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Bioterrorism

Historical Examples of Biological Warfare

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Historical Examples of Biological Warfare
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6th Century B.C.
 
During the 6th Century B.C., the Assyrians poisoned enemy wells with a fungus that would make the enemy delusional.

Medieval Ages
 
From historical records, it is known that the invading Turks, Mongols and other asiatic invaders commonly used animal corpses to poison water supplies to cities and castles under siege. It was also common practice to catapault corpses infected with the Black Death (the bubonic plague) into besieged cities. The last documented case of corpses being used for biological warfare was in 1710, when Russians attacked Swedish forces at the city of Reval (Tallinn).
 

The New World
 
When the Conquistadors and the other European settler's reached the New World, a major portion of the Native populations died as a result of being exposed to Old World diseases from which they had no previous immunization.
 
During Pontiac's War, the British Army gave blankets to the Lenape which had been contaminated with smallpox. It is suspected that biological warfare was used against Natives on other occasions, also.

World War II
 
The Japanese used biological warfare extensively during the Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945) and WWII (1939-1945), especially against Chinese soldiers and civilians. The Japanese distributed foodstuffs contaminated with the plague, such as vegetables and dumplings. They also contaminated water supplies with cholera and and the plague, resulting in over 580,000 deaths.
 
The Japanese also performed extensive research on the use of bioweapons and modes of dispersal. Much of this research was conducted by the infamous
Unit 731, a division of the Imperial Japanese Army.

The University of Florida - ENC2210 - Spring 2006