« The paleo diet | Main | How not to do history, Paraguayan edition »

April 28, 2015

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Thoughts? Sure!

The claims of losses of 70-90% of the male population and/or 70% of the total population are likely fabrications along the lines of the 1857 census. Some kind of propaganda to paint Paraguay as a complete victim rather than a willing combatant.

After all some of the estimated losses (1.2 million) would have been possibly three times the size of Paraguay's population at the time.

However, if losses were really as high as 70-90% of the adult male population then shouldn't we see some after effects in the society in terms of male/female dynamics due to a massively skewed sex ratio? After all if before the ratio was approximately 1:1 for the adult males to adult females then a 70% loss of the adult male population should result in a ratio of 1:3.33 males to females. At that point there is probably little, if any sexual competition between males and far more sexual competition between females as males can pick, choose, refuse and pick again if they want. Such dynamics should leave a mark somewhere in the records of births (possibly more births out of wedlock) and in society through novels, diaries, etc.

What do you make of Whigham's methodology and conclusions though where he used the 1846 census to estimate the population in 1864 and then used a census shortly after the war to estimate the losses?

And has anyone ever taken into account that Paraguay actually lost large tracts of territory and presumably also lost some of the inhabitants of those annexed territories? After all if in 1846 Paraguay had control over areas A, B, C and D but then lost control of areas C and D in 1870 then the population in C and D would not be counted in any census after 1870 whereas they would have been a part of the 1846 census...

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