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Discoveries > Science
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Quinine has been used in unextracted form by Europeans since at least the early 1600s. Quinine was first used to treat malaria in Rome in 1631. Malaria was responsible for the death of countless citizens. Quinine also played a significant role in the colonization of Africa by Europeans. It has been said that quinine was the prime reason that Africa ceased to be known as the "white man's grave". A historian has stated that "it was quinine's efficacy that gave colonists fresh opportunities to swarm into the Gold Coast, Nigeria and other parts of west Africa". Its name stems from its use in 1630 by Jesuit missionaries in the Andes (a mountain range in western South America). A legend suggests earlier use by the native population. According to the legend, an Indian with a high fever was lost in an Andean jungle. When he drank from a pool of stagnant (standing) water, he found it tasted bitter. Realizing it had been contaminated by the surrounding quina-quina trees he thought he was poisoned. But his fever abated, and thereafter his village used extracts made from quina-quina bark to treat fevers.
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