Post-Conquest Demographic Collapse
- LAST REVIEWED: 05 May 2017
- LAST MODIFIED: 19 March 2013
- DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199766581-0134
- LAST REVIEWED: 05 May 2017
- LAST MODIFIED: 19 March 2013
- DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199766581-0134
The post-contact demographic collapse is firmly documented in Latin America but not fully understood. Much academic discussion has appropriately concentrated on the numbers. Assessments focusing on population size at contact and timing and dimensions of the populational nadir have struggled with obtaining accurate and realistic population counts, with the gradual realization that the nadir varied throughout Latin America. An understanding of this variation calls for comprehensive and integrated information on the nature of epidemic disease, genetics, history, human skeletal biology, archeological evidence, and cultural factors. Such an understanding must avoid superficial, naïve generalizations but rather seek synthesis of the diverse relevant data with an appreciation for regional variation and nuance. This bibliography was compiled with these general considerations in mind. The resources begin with Edited Volumes, because many syntheses originate from such broad, interdisciplinary efforts. Primary sources then present a sampling of the type of evidence used for historical evaluation (Source Material for Population Estimates). Precontact Culture and Society provides some sense of the cultural and demographic landscape on the eve of European contact. Precontact Morbidity and Mortality adds important detail from studies of human skeletal biology, and ethnohistoric and archival records. Early Historical Demography examines variations of the population-size impact of initial European contact. Because this scholarly area has proven controversial, Debates in Historical Demography presents different points of view on the methodology employed. Regional Population Estimates reveals how assessments have been made within different areas of Latin America employing a range of academic approaches. History of Contact by Region evaluates the effect of timing and circumstances on contact throughout Latin America. Vectors of Disease provides a scholarly examination of the nature of the influential diseases themselves. Regional Patterns of Post-Contact Disease documents the varied ways that disease affected aboriginal populations throughout Latin America. Cultural Implications of Conquest and Region-Specific Cultural Factors focus on important cultural factors that influenced demographic collapse and contributed to regional variation. Skeletal Studies examines the evidence for morbidity and mortality presented by the skeletal remains of the affected populations. Finally, Post-Contact Genetic Admixture documents contributions from population genetics. This selection of predominantly English works is not intended to reflect the available literature but rather material that can be used to establish a solid overview of the topic. Many Spanish-language sources provide detailed, region-specific studies and should be consulted for more intensive scholarly research. Similarly, while online resources certainly exist, at this time the following sources were thought to provide the most appropriate material for the topic at hand.
Understanding the complexity of demographic collapse in Latin America demands an overview of bioarchaeology, human skeletal biology, archaeology, history, archival studies, demography, epidemiology, pathology, and related fields of study. Several key edited volumes have been instrumental in bringing together the diverse scholarship involved in holistic interpretation, such as Bray 1993 and Cook and Lovell 1991, while others provide a synthetic view of specific topics, such as population estimates in Denevan 1992 and disease factors in Kiple 1993, Kiple and Beck 1997, Swedlund and Armelagos 1990, and Verano and Ubelaker 1992. Kepecs and Alexander 2005 use archaeological and historical material to create a chronological overview of demographic change in Mesoamerica. The scholarly inclusive nature of these volumes has broken new academic ground and made them required reading for anyone entering this field. Too often, scholars concentrate on topics within their own academic areas and ignore relevant perspective from other fields. The following edited volumes break down these barriers to reveal the complexity and interface of the diverse information involved.
Bray, Warwick, ed. The Meeting of Two Worlds: Europe and the Americas, 1492–1650. Proceedings of the British Academy 81. New York: Oxford University Press, 1993.
This assemblage of essays covers a variety of post-contact topics in an effort to present a general summary of the European and indigenous experience. Useful for individuals interested in an overview that touches on multiple viewpoints and aspects.
Cook, Noble David, and W. George Lovell, eds. “Secret Judgments of God”: Old World Disease in Colonial Spanish America. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1991.
An edited collection using region-specific essays to disentangle the distinct contexts of post-contact disease outbreaks. Concentrating on indigenous and colonial cultures, ecology, demography, health, levels of violence, and social organization, this volume affirms the complex and varied circumstances of demographic collapse. Regions include Central Mexico, Guatemala, Ecuador, Peru, and Chile. See also Regional Patterns of Post-Contact Disease.
Denevan, William M., ed. The Native Population of the Americas in 1492. 2d ed. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1992.
Predominantly concentrates on precontact Latin American population estimates. Gives a good overview of methods of estimation, estimates by region, and estimates for the Americas as a whole. Useful volume for those with little experience in the topic who require background regarding previous approximations and the debates surrounding them. See also Debates in Historical Demography.
Kepecs, Susan, and Rani T. Alexander, eds. The Postclassic to Spanish-Era Transition in Mesoamerica: Archaeological Perspectives. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2005.
Broadly appraises the many transitions occurring in Mesoamerica from the post-classic to colonial eras. Combining historical and archaeological evidence, the contributing authors examine the multitude of cultural shifts that made up the widespread changes in Mesoamerican life after contact. See also Region-Specific Cultural Factors.
Kiple, Kenneth F., ed. The Cambridge World History of Human Disease. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1993.
Encyclopedic reference of human disease. Helpful chapters on the disease ecology of South America (Section VII.9, pages 535–543) and disease in the New World (Sections V.8, V.9, and V.10, pages 305–333). Descriptions of specific diseases provide such details as history of transmission, environmental factors, vectors, and symptoms. Valuable for understanding the impact and spread of post-contact disease. See also Precontact Morbidity and Mortality and Vectors of Disease.
Kiple, Kenneth F., and Stephen V. Beck, eds. Biological Consequences of the European Expansion, 1450–1800. Brookfield, VT: Ashgate/Variorum, 1997.
Compilation on the topic of disease following European contact. Originally published in a variety of noteworthy journals, these articles provide an overview of influential sources in this area of study. The majority of articles focus on Latin America, although Australia, Europe, and North America are also discussed. See also Vectors of Disease.
Swedlund, Alan C., and George J. Armelagos, eds. Disease in Populations in Transition: Anthropological and Epidemiological Perspectives. New York: Bergin & Garvey, 1990.
Selection of essays discussing the adaptive responses of populations in transition worldwide and across time. Touches on topics that are often overlooked in epidemiology, such as social change, environmental change, and genetics. Maintains a productive, broad perspective, recognizing the frequency and complexity of transition and culture exchange in human history. See also Skeletal Studies.
Verano, John W., and Douglas H. Ubelaker, eds. Disease and Demography in the Americas. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1992.
Authors interpret the bioarchaeology and ethnohistory of pre- and post-contact disease and health and the role of population estimates in understanding these topics. Overviews include the limits and applications of bioarchaeology and historical sources. Latin American regions of discussion include the Andes and the Amazon. See also Precontact Morbidity and Mortality, Regional Patterns of Post-Contact Disease, and Skeletal Studies.
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content on this page. Please subscribe or login.
How to Subscribe
Oxford Bibliographies Online is available by subscription and perpetual access to institutions. For more information or to contact an Oxford Sales Representative click here.
- Agricultural Technologies
- Andean Contributions to Rethinking the State and the Natio...
- Antislavery Narratives
- Arab Diaspora in Latin America, The
- Argentina in the Era of Mass Immigration
- Argentina, Slavery in
- Argentine Literature
- Army of Chile in the 19th Century
- Asian Art and Its Impact in the Americas, 1565–1840
- Asian-Peruvian Literature
- Baroque and Neo-baroque Literary Tradition
- Bello, Andrés
- Black Experience in Colonial Latin America, The
- Black Experience in Modern Latin America, The
- Borderlands in Latin America, Conquest of
- Bourbon Reforms, The
- Brazilian Northeast, History of the
- Buenos Aires
- Caribbean Philosophical Association, The
- Caribbean, The Archaeology of the
- Cartagena de Indias
- Caste War of Yucatán, The
- Caudillos, 19th Century
- Cádiz Constitution and Liberalism, The
- Chaco War
- Children, History of
- Chile's Struggle for Independence
- Chronicle, The
- Church in Colonial Latin America, The
- Chávez, Hugo, and the Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela
- Cinema, Contemporary Brazilian
- Cinema, Latin American
- Colonial Central America
- Colonial Portuguese Amazon Region, from the 17th to 18th C...
- Contemporary Maya, The
- Costa Rica
- Cárdenas and Cardenismo
- Cuban Revolution, The
- Development of Architecture in New Spain, 1500-1810, The
- Development of Painting in Peru, 1520–1820, The
- Drug Trades in Latin America
- Early Colonial Forms of Native Expression in Mexico and Pe...
- Ecuador, La Generación del 30 in
- El Salvador
- Enlightenment and its Visual Manifestations in Spanish Ame...
- Environmental History
- Era of Porfirio Díaz, 1876–1911, The
- Family History
- Film, Science Fiction
- Football (Soccer) in Latin America
- Gender in Colonial Brazil
- Gender in Postcolonial Latin America
- Guatemala and Yucatan, Conquest of
- Guatemala City
- Haitian Revolution, The
- Health and Disease in Modern Latin America, History of
- History, Cultural
- History, Food
- Honor in Latin America to 1900
- Horror in Literature and Film in Latin America
- Human Rights in Latin America
- Immigration in Latin America
- Indigenous Elites in the Colonial Andes
- Indigenous Population and Justice System in Central Mexico...
- Japanese Presence in Latin America
- Jewish Presence in Latin America, The
- Las Casas, Bartolomé de
- Latin American Independence
- Latin American Urbanism, 1850-1950
- Law and Society in Latin America since 1800
- Legal History of New Spain, 16th-17th Centuries
- Legal History of the State and Church in 18th Century New ...
- Literature, Argentinian
- Machado de Assis
- Maroon Societies in Latin America
- Martí, José, and Cuba
- Mestizaje and the Legacy of José María Arguedas
- Mexican Revolution, 1910–1940, The
- Mexican-US Relations
- Mexico, Conquest of
- Mexico, Education in
- Migration to the United States
- Military and Modern Latin America, The
- Military Government in Latin America, 1959–1990
- Military Institution in Colonial Latin America, The
- Modern Decorative Arts and Design, 1900–2000
- Modern Populism in Latin America
- Modernity and Decoloniality
- Musical Tradition in Latin America, The
- Native Presence in Postconquest Central Peru
- New Conquest History and the New Philology in Colonial Mes...
- New Left in Latin America, The
- Novel, Chronology of the Venezuelan
- Novel of the Mexican Revolution, The
- Novel, 19th Century Haitian
- Novel, The Colombian
- Oaxaca, Conquest and Colonial
- Painting in New Spain, 1521–1820
- Paraguayan War (War of the Triple Alliance)
- Perón and Peronism
- Peru, Colonial
- Peru, Conquest of
- Peru, Slavery in
- Philippines Under Spanish Rule, 1571-1898
- Photography in the History of Race and Nation
- Political Exile in Latin America
- Popular Culture and Globalization
- Popular Movements in Nineteenth-Century Latin America
- Post Conquest Aztecs
- Post-Conquest Demographic Collapse
- Poverty in Latin America
- Preconquest Incas
- Pre-Revolutionary Mexico, State and Nation Formation in
- Printing and the Book
- Prints and the Circulation of Colonial Images
- Protestantism in Latin America
- Revolution and Reaction in Central America
- Rosas, Juan Manuel de
- Sandinista Revolution and the FSLN, The
- Science and Empire in the Iberian Atlantic
- Sexualities in Latin America and the Caribbean
- São Paulo
- Spanish and Portuguese Trade, 1500–1750
- Spanish Caribbean In The Colonial Period, The
- Spanish Colonial Decorative Arts, 1500-1825
- Spanish Florida
- Textile Traditions of the Andes
- 16th-Century New Spain
- Transculturation and Literature
- Trujillo, Rafael
- Tupac Amaru Rebellion, The
- United States and Castro's Cuba in the Cold War, The
- United States and the Guatemalan Revolution, The
- United States Invasion of the Dominican Republic, 1961–196...
- Urban History
- Urbanization in the 20th Century, Latin America’s
- U.S.-Latin American Relations During the Cold War
- Vargas, Getúlio
- Women and Labor in 20th-Century Latin America
- Women in Colonial Latin American History
- Women in Modern Latin American History
- Zapatista Rebellion in Chiapas