By Leslie Bethell
Examines the background of colonial Latin the United States ahead of its independence.
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Cook and Woodrow Borah, The population of the Mixteca Alta, i]2o—if6o (Berkeley, 1968). 11 Sherbume F. Cook and Woodrow Borah, Essay in population history: Mexico and the Caribbean, vol. 11 (Berkeley, 1974). Cambridge Histories Online © Cambridge University Press, 2008 Population of colonial Spanish America 29 cent compounded annually. 33 The further the eighteenth century advanced, the more demographic growth increased. Not everywhere, however: in fact, in the country parishes around Puebla already mentioned, the growth rate slowed down at the end of the century.
Besides sicknesses and hunger there were natural disasters such as the earthquakes that levelled cities from time to time, causing high death tolls, especially in areas along the Pacific coast, where the youngest geological folds are to be found. According to the records we have, earthquakes occurred more often in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries than they have done at any other time. 24 The reduction in mortality rates that began to manifest itself — hesitantly and inconsistently — at the end of the eighteenth century is not easy to explain.
In New Granada in 1602, Luis Henrfquez as Visitor tried to concentrate the Indians; but he was resisted by the encomenderos who would be affected by the resettlement, as well as by the Indians themselves, and his purpose was frustrated. The Spaniards for the most part lived in the major cities, the Indians in the smaller towns. In spite of the law, however, segregation into two 'republics' was never rigorously enforced. There was never any lack of Indians in the cities, which indeed needed them if they were to function efficiently.