Population Decline during and after Conquest

Rebecca Storey

in The Oxford Handbook of Mesoamerican Archaeology

Published in print September 2012 | ISBN: 9780195390933
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 Population Decline during and after Conquest

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  • Historical Archaeology


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Two big controversies continue to be debated about what happened to Native Americans when Europeans arrived in the Western Hemisphere to conquer and colonize. The first controversy is over how many people were present and thus what was the scale of the depopulation. The second controversy is over what caused the depopulation. Most researchers agree that there are two main culprits: the introduction of new diseases from the Old World and the stresses caused by conquest and colonization. This article first looks at the evidence for the pre-contact population of Mesoamerica. Then, it discusses the casualties of conquest. The important controversy over the causes of depopulation after conquest is then investigated in depth. Research on this subject is still ongoing.

Keywords: Native Americans; colonization; depopulation; Mesoamerica

Article.  3597 words. 

Subjects: Archaeology ; Archaeology by Region ; Historical Archaeology

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