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Table of Contents


I In which are described three voyages that changed the face of a continent, the American population at the time of contact, the demographic catastrophe of the Indios, the sorrowful increase of the Africans, and the expansion of the Europeans

II A humble Franciscan, two combative Dominicans, an Italian humanist at the Court of Spain, a remorseful viceroy, a naturalist 'alcade', a Europeanized Inca and an Inca fallen on hard times, a conquistador observer... different witnesses and a common analysis of the catastrophe

III A tireless traveler disrupts a continent, but a quarter century too late. From the Caribbean to Peru: a brief history of a long voyage and of the suspected assassin of Huayna Capac, father of Atahuallpa. The true and presumed sins of smallpox and other crowd diseases

IV A golden nose ring and the tragic destiny of the Taino. An Indio follows a deer and discovers a mountain of silver. A people in constant movement, over 1000 miles and at an elevation of 4000 meters, and the wealth of Potosi. Deeds and misdeeds of gold and silver

V Hispaniola, the territorial paradise of Columbus and the imagination of modern scholars. One hundred thousand or ten million Taino? The catastrophe of the Antilles as seen from close up and a credible leyenda negra. People die while animals flourish

VI A great and rich city, dreamed of by Columbus and destroyed by Cortes. The modern dispute over the population of Mesoamerica. Tributaries, tributes, and population. Thirteen brigantines hauled overland and a tunnel in the rock. Men and beasts

VII The Incas and many millions of subjects. A quarter century of wars: Indios versus Indios, Spaniards versus Indios, Spaniards versus Spaniards. 'Quipu' pen and ink. A viceroy who counts, measures and acts. Epidemics: the moderns debate them, the ancients ignore them

VIII Colonists and 'Paulists' hunting down Guarani between the Parana and the Uruguay. One hundred Jesuits for 100,000 Indios. Steel axes and security in exchange for Christian habits. Monogamy and reproduction stronger than crowd diseases








Note on Illustrations


About the Author

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


"An impressive argument for a more complex way of understanding the conquest of what is now Latin America than the single-cause explanations that have been dominant for the past several decades. The translation is lucid and easy to follow, and the generous contemporary illustrations of the life of the Indios at the time of conquest further enrich the text."
Population Studies

"An excellent study ... the book provides fresh insights into one of the most catastrophic episodes of early modern history and the narrative thrust of the work makes it very readable."
Historical Association

"Well-illustrated, useful and balanced ... an excellent provocative volume which should have wide appeal."
European Review of Latin American and Caribbean Studies

"Bacci makes a significant contribution and should be applauded for tackling a difficult academic question. [He] commendably moves the discussion away from singular epidemiological explanations and refocuses debate on the multiple means and various trajectories involced in the conquest of indigenous peoples."
American Historical Review

"Massimo Livi-Bacci's Conquest is a brilliant, fascinating history of the demographic catastrophe that enveloped the New World after 1492. Thickly illustrated with the artistic visions and voices of native peoples, it is the most even-handed, comprehensive narrative available - now in a lively, fluid English translation. Livi Bacci examines the evidence with the eye of a seasoned detective, solving a series of mysteries - in the West Indies, Mexico, Peru, and the Rio de la Plata. Along the way, he finds much previously overlooked evidence, which he ingenuously assembles into a compelling, nuanced interpretation."
Robert McCaa, University of Minnesota

"Was the decay of the Amerindian population man-made, or was it brought about by the uncontrolled spread of pathogens or some other factor? Massimo Livi Bacci, a world-leading demographer, joins, in the present translation of his well-read book, the centuries-long debate on the extent and the causes of the post-Conquest collapse, adding to the discussion fresh insights based on his expertise in population studies and on a judicious and thorough historical research."
Nicolas Sanchez-Albornoz, New York University

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