New world populations

Richard Spear (
Sun, 18 Dec 1994 14:39:08 PST

Hi -

At an end-of-semester party last night a discussion began around the Spanish
entree into the new world. Remembering my Las Casas (but probably not very
accurately!), I stated that the native population in the Carribean and
North America had been decimated by the Spanish invaders and that millions
had been killed. The professors at the party (none expert in this area)
responded by saying that there weren't that many indigeonous peoples
slaughtered and that there weren't too many around when the Spanish arrived,
anyway. I replied that there had been as many as one hundred million native
peoples in the New World in 1492 and that millions *had* been slaughtered in
50 years or so.

Now I'm re-reading Las Casas, Diaz and De Vaca and trying to make some sense
of this. I'm also trying to remember where I heard the figure (admittedly a
high estimate) of one hundred million for a New world population. Anyone have
a reading list for this material? I think that I may be re-visiting an earlier
discussion ... if so, could someone point me to a faq or thread?

Regards, Richard