Demographic and economic fluctuations and their interrelations have been a privileged research theme in modern European history. Recurrent changes in climate that resulted in crop failures, shortages, and famines, frequently accompanied by outbreaks of epidemics, led historians of preindustrial Europe to a reconceptualization of the past that emphasizes the “crisis of subsistence” or the “Ancien Régime crisis” as phenomena of great importance in agrarian societies.1 In the last few decades students of demographic history have refined our understanding of the vital consequences of these crises, especially in their effect on mortality, through the systematic exploitation of parish registers.2

Economic and demographic fluctuations have, however, received very uneven treatment in the literature on Hispanic America. Pioneering studies on New Spain demonstrated the importance of epidemics and shortages.3 The call for attention to the availability and possible uses of parish registers, issued more than twenty years ago by Nicolás Sánchez-Albornoz, also produced its most important results for New Spain.4 Since then a large number of works on the economy and society of New Spain, rural as well as urban, have underscored the importance of these crises, especially in the eighteenth century, with its recurrent famines and epidemics.5

In the case of colonial Andean societies, economic and demographic fluctuations have received less attention. There are solid demographic studies that permit us to outline the evolution of the indigenous Andean population over the course of the colonial period and the first hundred years after independence.6 However, mortality and the role of epidemics have been studied in depth only for the first century following the conquest.7 The pioneering work by Noble David Cook remains the only analysis based on Andean parish registers.8 Moreover, despite the recent publication of various series of colonial Andean tithes and prices,9 few analyses of economic fluctuations exist in the literature.10

In this historiographic context, I have undertaken a study and analysis of baptismal, death, and marriage registers available from the end of the seventeenth century to the beginning of the nineteenth century for the indigenous parishes of San Cristóbal, San Pablo, San Sebastián, and La Concepción in the city of Potosí, and the villages of Sacaca and Acasio in the region of Chayanta, north of Potosí (Map 1).11 These selected parishes will be used to speculate on the nature of the crisis of 1800-1805 throughout Upper Peru. They were chosen in order to comparatively evaluate the indigenous demographic evolution in both rural and urban contexts.

The most obvious reason for including Potosí was its role, since the sixteenth century, as the economic center of a large regional economy. My interest in the indigenous parishes is more specific. They were organized in the 1570s by Viceroy Toledo as part of the measures establishing the mita. The mita forced the migration of thousands of workers, frequently accompanied by their wives and children and, sometimes, by parents and siblings. The parishes were to take care of the spiritual needs of migrating families who, during their stay in the Imperial City, were organized according to their village and ethnic groups. The mita workers that opted to remain permanently in Potosí, thereby converting themselves into yanaconas or indios criollos, and their descendants also continued to belong to the parishes that corresponded to their villages of origin. Forced migrants as well as permanent residents of the city were united in the parishes of Potosí.

Chayanta, on the other hand, offers a special case. As Tristan Platt points out, these indigenous communities were particularly successful for a long time in defending their conditions of reproduction.12 As demonstrated by John Murra, before the European invasion the peoples of the central and southern Andes had organized access to the products of diverse ecological levels by means of colonies or islands that constituted “vertical archipelagos.”13 In the area of Chayanta the utilization of punas, or high plains, and valleys was accomplished by a seasonal mass migration between zones, the so-called “double residence.”14 This pattern was recognized by Viceroy Toledo who, in this region, decided to require the villages of the valleys as well as those of the punas to send mitayos to Potosí, although in other zones valley residents were generally exempt from this burden. The reproductive strategies of the communities of Chayanta included selling their agricultural products, especially wheat, in the mining markets of Potosí and Oruro. Platt also underscored the effective role played by Chayanta’s caciques in defending their villages, particularly through organizing the cultivation of community lands and the commercialization of their products.15 Within this area, San Luis de Francia de Sacaca, a puna village that was the ancient seat of the Confederation of Charcas, and San Juan de Acasio, its “annex” in the valley lands forty-seven kilometers to the east,16 constituted one of the few cases of “double residence” where parish registers are available for both localities.

The crisis of 1800-1805 was unique in its duration, as well as in its intensity and geographical reach. Specialists generally accept that, after the long decline of indigenous Andean population following the European invasion, a recuperation began sometime between the end of the seventeenth century and the beginning of the eighteenth. This new process was violently interrupted by an epidemic that devastated the Río de la Plata and Andean regions in 1718-20.17 The rest of the eighteenth century, in spite of recurrent demographic crises, exhibits a well-defined upward trend in indigenous population with its peak precisely in the 1800-1805 crisis.

Droughts and Dearth

Due to their frequency, droughts are common phenomena in the altiplano, or high plains. Contemporary observations carried out at two meteorological stations in Puno have registered an annual drought frequency of 18 percent in one and 35 percent in the other.18 Between the months of December and March 75 percent of the area’s rainfall occurs, while the remaining 25 percent is distributed from September to November and in April. Droughts most frequently occur in the months of September-October and March-April, with the annual maximum intensity in October. But contemporary Andean experience and European historical data suggest a differentiation between the circumscribed effects of a dry year and the far more damaging consequences of a multiyear drought, such as was experienced in the 1980s in the altiplano.

Climatological studies suggest that between 1720 and 1860 the Andes experienced persistent drought conditions.19 During this period, 1800-1805 represented years of exceptionally severe successive droughts. Paria was particularly affected, suffering six years without water. In Omasuyos the drought lasted from 1800 until at least 1804. At the end of 1800 Intendente Viedma reported on the severe lack of water in Cochabamba during that year. In 1803 the drought reappeared in that region. Although by 1804 it was already considered the worst drought in memory, it would last throughout all of 1805. In Potosí the drought was experienced without interruption from 1801 to 1805. It was recorded in the city of La Paz in 1803 and again in 1804.20 In that same year it reached Puno, Sica-sica, Carangas, Oruro, Chayanta, La Plata, and the territory controlled by the Chiriguanos and lasted through 1805.21 During these initial years of the nineteenth century droughts were also recorded in what is today Argentine territory, both in the northeast and in the Atlantic coastal regions.22 The lack of rain took its toll on crops and led to great livestock losses. Contemporaries reported “scarcity” being replaced by “famine.” This occurred in Carangas, where “not a single place” escaped, in Chayanta, Cochabamba, Omasuyos, Paria, Puno, Sicasica, Yamparáez, and in Chiriguano territory.23

The drought affected a broad geographical region, producing scarcities in urban markets not only in Upper Peru but also in Lima and Buenos Aires. Marcel Haitin attributed the scarcity in Lima to “a complex of internal factors as yet unidentified.”24 However, using as a base 1789-90 = 100, he found that in 1804 the prices in Lima of chickpeas, pork fat, and potatoes rose to indices of 134.84, 116.67, and 155.23, respectively. In Buenos Aires price increases were even more accentuated. With a base of 1776-1800 = 100, in 1804 the prices of wheat, chickpeas, and beans rose to 286, 193, and 157, respectively.25

Scarcity was felt during the same year in Arequipa, where the wheat crop in areas that regularly supplied the city was reduced by half. The Cabildo reacted, as its counterparts in cities of Upper Peru were forced to do, by experimenting with direct intervention in the urban food markets. In June 1804 it ordered an inspection of stocks in grain warehouses and of the city’s fifteen flour mills, and it petitioned the royal authorities to restrict sales of wheat and limit shipments to the highlands.26

There is a tithe series available for the archbishopric of Charcas, as well as an index of agricultural prices for the market of Potosí (Table 1).27 The data show increases in agricultural prices for the years 1801-2 and 1802-5, with important annual increases in 1802, 1804, and 1805 of 20.6 percent, 17.2 percent, and 34.9 percent, respectively. The nominal movement of tithe values, which tended to track with prices for speculative reasons, did so in these years as well, although with nuances.28 In 1801 the nominal increase in tithes was four times that of prices; again in 1802 tithes went up significantly, although less than prices (13.1 percent compared to 20.6 percent). In 1803 tithes rose in spite of a decline in prices, while in 1804 the movement was reversed. The greatest increases in both tithes and prices were registered in 1805 (28.7 percent and 34.9 percent). In spite of the speculative character of tithes, their deflated values clearly reveal a general decline in agricultural production during these years.

Beginning in January 1804 the Cabildo of Potosí observed with concern the evolution of grain prices in the city. Its first effort was to compel bakers to act in unison on the pricing and timing of purchases. Anxious to maintain their private supplies of wheat, the bakers continued to act individually.29 By February scarcity was visible in various cities of Upper Peru. In Cochabamba wheat and corn doubled in price to eight and six pesos per fanega, respectively.30

Potosí opted at this time for the establishment of a public grain warehouse where those that produced flour were obliged to deposit it for sale. The grain warehouse, a common institution in the urban centers of New Spain, had appeared only sporadically in the Andes. In Potosí such a project was discussed at length during 1766 and 1767 without a decision being reached.31 The urgency of this new crisis led to the project’s adoption in February 1804, with complementary clauses designed to assure that subdelegates in producing areas would direct flour to the city. At the same time, the price of wheat in Potosí was fixed at eight pesos (sixty-four reales), and on that basis bakers were authorized to reduce the weight of their loaves without modifying unit sale prices.32

According to the unpublished additions to the annals of Potosí, between April 4 and June 1 the entry of foodstuffs into the city stopped completely.33 In July “shortages and suffering” reigned throughout the city. The monopoly of grain provision by the public granary appears not to have been effective. The Cabildo confirmed that bakers continued to purchase wheat outside the exchange and sent arquiris, or Indian agents, to intercept suppliers en route to the city. Although some bakers were caught disobeying earlier agreements, the Intendente Francisco de Paula Sanz decided not to punish them since evidence showed that all bakers were violating the accords. Bakers who had pending contracts with landowners preferred not to accept delivery of flour in order to avoid parceling it out to all the rest.34 The Cabildo tried to alleviate the shortages by successive changes in the hours bakeries were permitted to sell. First, pulperos and silver mills were prohibited from making purchases before eleven o’clock in the morning in order to facilitate access by the general “public.” Later, this restriction was eliminated so that the gente miserable and “workers of the mines” could make purchases in the early morning hours at city pulperías and silver mills.35

Shortages, however, became still worse in August. According to the purchases made by the Franciscan convent in Potosí, the price of potatoes reached the maximum for the period between August and December (Figure 1). On August 7 the Cabildo suspended the monopoly of the grain exchange and increased the regulated price of flour to ten pesos.36 A few days later, the Cabildo made an about face and decided to try a new policy. It reestablished the public granary’s monopoly and, based on unconfirmed reports that supplies were available in Porco and Chayante, reduced the price of flour to four pesos. It then decided to send envoys to confirm this information.37 Despite predictable opposition from the bakers, the Cabildo also attempted to increase bread supplies by authorizing the opening of three new bakeries in addition to the ten already in existence.38

In September the continuation of the shortage convinced the Cabildo that the producers opposed the grain warehouse and that flour supplies would increase only in a free market. Consequently, it proposed the abolition of the monopoly. Intendente Sanz opposed this measure on the ground that the wheat of Porco and Chayanta could not dramatically alter the city’s grain supply since a lack of water had paralyzed or considerably slowed the operating of the flour mills. The price then rose to ten pesos.39 During the month concern widened as other foodstuffs became scarce in the city. Attention was focused on the owners of canchas (foodstuff stores), who took “the arbitrary liberty . . . of increasing and decreasing the prices of foodstuffs, or what is even clearer, of reaching agreements according to the desires of the supplier in setting prices.”40 The Cabildo decided to intervene to prevent personal relations among suppliers and cancheros and their shared interests from aggravating the scarcities in the city.

During October the Cabildo became involved in protecting the quality and weight of bread.41 In November the situation appears to have gotten worse. The síndico procurador of the Cabildo proposed the suspension of the public granary for two months, and again the measure was rejected by Intendente Sanz. The price of wheat rose to a high of twelve pesos, where it remained for seven months (see Figure 1).42 Similar increases occurred throughout the region. By December 1804 the cost of flour had already reached sixteen pesos four reales in Cochabamba, while in the city of La Paz its price rose to twenty pesos by January 1805.43

The Cabildo of Potosí continued to grant permits for new bakeries in spite of the opposition of the bakers’ guild. In February 1805 the Cabildo again insisted on opposing the monopoly. When some of its members took their opposition to the limits of allowable institutional conflict, Intendente Sanz ordered the Cabildo to observe “perpetual silence” on the issue.44 Only in June, with the price of flour down to nine pesos, did Sanz grant permission to close the grain warehouse.45 Flour supplies appeared to normalize after March 1806; the price then dropped to levels below those charged at the initiation of the monopoly (Figure 1).46

Under conditions of severe drought one city’s shortages could produce serious consequences in other urban markets. Potosí’s decision in February 1804 to establish a public granary and raise the price of wheat to eight pesos exacerbated shortages in La Plata (i.e., Chuquisaca). In April Mariano Fariñas y Pacheco prepared a “Table showing the difference between the liquid product of flour in Chuquisaca compared with Potosí citing the prices that are now charged in both places and discounting the freight costs.” He concluded that the transport costs from the flour mills of the Chuquisaca region to Potosí were higher by between 66 percent and 218 percent than transport costs to La Plata, even when higher local taxes were included. However, the price difference between Potosí, eight pesos, and La Plata, seven pesos, allowed profits in the former to run between 5.9 percent and 11.3 percent greater than in the latter. Moreover, Potosí had the advantage of “promptness and facility” of payment, while the bakers of La Plata had little money and could only buy on credit with extended payment terms. Fariñas y Pacheco concluded that as long as this situation existed “all efforts that have been made to avoid the extraction of grains and flour [will remain] illusory.” He proposed that the price in La Plata be raised to seven pesos four reales and that a pósito—another name for the feared grain monopolies—be established where “as many portions of grain as possible” could be accumulated.47

A few days before Fariñas’s proposal, the intendant-president of the Audiencia, Pizarro, had opted for a much more drastic method by sending three delegates to embargo wheat and flour in the area. However, these expeditions had disappointing results. The first of the delegates confirmed “a total scarcity of flours” in the mills of Guanipaya, Guadalupe, Cucuri, Portillo, and Sicca, and verified that the lack of water had impeded milling since February and the produce of some of the latter mills had been sent to Potosí.48 The second delegate found still less flour.49 The third had better luck. At the hacienda Pitantorilla and in the Nucchu mill he found “flours of a multitude of individuals.” He was also able to intercept Indians who were on their way to Potosí with their cargo and to send them to Chuquisaca but, in general, the mills had no stocks, as recently only Indians and piqueros (petty traders) had come with their small amounts of wheat and corn.50 The price of wheat rose in Chuquisaca before the end of April to seven pesos four reales, but still the pull of Potosí remained.51 And, in Yamparáez, when the subdelegado published an edict making it obligatory to take all edible grains to La Plata, the landowners secretly sent their goods to the markets of Chayanta.52

In August and September 1804 the Cabildo of La Plata, forced to follow the trend in Potosí, increased wheat prices first to eight and later to nine pesos. Nevertheless, the mining market continued to offer higher prices (see Figure 1).53 As a result, scarce stocks, especially those accumulated by the tithe collectors, were sent out of the intendency through the rest of 1804 and the first half of 1805.54 Moreover, circuits were set up for sending contraband bread to Potosí. With bread producers flouting the Cabildo’s authority over quality and weight, the cost of flour rose to fifteen pesos.55 Only after changed circumstances led to the lowering of the price of wheat in Potosí, around June 1805, was there a progressive easing of the market in Chuquisaca.56

The Epidemics

The succession of droughts was accompanied by a series of epidemics that covered an equally broad geographic area. In 1802 a smallpox epidemic affected all of Peru and Upper Peru. In Buenos Aires, market shortages were preceded by an unidentified plague at the end of 1802 and the beginning of 1803 which, according to the Protomedicato, was linked to the drought and heat wave. In Omasuyos, a first epidemic was recorded in 1803, while another reached Copacabana, Achacachi, Guayrina, Pucarani, and Laxa during 1804 and 1805. Although the effects of these epidemics were felt as far north as Omasuyos, the villages of Escoma, Guaycho, Carabuco, and Ancoraymes, still farther north, escaped. In three indigenous parishes of San Pedro, San Sebastián, and Santa Bárbara located beyond the city walls of La Paz, as well as within the city’s walls, a “general plague of scarlet fever” broke out in 1803 and caused the deaths of a great number of victims of both sexes.57 The epidemic lasted at least until the middle of 1804 and was “followed by an unexpected scarcity of bread, during which the children and the poor were barely silenced with little more than the three ounces that each of the little loaves weighed,”58 and whose greatest effect was felt “in the populace.”59

In Paria, the dismal picture began in February 1804, with an end to hunger and sickness only becoming visible as the rains began early in 1806. In Sicasica, the “extreme famine” and the “consecutive years of food shortages” were followed by an “epidemic, or plague of erysipelas, anginas, and other evils” after March 1804. In April 1804, in the middle of the food crisis, an epidemic broke out in the city of La Plata. In June 1804 the plague arrived in Puno.60 Oruro, Yamparáez, Chichas, and Atacama were also affected by epidemics in 1804.61

Toward the middle of 1804 epidemics arrived at Chayanta, and by 1805 they had spread at least to Urucarasi, Micani, Moscari, San Pedro de Buenavista, and Acasio.62 The subdelegate recorded years later that the “plague was caused by the scarcity of rain and foodstuffs, which was followed by famine and by the contagious epidemics.” His diagnosis of the sickness in Chayanta was precise; it was the “monstrous erysipelas and the quinsy that we called the guillotine.”63

In that same year in Carangas, to hunger were added “the misfortunes of a strong grip on the throat, tabardillos,” and “an erysipelas that weighs down the arm, passes to the heart and kills . . . in less than seven days.”64 Also mentioned were “tabardillo and cortado,” along with “an unknown evil . . . that causes a swelling in the face of some who then do not last more than three days.”65 The caciques of Guayllamarca and various priests added to the list “the sickness of asthma, resulting from the hard work of the mita of Potosí.”66 The priests of Guayllamarca and Totora concurred in that diagnosis of the “principal evil” affecting their parishioners, the “root of the notable decline of the inhabitants.”67 For Turco’s priest “no other illness is known to be contracted by the mita Indians of Potosí, who return mortally wounded with asthma or pneumonia which cause quick deaths depending on difference in age and complications.”68 Evidently, the diagnosis referred to the silicosis caused by deposits of particles unleashed in the grinding of minerals. These particles affected only the mortiris, those mitayos assigned to the refineries, and not those sent to the mines in the Cerro Rico. The priest of Guachacalla confirmed this distinction, declaring that there was no illness at all in his village “given that, although all of the people in the community are dedicated to the Royal Service of the mita, they are designated to the work in the mountain and not at the grinding mills with the exception of the Uro Indians of the Chipaya, who due to the decision of the mill’s master are sent there where they contract asthma.”69

In the city of Potosí the “plague” appeared at the end of 1804 and reigned until April 1805. That happened to be the date that coincided with the highest peak in prices (see Figure 1).70

Subsistence and Markets

The patterns that permitted and continue to permit access to different ecological levels in the Andes have, as one of their functions, the reduction of climatic risks that peasants face, with their fearful consequences for crops and herds.71 Thierry Saignes has offered the hypothesis that the colonial market in the seventeenth-century Southern Andes led to a reformulation of some of the ancient patterns, to include the supply of urban markets and periodic labor in mines and haciendas through seasonal migrations. Saignes emphasizes that the geographical direction of these movements depended on changing climatic conditions.72 This hypothesis deserves to be explored for later periods. In the Charcas agrarian market of the second half of the eighteenth century, where the growth of agrarian production tended to saturate the urban markets in normal years, depressing prices,73 Brooke Larson has shown that in years of scarcity and high prices Cochabamba’s grain market expanded to include the mining centers of the altiplano.74

We need to differentiate the conditions that prevail in a limited area and time from those of such exceptional periods as 1800-1805. As will be shown below, tax pressures in those years were maintained at the same global level for every community. It was therefore necessary to turn to the market to obtain the monies to meet those unrelenting state demands. Some Indians and piqueros could take advantage of the exceptional rise in prices to leave for Potosí.75 But for the majority, the half decade of droughts disrupted access to the market.

In Paria, for example, the “total extermination of herds of both species that were the whole subsistence of the Indians” made it impossible to continue with their traditional triangular trade. Without cattle they could not acquire in La Paz and the Pacific coast, through barter and exchange, the coca leaves, coarse cotton cloth, wine, brandy, hot peppers, and cotton with which to supply, in turn, the markets of Potosí, La Plata, Aullagas, and Chichas.76 In the altiplano the consecutive failure of various crops meant not only a lack of tradable surpluses but also the consumption of all reserves, including seeds. This then impeded the agricultural cycle. Even wild plants were consumed despite grave dangers: in Paria in 1804 it was reported that basic nourishment came from achacara and the roots of tola. The inhabitants of the puna migrated to the valleys with the hope of being able to feed themselves, although the valleys were also affected by drought and in them the “plague” was often encountered. In some cases, particularly in Chayanta, this prolonged a habitual seasonal movement whose return was now postponed.77 In other cases, a more permanent dispersion toward distant destinations occurred. There is evidence of this pattern for Carangas, Cochabamba, and Paria.78

In addition to a lack of tradable surpluses for the years 1800-1805, commotions in the mining labor markets and disruptions of the urban consumer markets occurred. In effect, the decline in mining production in various centers of Upper Peru during the initial years of the nineteenth century lowered demand.79

Potosí was a special case. There various factors converged to produce the prolonged mining crisis that began in 1801.80 The primary cause was geological, for by the last years of the eighteenth century the exhaustion of the “great slag heaps” was perceptible. These ores from previously worked mines, although poor in pure silver yield, were profitable given the low investment per unit of ore and the availability of low-cost and highly productive forced labor.81

The second factor resulted from the cycle of European wars in which Spain was immersed.82 Thanks to the production of mercury at Huancavelica, mining at Charcas had been characterized throughout the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries by a high degree of self-sufficiency. By the beginning of the nineteenth century, it depended almost completely on supplies of European mercury from Almadén and Idria, which the wars interrupted.83

The third factor concerned the local effects of drought in Potosí. A fundamental ingredient in mercury’s amalgamation process, water, was also the only energy source for operating the refining machinery at Potosí. Although the mills relied on a system of artificial lakes for even distribution of water collected in seasonal rainfalls, supply was insufficient during a prolonged drought. Thus, the lack of mercury and of water led to a paralysis of the mining industry in Potosí from the end of 1801 to the middle of 1803.84 Once water and mercury supplies were reestablished, the Villa Imperial was struck by a cut of almost 25 percent in its forced labor. From 1803 until 1807 the mitayos that should have arrived from the various provinces of the intendency of Puno were held back by Intendente Josef González.85

From May 1804 until January 1805, lack of water and mercury forced the industry to a total shutdown.86 It was precisely during these months that the city experienced the greatest shortages of foodstuffs and the highest incidence of the “plague.” The coincidence of unemployment, scarcity, and epidemic led many inhabitants to abandon the city. When work in the mines was reinitiated at the beginning of 1805, the authorities and the miners confronted not only a lack of free workers but also “the desertion from the mita . . . taking as a pretext the lack of foodstuffs.”87 In March 1805 the priest of the Indian parish of San Benito and Santa Bárbara eloquently summarized the complex process still unfolding in Potosí.

It is true that the fatalities have surprised the inhabitants of this city, since only the miserable mita Indians, criollos, and a few mixed castes and others of the lowest populace died. All were poor and without means. It can be deduced from this that the hunger, the lack of foodstuffs, and the extreme poverty of the miserable Indians has been the only cause of their death. While provisions remained scarce in great degree, the Indians, since the mining industry was shut down for the whole time, have been without work. They therefore met the famine without money and without the chance to buy food. Even though today the mills and mines have gone back to work, it has served not to help the destitute Indians and other persons, but only to complete the destruction of some men weakened and useless for work, especially since the scarcity of foodstuffs continues with greater obstinacy.88

The silver mills had to suspend operations again, now for lack of workers. In the first five months of 1805 the production of silver was only half what it had been during the same period of the previous year.89

During the initial years of the century, prices for European imports, the so-called efectos de Castilla, fluctuated widely, a side effect of the wars in the Pacific as well as in the Atlantic (Table 2).90 The abrupt increase of imports in 1804 changed this situation. One observer noted that “while the goods are abundant, they are at the same time excessively expensive, and cannot be sold.” Some merchants opted to “down-scale their inventory,” selling at retail what they would normally have sold wholesale.91 In contrast, imports into Potosí of American goods, the efectos de la tierra, declined from 1802 to 1805, a result of diminished and disrupted urban demand produced by interruptions in mining activity and epidemics (Table 2). Oruro, as well, felt the loss of workers through emigration, while in La Paz scarcities led Indian residents to migrate to the yungas and the valleys.92 Urban commercial demand was thus reduced by deaths, emigration, and the destitution of those that remained.

Measuring Mortality

Beyond the many qualitative descriptions of the crisis at the beginning of the nineteenth century, it is possible to be more precise about the human costs. One significant element mentioned in the sources is an overflow at various cemeteries. In the city of La Plata the cemetery, located alongside the Hospital de Santa Bárbara, was “most disgusting and favorable to contagious pestilences,” since it was located in a populated neighborhood where “all the residents came and went to the public promenade in the Alameda.” In 1804 the construction of another cemetery in San Roque was proposed, “in order to avoid the contagious epidemics that had befallen the neighborhood because of the pestilent vapor of the tombs.”93 Henceforth, all the inhabitants of the city were to be buried in the new cemetery.94 In 1805 in the church of the convent hospital of San Juan de Dios in La Paz there was no “space to bury one body without extracting another,” while in the annex to the cemetery “the bodies are found almost uncovered by earth . . . for which reason the putrefaction is greater and the pestilence can easily break out in nearby neighborhoods and throughout the city, causing hopeless plague.” The Cabildo of La Paz also undertook, as a result, the construction of a new cemetery. During this same year Viceroy Sobremonte expressed his concern over the lack of cemeteries in Chayanta.95 The issue, however, was complicated in Chayanta by the fact that conflicts between state and church at the end of the eighteenth century had led to the elimination of a series of ecclesiastical revenues. The priests now claimed it was impossible to build cemeteries without additional funds, and one of them, the priest of Micani, expressed doubts as to the reception the new cemeteries would meet among his parishioners.96

Greater quantitative precision on mortality can be obtained from some contemporary records. Omasuyos, for example, where not all villages were affected by the crisis, nevertheless lost 20.25 percent of its population between the census of 1803 and the end of 1805. Deaths accounted for 83 percent of this loss and migration for the remaining 17 percent. In the repartimientos of Guarina and Pucarani losses reached 50.1 percent and 42 percent respectively.97

Parish registers are, of course, the source that has provided a solid base for European demographic history in general and the study of demographic crises in particular. In a preliminary exploration of the parish registers of Capinota, Cochabamba, fifteen mortality crises were identified between 1672 and 1868; among them that of 1804 is second in intensity only to that of 1834.98 On my part, I have extracted the pertinent information from the registers of four parishes of Potosí between 1690 and 1811 and from those of Sacaca and Acasio between 1692 and 1811. In these records, the frequency and magnitude of mortality crises, as measured by the Dupâquier Index, differ little from data for the Paris region between 1681 and 1720 (Table 3).99

Surprisingly, there is no evidence of crisis between 1801 and 1805 in any of the parishes of Potosí for which data are available. (The parish of La Concepción has no death records for 1802-9.) A detailed explanation was offered by Potosí’s parish priests themselves. Diego Joaquín de Alvarado, priest for San Pablo and San Sebastián, two of these parishes, reported at the middle of May 1805 “that from the third of January of the current year to this day, I buried a little more than 50 bodies, of which 6 were mita Indians, some criollos, and the rest were thrown into the cemeteries at night.” The priest of Copacabana and Santiago buried 60 male bodies from “unknown parishes,” which he could not enter in the registers because they had been tossed in the cemeteries during the night.”100 In San Pedro and the vice-parish of San Francisco el Chico only 7 parishioners were buried compared to 247 individuals that had been found “thrown away.” In San Roque the proportions were more even: 34 male parishioners buried and 46 “poor . . . discarded” including “Spaniards, mestizos, mulattos, and Indians.” In the convent hospital of Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe there were 300 deaths between January and April 1805, most among the “lowest populace,” many of whom had been simply abandoned at the door.101 The reason for the underregistration of deaths is explained even more clearly by the priest of San Benito and Santa Bárbara. He observed that he could not report on the number of deaths since “not all were my parishioners and entries in the books of the church were skipped [except] when I confirmed that they were my parishioners, which happened very seldom.” The priests of the Matriz said that, in addition to 65 “known” Spaniards and mestizos, they had buried another 300 in the Misericordia “whose passing was not recorded in the books as their first and family names were unknown and there was no one who could speak for them. Of these there were about . . . 80 workers from the mines judging by their clothes, and the rest were poor men and women.” The priest of San Lorenzo and San Bernardo referred to the “many who were put in the cemeteries in the late night hours, and as a result of not knowing their origin and names are not found written down in the records.”102

Why so many bodies “thrown away,” “abandoned,” “unknown”? In colonial New Spain the cities were poles of attraction in periods of dearth and epidemics, a pattern that tended to spread contagion.103 But this is not what appears to have happened in the Andes, where none of the sources allude either to recent arrivals or to vagabonds. On the contrary, the evidence from Potosí, Oruro, and La Paz refers to a reverse migration from the cities to the countryside, to the valleys in particular. Furthermore, there are concrete references identifying the dead as “mita Indians,” “workers from the mines,” or “indios criollos,” that is to say, forced migrants or permanent residents of the city.

Why, then, were so few of those buried residents of the parish where they died? The testimony of the priest of San Juan and of the vice-parish of San Martín contributes to an explanation. From the first day of the year until the middle of June 1805, 42 were buried in his parish, including men, women, and “innocents,” “all parishioners.” And “with respect to the charity burials, there were mestizos as well as Indians from other parishes, which would raise the number of deaths to a little more or a little less than 300.”104 The significant point is that nonparishioners were buried “by charity.” Church fees weighed heavily on mita and criollo Indians in Potosí even during normal years.105 In lean times the great majority of the “lowest populace” opted to abandon their dead in the cemeteries, hospitals, or churches of another parish so as not to pay a burial fee in their own. The result of this practice was the massive underregistration of deaths that disguised the crisis in the parish registers of Potosí.

The Crisis in Chayanta

The parish registers of San Luis de Francia de Sacaca and San Juan de Acasio in Chayanta, in contrast, recorded with total clarity the effects of the 1801-5 crisis on mortality.106 The difference between the urban and the rural world explains why analogous problems of underregistration did not occur in Chayanta. While in urban Potosí escaping the control of the priests was easy, in the rural parishes of Chayanta escape was impossible. In effect, the priests would not permit any burial without the payment of a fee and reached the extreme of leaving bodies unburied even in the middle of the epidemic to ensure their income.107 The result was that the series of deaths in Sacaca and Acasio shows without any doubt the mortality impact between 1801 and 1805.

Measuring the intensity of mortality by the above-mentioned Dupâquier Index, for the two parishes combined nine of the ten years were years of crisis, with magnitudes ranging from one to three (Table 4). By the same reckoning, nine of the forty-seven years of crisis detected in Sacaca and Acasio between 1692 and 1811 were concentrated in 1801-5 (Table 3). Moreover, it should be noted that the most obvious limitation of the Dupâquier Index appears in cases of crises extending over several years, such as that under investigation, given that the measure of the magnitude of the crisis in a determined year is diminished by the high levels of the previous years. Another means for measuring the intensity of mortality in these years of crisis is to compare them with the average of the previous twenty-five years that include, in Sacaca as well as in Acasio, both normal and crisis years (Table 5). If we take the total of both series, the deaths between 1801 and 1805 were equal in one case and higher in the other four than the 1775-99 average, culminating with values in 1804 and 1803 that double or more than quadruple those of the base period.

During the first decade of the nineteenth century the monthly senes of deaths in Sacaca and Acasio show similar movements and levels, with the peak of the crisis in the second semester of 1805 (Figure 2). However, the death levels reached in one or another locality during the years of crisis vary significantly when viewed in the long term. In effect, while in the high plains region of Sacaca only the years 1803-5 exhibit indices above the 1775-99 period, in the valley region of Acasio the increase in mortality with respect to the same base period is most notable from 1801 to 1806 (Table 5). It is probable that this difference between puna and valley reflects the migration from one to the other that frequently ended in an encounter with the “plague.” Reinforcement for this hypothesis can be found in an analysis of the seasonality of deaths. The deaths in both villages conformed to different seasonal patterns in the eighteenth century.108 In Sacaca they were concentrated between the months of August and January, with maximum peaks in September-November and January and annual minimums in June-July, while in Acasio the maximums occurred between October and December, with minimums in March-April (Figures 3 and 4). Seasonality in the latter case appears similar to that which Cook discovered for another valley in the same century.109 In Figures 3 and 4 the deaths registered in Sacaca and Acasio during the critical years 1804-6 appear along with the distribution that would have occurred if the number of deaths during those three years had followed the regular seasonality of the eighteenth century. It is evident that the crisis in the puna did not fundamentally modify the seasonal death pattern. In the valley, where a dislocation of the annual migratory patterns increased the population and contagion, a new seasonal death pattern appeared.

I have tentatively calculated the crude annual death rates in Sacaca and Acasio, in Table 5.110 Given the lack of detailed demographic studies on Andean populations in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, we can say little with certainty about these results. The fact that rates obtained for 1775-99 are lower than estimates for diverse European regions during the same period suggests the need to compensate for the systematic underregistration of deaths in the Hispanic American parish registers.

The data on births during the years of crisis are surprising (Table 6). Although the indices for Sacaca are lower than those of the base period, 1775-99, marked decline is visible only in 1805. Adding both series confirms that the crude birth rate remained high during the crisis, with annual rates above that of the base period except in 1805. This vitality during conditions of crisis has also been encountered in various European cases and merits a comparative exploration in the Andean context in the future.111

Marriage records reveal the depth of the crisis even more clearly, although different chronologies appear in puna and valley (Table 7). In upland Sacaca an increase in marriages with respect to the previous five years is clear after 1800, although marriage and conception declined in 1804 and the first half of 1805, while mortality peaked in the second half of the latter year (Figures 3 and 5). The number of marriages rose abruptly in 1806, dropped in 1807-8, and rose again in 1809-10.

In Acasio, on the other hand, the number of marriages between 1800 and 1801 was close to the average of the five years preceding the crisis, dropping to lower levels in 1802 and 1804 (there is a lacuna for 1803) only to rise abruptly in 1805 at the height of the crisis and again in 1806. Because mortality affected both sexes equally, widows and widowers are found in similar numbers in marriage records. Particularly after 1805 a considerable increase occurred in the number of marriages contracted in which both parties had been previously widowed (Table 8). I have calculated crude rates of marriage that show very low values, especially for 1795-99 (Table 7). Does this reflect the existence of Andean marriage customs not sanctioned by the church? Baptismal series do not help to clarify the issue, as the percentage of baptisms for illegitimate births, in both Sacaca and Acasio, is only 7.3 percent.

The Sacaca and Acasio series allow us to attempt a better definition of the causes of mortality during the crisis years. As noted earlier, contemporary sources offer a variety of diagnoses for these epidemics, with some repeated by more than one observer. Since parish registers do not include the cause of death, we must rely on indirect indicators. One possible road is to examine the age and sex distributions of deaths. Controlling mortality by sex during the years of crisis with respect to previous averages offers no significant variations, but age-specific mortality shows relevant differences during these years (Tables 9, 10, and 11). The respective percentages of deaths of those less than one year of age (párvulos), those between one and twelve, and those above twelve years during the crisis years are distinct from averages registered over the longer period (Table 9). However, the discrepancies do not point in the same direction in all years. The multiplicity of diagnoses mentioned in the sources could lead us to look for correlations between death patterns in determined years and characteristics of specific illnesses. We could then, for example, proceed on the basis of the verification of a very high death rate in the first year of life in Sacaca during 1800 and 1801 (Table 9). But the most interesting hypothesis flows from clear-cut rises in adult mortality in both Sacaca and Acasio during 1804 and 1805 (Table 9). Specifically, an increased mortality appears for the age group of 20 to 69 years (Tables 10 and 11). This pattern corresponds with what we know about the illness most frequently cited by sources for those years, “the monstrous erysipelas” or “St. Anthony’s fire,” a feverish infection of the skin caused by group A streptococcus which, in the past, affected specific age-groups. It was common among infants and the middle-aged and rare in the six-to-30-year-old population.112 This diagnosis agrees with some of the symptoms and characteristics observed in the sources, among them the “unknown evil . . . that causes a swelling in the face of some who then do not last more than three days” and the “erysipelas that weighs down the arm, passes to the heart, and kills them in less than seven days.”

Erysipelas most often affects the face and arms, and the rapid end alluded to in the documents is explained by thrombosis and septic shock, complications that in the case of a localization in the arm appear to point to the heart.113 Moreover, the diagnosis of erysipelas is complemented by that of quinsy and the tightening or “strong grip on the throat” that are also mentioned in the sources. This is a complication in infections caused by group A streptococcus, characterized precisely by pain and swelling in the throat.114

Although there is apparent consistency between the described symptoms, the diagnoses of erysipelas and quinsy, and the age patterns for deaths in 1804 and 1805, the divergent diagnoses encountered in the documents must be dealt with.115 Even if the doctors of Upper Peru at the beginning of the nineteenth century could have precisely diagnosed the recurring epidemics, their opinions are not found in the documents. Nonetheless it is worth suggesting that all of the diagnoses reported corresponded to actual epidemic illnesses present between 1801 and 1805 in Upper Peru. Malnutrition brought on by the unusual succession of droughts and famines during five years or more would have severely lowered immunity levels, favoring contagion by a group of illnesses that collectively displayed the symptoms mentioned by the sources. The age specificity of the deaths in 1801-5 would have a different explanation in this hypothesis. We would be dealing with waves of illnesses that first attacked children and the old, the least resistant groups, and after several years affected adults from twenty to sixty-nine. The latter would have been the groups not only with highest resistance but also, as members of the work force, presumably better nourished during the first years of the crisis.116

This hypothesis, which emphasizes the role of malnutrition in the spread of a group of illnesses, is particularly compatible with testimonies on the crisis in Carangas, where the priests emphasized as one of the principal causes of the high mortality recorded the “asthma” contracted by the mitayos in the mining mills of Potosí. But neither is silicosis contagious nor is there reason to presume that its incidence increased in the years that Potosí’s industry experienced prolonged interruptions in its activities. What occurred in the years of crisis was that drought and famine produced extreme malnutrition that aggravated the effects of silicosis to lethal levels. In a normal organism the particles inhaled and deposited in the lungs are partially expelled, which limits the consequences of silicosis. When severe malnutrition affects an organism, the expulsion of particles stops and complications appear that may lead to death.117

Disorder and Tributes

The effects of the prolonged crisis were felt in many ways in Upper Peruvian society on the eve of independence. Vagrancy and violence marked the era. Nicolás Sánchez-Albornoz observed that in these years “the fugitive does not end up . . . as a forastero [i.e., a resident in another Indian village]; the missing now tended to swell the phalange of vagabonds.”118 The phenomenon was already cause for concern in the altiplano by 1802, when the new teniente general of the Santa Hermandad of Oruro, Paria, and Carangas proclaimed “the expulsion of the wicked vagrants” as a specific objective. This was a continuing concern in 1805, because of the “many vagabonds” who prowled around the “mining sites” of the puna and the “public begging.”119

The threat of violence intensified at the beginning of the nineteenth century. The intendant of Cochabamba feared that in the face of the scarcities “the poor people . . . will attempt to use force in order to alleviate their need.” The síndico procurador of the Cabildo of Potosí was surprised that “lacking bread . . . there is no disorder, nor movement among the populace.” But toward 1804 the city of La Paz was “inundated by thieves and robbers,” and the roads of Paria were filled with “violent robberies and inhuman murderers.”120 The violence culminated in the great offensive of the Chiriguanos in 1804. According to a witness, faced with the shortage of food the Chiriguanos said “before we die of hunger we are going to die at the hands of the Christians.”121 The resulting ferocious insurrection required an active military mobilization that lasted until the end of 1805.

In the cities the crisis generated plans to exercise greater control over mine workers and the lower classes. In early 1806 the Potosí mine entrepreneurs formulated the most ambitious of their proposals to counteract the lack of docility among the mingas, or free workers. All the laborers in the mines and mills were to be contracted for work “under penalty that all the justices and the alguacil mayor will be entrusted to round up this class of people found wandering in the city, and after being jailed, they will be distributed by the government itself to the mines, shackled to secure their persons and prevent their flight, given that the previous stoppages and food shortages have led many, or the great part, of these much needed workers to the greatest idleness and brought hardship on the people themselves.” Further, “for the greatest accomplishment and success of this resolution,” the guild suggested that this new police power be exercised by its own members: “through their dependents, since they know this class of workers, they are better able to round them up and turn over to the government the many vagrants that can be found in the streets.” Moreover, the entrepreneurs proposed to take over the control of Indian tribute collection in the city.122

The president-intendant of La Plata declared in 1807 that the city was scourged by “the insolence of the wicked that in these last years are scandalizing the Republic with robberies and treacherous murders executed with prohibited arms as well as the gangs that wander through the streets.” He proposed a control program especially directed against “Indians, mestizos, and free or slave blacks and mulattos.”123

Paradoxically, these years of crisis were part of the decade in which the royal treasuries of Upper Peru had obtained their greatest income since the end of the seventeenth century: compared to the years 1790-99, between 1800 and 1809 the income of the Charcas treasury went up 18.5 percent and tribute income increased 24.1 percent.124 Tribute rose in all of the regional treasuries with the exception of those of Cochabamba and Potosí, where it declined by 10.8 percent and 11.5 percent respectively.125 The crown’s attempt to increase tribute collection during the years of crisis thus appears to have been generally successful, although the difficulty of maintaining collection levels despite the mortality rates and “destitution of the survivors” caused many protests.126

The example of Chayanta, which was subject to the treasury of Potosí, is particularly interesting. The subdelegado of that period recalled, years after the crisis when he was once again residing in Spain, that in those “calamitous times . . . he traveled throughout the province administering justice, comforting the sick and even the dying, in places where no other judge had ever been seen.” He boasted that thanks to his “attention and vigilance” and to his “purity,” and despite the deaths of “ten thousand Indians in their majority tribute payers,” the tributes entered the royal treasuries “as if not one tribute-paying Indian had died.”127 The Indians and caciques of Chayanta did not exactly admire the subdelegado’s zeal. On the contrary, they sent innumerable protests to the Royal Audiencia of Charcas and the intendant of Potosí denouncing the procedures that allowed tax collection without fail. Not only the surviving tribute payers but also the “exempt castes” were forced to pay. Intendant Sanz, who was hardly suspect of being partial toward the Indians, verified during a visit to Chayanta in 1806 that the accusations against the subdelegado were well-founded. “His despotism and bad treatment of the Indians are of an almost frenetic man,” he wrote after observing “the unthinkable terror and aversion with which he is viewed by all of those inhabitants.”128 In Acasio in 1805, the main use of the jail was to lock up those Indians who had fallen behind in tribute payments.129

Collecting from widows and the families of the deceased brought fiscal success in other regions struck by the crisis.130 As the mortality of 1804-5 had especially affected adult men and women (Tables 9, 10, and 11), the surviving community, with its high proportion of children, must have had difficulties accomplishing the tasks necessary for its reproduction. The increase in marriages, especially among those recently widowed (Table 8 and Figure 5), returned some households to an equilibrium but aggravated the situation for the community as a whole by increasing the birth rate (Figure 5). Although reallocating additional land to forasteros helped maintain community production levels, the cultivation of any significant amount of vacant land could only have been possible with the arrival of new immigrants. Among the Auquimarcas of San Pedro de Buenavista and the Chullpas of Chayanta, it was reported that “Indians taking over the land assignments of the dead are brought from different regions and as soon as they are established begin to pay tribute as originarios.”131 These immigrants must have been drawn from the mass of floating vagrants that arose in the years of the crisis.

Tax pressure as high or even higher than precrisis levels aggravated the misery that arose during the crisis. The intendant of Potosí, referring to tribute collection during the crisis years, commented that “it was a special favor of providence that we did not have a new uprising in Chayanta.”132

Concluding Observations

On another occasion we compiled the references to droughts, epidemics, mining stoppages, famines, and scarcities that are found in the sources for the second half of the seventeenth century and all of the eighteenth century and related them to peaks in the price series for the market of Potosí.133 In this investigation of the parish registers of Potosí, Sacaca, and Acasio a high frequency of “crises of mortality” during that same period is confirmed (Table 3). In the colonial Andean historiography for those centuries, however, the role of short economic and demographic fluctuations is practically untouched.134 This analysis of the crisis of 1800-5 indicates the complexity of the processes involved and the intensity of their consequences. Would detailed investigation of previous crises discover phenomena of equal magnitude? We think not. Our hypothesis is that the effects on Andean communities of the crises of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries were cushioned by the efficacy, even in years of scarcity or epidemic, of patterns of subsistence and reproduction that included not only traditional forms of access to resources but also trade with urban markets and participation in rural and urban labor markets.135

The crisis of 1800-1805 produced much more acute characteristics, with consequences that affected the whole of the economy and society of the Andes. The differences with respect to previous crises cannot be explained solely by its exceptionally long duration. Without doubt, a fundamental distinguishing factor was the coincidence and interaction with the mining crisis, particularly in Potosí, and the consequent alteration of urban markets in their capacity to consume goods as well as in their ability to absorb the indigenous labor force.

An even more important issue remains to be defined. The study of the tithes of Charcas has allowed us to identify a sustained expansion in agricultural production in Upper Peru from the 1730s until the 1790s.136 We know that the tithes fundamentally reflected the production of the haciendas, as the indigenous population was exempt. It can therefore be suggested that the increase in cultivated area that made possible this prolonged expansion of hacienda production took place at the expense of land available for the Indian economy.137 This reduction would have taken place precisely during the half century of greatest Indian population growth. Thus, toward the end of the eighteenth century the changed ratio of land to people would have had great negative impact on the Indian economies. Due to a half century of deterioration in the resources available to the Indian population combined with a mining crisis that altered urban commodity and labor markets, the years 1800-1805 inaugurated a new kind of crisis in Bolivia—one with more acute effects, whose recurrence would be noted at least in 1834, 1856, and 1877-79.138

The opening decade of the nineteenth century has up to now had no profile of its own in Andean historiography. The independence movements spring from a vacuum that embraces the long quarter of a century after the repression of Túpac Amaru and Túpac Catari. The evidence that we have presented regarding the years 1800-1805 suggests the need to root future analyses of the origins of independence in a social, political, and ideological context scored by the experience of famine and death with which the century began. Brooke Larson has already related the crisis of these years to the bankruptcy of the Bourbon reform program from the regional perspective of Cochabamba.139 It is now time to extend this approach to the whole of the Andean region.

Translated by Judith Evans. Research on this paper was initiated thanks to a postdoctoral grant from the Joint Committee on Latin American Studies of the Social Science Research Council and the American Council of Learned Societies. At various times in the course of this investigation I have been able to count on the help of María Cecilia Cangiano, Ricardo Cicerchia, Ariel de la Fuente, Roberto Schmidt, Sergio Serulnikov, and Bibiana Tonnelier in Buenos Aires and Carmen Aycart in Seville. Luis Acosta assisted me in the presentation of the quantitative material. The generosity of Fernando Cajías, Teresa Gisbert, Olivia Harris, Carmen Beatriz Loza, Lucio Montesinos, Tristan Platt, and Elayne Zorn allowed me to take advantage of all that I could see and discuss during my visit to Sacaca and Acasio in 1987. Preliminary versions of this article were presented at the F.L.A.C.S.O.-C.L.A.C.S.O. International Symposium on “The Indigenous Andean Community of the 19th Century” at Quito in March 1989 and the First International Congress of Ethnohistory at Buenos Aires in July 1989. I am grateful to those who offered comments at those meetings and to Noble David Cook, Lyman L. Johnson, Friedrich Katz, Erick Langer, Brooke Larson, Robert McCaa, and Ann Zulawski who added their comments later.


See the crucial benchmark works that include C.-E. Labrousse, Esquisse du mouvement des prix et des revenus en France au XVIIIe siècle, 2 vols. (Paris, 1933) and La crise de l’économie française à la fin de l’Ancien Régime et au début de la Révolution (Paris, 1944); Jean Meuvret, “Les crises de subsistance et la démographie de la France d’Ancien Régime” (first published in 1946), in his Études d’histoire économique (Paris, 1971), 271-278; and Pierre Goubert, Beauvais et le Beauvaisis de 1600 à 1730 (Paris, 1960).


See, among many other works, Paul Harsin and Étienne Helin, eds., Problèmes de mortalité. Méthodes, sources et bibliographie en démographie historique (Liège, 1965); Hubert Charbonneau and André Larose, eds., The Great Mortalities: Methodological Studies of Demographic Crises in the Past (Liège, 1979); Vicente Pérez Moreda, Las crisis de mortalidad en la España interior (siglos XVI-XIX) (Madrid, 1980); E. A. Wrigley and R. S. Schofield, The Population History of England 1541-1871. A Reconstruction (London, 1981); Guy Cabourdin, Jean-Noël Biraben, and Alain Blum, “Les crises démographiques,” in Jacques Dupâquier, dir., Histoire de la population française. 2. De la Renaissance à 1789 (Paris, 1988); John Walter and Roger Schofield, eds., Famine, Disease and the Social Order in Early Modern Society (Cambridge, 1989).


Sherburne F. Cook and Woodrow Borah, Essays in Population History: Mexico and the Caribbean, 2 vols. (Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1971-74); Donald B. Cooper, Epidemic Disease in Mexico City, 1761-1813 (Austin, 1965); Enrique Florescano, Precios del maíz y crisis agrícolas en México (1708-1810) (Mexico City, 1969).


Nicolás Sánchez-Albornoz, “Les registres paroissiaux en Amérique Latine. Quelques considerations sur leur exploitation pour la démographie historique,” Revue Suisse d’Histoire, 17 (1967), 60-71; D. A. Brading and Celia Wu, “Population Growth and Crisis: León 1720-1860,” Journal of Latin American Studies, 5:1 (May 1972), 1-36; Thomas Calvo, Acatzingo: demografía de una parroquia mexicana (Mexico City, 1973); Claude Morin, Santa Inés Zacatelco 1646-1812 (Mexico City, 1973); Cecilia A. Rabell Romero, San Luis de la Paz: estudio de economía y demografía históricas 1645-1810 (Mexico City, 1975).


Michael C. Scardaville, “Crime and the Urban Poor: Mexico City in the Late Colonial Period” (Ph.D. diss., University of Florida, 1977); Brading, Haciendas and Ranchos in the Mexican Bajío: León, 1700-1860 (Cambridge, 1978); Morin, Michoacán en la Nueva España del siglo XVIII: crecimiento y desigualdad en una economía colonial (Mexico Citv, 1979); Secretaría de Agricultura y Recursos Hídricos, Comisión del Plan Nacional Hidráulico, Análisis histórico de las sequías en México (Mexico City, 1980); Florescano and R. Pastor, eds., La crisis agrícola de 1785-1786, 2 vols. (Mexico City, 1981); Florescano and E. Malvido eds., Ensayos sobre la historia de las epidemias en México, 2 vols. (Mexico City, 1982); Moisés González Navarro, Cinco crisis mexicanas (Mexico City, 1983); Florescano and V. San Vicente, eds., Fuentes para la historia de la crisis agrícola (1809-1811) (Mexico City, 1985).


Sánchez-Albornoz, Indios y tributos en el Alto Perú (Lima, 1978); Noble David Cook, Demographic Collapse. Indian Peru, 1520-1620 (Cambridge, 1981).


N. D. Cook, Demographic Collapse, passim; Carlos S. Assadourian, “La crisis demográfica del siglo XVI y la transición del Tawantinsuyu al sistema mercantil colonial,” in Sánchez-Albornoz, ed., Población y mano de obra en América Latina (Madrid, 1985), 69-93; Brian M. Evans, “Death in Aymaya 1580-1623,” paper presented at the 46th International Congress of Americanists, Amsterdam, 1988. See also Henry F. Dobyns, “An Outline of Andean Epidemic History to 1720,” Bulletin of the History of Medicine, 37:6 (Nov.-Dec. 1963), 493-515; Erwin P. Grieshaber, “Survival of Indian Communities in Nineteenth-Century Bolivia; A Regional Comparison,” Journal of Latin American Studies, 12:2 (Nov. 1980), 223-269.


N. D. Cook, The People of the Coica Valley. A Population Study (Boulder, 1982).


See Enrique Tandeter, “Mercados y precios coloniales en los Andes,” Boletín del Instituto de Historia Argentina “Dr. Emilio Ravignani,” Tercera época, 2 (1990), 181-195.


Brooke Larson, “Rural Rhythms of Class Conflict in Eighteenth-Century Cochabamba,” HAHR, 60:3 (Aug. 19801:407-30; Tandeter and Nathan Wachtel, “Prices and Agricultural Production: Potosí and Charcas in the Eighteenth Century,” in Lyman L. Johnson and Tandeter, eds., Essays on the Price History of Eighteenth-Century Latin America (Albuquerque, 1990), 201-276; Kendall W. Brown, “Price Movements in Eighteenth-Century Peru: Arequipa,” in Johnson and Tandeter, Essays, 173-200.


The original registers are deposited in the Archbishopric of Potosí. This research is based on microfilms provided by the Genealogical Society of Salt Lake City, Utah.


Tristan Platt, Estado boliviano y ayllu andino: Tierra y tributo en el Norte de Potosí (Lima, 1982), and “The Role of the Andean Ayllu in the Reproduction of the Petty Commodity Regime in Northern Potosí (Bolivia),” in David Lehmann, ed., Ecology and Exchange in the Andes (Cambridge, 1982), 27-69.


John V. Murra, “El ‘control vertical’ de un máximo de pisos ecológicos en las economías de las sociedades andinas,” in Íñigo Ortiz de Zúñiga, Visita a la provincia de León de Huánuco /1562/, 2 vols. (Huánuco, 1972), II, 429-476.


Platt, Estado boliviano, passim.


Ibid. See also María Cecilia Cangiano, “Curas, caciques y comunidades en el Alto Perú: Chayanta a fines del siglo XVIII” (Jujuy, 1987); Sergio Serulnikov, “Tomás Catari y la producción de justicia” (CEDES, Buenos Aires, 1988) and “Reivindicaciones indígenas y legalidad colonial. La rebelión de Chayanta (1777-1781)” (CEDES, Buenos Aires, 1989).


Platt, “Mapas coloniales de la provincia de Chayanta: Dos visiones conflictivas de un solo paisaje,” in Estudios bolivianos en homenaje a Gunnar Mendoza L. (La Paz, 1978), 101; P. José Antonio Bustamante, C. M. F., Apuntes para una historia de la Iglesia en Sakaka (1560-1985) (Karipuyo, 1985).


Dobyns, “Andean Epidemic History,” 511-514; Sánchez-Albornoz, Indios y tributos, 164.


Ricardo Claverías and Jorge Manrique, eds., La sequía en Puno: Alternativas institucionales, tecnológicas y populares (Puno, 1983), 19-21.


L. G. Thompson, E. Mosley-Thompson, J. F. Bolzan, and B. R. Koci, “A 1500-Year Record of Tropical Precipitation in Ice Cores from the Quelccaya Ice Cap, Peru,” Science, 229:4717 (Sept. 6, 1985), 971-973. I owe this reference to the kindness of Nils Jacobsen.


For Paria, Archivo Nacional de Bolivia, Sucre (hereafter cited as ANB), EC 1806, 181; E. 1805, 198; E. 1808, 124; for Omasuyos, Archivo General de la Nación, Buenos Aires (hereafter cited as AGN), XIII 17-10-1 and IX 23-6-3, exp. 466; for Cochabamba, Larson, Colonialism and Agrarian Transformation in Bolivia. Cochabamba, 1550-1900 (Princeton, 1988), 329; AGN, IX 5-8-7, IX 19-2-3, IX 5-9-1; for Potosí, ANB, Audiencia de Charcas 1802, E. 4; Telégrafo Mercantil (Buenos Aires), Aug. 15, 1801; ANB, Libros de Acuerdos del Cabildo de Potosí, tomo 59, passim; AGN, IX 34-6-6, exp. 3223; for La Paz, AGN, Andrés Lamas, leg. 35.


Archivo Histórico de La Paz (hereafter cited as AHLP), EC 1804; AGN, IX 30-7-7, exp. 19 and IX 34-6-8, exp. 3281; ANB, EC 1804, 146; AGN, IX 34-6-1, exp. 3104; Archivo General de Indias, Seville (hereafter cited as AGI), Charcas, 426, 584; AGN, IX 23-2-4. I am grateful to Thierry Saignes for all of the references to the Chiriguanos.


María del Rosario Prieto and Rodolfo Richard Jorba, “Anomalías climáticas en la cuenca del Plata y el NOA y sus consecuencias socio-económicas durante los siglos XVI-XVII y XVIII,” Leguas (Buenos Aires, to be published), figs. 3, 4, and 5 and annex.


For Carangas, Bartolomé Vilca, cacique of San Salvador de Sabaya, Guayacalla, Jul. 17, 1805, AGN, IX 34-6-8, exp. 3281; for Chayanta, Antonio Alemán de Malnerschitsch to Pedro Ceballos, Madrid, Apr. 4, 1816, AGI, Charcas, 426; for Cochabamba, José de Soliveres to Tribunal de Cuentas, Buenos Aires, Nov. 3, 1808, AGN, IX 19-2-3; for Omasuyos, Juan de Santiváñez, Coscachaca, Nov. 16, 1803, AGN, XIII 17-10-1; for Paria, Villegas to Pizarro, Guari, Mar. 16, 1806, ANB, EC 1806, 181; ANB, exp. 1805, 198; for Puno, Intendente Josef González to bishop of La Paz, Puno, June 13, 1804, AHLP, EC 1804; for Sicasica, AGN, IX 30-7-7, exp. 19; for Yamparáez, AGN, IX 34-6-4, exp. 3183; and for Chiriguano territory, AGN, 23-2-4, cuaderno 1, fol. 5, cuaderno 2, fols. 4, 95v, 97.


Marcel Haitin, “Prices, the Lima Market, and the Agricultural Crisis of the Late Eighteenth Century in Peru,” Jahrbüch für Staat, Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft Lateinamerikas, 22 (1985), 182.


For Lima, Haitin, “Late Colonial Lima; Economy and Society in an Era of Reform and Revolution” (Ph.D. diss., University of California, Berkeley, 1983), 351, 355-356; for Buenos Aires, Johnson, “The Price History of Buenos Aires During the Viceregal Period,” table 6.1 in Johnson and Tandeter, Essays, 150-151.


John Frederick Wibel, “The Evolution of a Regional Community Within Spanish Empire and Peruvian Nation: Arequipa, 1780-1845” (Ph.D. diss., Stanford University, 1975), 64.


Tandeter and Wachtel, “Prices and Agricultural Production,” 234-257.


Larson, Colonialism and Agrarian Transformation, 227-231.


Acuerdo del Cabildo de Potosí, Jan. 6, 1804, ANB, Libros de Acuerdos del Cabildo de Potosí, tomo 59, fol. 6v.


Viedma to the viceroy, Cochabamba, Feb. 15, 1804, AGN, IX 5-8-7.


ANB, Libros de Acuerdos del Cabildo de Potosí, tomo 51, fols. 103, 104v-105, 106-222v.


Acuerdo extraordinario, Feb. 18, 1804, ANB, Libros de Acuerdos del Cabildo de Potosí, tomo 59, fols. 20-23.


ANB, Mss. Rück. This refers to an unpublished continuation of Bartolomé Arzáns de Orsúa y Vela, Historia de la Villa Imperial de Potosí, Lewis Hanke and Cunnar Mendoza, eds. (Providence, 1965).


Acuerdos, July 10, 17, and 22, 1804, ANB, Libros de Acuerdos del Cabildo de Potosí, tomo 59, fols. 58v-59, 60v-61v, 62-65. On the role of the arquiris in supplying cities, see Liliana Lewinski, “Una plaza de venta atomizada: la Cancha de Oniro, 1803 y 1812,” in Olivia Harris, Larson, and Tandeter, eds., La participación indígena en los mercados surandinos. Estrategias y reproducción social. Siglos XVI a XX (La Paz, 1987), 455-458.


Acuerdos, July 10 and 17, 1804, ANB, Libros de Acuerdos del Cabido de Potosí, tomo 59, fols. 58v-59v, 60v-61v.


Acuerdo, Aug. 7, 1804, ibid., 66v-67v.


Acuerdo, Aug 12, 1804, ibid., 69-70v.


Acuerdo, Aug. 21, 1804, ibid., 74.


Acuerdos, Sept. 17 and 18, 1804, ibid., 95v, 103-104v.


Acuerdo extraordinario, Sept. 11, 1804, ibid , 94.


Acuerdos, Oct. 16 and 30, 1804, ibid., 112, 115v-116.


Acuerdo, Nov. 6, 1804, ibid., 118v.


For Cochabamba, Larson, Colonialism and Agrarian Transformation, 329; for La Paz, Manuel de Villegas to intendant, La Paz, Jan. 1, 1805, AGN, Andrés Lamas, leg.35.


Acuerdo, Feb. 2, 1805, ANB, Libros de Acuerdos del Cabildo de Potosí, tomo 59, fols. 140v-144v.


Acuerdo, Jun. 6, 1805, ibid., 159v-160.


Acuerdos, Mar. 4 and 18, Apr. 15 and 22, May 30, and Aug. 28, 1806, ibid., 212v, 214, 232, 234v-235, 241-242, 259.


La Plata, Apr. 19, 1804, ANB, EC 1804, 144, fols. 19-20v.


Ibid., 1-5.


Ibid., 7-9.


Ibid., 10v-18.


Ibid., 23-28.


Ibid., 31.


Acuerdos, La Plata, Aug. 13 and Sept. 17, 1804, ibid., 37.


ANB, EC 1805, 58, 174, 224.


ANB, EC 1805, 111.


ANB, EC 1805, 34, fol. 8v.


For Peru, Juan Manuel Balcázar, Historia de la medicina en Bolivia (La Paz, 1956), 122; for Buenos Aires, AGI, Buenos Aires, 335 (I owe this reference to the kindness of Ricardo Cicerchia); for Omasuyos, Copacabana, et al., Juan de Santiváñez, Coscachaca, Nov. 16, 1803, AGN, XIII 17-10-1; for northern villages, AGN, IX 23-6-3, exp. 466; for scarlet fever, Manuel Pantoja y Moreno, La Paz, Nov. 6, 1811, AGN, XIII 17-10-2.


Manuel de Villegas to intendant, La Paz, June 6,1804, AGN, Andrés Lamas, leg.35.


Pedro Bejar, procurador of Convento Hospital de San Juan de Dios, La Paz, Oct. 7, 1805, AHLP, EC 1805.


For Paria, Villegas to Pizarra, Guarí, Mar. 16, 1806, ANB, EC 1806, 181, fol. 74v; Julián Pinto y Origuela, San José de Poopó, Nov. 25, 1804; José Manuel Montero, Culta, Nov. 14, 1804; Matías Hermosillo, San Juan Bautista de Challapata, Dec. 1, 1804, ANB. EC 1805, 198; for Sicasica, Subdelegado Gregorio José de Baranao to caciques, Sicasica, Jan. 8, 1805, AGN, IX 30-7-7, exp. 19; for La Plata, Valentín González to Cabildo, La Plata, Apr. 11, 1804, ANB, EC 1805, 174, fols. 5v-7; for Puno, Josef González to bishop of La Paz, Puno, June 13, 1804, AHLP, EC 1804.


Tomás Barrón, Oruro, Dec. 7, 1804, ANB, EC 1804, 146; AGN, IX 34-6-4, exp. 3183; AGN, IX 14-3-11 and IX 14-3-7.


For Chayanta, Antonio Olave, Condocondo, Nov. 30,1804, ANB, EC 1805, 198; for remaining cities, Viceroy Sobremonte to subdelegado of Chayanta, Buenos Aires, Aug. 27, 1805, Archivo del Cabildo Eclesiástico de Sucre (hereafter cited as ACES).


Relación de méritos y servicios de A. A. de Malnershitsch, Madrid, Mar. 10, 1815, AGI, Charcas 426.


Bartolomé Vilca, cacique de Sabaya, Guayyacalla, July 17, 1805; cacique de Totora; cura de Andamarca, Sept. 24, 1804, AGN, IX 34-6-8, exp. 3281.


Cura de Curaguara, Oct. 12, 1804, ibid.




Cura de Guayllamarca, Sept. 27, 1804; cura de Totora, Oct. 22, 1804, ibid.


Cura de Turco, Nov. 2, 1804, ibid.


Cura de Guachacalla, Nov. 1, 1804, ibid.


AGN, IX 7-9-1; Archivo Histórico de Potosí, Casa de Moneda, Banco 295; AGN, IX 34-6-4, exp. 3186.


Murra, “El ‘control vertical’ Jürgen Golte, Racionalidad de la organización andina (Lima, 1980); Lehmann, ed., Ecology and Exchange.


Thierry Saignes, “Ayllus, mercado y coacción colonial: el reto de las migraciones internas en Charcas (siglo XVII),” in Harris, Larson, and Tandeter, eds., La participación indígena, 113-132.


Tandeter and Wachtel, “Prices and Agricultural Production,” 248-257.


Larson, Colonialism and Agrarian Transformation, 231-241.


La Plata, Apr. 19, 1804, ANB, EC 1804, 144, fols, 10v-18.


ANB, EC 1808, 156; exp. 1805, 198.


ANB, exp. 1805, 198.


For Carangas, AGN, IX 34-6-8, exp. 3281; for Cochabamba, Viedma to Regente de la Real Audiencia de Buenos Aires, Cochabamba, Feb. 12, 1808, AGN, Andrés Lamas, leg, 35; for Paria, Villegas to Pizarro, Guari, Mar. 16, 1806, ANB, EC 1806, 181.


AGN, IX34-6-1, exp. 3104; ANB, exp. 1805, 198.


Tandeter, “La rente comme rapport de production et comme rapport de distribution: le cas de l’industrie minière de Potosí, 1750-1826” (Ph.D. diss., École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris, 1980), chap. 5.


Tandeter, “Forced and Free Labour in Late Colonial Potosí,” Past & Present, 93 (Nov. 1981), 98-136.


Antonio García-Baquero González, Comercio colonial y guerras revolucionarias (Seville, 1972).


Tandeter, “La rente,” chap. 5.






AGN, IX34-6-4, exp. 3200, 11, 13.


Acuerdo, Feh. 19, 1805, ANB, Libros de Acuerdos del Cabildo de Potosí, tomo 59, fol. 149.


Priest of San Benito and Santa Barbara to Capitán de Yanaconas, Potosí, Mar. 12, 1805, AGN, IX 7-9-1.


Certificación de Ministros del Real Banco de San Carlos, Potosí, June 22, 1805, AGN, IX34-6-4, exp. 3186.


García-Baquero, Comercio colonial.


Tagle to M. G. de Zamalloa, Potosí, June 26, 1805; J. P. de Zamalloa to M. G. de Zamalloa, Jujuy, July 3, 1805, in L. B. Romero Cabrera, José Miguel de Tagle. Un comerciante americano de los siglos XVIII y XIX (Córdoba, 1973), 131, 135.


For Oruro, AGN, IX 34-5-8, exp. 3082; for La Paz, AGN, IX 31-8-8, exp. 1430.


Pizarro to José Antonio Caballero, La Plata, Nov. 25, 1804, AGI, Charcas, 583.


Circular del Deán y Cabildo de La Plata a Curas de Chayanta, La Plata, Nov. 5, 1805, ACES. All of the city of La Plata was flooded with concern over the epidemics and how to control them. In the armory where the Audiencia functioned and the presidential family lived, there was no “common space in which its inhabitants could perform their bodily functions.” The president requested authorization from Buenos Aires to undertake this work, since “for lack of a common space . . . the living quarters are covered by a deposit of filth, whose foulness, under circumstances in which epidemic illnesses are rampant, could prejudice public health.” AGN, IX 7-9-1.


For La Paz, Pedro Bejar, procurador of Convento Hospital de San Juan de Dios, Oct. 7, 1805, AHLP, EC 1805; for Chayanta, Sobremonte to subdelegado of Chayanta, Buenos Aires, Aug. 27, 1805, ACES.


Joaquín Barrón to dean of La Plata, Carasi, Nov. 23, 1805; Manuel de Lossada y Amézaga, Chairapata, Dec. 9, 1805; Mariano de la Vega, Micani, Nov. 23, 1805, ACES.


AGN, IX 23-6-3, exp. 466.


Israel Terrazas A. et al., “Epidemias históricas en Capinota, durante los siglos XVII-XIX. Años 1672 a 1868. Etapas y resultados de investigación,” Estudios-UMSS (Cochabamba), 1 (1987), 28.


The Mortality Crisis Intensity Index proposed by Jacques Dupâquier is used here for comparative purposes. According to this formula, I = D-M/ς, in which D = Deaths of the year in question, M = the average deaths in the previous ten years, and ς = the standard deviation of deaths for the previous ten years. Dupâquier distinguished different crisis magnitudes according to the indices obtained. A magnitude of 1, or minor crisis, measures intensities between 1 and 2; a magnitude of 2, or medium crisis, intensities of between 2 and 4; a magnitude of 3, or strong crisis, intensities of between 4 and 8; a magnitude of 4, or great crisis, intensities of between 8 and 16; a magnitude of 5, or a supercrisis, intensities of between 16 and 32; and a magnitude of 6, or catastrophe, intensities above 32. See Cabourdin, Biraben, and Blum, “Les crises démographiques,” 178.


Potosí, May 15, 1805, AGN, IX 7-9-1.


Cura de San Pedro, Potosí, May 15, 1805, Teniente de cura de San Roque, Potosí, May 16, 1805, and Prior del Convento, Potosí, May 17, 1805, AGN, IX 7-9-1.


Potosí, May 22, 1805, and (for Matriz and San Lorenzo and San Bernardo) Potosí, May 24, 1805, AGN, IX 7-9-1.


Morin, Michoacán en la Nueva España, 57; Scardaville, “Crime and the Urban Poor,” 53-55.


My emphasis. Potosí, May 16, 1805, AGN, IX 7-9-1.


Tandeter, “La rente,” chaps. 2-3.


At the end of the eighteenth century a visitor observed that the seasonal migrations in Chayanta (the “double residence”) tended to produce “defects” in the parish registers. See Daniel J. Santamaría, “La propiedad de la tierra y la condición social del indio en el Alto Perú, 1780-1810,” Desarrollo Económico 17: 66 (July-Sept. 1977), 254. In order to control the potential limitations in the sources, the data for Sacaca and Acasio have been simultaneously analyzed, both separately and in aggregate.


Viceroy to subdelegado of Chayanta, Buenos Aires, Aug. 27, 1805; viceroy to intendant of Potosí, Buenos Aires, Sept. 12, 1805; carta circular del Deán y Cabildo de la Catedral de La Plata to curas de Chayanta, La Plata, Oct. 12, 1805; respuestas de los curas de Carasi, Joaquín Barrón, Carasi, Nov. 23, 1805, and San Pedro de Buenavista, Manuel de Lossada y Amézaga, Chairapata, Dec. 9, 1805, ACES.


For Sacaca, death figures are based on the years 1693 to 1792, while for Acasio they are taken from 1736 to 1811. Seasonality has been determined by means of the multiplier variable of the statistical program TSP, which eliminates long-term trends from the series.


Cook, Coica Valley, 73.


The population in 1775-99 has been estimated on the basis of the revisitas of 1786, 1792, and 1798, while the rates for 1800-1806 have been calculated on the basis of the data of the 1798 revisita (AGN, XIII 18-10-3, lib- 4; 18-10-4, lib. 2; 19-1-1; 19-1-2, libs. 3-4; 19-1-4, libs. 1-2; 19-1-3, lib. 4). Although no attempt has been made to correct the underregistration of deaths, baptisms, and marriages, in fact the rates include a certain correction because in the parish registers data mestizos and Spaniards account for approximately 10 percent. The revisitas, on the other hand, only count the indigenous population.


See, for example, François Lebrun, Les homines et la mort en Anjou aux 17e et 18e siècles. Essai de démographie et de psychologie historiques (Paris, 1971), 329-387; J. Ruwet, “Crises de mortalité et mortalités de crise à Aix-la-Chapelle (XVIIe-début du XVIIIe siècle),” in Harsin and Helin, eds., Problèmes de mortalité, 379-408.


Paul B. Beeson and Walsh McDermott, eds., Cecil-Loeb Textbook of Medicine, 12th ed. (Philadelphia and London. 1967), 167.


Christina Jorup-Ronstrom, “Epidemiological, Bacteriological and Complicating Features of Erysipelas,” Scandinavian Journal of Infectious Diseases, 18: 6 (1986), 522.


Beeson and McDermott, Medicine, 167.


Given the variety of diagnoses mentioned in the testimonies, it is surprising to find that one author concluded that the illness was the bubonic plague, never mentioned by any source. See Eduardo R. Saguier, “La penuria de agua, azogue y mano de obra en el origen de la crisis minera colonial. El caso del Potosí a fines del siglo XVIII,” HISLA, 12 (2 semestre 1988), 78.


This hypothesis, suggested by Dr. Stephen R. Ell of the University of Chicago, can include erysipelas among the preferred choices, as it is known that immuno-suppression increases contagion. See Jorup-Ronstrom, “Erysipelas,” 522.


Gerald S. Davis, “Pathogenesis of Silicosis: Current Concepts and Hypotheses,” Lung. An International Journal of Lungs, Airways, and Breathing, 164: 3 (1986), 139-154.


Sánchez.-Albornoz, índios y tributos, 59.


AGN, IX31-8-3, exp. 1308; Tomás Barrón, Oruro, May 31, 1805, AGN, IX 34-6-1, exp. 3104; cura de San José de Poopó, Julián Pinto y Origuela, Nov. 25, 1804, and Antonio Olave, cura de Condocondo, Nov. 30, 1804, ANB, EC 1805, 198.


For Cochabamba, Viedma to viceroy, Cochabamba, Feb. 2, 1804, AGN, IX 5-8-7; for Potosí, Sept. 27, 1805, ANB, Libros de Acuerdos del Cabildo de Potosí, tomo 59, fol. 219; for La Paz, Juan Santillana to intendant, La Paz, Mar. 22, 1806, AHLP, Caja EC 1806; for Paria, José Manuel Montero, cura de Culta, Nov. 14, 1804, ANB, EC 1805, 198.


Eusebio Padilla, capitán de milicias, AGN, IX 23-2-4, cuaderno 1, fol. 21.


Diputados del gremio de azogueros al Intendente, Potosí, Jan. 30, 1806, AGI, Charcas 711, fols. 7v-9.


Bando, La Plata, Jul. 11, 1807, ANB, EC 1806, 45, fols. 4-5v.


Herbert S. Klein, “The Economies of New Spain and Perú, 1680-1809: The View from the Royal Treasuries,” paper presented at the VII International Symposium of the Commission on Economic History of CLACSO, Lima, 1986.


The increases were 581.6% in Arica, 9.8% in Carangas, 13.8% in Charcas, 207.9% in Chucuito, 7.5% in La Paz, 12.9% in Oruro, and 18.6% in Santa Cruz. For Cochabamba, Larson recorded a decline of 17.1% (Colonialism and Agrarian Transformation, 288-291 and Table A-6).


Bartolomé Vilca, cacique de San Salvador de Sabaya, Guayacalla, Jul. 17, 1805, AGN, IX 34-6-8, exp. 3281; IX 14-3-11; IX 14-3-7; subdelegado de Tomina, Tarabuco, Dec. 1, 1804, IX 23-2-4, cuaderno 2, fol. 95v; Viedma al Regente de la Real Audiencia de Buenos Aires, Cochabamba, Feb. 12, 1808, Andrés Lamas, leg. 35; Manuel María Garrón, Guayllamarca, Oct. 16, 1804, ANB, EG 1804, 146, fols. 22-23; E 1805, 198.


Relación de Méritos y servicios de A. A. de Malnershitsch, Madrid, Mar. 3, 1815, AGI, Charcas, 426.


Francisco de Paula Sanz, Potosí, Dec. 27, 1806, AGN, IX 7-9-1.


Marcelo Collado to subdelegado, Acasio, Sept. 22, 1805, ANB, EC 1805, 188, fol. 4v.


Pedro Cossío to Intendente Burgunyo, June 15, 1804, AGN, IX 23-6-3, exp. 466; Tomás Barrón, Oruro, Dec. 7, 1804, ANB, EC 1804, 146, fols. 22-23, 24v-26v. In the context prior to the crisis of 1857, on the other hand, the incorporation of widows and next of kin into the category of taxpayers under the new registers appears to have been a tactic used by communities to affirm their rights over the land. Grieshaber, “Survival of Indian Communities,” 256-257.


Carlos Coca, Manuel Talavera, and Melchor Chipaca, August 1806, ANB, Mano de obra 1192, fol. 2.


Sanz, Potosí, Dec. 27, 1806, AGN, IX 7-9-1.


Tandeter and Wachtel, “Prices and Agricultural Production,” passim.


The epidemic of 1718-20 is an exception, especially in the region of Cuzco. See Dobyns, “Andean Epidemic History”; Michèle Colin, Le Cusco à la fin du XVII et au début du XVIlle siècle (Paris, 1966); Sánchez-Albornoz, Indios y tributos; Luis Miguel Glave and María Isabel Remy, Estructura agraria y vida rural en una región andina. Ollantaytambo entre los siglos XVI y XIX (Cuzco, 1983); Ann M. Wightman, Indigenous Migration and Social Change: The Forasteros of Cuzco, 1570-1720 (Durham, 1990).


Saignes, “Ayllus, mercado y coacción colonial.”


Tandeter and Wachtel, “Prices and Agricultural Production,” 248-257.


Ibid., 271.


Grieshaber, “Survival of Indian Communities”; Terrazas A., et al., “Epidemias históricas en Capinota”; Michela Pentimalli de Navarro and Gustavo Rodríguez Ostria, “Las razones de la multitud (Hambruna, motines y subsistencia: 1878-79),” Estado y Sociedad, 4:5 (2 trimestre 1988), 15-33.


Larson, Colonialism and Agrarian Transformation, 284-294.