We live in a plush society. There was a time when everything, literally everything, outside of your front door could kill you. Today we live in our ivory towers of vaccinations, guarded by flyswatters, and we clip citronella to our belts just to go to the mailbox.
Not to mention, we have the honor of sharing airspace with people who wear these:
I mean…what a time to be alive.
But did you know that mosquitoes have been plotting against us since nearly the beginning? They’ve been making cameos in some of the most pivotal events in history, that have shaped the course of mankind, and for the most part have proceeded unbeknownst to the general populace. What? How? You might ask. Allow me to explain:
1.INDIA: 500 B.C-
A priest nudges his friends and says, “Hey, I think mosquitoes might be to blame for how malaria is spread*.” As with all breakthroughs, absolutely no one paid attention to him until 1902 (many, many, many years after his death) upon which someone else took entire credit for his ideas. Yay science!
2. BABYLON: 323 B.C.-
Alexander the Great, the subject of many low budget films and the man responsible for the (almost) unification of the Greek Empire, was bitten by a mosquito and died of malaria, his ideals dying along with him. He was only 32.
3. ROME: 410 A.D.-
Alaric, a Visgoth leader, is busy picking the bones of what is left of the once prosperous, unstoppable Roman Empire. The Romans cannot defend themselves because they have taken large casualties from, you guessed it, malaria given to them from mosquitoes! In a satisfying twist of events, Alaric himself was later killed by the disease, given to him by the same flying foe.
4. AFRICA: 1593-
Malaria and yellow fever voyage across the ocean via mosquitoes stowed away on slaving ships introducing these deadly diseases to the New World.
5. ENGLAND: 1658-
Oliver Cromwell, the Protector of the Commonwealth of England is struck down by a nasty bout of malaria given to him by way of mosquito. His downfall led to the uprising of the British Monarchy. So thanks mosquitoes, for bringing us the greatest love story of all time, Will and Kate!
6. STOCKHOLM: 1902-
Remember our priest friend from India in 500 B.C.? Well his ideas are finally catching on (nearly 2,400 years later) and Dr. Ronald Ross wins the Nobel Prize, despite being late to the party, for deriving the connection between mosquitoes and malaria.
7. PANAMA: 1905-
Mosquitoes carry on their reign of terror by scaring workers away from their duties at the site of the Panama Canal for fear of yellow fever. Construction was halted for a significant amount of time and the project was nearly scrapped.
8. COLORADO: 1939-
DDT, or dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (try saying that five times fast), is tested as an insecticide. It worked at first. But unwilling to go down without a fight, mosquitoes developed a resistance to its effects.
9. GENEVA: 1995-
The WHO (the World Health Organization, not the band responsible for “Who Are You?”) declares dengue fever originating from mosquitoes to be a “WORLD EPIDEMIC.”
10. MOSQUITOES TODAY:
Mosquitoes infect around 250 million people a year with malaria and around 2-3 million will die from it. Protect yourself from mosquitoes!
But please, don’t be the guy wearing the mosquito suit. No one likes the guy wearing the mosquito suit…
*not an actual quote