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Encyclopedia > Balmis expedition

Balmis Expedition was a three year mission to the Americas led by Dr Francisco de Balmis with the aim of giving thousands the smallpox vaccine. He set off from La Coruña on 30 November 1803. It may be considered the first international sanitary expedition in history1. The Americas is an alternative name in the English language for the continent of America, to distinguish it from the United States of America, which is often just called America. ... The smallpox vaccine is the only effective preventive treatment for the deadly smallpox disease. ... A Coruña (previously also known in English as Corunna; Galician A Coruña, Spanish La Coruña) is a Galician city, in northwestern Spain. ... November 30 is the 334th day (335th on leap years) of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... Events January 30 - Monroe and Livingston sail for Paris to discuss, and possibly buy, New Orleans. ... This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise share the same title. ...

The king Charles IV of Spain supported his royal doctor Balmis, since his daughter María Luisa had suffered the illness. The expedition occurred on the Maria Pita ship and carried 22 orphan boys (8-10 years old) as successive carriers in vivo of the vaccine, Balmis, a deputy surgeon, 2 assistants, 2 first-aid practitioners, 3 male nurses and the rectoress of a Santiago de Compostela orphanage2. Charles IV (November 11, 1748 - January 20, 1819) was King of Spain from December 14, 1788 until his abdication on March 19, 1808. ... In the Spanish and former Portuguese monarchies, Infante (masc. ... In vivo (Latin for (with)in the living). ... Santiago de Compostela (2003 pop. ...


The course

The mission took the vaccine to the Canary Islands, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Mexico, the Philippines and China3. The ship carried also scientific instruments and translations of the "Historical and Practical Treaty on the vaccine" by Moreau de Sarthe to be distributed to the local vaccine commissions to be founded. A bottle and a syringe containing the influenza vaccine. ... Capitals Las Palmas de Gran Canaria Santa Cruz de Tenerife Area  – Total  – % of Spain Ranked 13th  7 447 km  1,5% Population  – Total (2003)  – % of Spain  – Density Ranked 8th  1 843 755  4,4%  247,58/km Demonym  – English  – Spanish Canary Islander canario/a Statute of Autonomy August 16, 1982... The Republic of Colombia is a country in north-western South America. ... The Republic of Ecuador is a country in northwestern South America, bounded by Colombia on the north, by Peru on the east and south, and by the Pacific Ocean on the west. ... The Republic of Peru (Spanish: Perú; Quechua, Aymara: Piruw) is a country in western South America, bordering Ecuador and Colombia to the north, Brazil to the east, Bolivia to the east, south-east and south, Chile to the south, and the Pacific Ocean to the west. ... The United Mexican States or Mexico (Spanish: Estados Unidos Mexicanos or México; regarding the use of the variant spelling Méjico, see section The name below) is a country located in North America, bordered to the north by the United States of America, to the southeast by Guatemala and Belize, to... The Republic of the Philippines is a country of South East Asia, located in the western Pacific Ocean some 1,210 km (750 mi) from mainland Asia. ... The Great Wall of China, stretching over 6,700 km, was erected beginning in the 3rd century BC to guard the north from raids by men on horses. ...

Puerto Rico

The local population was already inoculated with a vaccine carried from the Danish colony Saint Thomas. St. ...


The expedition divided at La Guayra.

  • José Salvany, the deputy surgeon, went towards today's Colombia and the Viceroyalty of Peru (Venezuela, Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Chile and Bolivia). They took seven years and the toils of the voyage brought death to Salvany (Cochabamba, 1810).
  • Balmis went to Caracas and later to Havana. The local poet Andrés Bello wrote an ode to Balmis.

Categories: South America geography stubs | Departments of Bolivia ... Andrés Bello - anonymous, oil on canvas. ...

Mexico (1805)

In Mexico, Balmis took 25 orphans to maintain the vaccine during the crossing of the Pacific.


They received help from the church. Balmis dismissed back to Mexico the gross of the expedition and went further to China.


Balmis landed on Macau and went also to Canton.


In his way back to Spain, Balmis convinced the authorities of Saint Helena (1806) to take the vaccine. Saint Helena refers to both an island and administrative unit in the South Atlantic Ocean 2,800 km off the west coast of Angola, and to the British Overseas territory that includes it and the dependencies of Ascension and Tristan da Cunha; this article describes both. ...

The discoverer of the vaccine Edward Jenner himself wrote "I don’t imagine the annals of history furnish an example of philanthropy so noble, so extensive as this.” Edward Jenner Sculpture of Edward Jenner on the grounds of the Tokyo National Museum Edward Jenner (May 17, 1749 - January 26, 1823) was an English country doctor practicing in Berkeley, Gloucestershire, England, famous for his work introducing the Smallpox vaccine. ...


  1. La Coruña: A progressive city (http://www.aytolacoruna.es/en/3ciudad/31presen/3125libe.html), historical information as part the official web site for the city of La Coruña. Verified availability 2005-03-03.
  2. McIntyre, John W.R. MB BS; and Houston, C. Stuart MD (1999). Medicine in Canada: Smallpox and its control in Canada (http://www.cmaj.ca/cgi/content/full/161/12/1543). Canadian Medical Association Journal 161(12), 1543-1547. PMID 10624414.
  3. de Romo, Ana Cecilia Rodríguez (1997). Inoculation in the 1799 smallpox epidemic in Mexico: Myth or real solution? (http://www.ucm.es/info/antilia/revista/vol3-en/arten3-1.htm). Antilia:Spanish Journal of History of Natural Sciences and Technology.

External links

  • Society of Philippine Health History article (http://www.doh.gov.ph/sphh/balmis.htm)
  • En el nombre de los Niños. Real expedición Filantrópica de la Vacuna 1803-1806 (http://www.aeped.es/balmis/libro-balmis.htm). Spanish language PDF book by the Spanish Pediatry Association.

  Results from FactBites:
Review | Saving the World by Julia Alvarez (1084 words)
She agrees to provide the expedition with handpicked boys who have never been exposed to smallpox -- but on one condition: that she be allowed to accompany them as their caretaker.
It's Balmis, with a mercurial personality well-documented in what archives exist about the expedition, who has the most faceted character: eloquent champion of science, passionate defender of the vaccine, righteous savior of humanity, petty quibbler over housing and payment, arrogant snob in front of provincial governors.
Repetitive as the story of the smallpox expedition may be -- blurry parades of orphan boys, hours of rote vaccinations in public squares, the same errors of judgment made by Balmis -- there are moments of drama that Alvarez overlooks.
Balmis Expedition - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (454 words)
The expedition occurred on the Maria Pita ship and carried 22 orphan boys (8 to 10 years old) as successive carriers in vivo of the vaccine, Balmis, a deputy surgeon, 2 assistants, 2 first-aid practitioners, 3 male nurses and the rectoress of a Santiago de Compostela orphanage
Balmis went to Caracas and later to Havana.
Balmis dismissed back to Mexico the gross of the expedition and went further to China.
  More results at FactBites »



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