Conquest: The Destruction of the American Indios

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Polity, Jan 8, 2008 - History - 317 pages
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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Contents

A humble Franciscan two combative Dominicans
21
A tireless traveler disrupts a continent but a quarter
43
A golden nose ring and the tragic destiny of the Taíno
65
Hispaniola the terrestrial paradise of Columbus
89
A great and rich city dreamed of by Columbus
119
The Incas and many millions of subjects A quarter
157
Colonists and Paulists hunting down Guaraní
193
Tables
239
Notes
267
Chronology
293
Glossary
299
Index
307
Copyright

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About the author (2008)

Massimo Livi Bacci is Professor of Demography at the University of Florence.

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