This chapter examines the impact of Spanish colonial rule on the population of Cagayan. During the colonial period the Cagayan Valley formed the backbone of the Dominican province of Cagayan. Juan de Salcedo first made contact with the inhabitants of Cagayan during his circumnavigation of the island of Luzon in 1572, but he received a hostile reception and continued on his journey without establishing a settlement. Permanent Spanish settlement was established in Cagayan in 1581; by then much of the region had already been allocated in encomiendas. This chapter begins with an overview of Cagayan Valley in 1570, focusing on its physical geography, society, population trends, and settlement patterns. It then considers the Dominican missionaries' conversion efforts in the region, along with demographic trends. It also discusses the possible causes of population decline in Cagayan during the period, including epidemics.
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