Appendix C
Bajío Population, 1600–1800
The Bajío was a region of diverse communities, cities, towns, villages, and es-
tates, settled in the aftermath of the Spanish conquest. Population figures are
essential to understanding its historical development. They are also scarce and
often uncertain, are open to various interpretations, and require manipulation
before they can become the basis for comparisons across zones within the re-
gion and for measuring change over the centuries. This appendix examines the
available figures, discusses their uncertainties and implications, and presents
tables to support the analysis presented in the text.
I begin with Querétaro and its district. Under Spanish rule that jurisdic-
tion was smaller than the state that emerged after independence in 1821. It
included the City of Querétaro and its surrounding basins, San Juan del Río
to the southeast and its countryside, and San Pedro Tolimán in the drier and
hillier country to the northeast. The colonial jurisdiction of Querétaro thus
included the key southeastern extension of the Bajío, and little of the rugged
uplands that became part of the state in the nineteenth century.
There are no known censuses for Querétaro and its district before the middle
of the eighteenth century. John Super estimates a population of one thousand
for the late sixteenth century and an increase to five thousand by the middle
of the seventeenth. Those figures are accurate for the town and perhaps its
immediate vicinity, but do not represent the larger jurisdiction, including San
Juan del Río and its outlying pueblos. I propose a district population of three
thousand for the late sixteenth century, based on the more than three hundred
adult workers in the labor contracts detailed in appendix A, and the knowl-
edge that such workers were but part of a community primarily cultivating
huertas. I use a population figure of eighteen thousand for 1630, presuming
that Querétaro’s population was over half that reported for Celaya in the cen-
sus of 1631, a jurisdiction just west that included outlying towns.
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