A preliminary study of the demography of colonial Rio Grande do Norte: sources, methods and results

<p></p><p>Abstract This article intends to conduct a dialogue between Demography and History, combining the specific knowledge of these disciplines in order to better understand both the numbers collected for the population of Rio Grande do Norte and the historical context which would explain those numbers. The purpose of this article is to present socio-demographic characteristics of the Rio Grande do Norte’s population at the turn of the eighteenth century to the nineteenth, through the first population maps created in the second half of the eighteenth century, as part of the Pombal policy attempt to better understand the Portuguese empire. Furthermore, this paper seeks to present some demographic data, such as population composition by sex, color / ethnicity and legal status, of the Rio Grande do Norte captaincy, based on data produced in 1782, 1788, 1801 and 1805, using Demography methodologies which will be explained through direct dialogue with the area´s historiography.</p><p></p>