Chapter

Conquest and Depopulation before 1600

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Abstract

This chapter examines how the Spanish conquest and colonization contributed to depopulation in the Philippines before 1600, with particular emphasis on those aspects of native society that had implications for the nature of Spanish colonial rule and demographic trends in the Visayas. It first provides an overview of subsistence, settlement patterns, polities, and social practices in the Visayas and goes on to consider population estimates for the islands in 1565 and from 1565 to 1600. In particular, it discusses the population of Samar, Bohol, Cebu, Panay, and Negros, suggesting that the pre-Spanish population of the Visayas might have been about 383,000, or probably nearer 400,000. The chapter concludes by assessing the population decline in the Visayas from 1565 to 1600.

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