of the 1800s, and the plague epidemic from 1902 to 1907, both brought to the country courtesy of the boom in global trade that followed Chilean independence. These pandemics thus bear witness to the negative consequences of globalization, as increased interconnections with the rest of South America and Europe brought both welcome and unwelcome changes.

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