The Journal of Caribbean History: Volume 42, Issue 2

Article 5
“There Is No City Here, but a Desert”: The Contours of City Life in 1673 San Juan

David M. Stark


Our knowledge of San Juan’s population history in the seventeenth century is limited at best; for city life in this period it is virtually nonexistent. Lacking quantitative data, scholars of Caribbean history can only speculate as to San Juan’s demographic profile during an important, albeit frequently ignored, period of the island’s history. The 1673 census for San Juan provides a useful point of reference for reevaluating the city and the island’s population growth (and in some cases decline) over the course of the seventeenth century.