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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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Colonial Realities and Population Decline

Colonial Realities and Population Decline

(p.24) Chapter 3 Colonial Realities and Population Decline
Conquest and Pestilence in the Early Spanish Philippines

Linda A. Newson

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter explains how the conquest and establishment of Spanish colonial rule led to a population decline in the Philippines. Once Spain had established a permanent foothold in the islands, their retention of the colony continued to depend on Filipino tribute and labor. Native tribute constituted one of the two main sources of Crown revenue in the Philippines, the other being taxes derived from the galleon trade. This chapter first provides an overview of Spanish bureaucracy in the Philippines before discussing the system of tribute payments and vandalas introduced to the islands, along with the polo that required Filipinos to work as forced laborers. It then considers the acquisition of land by the missionary orders, Spain's hostility toward Islam in the Philippines, and the demographic impact of the Hispano-Dutch War. It also examines how climatic change may have contributed to depopulation in the seventeenth century. It argues that the Spanish empire's dependence on the native population for the survival of the colony often led to exploitation, continuing conflict, and population decline.

Keywords:   population decline, Spanish colonial rule, Philippines, Spanish bureaucracy, tribute, vandala, polo, Islam, Hispano-Dutch War, climatic change

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