Colonial Latin America by Leslie Bethell

By Leslie Bethell

Examines the historical past of colonial Latin the USA earlier than its independence.

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Three-quarters of a century after the first voyages of discovery there were about 15 0,000 people of Spanish ancestry in the Cambridge Histories Online © Cambridge University Press, 2008 18 Population Indies, although, of course, not all of them had been born in Europe. In his Geografia j description universal de las Indias (1574) 15 the cosmo- grapher and chronicler Juan Lopez de Velasco mentions some 225 Spanish cities and towns, whose inhabitants included 2 5,000 vecinos, or full citizens. e.

Suicide because of ill-treatment, or in order to escape paying tribute, was relatively common. One witch-doctor even managed to induce a whole crowd of Indians to commit mass suicide. Self-inflicted death or constricting one's own fertility were acts conditioned by the social context, but were nonetheless determined by human free will. On the other hand, epidemics provided a totally involuntary cause of population decline. These diseases, above all smallpox, malaria, measles, typhus, and influenza, which already regularly afflicted Europe, were transferred to the New World at an early date.

The prosperity of its agriculture caused the number of its inhabitants to multiply four and a half times during the second half of the seventeenth century and five times during the eighteenth century. The rise of cattle-rearing attracted migrants to the provincias internets in the north of New Spain, some of which were areas located beyond the frontiers of present-day Mexico. IMMIGRATION IN THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY Migration from Europe remained a significant source of population growth in the late colonial period.

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