The European Union--The wires are reporting that syphilis has returned to Europe in a major way. This comes to us at an interesting moment: an old friend in the Czech Republic recently sent me a slide show of the world's record for most-times having sex with different partners in one day. The winner? Poland's Klaudia Figuera (she's Polish?!) at 646 times in 7 hours. Ahem.
They say that a Spanish sailor named Martin Alonzo Pinzon contracted the disease on one of the earliest-jaunts into the Caribbean by an expedition of Christopher Columbus, spreading it once back in Europe--or is it the other way around? There's no proof whatsoever that it was 'the admiral' himself who spread the contagion. But back to the navigator Pinzon (pilot of the Pinta):
Spanish navigator and companion of Columbus on his first voyage to the New World, born at Palos de Moguer, 1441; died there at the convent of La Rábida, 1493. Sprung from a family of seamen, he became a hardy sailor and skillful pilot. According to Parkman and other historians, he sailed under Cousin, a navigator from Dieppe, to the eastern coast of Africa, whence they were carried far to the south-west. They there discovered an unknown land and a mighty river. Returning to Spain, Pinzón became acquainted with Columbus through Fray Juan Perez de Marchina, prior of the convent of La Rábida, and became an enthusiastic promoter of the scheme of the great navigator. (http://www.pinson.net/pinzon/ )And what of Pinzon's east African journey? Could he have contracted syphilis there before embarking with Columbus to the Caribbean--or did he contract a bug that mutated with indigenous bacterial-strains found in the Americas? Most of the studies surrounding the origins and the early spread of syphilis focus on the New World and Europe. Why not take a look at Africa? Probably because medical and archaeological researchers took a narrow view of things, then realizing their careers were hanging-in-the-balance. The controversy still rages-on, just as it has for 500 years. English ethnologist W.M. Bollaert wrote in 1864:
In 1500 we find syphilis called in Scotland pokes and Spanyie pockis; but it was generally denominated the French disease. Italians, Germans, and English spoke of it as the disease of Naples. The Dutch, Flemings, Portuguese, and Moors as the Spanish malady; and the Spaniards to this day call it Galico or French disease ; but we never hear it quoted as the American disease. Gonorrhoea was in full vigour in London in 1430, and known as clap or brenning, and its existence spoken of a century earlier, in the time of Richard II.Imagine: it only took seven years to spread syphilis throughout Europe through her port cities! And so, we come back to present-day Europe where everything old is new again. As anyone could predict, the main group carrying syphilis is the male population, particularly in gay men. Hint: it might be a good idea not to have sex with several-dozen partners, with much of it being unprotected. Just a suggestion. But does that even matter? People lie, and not just in bed, they lie about who they've been with and how many lovers they've had. Sorry, there's no cure for lying except free will and logic.
There can be no doubt that syphilis existed extensively at Naples, and was brought into Western Europe with the return of Charles VIII from that country in May 1495. I may here observe that when Columbus returned to Europe from the New World in May 1493, there is no allusion at that date that syphilis was brought from America. When Sir. R. Alcock was asked by a friend of mine as to the existence of syphilis in Japan, he said it was known as the Portuguese disease [Ed.-Some of the first real navigators in Europe before Columbus, and the first to Japan.], and was common there.(http://www.logoi.com/health/syphilis/syphilis_2.html)
Nietzsche contracted syphilis the first time he had sex with a prostitute, proving once again that there is no inherent meaning to anything outside of the human mind. One could conclude that a lot of the spread is due to the fall of Soviet-domination in Central Europe, the subsequent opening of borders under the EU, and how perverted the French and Germans are, the filthy buggers. They don't call it the 'French disease' for nothing. Thank Henry Ford and Rudolf Diesel, and all the other sundry inventors for creating modern transportation, the real culprits here (and those bastards at Mercedes Benz). They must be shagging in the trams these days.
Some Sexual Food for Thought, December 2004: http://www.eurosurveillance.org/em/v09n12/0912-222.asp