Precisely as it had been during the Middle Ages, disease was the scourge of the Renaissance. In the camp of the French general Charles VIII for example, during his offensive on the Iberian peninsula, the Spaniards he was attacking infected his troops with syphilis. The French army introduced the infection upon returning home, and the disease spread throughout most of Europe. The subsequent loss of life was catastrophic.
Smallpox seemed to be everywhere. It ravaged, for example, the tiny island of Hispaniola as well as scores of the Aztec Indians, allowing Sir Hernando Cortös and his army, who had been exposed to smallpox in childhood and were therefore immune, to effectively capture the illness-ravaged. Indians. A similar situation occurred in Peru, where the disease killed the Inca ruler Capac as well as thousands of his people. Centuries later, the infamous Great London Plague would