Research by some scholars provides population estimates of the pre-contact Americas as high as 112 million in 1492, while others estimate the population to have been as low as eight million. In any case, the native population declined to less than five million by 1650. In this collection of essays, historians, anthropologists and historical demographers discuss the discrepancies in the population estimates and the evidence for the post-European decline. Woodrow Borah, Angel Rosenblat and William T. Sanders, among others, examine such topics as the Indian slave trade, disease, military action and the disruption of the social systems of the native peoples. Offering varying points of view, the contributions critically analyse major hemispheric and regional data and estimates for pre- and post-European contact.