Mariage et métissage dans les sociétés coloniales - Marriage and misgeneration in colonial societies
Amériques, Afrique et Iles de l’Océan Indien (XVI e –XX e siècles) - Americas, Africa and islands of the Indian ocean (XVI th –XX th centuries)
Edited By Guy Brunet
The conquest of large colonial empires by European powers, followed by migratory flows, more or less important depending on places and periods, gave birth to new societies. The most important human groups, indigenous, European born settlers and their descendants, and sometimes slaves snatched from the African continent, mixed, more or less early, more or less intensely. Unions, legally registered or not, and misgeneration lead to the appearance of mixed-blood generations and to a process of creolisation. The numerical strength of these human groups, and the existence of barriers between them, produced various degrees of misgeneration that the authorities of the colonial societies tried to identify and to classify. The sixteen texts gathered in this book study the way that these populations got mixed, and the place of mixed-blood people in the new societies. These issues are tackled in a long-term perspective, about various territories, from Canada to Bolivia, from the French West Indies to Madagascar, from Algeria to Angola.
Population and Economy in Present-day Bolivia – 18th century
Raquel Gil MONTERO CONICET-UNT
When Alexander von Humboldt arrived in South America at the beginning of the 19th century, the majority of the population lived in the highlands, on the mountains, a population pattern that distinguishes the Andes from the rest of the world (Mathieu, 2013). For the German naturalist, agriculture was the key to understanding the distribution of the population because mining – although the most important economic activity of the Spanish empire – implied only few workers (Humboldt in Brown, 2012: 89). His view influenced different contemporary analysis on population and economy, and also the most recent synthesis written by Brown (2012).1 Although Humboldt visited only few peripheral mines in South America, his impression was shared by many other observers.2
This particular distribution had, moreover, a long history of social, economic and political development: two important pre-Hispanic regional societies, Tiwanaku (650–1050 Current Era) and the Inkas (1200–1533 C.E.), had developed over 3500 meters above sea level. The European conqueror reinforced this population distribution pattern according to the organization of mining activities and indigenous labour. In fact, the colonial economy was based on existing population patterns, using the abundant labour force available in the highlands to organize the work of the mines and the haciendas. This characteristic has been one of the contrasts, for example, with Mexico, where miners had to organize the labour ← 185 | 186 → force differently because this activity had settled in sparsely populated regions.
However, those existing...
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