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Old 10th May 2005, 09:27 PM   #1
Ian
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Default Interesting Lumad sword

... just finished on eBay: http://cgi.ebay.com/aw-cgi/eBayISAP...item=7320338615

This is a rare and well made saber that is not Moro in origin, although misidentified as such on eBay, but comes from the Kaolu (aka Kaolo, Tagakaolo) who are a Lumad tribe living near Davao City on the east coast of Mindanao. I own another one of these, but I do not know the local name for the sword.

Having handled two other examples apart from the one I have, the one that just finished on eBay is the best I have seen.

Ian.

Pictures of Kaolu Sword posted previously:



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Old 10th May 2005, 10:02 PM   #2
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the one on ebay is definitely a beautiful piece ian. nice score!
btw, since zel is still(?) in mindanao, he might see this post and prolly ask around...
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Old 10th May 2005, 10:25 PM   #3
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I had a last min snipe bid but i didnt go high enough[i suspect not nearly high enough ]....IMHO it went quite cheep.
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Old 10th May 2005, 10:41 PM   #4
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Congratulations Ian!

Michael
aka testpilot15 (no 2 on the bidding list)
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Old 10th May 2005, 11:01 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by capt.smash
....IMHO it went quite cheep.
Smashy, I don't really know how the market values Lumad swords these days. Some Bagobo and Mandaya swords seem to have taken off lately, but prices on other Lumad weapons remain depressed. Recently, we have seen a couple of nice Bagobo and Mandaya bolos in the $300-400 range and even a little higher. IMO I think the Kaolu sword that just sold on eBay is every bit as good as the better known Bagobo and Mandaya swords that sold for more in the last few months. Your comment may have a lot of truth.

I've been collecting Lumad swords for about ten years, mainly buying on trips to Manila and Davao City, plus a few items off eBay. Up until about three years ago it seems that very few people were interested in Lumad weapons. Good quality, older pieces were available for relatively little, and there was no real buying competition in the marketplace. Discussions here may have helped highlight these weapons, but the main influence has been the increased marketing of these swords out of Davao City as Moro weapons have become harder for dealers to find.

As Moro weapons become even more scarce (at least the older ones of better quality) we may see a further rise in popularity of the Lumad weapons. Certainly, there is an attempt to pass off some Lumad items as "Moro," but that may be partly a lack of knowledge rather than deliberate misinformation. A buyer needs to be careful and well informed about Lumad weapons to avoid making mistakes. I think knowledge has increased among collectors in recent years.
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Old 10th May 2005, 11:06 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VVV
Congratulations Ian!

Michael
aka testpilot15 (no 2 on the bidding list)

Thanks Michael. Sorry to beat out a fellow forumite. You have a good eye for quality. If I come to sell it some day, I'll give you first call.

Ian.
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Old 10th May 2005, 11:30 PM   #7
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herein lies the proverbial catch-22. no one knows these types of weapon up until recently. the more enlightened ones among us tries to shed some light as to the what, who, when, where of these weapons and by doing that it really helps the rest of us newbies who are still learning as we go along. but everytime a "new" weapon is introduced, the collector in us wants to get a specimen of that certain type, now that we know what it is.

when i first got on this message board, it was because i would like to know more about what i have in my collection; i'm sure there are members here that started the same way. after a while as one's knowledge grew, it becomes more of an obsession, the 'i need one of those on my collection' syndrome.

so the question is, do we discuss these "unknown" swords and by doing so we learn about it, respect it, and have more appreciation of it, or do we just keep it to ourselves, therefore not drive up the price to new high level? a good example to this are the visayan weapons. actually, if you look at the pattern on ebay, it's mostly us, as in members of this forum, whose driving the price of these swords. catch-22, indeed...
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Old 11th May 2005, 12:13 AM   #8
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Thumbs up Good points Spunjer

Thanks Spunjer. I agree we have probably contributed to some of the changes in the market place by talking openly about uncommon or obscure weapons.

This is a decision that we each face. Some people choose one way, others another way. Personally, I favor spreading the knowledge around. I get as much, if not more, enjoyment from talking about these weapons with other interested collectors, than keeping information to myself so that I can accumulate another dozen cheap examples of a sword nobody else cares about or understands what it is.

There is probably a larger number of people who think otherwise. Some of them are probably lurking on this Forum as I write this. I don't have a problem with that. Making a profit from my collection is not a life goal -- if I was a dealer I might feel differently. More improtant to me is the sharing of knowledge, particularly in areas for which there is no handy reference book or accessible data.

This Forum is a great place to hang out and learn about ethnographic edged weapons -- I hope we all continue to share what we know without too much thought about who might be lurking or possibly competing for prized weapons.

Ian.
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Old 11th May 2005, 01:57 AM   #9
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Smile The Good Old Days

Eight years ago ; $11.00 incl. shipping .
Alas , no more .
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Old 11th May 2005, 05:41 AM   #10
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it's a sundang...
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Old 11th May 2005, 12:43 PM   #11
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Thumbs up Thanks for the ID

themorningstar.

Thanks for the information. Would you care to comment on the influences that seem to have contributed to this sword -- Spanish, Moro, Visayan?
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Old 11th May 2005, 02:07 PM   #12
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well said, ian...
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Old 11th May 2005, 02:38 PM   #13
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Is it chisel bevelled? Do you not see a (close) resemblance to matulis?
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Old 11th May 2005, 03:28 PM   #14
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Hi guys, glad you liked the "lumad" sword I have posted on ebay. Thanks for the clarification. I really thought it was Moro because I bought it from a Maranao.
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Old 11th May 2005, 04:56 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by philkid
Hi guys, glad you liked the "lumad" sword I have posted on ebay. Thanks for the clarification. I really thought it was Moro because I bought it from a Maranao.

Ive seen a couple other swords similar to this one, which were bought from Maranao, so you arent the only person who has encountered this phenomena. I wonder why a lumad sword would first be sold to a Maranao middleman and then to a Christian Filipino. Apparantly must be a common practice.
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Old 11th May 2005, 05:48 PM   #16
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TheMorningStar, what is your definition of a Sundang, this sword form, or a sword made for fighting? Anyone care to put a age bracket for this form? The hilt form is not that far from Maranao type punals & gunongs, & the metal stampings would be consistant with Maranao, but also seem to fall short of the detail, somewhat generic.
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Old 11th May 2005, 06:33 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Federico
Ive seen a couple other swords similar to this one, which were bought from Maranao, so you arent the only person who has encountered this phenomena. I wonder why a lumad sword would first be sold to a Maranao middleman and then to a Christian Filipino. Apparantly must be a common practice.

Federico:

The answer is simply based on how the local market works. Over the years, the market has been much stronger for Moro weapons than Lumad weapons. Those who bring weapons to the dealers in Davao City and other "disposal" points have been Muslims dealing in Moro weapons. Now, if I have a Lumad sword and want to get a good deal, but have no good contacts to sell it, then I'll sell it to the guy who has those connections (or maybe he takes it on commission). So the Moro seller becomes an agent for other types of swords, which suits his purpose also when the supply of Moro weapons starts to dry up.

Win-win situation all round.

I have sat in antique shops in Manila and watched Muslims from Mindanao come by and try to sell a variety of wares from Mindanao to the Manila dealers. Often included in their offerings are T'boli, Bagobo and Kaolu items. The seller knows what he has, and if confronted with a direct statement, such as, "That's a Bagobo knife," will readily acknowledge the true origin of the piece. Otherwise he will try to lump them all as "Moro" because he will get a better price that way. Caveat emptor!
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Old 11th May 2005, 06:37 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by philkid
Hi guys, glad you liked the "lumad" sword I have posted on ebay. Thanks for the clarification. I really thought it was Moro because I bought it from a Maranao.

Not a problem. IMO it is more common to see misidentified Lumad knives and swords than those with a correct attribution.
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Old 11th May 2005, 06:44 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian
Federico:

The answer is simply based on how the local market works. Over the years, the market has been much stronger for Moro weapons than Lumad weapons. Those who bring weapons to the dealers in Davao City and other "disposal" points have been Muslims dealing in Moro weapons. Now, if I have a Lumad sword and want to get a good deal, but have no good contacts to sell it, then I'll sell it to the guy who has those connections (or maybe he takes it on commission). So the Moro seller becomes an agent for other types of swords, which suits his purpose also when the supply of Moro weapons starts to dry up.

Win-win situation all round.

I have sat in antique shops in Manila and watched Muslims from Mindanao come by and try to sell a variety of wares from Mindanao to the Manila dealers. Often included in their offerings are T'boli, Bagobo and Kaolu items. The seller knows what he has, and if confronted with a direct statement, such as, "That's a Bagobo knife," will readily acknowledge the true origin of the piece. Otherwise he will try to lump them all as "Moro" because he will get a better price that way. Caveat emptor!


Thanks for the details, one of these days Im gonna have to make it to Moroland, sounds like a fascinating market.
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Old 11th May 2005, 10:18 PM   #20
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The disemination of knowledge often increases both understanding and appreciation for previously little known weapons, and as the information becomes more wide spread the "value" often increases accordingly.
I've been lucky in the past by taking chances on pieces that appeared to have age and be genuine while having absolutely no actual knowledge on what I was buying/bidding on at the time while getting burned very infrequently.....my Bagobo sword, for instance, was purchased when they were still generally thought to be "recently manufactured replicas of Moro pieces" for $35.00.
Ian, in particular, has probably contributed as much or more information about Lumad swords and knives than anyone I can think of, and I for one have expressed my personal gratitude to him for sharing his wealth of information, even though it probably has had an inflationary unintended result, but even that is a double edged sword (no pun intended)
While we may carp occasionally about the now high prices, I can't, in all honesty, begrudge the people who made, owned and used these magnificent pieces sharing in their true worth as opposed to getting robbed as happened so often in the past, with only dealers making any profit.
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Old 12th May 2005, 08:48 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Federico
Ive seen a couple other swords similar to this one, which were bought from Maranao, so you arent the only person who has encountered this phenomena. I wonder why a lumad sword would first be sold to a Maranao middleman and then to a Christian Filipino. Apparantly must be a common practice.


i think there is a bit of chance that the lumad sword mentioned here is maranao made. but that's just my opinion. i used to have a maranao made jian and pira.

by the way, the tagacaolos are said to be a branch of the mandayas.
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Old 12th May 2005, 01:45 PM   #22
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That's a very nice shield, Mike.
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Old 12th May 2005, 02:18 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zamboanga
i think there is a bit of chance that the lumad sword mentioned here is maranao made. but that's just my opinion. i used to have a maranao made jian and pira.

by the way, the tagacaolos are said to be a branch of the mandayas.

Good point Z.

The one on eBay appears to be more recently made, or perhaps assembled, than the example for which I show pictures above. Coins on the one above date to the 1930s -- which doesn't necessarily mean much, but suggests pre-WWII manufacture and the overall condition would tend to confirm that age.

Maranao swords and knives made in the last 50 years or so have included "non-traditional" styles, perhaps based on other local weapons. Sale to the tourist trade may explain part of this trend.

I have seen other sabers coming from the Maranao dating to the second half of the 20th C. Many of these had Eastern-style knuckle guards and pointed scabbards with silver tips. I'm not sure what style of sword they were emulating.
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Old 12th May 2005, 05:49 PM   #24
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It seems that since the Morolands have been cut off a little due to the violence, the flood of newly made Moro stuff has turned into a trickle. This plus the interest in Moro seems to have dried up the market and (as mentioned already on the forum) the prices for lumad has been rising. Katipunan is beginning to do the same thing and I expect soon Igorot will also. My question is when will the market stabilize (or fall)?
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Old 12th May 2005, 06:46 PM   #25
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Arrow With Antiques ?

Generally speaking the market may stabilize but it's very doubtful it will fall .
Arms Collectors are a niche market but a very old one , unlike beanie babies the interest never seems to flag .
As the antique swords disappear into personal collections the prices for the remaining pieces will most likely rise .
Consider mediaeval swords , how many among us could afford to collect them these days ?
The further and faster we move into the future , the more we will attempt to cling to the past .
Imagine what a Desert Eagle 50cal pistol will bring when there are no more projectile weapons .

Just my opinion , but I know that my collection of arms has outperformed the Stock Market by a substantial margin in the last 5 years .

How about yours ?
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Old 13th May 2005, 10:03 AM   #26
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Default Tagacaolo's place in history

In the early 1900s when Americans came to Mindanao to grab its rich natural resources, a Tagacaolo leader took it upon himself to retaliate the foreigners.

In 1906, this lumad leader assassinated the American governor for Davao. What came next is never reported in Philippine history - the americans took a huwes de kutsilyo or scorched earth policy against the tagacaolos. no one was spared in the massacre - men, women, children, even animals. The massacre only stopped when the assassin himself was killed.
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Old 13th May 2005, 12:25 PM   #27
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Z:

Great piece of history but not unique in the annals of US occupation of the Philippnes. I believe something similar happened in Samar after a US garrison was wiped out by local insurgents.

Do you have a good reference that describes the assassination of the US Governor of Davao and the subsequent massacre?

Ian.
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Old 13th May 2005, 01:45 PM   #28
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ian, here you go:

Scorched earth policy, germ warfare and the Americans in Davao in the early 1900s


DAVAO CITY -- “Huwes de kutsilyo,” mass poisoning, germ warfare.

A book launched here last Friday at the University of the Philippines-Mindanao’s city campus has an entire chapter that deals with accounts of how US forces nearly a century ago countered resistance from natives of Davao with ‘huwes de kutsilyo’ or scorched earth policy similar to what happened in Samar in 1901, mass poisoning and germ warfare.

The book, “Davao 1890-1910: Conquest and Resistance in the Garden of the Gods,” written by Dr. Macario D. Tiu of the Ateneo de Davao University, was initially intended only as a research to fill the gaps of the 1906-1908 period in Davao history about the unrest in the Davao Gulf highlighted by the assassination of Davao District Govenror Edward C. Bolton on June 6, 1906, by Mangulayon, the deputy headman of the Tagacaolo.

Its working title then was “Lumad Struggles in Davao: 1906-1906.” But Tiu’s research would expand in its scope and time and place and took more than two years to complete instead of the project timeframe of one year.

The book, published by the University of the Philippines’ Center for Integrative and Development Studies, has seven chapters, the first three classified as “Hard Documents,” as it relied mainly on written Spanish and American documents, the last four as “Memory Documents” as it “relied mainly on the documents archived in the minds of the local people.”

Oral accounts were gathered from some 200 informants from 20 towns and cities along the Davao Gulf, representing 14 tribes and some settlers.

The first three chapters deals with the 1890-1899 contest for territory; the 1900-1910 establishment of American hegemony; and resistance and the assassination of Bolton; the last four chapters on plantation economy, forms of resistance, and the death of Bolton; an entire chapter on Mangulayon; American Atrocities in Davao: Huwes de Kutsilyo and Germ Warfare; and the Dance of Resistance.

Chapter 6 begins with a description of how Americans occupied Davao “peacefully in 1899 as the inhabitants did not offer any resistance.”

“But when the Americans began to transform Davao into plantations and forced the natives to work in these plantations, they began to resist. By late 1905, unrest was sweeping Davao Gulf. From Lupon, Datu Tomaros and Datu Compao spread a dance that alarmed the Americans, while in Malalag, the datus were meeting in early 1906 to discuss how to kill all the American planters from Digos down to Malita. The uprising was signaled by the assassination of District Governor Edward C. Bolton by Mangulayon on 6 June 1906, and the looting of planter McCullough’s store in Kibulan. In response, the Americans unleashed the scorched-earth policy on the natives of Davao del Sur.”

Tiu noted that American atrocities in many parts of the country during the Philippine-American war are well-documented, including the wars against the Moros, “but nothing about these atrocities in Davao were ever recorded.”

Tiu said the first hint came from Anita Hughes Diel, daughter of American planter Orval Hughes of Malalag, who, in an interview on December 6, 1999, said, “my father told me that when Bolton was killed, the Americans launched a huwes de kutsilyo from Digos to Malita. All males from 14 and above were killed.”

Tiu said that when researcher BJ Absin reported the Diel account, “I was skeptical and instructed Absin to check the date of this so-called huwes de kutsilyo” Diel’s father may have been referring to the 1901 Balangiga massacre in Samar.

But more accounts came up from other places. “To be sure, the accounts differed as to the duration and extent of the huwes de kutsilyo but there was no doubt about it: the Americans did conduct search and destroy operations, applying the scorched-earth policy in Davao del Sur” and based on the description of the informants, “the campaign bordered on ethnocide.”

Domingo Rodriguez of Malita described the American retaliation as “severe. When they declared an area under huwes de kutsilyo, they would leave with no living thing behind, whether old or young, women or children. All those who were not able to flee were killed.”

Accounts about the Americans conducting mass poisoning of the Lumads also surfaced in Leleng, Hagonoy in Davao del Sur and Lupon in Davao Oriental.

Lorenzo Perez, the current tribal chief of Hagonoy, Florencio Tan, Dumumpan Isam, and Anita Ingkili “provided fragments of this particular incident in their local history. According to them, the Americans poisoned their wells and the Balutakay River. At night the Americans also surreptitiously sprayed their kitchens with poison. As a result, there were so many dead they could not all be buried. Isma says the old native cemetery was located near the cockpit, and that many skeletons were dug up there. This period in their history thy call the korentina sometimes pronounced the kolantina, which I would later understand to be an indigenization of the English word quarantine.”

“It was in Lupon that I fully understood why they called this poisoning episode the korentina. According to the informants, the people were forbidden to leave the community as the disease, obviously an epidemic, ravaged their settlement. The Americans had apparently imposed quarantine, and therefore the term, indigenized into korentina would come to mean the entire poisoning incident,” Tiu wrote.

At the beginning of 1908, some 200 Americans had settled in Davao. Their main problem aside from labor was to attract more investments to develop the plantations they had carved out from the forests. To entice investors, they dangled the idea that the Moro province, of which Davao was a part, would soon become “the white man’s country” of the Philippines.

But no investor would come because there were no land titles and the planters also faced continuing challenges from the local tribes, particularly the Kalagans who resisted encroachment into their territory by the then largest plantation, the 285-hectare Mindanao Estates Company in Hagonoy.

By November 1908, cholera would strike Davao with the Kalagan Moros apparently the most affected.

“The circumstances surrounding the sudden appearance of cholera in Davao strongly suggest the Americans did conduct germ warfare in Davao, or mass poisoning as alleged by the natives of Davao,” Tiu wrote.

As a disease, cholera, an infectious and often fatal bacterial disease of the small intestine, typically contracted from infected water supplies and causing severe vomiting and diarrhea,

had plagued the Philippines even during the Spanish era “but it had never affected Davao in the way it was affected in 1908.”

Tiu noted that one reason why cholera could not decimate the population was the migratory habit of the natives. “If plague occurred in a place, the natives would immediately abandon it, thus limiting its damage. But the korentina, which the Americans imposed supposedly to contain the disease, allowed the plague to do its utmost damage.”
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Old 13th May 2005, 02:05 PM   #29
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The germ is mightier than the sword. And N Americans scoff at Africans for thinking an enemy poisoning or sickening them is the source of illness War is not nice.
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Old 13th May 2005, 03:39 PM   #30
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looks like an interesting book, as it is new, it will be interesting to see if "backed up" by any other research. at this time period I think the medical community in the US has a understanding of Cholera, but I would be amazed if there was any policy to use it as a weapon. Contaminating wells doesn't surprise me, but the thought that the military would be conscientiously trying to use cholera does. From what I have read, it is feared by American troops. Colonialists exploit many things in order to control a larger population, perhaps they simply did not act to stop an outbreak.
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