QuoteReplyTopic: Why Europeans failed to settle Tropical Africa Posted: 30-May-2009 at 12:49
If the census sad 2 millions in 1600 that was around the same population living there at contact.
I very much doubt that.
The most conservative estimates put the pre-contact population of America (the entire continent) at around 9-10 million.
Obviously, much of the population would be concentrate in few agricultural regions, while the rest of the continent was sparsely populated by hunter-gatherers. The Spanish conquered most of these regions (Andean, Mesoamerica etc); and let's say that these regions held more than half of all the native American population: let's say 6 million.
From 6 million to 2 million in one century, it is a reduction of 2/3.
Imagine, if any of the countries today lost 2/3 of it's population in less than 100 years; there'd by plenty of empty land, abandoned towns and cities.
The problem is that those numbers are only speculation. It is true smallpox and other diseases affected native americans very much, but in what degree is not known. For instance, when the Black Plague attacked Europe in the 14th century, it took 1/3 of the population away! It took two generations for Europe to recover to its original levels.
We know for historical events that there was a great mortality in the Americas at that time. But if you see the chronicles, there wasn't the masive panic that you saw in Europe in the 14th century!
Yes, we know that Pocahontas died of fever, but only after having kids and paying a visit to London! If the diseases were so strong, probably Indians would have rushed away from white people at soon as they saw them!
The impact of disease should be understood better as an important increase in morbility. However, thinking that natives died immediately when an European breath close to them is just an urban myth.
See Africa today, attacked by HIV in large scale. You can see life expectancy droping to 40 years, and a high mortality. Nowhere you see a decrease in population!
So, it is better take those speculations of masive redaction of population because germs with easy.
Because the quick conquest was impossible and the territory of natives was disrupted, the war followed for many time because non of the enemies was good in their position. And this allowed mapuches to adapt to european warfare. In several moments spanish showed great interest in finish the war, but the most decissive victories over the indigenous didn't mean anything than deffensive position and consolidation of territory.
Well, all that you said matches reality. Except for a single factor, the Spanish population wasn't that small. Around the 17th century the mestizo and Spanish population was around 700.000 people already and by Independence it was 1 million.
Originally posted by Ikki
The migration of spaniards to América in 16-17th centuries were mainly people of middle-high jobs, they were basically urban migrants who went there to work in urban centers, althought many of they worked in the country, they were always the upper side of the worker system; althought the migration of the 17th is not as well kown as the 16th century. The migration of low rank workers and with a pure rural objective with a purpose of stablish in unpopulated lands didn't begin until 1700. The greatest stimations for this migration are around 400.000 in those two centuries and probably that date is excessive.
I can't provide you with a net source but you can look this info in any general book about history of Hispanoamérica.
400.000 is a small figure. I bet the actual number is higher. However, the largest majorities in the Americas were mestizo since the beginning. Many Spaniards lived in harems with theirs native wives and concubines, at the purest Muslim Moor style
It is amazing that historians who analize the figure of the decrease of Native population don't notice a curious pattern. While the Native population decreased the Mestizo population was skyrocketing. However, there are records about what was going on. A priest in Cuba once recorded that "natives were getting extinct because Spaniards took Indian women for them". Even more, some expert in precolumbian history described that in early colonization couples of Amerindians usually had one or two children at most, while mixed couples of Spaniards and Indians had dozens of kids. So that reproductive difference certainly played a role as well; perhaps more important than we think.
See Africa today, attacked by HIV in large scale. You can see life expectancy droping to 40 years, and a high mortality. Nowhere you see a decrease in population! So, it is better take those speculations of masive redaction of population because germs with easy.
I'm not sure about that assumption. If Aborigines and native Americans had similar resistance to European disease (debatable), they we could say that disease did make a big difference. What small pox did to the Aborigines in the Sydney Basin is well documented. Whole tribes were literally wiped out, lying dead and unburied, the few survivors fled and spread the disease to other groups. The Europeans were bewildered by its speed and strength. Its quite possible that Aboriginies that had no contact with white settlers for another 50 years were devastated by small pox in the 1790s. The disease travelled much faster than the settlers did.
yes, there was a large mortality. Just remember that Pocahontas died of a contagious disease, but not before she was mother. But I wouldn't bet those plagues eliminated the 90% of the population. Perhaps the 20% or even 40%. A large number, indeed, but that could recover in one single generation.
I found an interesting section starting on page 203 of a book I own called "Nigeria, Our Latest Protectorate" written in 1900 by Charles Henry Robinson. The book mainly deals with the Hausa and their lands and customs and squarely points the finger at them as slave raiders, traders, etc., If this excerpt is any indication, I would say muslim slave raiders from within did quite a good job at decimating local populations. Forget germs in africa, people were just trying to not be kidnapped or butchered and this was in 1900 mind you!!!. Here is an excerpt:
"There are one or two points to which I should like to refer in conclusion. The first step towards the development of Nigeria must be the abolition of slave-raiding. As long as the majority of the people live in constant fear lest their town or village should be destroyed on the coming night, and they themselves carried off as slaves, we cannot expect any real improvement in the general condition of the country. The marvel is that, despite the existence of this desolating evil, they should have been able to attain so high a degree of civilization. Slaves are used in Nigeria first as porters, and secondly as the currency of the country. During the wet season beasts of burden can only be employed to a limited extent, and when they are available, slaves are often used by preference.
Again, the absence of any proper coinage or substitute for coinage makes it almost impossible to transact business on a large scale, except by using slaves as the medium of exchange. This is especially the case where tribute has to be paid by one king to another. A sort of feudal system prevails throughout most of West Africa, the smaller places paying tribute to the larger. The King of Kano, for example, has two hundred kings who pay tribute to him, the greater part of which is paid in slaves. According to Captain Binger, Samory, whose country lies to the west of Nigeria, pays eight hundred slaves per month for the gunpowder which he receives. Assuming the Hausa-speaking population of Nigeria to be fifteen millions, five millions at the very least of these are slaves. There are probably fifty thousand slaves in Kano itself. On one occasion, after spending thirty-six hours in or on the edge of a slave-raider's camp, and having with difficulty escaped from his clutches, I had to march for four days through country which he had recently raided. In the course of this sixty-mile march, during which we were nearly starved, we passed through village after village destitute alike of inhabitants and of food, the former having been massacred or carried off as slaves by our late host. No one who has not seen a town or village that has recently suffered from such a raid can realize the horror which the constant repetition of such sights from day to day serves to produce. In the presence of this diabolical cruelty and waste of human life, one could not but feel impatient for the day when the forcible intervention of a European power should rid the earth of such crimes. It is quite certain that slave raiding will never die a natural death. History affords no single instance in which Mohammedans have voluntarily abandoned the slave trade, and Nigeria is certainly not likely to afford such an example....."
Edited by Mayra - 04-Jun-2009 at 23:03
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