This chapter examines the decline of populations in Bikol during the Spanish conquest and colonization. The Spanish first came in contact with the Bikol region in 1567, when Martín de Goiti and Mateo de Saz were dispatched by Miguel López de Legazpi to pacify the islands of Leyte, Panay, and Masbate. Two years later Legazpi dispatched another expedition led by Captain Luis Enríquez de Guzman and the Augustinian friar Alonso Jiménez. This chapter first provides a background on the Bikol Peninsula in 1570, including its population and economic activities. It then considers the conversion efforts of missionaries in Bikol, along with the impact of Moro raids on the population. It also discusses demographic trends in Bikol, with particular emphasis on factors that could have contributed to the population decline in the region during Spanish times.
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