The arrival of Europeans in the Americas brought with it a demographic catastrophe of vast proportions for the native populations. What were the causes? The surviving documentation is extraordinarily rich: conquistadors, religious figures, administrators, officials, and merchants kept records, carried out inquiries, and issued edicts. The native world, for its part, has also left eloquent traces of events as well as direct testimony of its harsh subjugation at the hands of the Europeans. Drawing on these sources, Livi Bacci shows how not only the 'imported' diseases but also a series of economic and social factors played a role in the disastrous decline of the native populations. He argues that the catastrophe was not the inevitable outcome of contact with Europeans but was a function of both the methods of the conquest and the characteristics of the subjugated societies. This gripping narrative recounts one of the greatest tragedies of human history, one whose protagonists include figures like Columbus, Montezuma, Atahuallpa, Pizarro, Corts and Tupac Amaru.
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(211mm x 143mm x 21mm)
Publisher: Polity Press
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Author Biography - Massimo Livi Bacci
Massimo Livi Bacci is Professor of Demography at the University of Florence.