Washington contracted smallpox while visiting Barbados, his only trip outside the country.
In 1751, George Washington accompanied his older half-brother Lawrence to the island of Barbados – the only foreign country that Washington would visit during his lifetime. It was hoped that the tropical climate of this British island would help cure Lawrence of his tuberculosis. The stay in Barbados proved to be a challenging one for both of the Washingtons. Lawrence found the oppressive heat miserable to bear and the climate did not improve his condition. And Washington on November 17, 1751 contracted smallpox on the island. Fortunately for young George Washington, not only was he able to recover from the affliction, but he also inherited, as a result, a life-long immunity to this dreaded killer for the rest of his life. This would become crucial in the American Revolution, when the country was threatened by a smallpox epidemic.
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