Weapons of mass destruction are staggering in their proliferation and intimidating in their effectiveness. This also applies to biological weapons. That is why its use is prohibited by the provisions of the 1925 Geneva Convention. But before that, it was often used in conquest operations. Moreover, contrary to popular belief about the "youth" of biological weapons, the first cases of its use that have come down to us are more than a thousand years old.
One of the earliest information about the use of biological weapons can be considered the evidence of the historian of ancient Rome Cornelius Nepot, who told about the military cunning of the legendary general Hannibal Barki. This story tells how the Carthaginian general managed to defeat the Pergamon king Eumenes with the help of the so-called "snake bombs".
And it was like this: on the day of the decisive battle that took place at sea, the warriors of Carthage, by order of Hannibal, literally threw pots at the enemy squadron, filled to the brim with poisonous snakes. At first, the soldiers of Eumenes' army even laughed at such a seemingly ridiculous move. However, realizing that these "shells" were concealing the contents, they fled.
Another no less striking example of the use of biological weapons was the tactics of the Golden Horde Khan Janibek. Thanks to the conquering talent of this ruler, his state acquired the largest size in the entire history of its existence. But for the capture of the Genoese fortress of Kafa, the commander decided to turn to help … the bodies of his own subjects.
According to the testimony of the Italian notary Gabriel de Moussi, who was an eyewitness to those events, in 1347 Janibek laid siege to the Kafa fortress. And, in order to break the resistance of the defenders, he began to throw the bodies of his fellow tribesmen into the surrounded city by means of catapults. He chose the corpses of those who died from the plague, which, according to Novate.ru, was raging among the Horde at that time. Naturally, among the inhabitants of the fortress, the disease spread rather quickly, and the resistance was broken.
Interesting fact: According to some historians, it was the refugees from the fallen Kafa who could have brought the plague, which later acquired the name "Black Death", to Europe.
With the help of the disease, according to one version, the tribes of the Indians, who did not want to submit to the Spanish conquistadors in the 16th century, were also defeated. So, the resistance of the warlike Aztecs was broken only with the help of gifts infected with smallpox, from which the inhabitants of another continent did not have immunity. It is believed that Cortez took revenge on the Indians for the massacre in the "Night of Sorrow", which took place in the summer of 1520, when the Spaniards made a failed attempt to conquer the capital of the Aztec empire, Tenochtitlan.
Another fairly well-known story of the use of biological weapons against the Indians, but this time in North America, took place in the second half of the 18th century in the British colony located on the territory of the modern Great Lakes, as well as the states of Ohio and Illinois. Then also the infected "conciliatory gifts" were used.
And it happened like this: in those days, there were very tense relations between the colonists and the indigenous people of the North American continent. Revolts of the Delaware Indians broke out everywhere. British General Jeffrey Ahmerst was tasked to suppress these unrest.
And he decided not to negotiate with the tribes, but simply to destroy them: to assure the Delawares of his "peaceful intentions", Ahmerst presented them with blankets infected with smallpox. An epidemic began among the local population, the victims of which were thousands of Indians.