CODA: disease and death among Alaska Natives

Year Reference    
1766Several hundred Aleut warriors were killed after a native uprising. Villages were destroyed and natives left behind were demoralized(Fortuine 1992, 93)
1770 tuberculosis epidemic in Aleutions(torrey)
1791Respiratory epidemic in Unalaska(Fortuine 1992, 200)
1792respiratory epidemic on Sitkanak Island, near Kodiak(Fortuine 1992, 200)
1793Two Aleuts get smallpox in Yakutat(Fortuine 1992, 100)
179960 persons lost in Baidarka swamping accident when Baranov trekked to Sitka; the baidarkas fleet was also attacked by Tlingit.(Fortuine 1992, 105)
1799Baranov finds those in Yakutat succumb to serious disease and learns a similar outbreak is hitting hard in the Kenai and Kodiak areas. Many deaths resulted.(Fortuine 1992, 204)
1799Baranov moves base operations of RAC to Sitka, several hundred Aleut hunters in baidarkas, joined by an additional 250 Aleut hunters that wintered in Nuchek; 60 Aleuts died when their boats were swamped(Fortuine 1992, 105)
1799Baranov reports finds population of Yakutat inflicted with severe disease outbreak. Most died within 24 hours. Losses not reported in number.(Fortuine 1992, 204)
1799Peril Strait, 100 Aleuts die of shellfish poisoning on journey from Sitka back to Kodiak; survivors suffer starvation, scurvy and cold(Fortuine 1992, 105)
1799The founding of the new capital in Sitka costs many Koniag lives; numbers not provided(Fortuine 1992, 112)
1800Yakutat suffers a respiratory disease, losses not stated(Fortuine 1992, 108)
1802A Russian vessel winters in Atka with a crew that had a deadly, contagious "fever" they picked up in Okhotsk. The epidemic spread thru the local population causing many deaths and food shortages. (Fortuine 1992, 205)
1804Respiratory epidemic on Kodiak Island, Koniags return from a hunting trip off the coast of California on Boston ship O'Cain. Reported to have selectively killed off all shaman, spared most others(Fortuine 1992, 200)
1805Atkan mother and infant beaten to death by Russian hunter(Fortuine 1992, 115-16)
1805Rezanov sends creole students to Russia to increase education. Suggests they should be vaccinated for small pox, one student died after the declaration.(Fortuine 1992, 113)
1805Several Koniag tortured to death by Promyshlenniki(Fortuine 1992, ?)
1806"Contagious rotting fever" reported in the Aleutians and Kodiak. Many deaths of natives resulted.(Fortuine 1992, 205)
180672 "Boston Ships" or American trade voyages had made it to the coast; possibly introducing disease, particularly syphilis(Fortuine 1992, 166)
1806Respiratory epidemic in Unalaska, reported 350 deaths(Fortuine 1992, 200)
1806Respiratory epidemic on Atka, no one left to bury the dead, no numbers provided. Atka never regained former importance.(Fortuine 1992, 200)
1807-1808Severe dysentery outbreak (bloody diarrhea) on Unalaska after natives ate spoiled rice found in a shipwreck(Fortuine 1992, 205)
1808"Contagious rotting fever" reported in the Aleutians and Kodiak. Many deaths of natives resulted.(Fortuine 1992, 205)
1810Diarrhea epidemic suffered in Kodiak (100 cases, 2 deaths)(Fortuine 1992, 205)
1817Two Aleuts aboard a Russian vessel developed the first case of measles and recovered.(Fortuine 1992, 205)
1818Russian inspection tour (Golovnin) accused RAC of not providing workers with medical care or provisions(Fortuine 1992, 126)
1818-182020 bed hospital built in Sitka(Fortuine 1992, 126)
1819"Contagious rotting fever" reported in the Aleutians and Kodiak. Many deaths of natives resulted.(Fortuine 1992, 205)
1819Epidemic (likely influenza/measles) on Kodiak Island brought by the ship Finlandia, death toll 42; few escaped death(Fortuine 1992, 201)
1819Epidemic (likely influenza/measles) then spread from Kodiak to neighboring islands, then to Ukamok, an isolated island. 6 reported dead(Fortuine 1992, 201)
1819Epidemic in Sitka brought by an American ship from Java, 50 died(Fortuine 1992, 201)
1820American voyagers ventured into the Aleutians offering liquor and guns (possibly made it even to Kotzebue Sound)(Fortuine 1992, 166)
1820Russian America Company assigns first physician to Kodiak for the benefit of employees(Fortuine 1992, 194)
1821Russians exploring Kuskokwim, Nunivak and parts of Norton Sound, syphilis noted(Fortuine 1992, 117)
1824"Contagious rotting fever" reported in the Aleutians and Kodiak. Many deaths of natives resulted.(Fortuine 1992, 205)
182710 bed hospital built in Unalaska(Fortuine 1992, 137)
1827-1828Respiratory epidemic on Kodiak Island, kills 158 Koniag and Creoles (possibly influenza)(Fortuine 1992, 200)
18298 bed hospital facility built in Atka(Fortuine 1992, 137)
1830Simpson explores return island to Barrow, notes immense cemetery, indicating recent epidemic(Fortuine 1992, 121)
1830-1835Hospital built in Kodiak(Fortuine 1992, 137)
1830-31Respiratory epidemic on Unga Island and then the Alaskan Peninsula, kills more than 30 among mostly young, healthy men(Fortuine 1992, 202)
1830-31 influenza, Nushagak
1830'sCompany physician at Sitka reported epidemic diseases during the decade including gastric fever/probably typhoid, likely meningitis, diphtheria and whooping cough.(Fortuine 1992, 205)
late 1830'sForced treatment with small pox vaccine on natives near Russian outposts in Sitka/Kodiak(Fortuine 1992, 140)
1831Respiratory epidemic on Atka and Amlia Island . 8 died alone in Atka in the period of a month, other numbers not provided. The disease then spread to the Rat Islands by a hunting baidarkas.(Fortuine 1992, 202)
1832Epidemic spreads to the Near Islands(Fortuine 1992, 202)
1832epidemic, Nushagak 1831
1835-40Smallpox epidemic throughout Alaska: killed between one quarter and two-thirds of the people in all villages; survivors were scarred and easy prey to secondary infections
1835-1837Small Pox epidemic in Sitka, Tlingit's see the effectiveness of vaccination over Shaman care(Fortuine 1992, 193)
1838-1839Two native villages on the island where St Michael was located were decimated by small pox, numbers not providedAFP; (Fortuine 1992, 118)
1838-1840Small Pox epidemic, hits Yukon/Kuskokwim delta and works it way up the Yukon into the interior.(Fortuine 1992, 119)
1838Russian explores Unalakleet and Nulato posts. Abandons in winter, natives burn it.(Fortuine 1992, 119)
1839Wrangle post taken over by the British in 1839/Hudson Bay Co enters the arena(Fortuine 1992, 109)
1840Dr. Romanovskii sent many Chugach natives with syphilis to Kodiak hospital(Fortuine 1992, 137)
1840New England whalers active in the Gulf of Alaska and the Aleutians(Fortuine 1992, 161)
1840-1850Forced treatment of syphilitic women in Kodiak(Fortuine 1992, 140)
1841Doctors in Sitka report something similar to strep throat or even diphtheria takes 12 children's lives(Fortuine 1992, 206)
1843respiratory illness in Sitka(Fortuine 1992, 202)
1843-1844Epidemic of mumps in SE Alaska strikes nearly every native starting in the south and moving north, no deaths resulted.(Fortuine 1992, 206)
1843-1844Sitka suffers a cycle of epidemics starting with children plagued with diarrhea, respiratory/gastrointestinal disease, pneumonia and then pleurisy(Fortuine 1992, 206)
1843-184856 of 2383 patients admitted into Sitka's hospital died(Fortuine 1992, 133)
1844Fort Kolmakov on the Kuskokwim suffered it's first respiratory disease with a loss of 4 Creoles(Fortuine 1992, 209)
1845Pertussis(whooping cough) outbreak in Sitka; disease ended in paralysis of the lungs and exhaustion (Fortuine 1992, 202)
1847-1848"Gastric fever" and tonsillitis reported in Sitka. Two cases of malaria observed in natives that sailed on Russian vessels around the world.(Fortuine 1992, 206)
1848-1849Epidemic in Ikogmiut on the lower Yukon sickens many. Something similar to whooping cough hits villages on the Yukon(Fortuine 1992, 209)
1848First American whaling ship entered the arctic region, pivotal(Fortuine 1992, 121)
1848Measles present in the Stikine River district and rapidly spread to Sitka, almost all natives were inflicted. The Tlingit tolerated the disease but the Aleuts and Creoles lost about 10 percent of their population resulting in 57 deaths(Fortuine 1992, 206)
1848Measles then spreads to Unalaska, Unga and the Alaska Peninsula killing hundreds when they would not accept medical attention(Fortuine 1992, 206)
1850Epidemic similar to influenza found in Ikogmiut(Fortuine 1992, 210)
Early 1850'sRespiratory disease hits Port Clarence(Fortuine 1992, 209)
1851Respiratory disease occurred in St. Michael and spread up the Yukon at least to Ikogmiut and later made it's way to the Kuskokwim.(Fortuine 1992, 210)
1851-83Influenza outbreak in Point Barrow, kills 41(Fortuine 1992, 209)
1852Pneumonia epidemic in Sitka, Kodiak and Bristol Bay. 60 deaths, location not specified.(Fortuine 1992, 202-03)
1852-53influenza and measles on Y-K Delta(fienup-Reardon, 17)
185313 die in Sitka from typhoid fever, disease spread by the bite of lice. Influenza and scarlet fever were also found in Sitka that year but caused no fatalities.(Fortuine 1992, 206-7)
1853Nushagak/Lake Naknek region respiratory epidemic resulting in 163 deaths(Fortuine 1992, 203)
185560 Tlingit's die in conflict with Russian RAC managers(Fortuine 1992, 110)
1855Plover winters in Barrow for two years. Lots of interaction with Natives.(Fortuine 1992, 122)
1855-1860Port Graham Coal Mine Operation(Fortuine 1992, 170)
1859Respiratory disease up the Yukon makes it to Nulato, later it appeared on the Kuskokwim where many died, especially children.(Fortuine 1992, 210)
186022 of 1400 patients admitted into Sitka's hospital died, epidemic in progress(Fortuine 1992, 133)
1860Nushagak/Lake Naknek region respiratory epidemic resulting in 116 deaths(Fortuine 1992, 203)
1860Russian colonies hit with the measles causing 81 deaths(Fortuine 1992, 207)
1861Afognak suffered typhus outbreak which is quickly suppressed(Fortuine 1992, 207)
1862-63Influenza epidemic in Sitka; 55 victims
1865Scarlet fever outbreak on Kodiak(Fortuine 1992, 207)
1867US Purchases AK(Fortuine 1992, 140)
1867Alaska Commercial Company Incorporated and made posts in Pribilof Islands, Unalaska and St Michael, later in Prince William Sound(Fortuine 1992, 168)
1867Nulato suffers pleurisy and bronchitis outbreak that cause many deaths.(Fortuine 1992, 210)
1867Placer gold discovered on the southern Seward Peninsula(Fortuine 1992, 122)
1867US dismantles the Russian health care system, using facilities primarily for themselves or abandoning facilities all together(Fortuine 1992, 194)
1866-1869Lukin and Ketchum ascend Yukon all the way to Fort Yukon via boat to survey for the telegraph line. They did this 3 times via land and river.(Fortuine 1992, 122)
1867-1868Epidemic in Ikogmiut
1867-1869Army garrisons created in Kenai and Kodiak(Fortuine 1992, 141)
1867-1869Army garrisons created in Pribolofs(Fortuine 1992, 141)
1867-1869Army garrisons created in Sitka, Wrangell and Tongass(Fortuine 1992, 141)
1868First Salmon Saltry in Klawock(Fortuine 1992, 169)
1868Mumps outbreak on Kodiak and Prince William Sound then spreads to the mouth of the Copper River (Eyak and Ahtna)(Fortuine 1992, 207)
1868Vincent Colyer persuaded commander of AK district to admit young native girl into Sitka hospital, precedence set(Fortuine 1992, 141)
1870Pneumonia outbreak on Kodiak, no reported deaths(Fortuine 1992, 203)
1870Surgeons in the Navy and Revenue Marine Services were first to provide sporadic services to distant costal areas(Fortuine 1992, 195)
1871Army vacates Alaska(Fortuine 1992, 141)
1871Fort Wrangell becomes Alaska's first boom town when gold was discovered on British Columbia. Fort Wrangell rests at the mouth of the Stikine River Valle(Fortuine 1992, 170)
1871Placer gold found in Juneau and the Treadwell Mine was established in Douglas across the channel. Treadwell imported Chinese workers in huge numbers.(Fortuine 1992, 171)
1874-1875Severe form of measles struck Prince William Sound and Kodiak causing many deaths, 130-515 natives and Creoles reportedly died (conflicting number of deaths reported).(Fortuine 1992, 207)
1877US Army pulls out of Alaska, leaving AK ungoverned(Fortuine 1992, 145)
1878Harper finds evidence of gold on the upper Tanana at Forty Mile, near the Canadian border.(Fortuine 1992, 171-172)
1879-1884US Navy sends ships to govern Alaska(Fortuine 1992, 146)
1880Chilkat Tlingit's open the Chilkoot Pass(Fortuine 1992, 172)
1880Chilkat Tlingit's open the Chilkoot Pass(Fortuine 1992, 172)
1880Reports that 100's of natives died of starvation on St. Lawrence Island the previous year(Fortuine 1992, 150)
1881Harris AK suffers something similar to small pox but less deadly. It caused 4 deaths.(Fortuine 1992, 208)
1881Respiratory disease outbreak in Unalaska while the Corwin was anchored offshore then spread to St. Paul, Unga and Kodiak. Death occurred several days after onset. No numbers provided on the deceased.(Fortuine 1992, 203)
1881Typhoid was prevalent on the Kenai Peninsula and was reportedly destructive in Prince William Sound(Fortuine 1992, 208)
1882"Black measles" ravages SE causing many deaths in Sitka and the surrounding areas (natives and Creoles)(Fortuine 1992, 207)
1882Nelson Island loses almost all of it's natives to epidemic(Fortuine 1992, 211)
1882Pneumonia epidemic in Nushagak/Naknek region kills 31(Fortuine 1992, 203)
1882Severe respiratory epidemic in Eratlewik on the north shore of Norton Sound(Fortuine 1992, 210)
1882Severe respiratory epidemic in Ingalik, Lieutenant Schwatka noted that many had died of pneumonia while traveling thru the following summer. Whooping cough was prevalent among native children.(Fortuine 1992, 210)
1882Tanana Indian reported to the governor that his people were dying of an epidemic.(Fortuine 1992, 210)
1882-1884Aleutians and Kodiak plagued with acute respiratory epidemics for several years transferred from island to island by visiting baidarkas or vessels. Heavy mortality occurred and survivors were more susceptible to tuberculosis.(Fortuine 1992, 204)
1883Captain of the USS Adams, found Shamans torturing women and children thought to have been responsible for the measles outbreak through sorcery.(Fortuine 1992, 207)
1883First Salmon Cannery built in Nushagak(Fortuine 1992, 169)
1884First Civilian Governor of AK(Fortuine 1992, 146)
1884Whaling stations created at Point Barrow and Cape Lisburne bring syphllis and TB(Fortuine 1992, 162)
1885Dr H W Yemens notes on a Healy voyage that natives are now seeking medical care from doctors as opposed to Shaman's(Fortuine 1992, 152)
1885Explorer Charles Brower comes upon a deserted village, native tour guides attribute it to starvation after influenza type illness several years previous(Fortuine 1992, 211)
1886Whaling station created at Point Hope several years later bringing syphilis and tuberculosis(Fortuine 1992, 162)
1887Governor Swineford reports that recent outbreaks will result in the extinction of the natives of the Aleutians in a relatively short period of time.(Fortuine 1992, 204)
1887Man from New York donated $1000 for a girls hospital ward in Sitka, the following year a donor provided enough for a girls sector.(Fortuine 1992, 180)
1887-1888Pneumonia epidemic in Nushagak/Naknek region kills 47(Fortuine 1992, 203)
18889 die in Illiamna from epidemic(Fortuine 1992, 204)
1888Alaska Commercial Company books report that all natives in Unalaska were suffering from some sort of influenza complicated by pneumonia(Fortuine 1992, 204)
1888Pneumonia epidemic kills 22 in Bethel(Fortuine 1992, 212)
1888-1890Epidemic disease kills many in Togiak(Fortuine 1992, 212)
188941 die in Illiamna from epidemic(Fortuine 1992, 204)
1889Pneumonia epidemic in Nushagak/Naknek region kills 58(Fortuine 1992, 203)
1889Russian Orthodox records state there were many deaths to influenza in Kodiak(Fortuine 1992, ?)
189040 die in Kenai from influenza epidemic(Fortuine 1992, 204)
1890Cannery built in Naknek(Fortuine 1992, 169)
1890In the fall the Kuskokwim see's high mortality rates with influenza epidemic. This hinders food gathering efforts for the winter.(Fortuine 1992, 212)
1890More than 100 Nunamiut died during a trading feast from flu and fever epidemic on the upper Noatak(Fortuine 1992, 211)
1890Pneumonia epidemic in Nushagak/Naknek region kills 56(Fortuine 1992, 203)
1890The same epidemic hit the community of Wales killing 26. Wales was a frequently visited trading post for vessels.(Fortuine 1992, 211)
1891Domesticated reindeer introduced in NW Alaska(Fortuine 1992, 155)
1891Pneumonia epidemic in Nushagak/Naknek region kills 23(Fortuine 1992, 203)
1893Epidemic strikes Kodiak and Karluk(Fortuine 1992, 204)
1893Two Creoles discover gold in Birch Creek/Circle which becomes the largest gold settlement (1000 people) until gold is found in the Klondike in 1896.(Fortuine 1992, 172)
1894"Capillary bronchitis" hits Point Hope, a frequent stop for whaling ships. 1/6 th of the native population perished. (Approximately 1000 natives dead)(Fortuine 1992, 211)
1894A serious respiratory outbreak kills 4 in Wales(Fortuine 1992, 211)
1894Anvik gets their first doctor (Mary Glenton) the hospital was reportedly still in existence in 1900. Mary also spent time caring for natives on the Yukon.(Fortuine 1992, 183-84)
1895Whooping cough kills dozens of children in Bethel(Fortuine 1992, 212)
1895-1900Gold Rush into Yukon basin brings intense 5 year period of exposure to disease, particular in Skagway, Dyea, Valdez, St. Michael and Nome.(Fortuine 1992, 171)
1896 influenza epidemic hits the coast which compromises winter food supply(Fortuine 1992, 212)
1896Influenza hits Point Hope(Fortuine 1992, 211)
1897A larger hospital is was put up and one in Treadwell built by three missionary sisters(Fortuine 1992, 179-80)
1897Influenza in Bethel kills 40-50(Fortuine 1992, 212)
1897Influenza outbreak on King Island kills 11(Fortuine 1992, 212)
1897The "grip" kills 14 in Unalakleet(Fortuine 1992, 212)
1897Tununak is hit with bronchial pneumonia likely brought to them by the vessel Bear traveling north to relieve whalers at Barrow.(Fortuine 1992, 212)
1897-1898Canadian records show 28,000 gold seekers came over the White or Chilkoot Pass headed for the Klondike, bringing with them respiratory disease, typhoid fever and meningitis (20 deaths in Dyea)(Fortuine 1992, 173)
189819 men died of influenza at Wales(Fortuine 1992, 212)
189824 die in Kodiak from something similar to cholera(Fortuine 1992, 208)
189836 die in Karluck from an unknown epidemic(Fortuine 1992, 208)
189855 Canneries operate along the coast of Alaska; mostly staffed by the Chinese in unsanitary conditions(Fortuine 1992, 169)
1898An influenza outbreak on St. Lawrence Island kills several. The epidemic was likely due to visiting vessels sailing north.(Fortuine 1992, 212)
1898Cargo and supplies made the 1800 mile trip from St. Michael thru the Yukon on flat bottom steamers.(Fortuine 1992, 175)
1898Chinese laborers were often afflicted with tuberculosis and other diseases and used alcohol, tobacco, and opium, all of which they encouraged the natives to use.(Fortuine 1992, 170)
1898Valdez becomes a gateway to the Klondike for 3000 prospectors(Fortuine 1992, 175)
1899 "a couple of White people said they came to Mentasta through Indian Pass and found the whole village wipe out by epidemic….only two people were left alive"Fred John Personal communication
1899111 recorded dead in Nushagak from influenza. At nearby Carmel every child under two died.(Fortuine 1992, 213)
1899Anvik on the Yukon goes through two influenza epidemics causing food shortages(Fortuine 1992, 213)
1899Gold is found on the beaches of Nome(Fortuine 1992, 177)
1899Ships bring influenza to Nome when there for trading. An Inupiat celebration of a successful whaling season with their inland cousins kills 200 Nunamiut.(Fortuine 1992, 212-13)
1899There were around 50 saloons in Nome and water-borne disease and typhoid were spreading. A board of health was established with a priority to build a hospital. Temp established but funding was inconsistent.(Fortuine 1992, 190)
1900"The Great Sickness" of measles and influenza struck Western Alaska causing appalling mortality; followed by starvation, tuberculosis, other chest infections and pneumonia(Fortuine 1992, 178)
190018,000 people arrived in Nome at the peak of the rush.(Fortuine 1992, 177)
190020 bed hospital created in Dutch Harbor during peak of the gold rush (Marine Hospital Service)(Fortuine 1992, 155)
1900Smallpox introduced in Nome from a ship, did not spread widely(Fortuine 1992, 178)
1902First Native hospital built in Juneau(Fortuine 1992, 160)
1919Spanish Influenza , groups like Unalarmiut on Norton sound completely wiped out(fienup-Riorden 17)
1921Flu epidemic hits Nenana and FairbanksJGH- Nenana Newspapers
1927another flu epidemic hits mentastaFred John Personal communication
1942All natives with >1/8th Aleut blood were to be evacuated "for their own protection" during the Aleutian Conflict; 881 Aleuts were evacuated from the Aleutians and Pribilof's and relocated to internment camps in South East Alaska. Pneumonia and tuberculosis took 10% of the natives within the 3 years they were displaced.
1900-1955Statewide TB epidemic, worse on Y-K DeltaFortuine