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Seis mil personas desaparecieron en Lima y el virrey informó a España que fue por epidemia o un mal censo de población

En su informe a España Francisco Gil de Taboada dio el total de seis censos realizados y las cifras no cuadraban. También detalló que el número de religiosos en Lima había descendido

  • Reportó que había 3,941 casas y 35 barrios en la capital

Investigación ÍTALO SIFUENTES ALEMÁN

PERÚ BICENTENARIO 19/05/2020

¿Pueden desaparecer seis mil peruanos sin dejar rastro? Esa es una incógnita que ya lleva más de dos siglos sin resolver, pues data del 5 de febrero de 1791, fecha en que la desaparición la dio a conocer el virrey Francisco Gil de Taboada en un documento que aquí por primera vez se publica, un oficio que esta alta autoridad del virreinato peruano remitió a España al ministro de Hacienda Pedro López de Lerena detallando el número de habitantes y casas de Lima.

En 1791 a Gil de Taboada la contabilidad no le cuadraba, pues si el censo de 1746 había determinado que en Lima y sus arrabales había 60,000 habitantes, cómo era posible que en el censo de 1755 solo se registrara la existencia de 54,000 personas. Entre un censo y otro había transcurrido apenas una década y a la ciudad nadie entraba ni salía por el estricto control que había en los linderos y murallas de la capital.

En dicho documento el virrey planteó dos respuestas a dicha incógnita: una, que los seis mil peruanos desaparecieron de Lima por diversas epidemias o como consecuencia del terremoto que asoló la ciudad y el Callao o porque, infirió, la población capitalina no había sido bien censada en 1746.

Gil de Taboada, para explicar el faltante de población limeña, presentó las estadísticas que los censos anteriores en Lima habían arrojado:

“Al Excelentísimo don Pedro Lerena:

Los padrones que se han hecho en esta capital están determinados en las épocas siguientes y aunque por la desproporción que entre ellos se halla no puede establecerse ninguna conjetura bien fundada en lo que respecta a los aumentos y disminuciones que se notan, me ha parecido oportuno expresarles:

La primera es la del año 1600: En ella se numeraron en esta capital y sus arrabales 14.262; en 1614 ya ascendieron estas a 25.455; en el de 1700 se contaron 37.259, y en el año de 1746 se computaron 60.000, cuyo aumento es extraordinario e inverosímil; en el de 1755 se consideró rebajada la población al número de 54.000 personas con motivo de los temblores y otras epidemias; en el de 1781 ha de suponerse de 60.000, y en la actualidad, 1791, solo se hallan en 52.627”.

Población de religiosos también bajó

Para argumentar las altas y bajas en la población, en 1791 el virrey también argumentó que la ciudad había crecido considerablemente y que se habían incorporado nuevos grupos de población. Literalmente lo dice de esta manera:

“En apoyo de las reflexiones que puedan hacerse sobre las desproporciones altas y bajas que se notan, me parece oportuno advertir que la extensión de la ciudad se halla aumentada de pocos años a esta parte de un modo muy considerable; que habiéndose añadido un gran número de castas, y hallándose ocupados los habitantes deben haber aumentado en la misma proporción y por consiguiente que en los estados anteriores ni ha habido la exactitud conveniente ni el número de moradores ha sido tan considerable como en el día”.

En su informe al ministro de Hacienda en España, el virrey Gil de Taboada también se refirió a la población de religiosos y religiosas que residía en Lima, reconociendo abiertamente que había en número había reducido.

“En lo que hay una baja notable y probada es en la Órdenes religiosas, pues constando en el padrón del año 1700 que las monjas y sus criadas ascendían al número de 3,865 y los religiosos y sus donados y esclavos a 2,155, en 1791 se hallan tan reducidos como consta del estado adjunto”.

¿Cuántas casas y barrios había en Lima en 1791?

Gil de Taboada informó de esta manera: “Por lo que hace a lo material de la ciudad, en su estado actual se compone de 3,941 casas, de las cuales 949 pertenecen enteramente a manos muertas y las demás, aunque las poseen seglares, están recargadas con varios censos y pensiones que reconocen a los eclesiásticos”.

Respecto a cómo era la administración de Lima, el virrey informó que: “Para la observancia de la policía y conservación del buen orden esta misma ciudad está dividida en cuatro carteles encargados a otros tantos Alcaldes de Corte y subdivida en 35 barrios, cada uno a cargo de un alcalde escogido entre los vecinos honrados, el que cada dos años se muda.

La población de esta capital, comparada con la del Reino, y su extensión es demasiado considerable y su aumento trae varios inconvenientes políticos que podrán hacerse más demostrables luego que el estado general del Reino proporcione los conocimientos con la exactitud de que ahora se carece.

Dios guarde a usted, Francisco Gil. Lima, 5 de febrero de 1791”.

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