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Conquest and Pestilence in the Early Spanish Philippines$
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Linda A. Newson

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780824832728

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824832728.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM HAWAII SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.hawaii.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Hawaii University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in HSO for personal use.date: 19 October 2021

The Role of Disease

The Role of Disease

(p.10) Chapter 2 The Role of Disease
Conquest and Pestilence in the Early Spanish Philippines

Linda A. Newson

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter examines what diseases were present in the Philippines when the Spanish arrived, along with their demographic implications. Before assessing the demographic impact of Old World diseases on the Philippines, the chapter explains the distinction between chronic and acute infections. It then provides a background on the physical and human geography of the Philippines and notes the significant influence of the low population density in pre-Spanish times on the spread and impact of diseases. It also discusses the existence of chronic and acute infections in pre-Spanish Philippines, along with contacts between mainland Asia and the Southeast Asian archipelago, the spread of disease within the Philippine archipelago, and the outbreak of Old World diseases in the early colonial period. The chapter suggests that relatively low levels of population decline in the colonial period can be attributed more to Philippine geography than to any immunity that Filipinos had acquired to acute infections during pre-Spanish times.

Keywords:   population decline, Old World diseases, Philippines, chronic infections, acute infections, geography, population density, pre-Spanish Philippines, colonial period, immunity

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