The Other Side of the Frontier: Economic Explorations into Native American History

By Linda Barrington | Go to book overview

Notes

I wish to thank Hugh Rockoff and Ann Carlos for their comments on an earlier version of this chapter.

1
As no actual population count exists, statistical estimates arc necessary and commonly constructed using models of mortality rates from epidemics. Denevan relies heavily upon the claim of Daniel F. Reff ( 1991) that 90 percent of the indigenous population died prior to 1678. For the sake of comparison, Denevan's estimate of 3.8 million for the United States and Canada is greater than his estimate of 2 million for Central America, but quite small compared to his 13.8 million estimate for Mexico ( Denevan 1992, xxviii, table 1). Denevan also noted that the estimated loss of life between 1492 and 1650, for all of the New World, is 48.3 million -- "a human toll of a magnitude comparable to that suffered during World War II" (xxix).
2
Other population histories of Native Americans include Dobyns 1983; Stannard 1992; and Thornton 1987.
3
For discussion of the indigenous economies south of the Rio Grande, in particular, the empires of the Aztec, Maya, and Inca, see Lockhart and Schwartz 1983; Berdan 1982; Collier, Rosaldo, and Wirth 1982; and Wauchope 1970.
4
In precontact northern North America, there is no evidence of tribute-reliant hierarchies comparable to the evidence that exists for the southeastern and southern regions of the continent. This is consistent with the lower population density and greater reliance on seasonal travel for hunting that characterized the northern indigenous nations. For more on the relationship between population density, settled agriculture, and tribute, see Boserup 1981.
5
As no complete population data exist prior to 1850, we must rely on estimates. Many estimates of population at contact exist (see Table. 1.1), but few time series over the eighteenth century have been estimated.
6
The sixth tribe, the Tuscarora, joined the confederacy later than the others. They moved to the north from the Carolina-Virginia frontier to join the linguistically related Iroquois Confederacy after losing a two-year struggle with southern white settlers. The violent conflict was prompted by settler encroachment and slave raids ( Smith 1988v, 57).
7
Using indigenous peoples to fight against one another had also been a successful tactic for the Spanish conquest of Mexico 100 years earlier ( Lockhart and Schwartz 1983, 82-83).
8
The discussion of the southern colonial deerskin trade presented here draws heavily from Usner 1992, chapter, 8, an excellent source for the history of this trade.
9
For a detailed list of items supplied by the French through trade with indigenous residents of Louisiana, see Usner 1992, tables 6 and 7, 260-265.
10
"[The King] has endeavored to prevent the population of these States; . . . refusing to . . . encourage their migration hither, and raising the conditions of new appropriations of lands" (Declaration of Independence). Also included in the Declaration of Independence was an explicit complaint regarding the king's alliances with Native nations: "[He] has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian savages." Complaints regarding frontier policy did not stop, however, with independence from Britain. Just as they had before 1776, settlers from within the U.S. borders continually took up residence on Indian lands, beyond legal

-44-

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