Indigenous Demographic Impact

Graduate Program/Affiliation


The indigenous peoples of the Americas have lived their values and legacies for centuries, with there being little if any gap between fact versus storytelling. This continuity would at one point be disrupted by the allegedly well-intended European baptizers whose urge to civilize the savages was backed by the European philosophic thought and the ruling classes interests alike. Whereas the key question might be to see whether there was any net developmental or human-capital benefit accruing to the host milieu, it is all the more critical to check for any systemic patterns that may have perpetrated the irreversible downside effects. The present report focuses on the causes and consequences of the demographic warp as correlated with the early and sustained encounters.


Background Discussion

Although it might be a daring enterprise in its own right to seek to trace the entire diversity of languages and cultures of what is known today as the indigenous, native, or Amerind peoples, all of these could tentatively be traced to a common origin centering around the so-called Siberian people anywhere between 24,000 BC and 8,000 BC. If one were to adhere to research approaches apart from haplogroup and phenotype based evidence, for consistencys sake, a parsimonious set of testable hypothesis to accommodate a well-defined and meaningful research question would have to be suggested.

To begin with, irrespective of whether the indgenous cultures might have been perceived as more of a nomadic profile (to serve partly as grounds for reservation based segregation at subsequent stages), they had, perhaps unbeknown to the would-be Conquistadors and Encomiendas since 1415-1503, boasted a far longer historical record of sustained as well as sustainable habitation, which was ironically at odds with the more migrant as well as bellicose European legacy. Whereas the latter would have sufficed to carry over into new setups (while possibly predisposing to raid over trade), the former should have been taken into account by the common-law incomers such as the Anglo-French or Anglo-Norman conquerers at least on two levels. Namely, this could have been treated as a historical right (which could be self-replicated) and a local body f common law or comities and conventions that the host had every right to uphold.

Needless to say, this cannot have applied to the Spanish or Romance invaders, whose cultural racism or iron cages was of a different hue of Whiteness referring to an overlapping interest of the sponsoring Catholic throne and the monarchs of Castile and Aragon. The proselytizing agenda would seem to have dominated from the outset in ways that are of crucial importance to the presently attempted analysis.

To begin with, the early precursors of the Reformation were to ignite the rivalry of creeds leading up to a head-on spiral of escalation on the part of the Catholic and Protestant inquisitions alike. In this respect, the later stages of conquest might well have converged in showing similar consistency of means well into the late 1800smore so in mixed Anglo-Hispanic or inter-jurisdictional terrains such as California. In fact, the latter will be chosen as representative for comparative purposes to drive out conjectures that are at odds with historiographical findings of the mid-1900s, following a major rethinking of the Eurocentric priors.

Thus far, it has been presumed implicitly that the creed-laden zeal was the key driver behind potential treatment of enemy versus brethren in faith. In fact, broader aggregates such as Christendom hardly serve any purpose in drawing a sharp line in setups other than the Crusades, with minute nuances of inter-confessional divide readily mapping into major clashes. On second thought, perhaps somewhat ironically, treatment of pagans and the unfaithful could well have been more lenient than that of hereticsmore so pending their likely conversion whose odds were to be bettered by the intensity and resolve of conquests and en-masse christening.

Along these lines, further parallels could be drawn upon. Not least, one has to bear in mind how the Vikings and their Norman successors would grow more of a moderately cooperative and settled ilk following their conversion. For that matter, negotiations with the Moguls as well as their Ottoman rivals were at times a success when plotted against the Eastern Orthodox rivals. This is one instance of how trade would at times take on peculiar and latent forms, possibly replicable with an eye on the Amerind inter-tribal tension and turf wars that the European settlers could deploy to their advantage in terms of allied raids and proxy wars.

What is important to appreciate at this stage is the fallacy and pitfalls of historiographic aggregation failing to discriminate across cases, as opposed to consistency of indirect evidence (e.g. inferred patterns) that could be drawn upon in discerning meaningful as well as testable hypotheses promising enormous explanatory and predictive power.

For instance, the Hispano-Romance versus Anglo-American modes of colonization could be distinguished by patterns that cannot be discarded as inconsistent within their own setups. In the former case, it would be awkward to presume that the crown-anointed Encomienda (indigenous-slave and land ownership) beneficiaries would have any scruple about pressurizing the pagans much the way they would have done on their own heretics or otherwise disloyal postureswhether spiritual leaders or tribal rulers capable of mobilizing the opposition masses. In other words, the Catholic inquisition must have picked up a set of approaches that could travel and prove transferable across setups.

By the same token yet on rather distinct grounds, it should come as little surprise that the US Yankees would indulge in episodes of ideologically charged genocide (which was not foreign to socioeconomic interests either) bearing in mind similar pretext and approaches that were embarked on when assaulting on the slavery-thriving South. In particular, since Lincoln never stopped short of staging a full-blown blockade that acted to destroy southern trade and economy at large, less deadly means of nudging as plotted against the indigenous hosts, notably reservation based desolation, would neither seem at odds with prior rationale nor outmatch its excesses.

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Research Questions 

The key research question could thus be generalized with an eye on the consistency (heredity or path dependence) patterns that may be thought of as the more parsimonious modeling approach plausibly consistent with the respectively more economical expansion strategy.

RQ: Do expansion modes, as exhibited by the Spanish and English colonists within their setups, reveal significant and possibly dominant consistency, in particular in what pertains to the adverse demographic shifts as recorded in both instances spanning early expansion through early decolonization?

Incidentally, the core causes in question need not rule out the moderate evidence as likely peripheral factors, or indeed interactive variables acting to boost the main effects. In fact, the core research question can further be decomposed into derivative conjectures, or testable implications.

RQ1: Can mixed or controversial cross-section evidence further be rationalized with respect to adverse externalities or otherwise unintended side effects having acted as control variables as well as interactive factors revealing their independent impact or alternatively acting to magnify the core patterns?

RQ2: Can inter-temporal or time series dimension be added in a manner allowing for some further structural inference, or indeed cut-off criteria acting on the structural breaks, beyond the possibly inconclusive colonization stages?

In fact, these two conjectures need not take a panel-data setup combining the two dimensions. Instead, these could be treated as standalone structural forms accommodating either setups, Hispanic versus Anglo.

Please refer to Appendix for quantifiable inference.

Posterior Literary & Analytic Evidence

As far as the cut-off criterion is concerned, acting as an implied structural break, its selection could simultaneously rationalize a design looking into mixed or successive legacies. It is for this reason that California could be seen as the representative case, in light of the reports suggesting that the US rule triggered an incommensurably devastating demographic shock compared to the preceding Spanish jurisdiction, with a gap suggesting a factor of 8. As it happens, Cook argues that the rest of the adverse developments, e.g. food shortages and natural disasters as the broader of diseases, may have been magnified by the European incomers and their harsh discriminatory practices.

In line with the proposed approach whereby a qualitative treatment should dominate the analysis for lack of reliable demographic estimates or census records early on, suffice it to point out that the US dominance has not reversed the previous downturn and may have upscaled it, for one to readily appreciate that adverse externality cannot be blamed the bulk of the devastation on. The basic rationale would stipulate that, over centuries following the early encounters, the indigenous populaces should have developed some immunity against the diseases that plagued Europe in the Dark through Middle Ages. Therefore, it is the sustained colonization that must have acted as a negative catalyst, or indeed a main effect, with specific legacies making but a marginal difference. At this rate, none of the above hypotheses can be rejected, even though the core model should gain the most validity while lending it to the rest.

Now, since the positivist notion of testing makes no mention of how reliably a hypothesis can be supported rather than falsified, any extra evidence (as well as qualitative analysis based thereupon and supplementing historiography) would matter on margin. It is for this reason and at this stage that extra literary support would be most solicited.

When it comes to the values and incentives drivers that the two competing outsider legacies confronted pertained to the limits of moral as well as cognitive re-education, or indeed the ex-ante success odds they faced. On the one hand, the inter-tribal competition have to date assumed rather violent if extreme forms, as coupled with the infamous Yanomamo legacy. In fact, this could serve as partial apology to the less scrupulous observer in hindsight. On the other hand, epistemological limits may have been preset by the indigenous heritage of narrative-centric existence whereby storytelling or myth maintenance cannot be separated from historical reality, thereby denying both formalized institutions and formal records as the underpinning of writing systems. At this rate, not only did the European cultural racists underrate the host cultures, they also had failed to adequately perceive their own missionary impart.

On the incentives and values side, it has been demonstrated that the Elizabethan-Stuart transitioning of English conquest marked a structural break whereupon it had been well realized that original as well as further penetration was neither received peacefully nor intended as an entirely benign enterprise completely devoid of any pragmatic intent or unfair and skewed terms of trade. Although it would be awkward to model or simulate the context in retrospect, a game-theoretic treatment appears to be well warranted, if one is to replicate similar encounters elsewhere. In a sense, this seconds the genuinely humanitarian efforts by de las Casas while ironically casts some doubts on the accuracy of his scale of indigenous casualties as reportedly counted in the millions.

One final note would be due referring to the present-day state of the art in health care as well as reporting on the indigenous diseases for native South Americans. The fact that the more observable lowland groups have been over-represented and yet proven under-addressed reveals that the state of affairs was at least no better than that in the period under study.Benefits of our response paper writing service


Based on the analysis thus far, it can tentatively be suggested that the European conquest has had dramatic downside impacts on the indigenous human capital, with the actual timing or sequencing traced to the mixed invading legacies yet not the structural shifts in the causality. Although the rest of the causes, notably natural disasters and unintended side effects, could be seen as control variables, they have shown to be of crucial importance as interactive magnifiers.

As a dual flip-side, it can be surmised that the grand negative complementarity as ushered in with the conquerers pertained to the sheer loss of continuity in the development paths as well as phenotypical interaction with the native environment.

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Dec 9, 2020 in Research Essay Samples