Demography and Empire: A Guide to the Population History of Spanish Central America, 1500-1821

Demography and Empire: A Guide to the Population History of Spanish Central America, 1500-1821

Demography and Empire: A Guide to the Population History of Spanish Central America, 1500-1821

Demography and Empire: A Guide to the Population History of Spanish Central America, 1500-1821


"Research on the Central American colonial experience - long overshadowed by the scholarly focus on Mexico and Peru - has begun to blossom, greatly expanding our knowledge of land and life in the region under Spanish rule. The first bibliography of its kind, Demography and Empire offers a comprehensive survey of recent literature in Spanish and in English pertaining to the population history of colonial Central America. In their introductory chapter, Lovell and Lutz examine contact-period demography, native survival and demise, race mixture, and ethnic composition. They then make use of over two hundred entries to discuss the salient findings of population research to date and to provide an accessible bibliographic synthesis of a rich, diverse, and evolving literature." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved


Like most ventures, this book has its own history, certain details of which may make sense to recount in order to provide some idea of how our project developed over time.

In July 1988, we were in Amsterdam to attend the 46th International Congress of Americanists.One evening at supper we were approached by Professor Robert McCaa of the University of Minnesota and asked by him to participate in an ambitious collaboration called The Peopling of the Americas. Professor McCaa's plans drew on the expertise of dozens of scholars, each of whom was asked to synthesize salient literature with a view to producing, for the region or country of Latin America they were thought to know best, a comprehensive guide to population history, from colonial times to the present.To ourselves fell the task of reviewing literature on colonial Central America, a region we correlated territorially with the administrative unit known centuries ago as the Audiencia de Guatemala.In terms of present-day geography, this unit encompasses (from north to south) the Mexican state of Chiapas, the now independent nation of Belize, and the republics of Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica.

For this far-flung territory we furnished Professor McCaa with over two hundred bibliographic entries, which he trimmed to suit his own needs, dispensing with those entries that did not deal, centrally or concretely, with population matters he wished to emphasize.

Professor McCaa's intent was to organize the entries furnished him, for all parts of Latin America, into topics and themes that conform to fields of demographic inquiry recognized by the International Union for the Scientific Study of Population (IUSSP). Thus designed, The Peopling of the Americas would provide readers with hundreds, if not thousands, of annotated references, arranged for the most part by IUSSP rationale, not by geographical region.The needs of the Mexican or Andean specialist, in other words, would be preempted by those of the demographer interested in a specific population issue as it unfolds or comes into effect throughout Latin America.Professor McCaa's terms of reference are admirable and his undertaking one with which we are happy to have been associated. However, after spending considerable time gathering material and shaping it into a coherent Central American framework, it seemed to us that maintaining the regional integrity of our labors was essential.With this end in mind, we agreed that our entries appear in The Peopling of the Americas as Professor McCaa saw fit, but requested his permission to preserve them as an integrated body of work that we would publish separately.This book is the outcome of the latter initiative. It thus differs, in matters of style and . . .

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