Smallpox vaccination, the establishment of vaccination boards, and state formation in Venezuela and Cuba in the nineteenth century

Magda Gomez de Cruz, Florida International University

Abstract

The Balmis expedition, sent to America by the Spanish monarch Charles IV in 1803, was a watershed in the history of Medicine as it made smallpox vaccination available for the first time, effectively prevented the disease from spreading, and saved thousands of lives. Immunization required complex administrative measures and political decisions including the creation of Vaccination Boards, all of which involved different sectors of Spanish American society. This dissertation argues that at the beginning of the nineteenth century the Spanish American colonial state had reached some level of maturity and cohesion that made it capable of executing this complex project in public health. The significance of this mobilization and the every-day experience in implementing this new public health measure is the center of this work. It is situated geographically in Venezuela and Cuba, entities which took different evolutionary paths in the nineteenth century. The organization and functioning of Vaccination Boards in these two areas are used to illustrate the state formation process, and sharp political differences in this critical period. ^

Subject Area

History, Latin American|Health Sciences, Public Health|History of Science

Recommended Citation

Magda Gomez de Cruz, "Smallpox vaccination, the establishment of vaccination boards, and state formation in Venezuela and Cuba in the nineteenth century" (January 1, 2008). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. Paper AAI3343269.
http://digitalcommons.fiu.edu/dissertations/AAI3343269

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