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Emeritus Professors

Newson, Professor Linda

Linda NewsonEmeritus Professor


Tel:  +44 (0)20 7848 2364 

Department of Geography 
King's College London  
Strand Campus 




Linda Newson obtained her BA and PhD from the Department of Geography at UCL. Since then she has been a Lecturer, Reader and Professor at King’s College London. She has taught briefly in Geography Departments at the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Cambridge, and has twice held a Fellowship at the Newberry Library, Chicago. 

She is the author of six monographs and has published extensively in both English and Spanish. In 1992 she received the Carl O. Sauer Award for Distinguished Scholarship from the Conference of Latin Americanist Geographers, USA, and in 1993 the Back Award from the Royal Geographical Society for her contributions to the historical geography of Latin America. 

In 2000 she was elected Fellow of the British Academy and in 2001 Fellow of King’s College London. She has held senior administrative positions within the College, including the Head of the School of Humanities from 1997-2000. She served on the Council of the British Academy from 2007-2010 and is currently on its International Policy Committee. She also chairs its Latin American and Caribbean Panel. She is a Strategic Reviewer for the AHRC and serves on the Peer Review College. She is also a member of the Advisory Panel on the Endangered Archives Programme, sponsored by Arcadia, at the British Library.

Research interests
  • Demographic change in Latin America and the Philippines during the Spanish colonial period 
  • The impact of colonial rule on indigenous societies 
  • Portuguese slave trade to Spanish America 
  • The history of medicine in early colonial Spanish America

Linda Newson is an historical geographer who is interested in explaining geographical variations in the impact of colonial rule on indigenous peoples. Although she is particularly interested in the demographic impact of the Old World diseases, her work views demographic change within the wider context of the economic and political changes that were consequent upon contact with Europeans. She has completed books on the impact of colonial rule on the island of Trinidad, Nicaragua, Honduras and Ecuador. 

Her most recent project is on the diet and health of slaves during their transhipment to Cartagena, Colombia, through Panama to Lima, Peru. It is based mainly on Inquisition records in Lima relating to Portuguese slave traders in the early seventeenth century as well as documents in other archives in Colombia, Peru, Chile and Spain. The project (with Dr. Susie Minchin) was funded by the AHRB and was published by Brill Academic Publishers, Leiden, in 2007. This study is being followed up by a British Acadaemy-funded project on bartering for slaves on the Upper Guinea coast in the early seventeenth century. She is also working on apothecaries and the medicine trade in Lima in the early seveteenth century. 

Linda has also published a book on the impact of Spanish rule in the Philippines, where it is thought that the native population survived to a greater degree than in the Americas because of the immunity it had acquired to Old World diseases through contacts with China and other parts of Asia prior to Spanish arrival. She has also edited a book on the history and culture of Mexico City with John King at the University of Warwick


Apothecaries, medicines and the medicine trade in early colonial Lima, Peru. Wellcome Trust £7,700 

Bartering for Slaves on the Upper Guinea Coast. British Academy £7,500. PI 

African slave diet and health during the Final Passage in the early seventeenth century. AHRB £94,107 PI.

PhD students

2009 Jaime Moreno Tejada The Ecuadorian Oriente, 1850-1920: Formation and experience of an Amazon frontier, School of Social Science and Public Policy, King’s College London studentship, 2005-2008.

2008 Jemima Miéville Medical fusion in the Valley of Mexico in the sixteenth century, AHRC studentship

2008 Claudia Murray Power, architecture and planning in Buenos Aires, 1776-1810, AHRC studentship. Currently researcher in the Department of Real Estate and Planning, University of Reading. 

2002 Caterina Pizzigoni, Between resistance and assimilation: rural Nahua women in the Valley of Toluca in the early eighteenth century (AHRB, University of London). Currently Assistant Professor in the Department of History, Columbia University, New York. 

2000 Christopher Walters, Colonial capitalism, industrialsation and the textile industry in Ecuador: 1550-1750 (ESRC) Currently director of a energy policy consultancy

Impact, innovation and outreach

Editorial Board Journal of Historical Geography 

Consultant to Macmillan Reference USA on The Encyclopedia of the Middle Passage (2005) 

Consultant to Macmillan Reference USA on The Encyclopedia of Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity (2004) 

Consultant on Iberia and the Americas: Culture, Politics, and History. 3 Vols. Edited by J. Michael Francis. Santa Barbara and Oxford: ABC-Clio, 2005. 

Consultant on the Complete History of the World Atlas (Times Books), Edited by R. Overy: Times Books, 2004. Responsible for the Latin American sections. 


NEWSON, L A. 2015 The Longue Durée in Filipino Demographic History: The Role of Fertility prior to 1800. In Environment, Trade and Society in Southeast Asia: A Longue Durée Perspective, edited by David Henley and Henk Schulte Nordholt, pp. 78-95. Leiden: Brill, 2015.

NEWSON, L.A. 2014 (with Antoni Kapcia) eds. Report on the State of UK-based research on Latin America and the Caribbean. London: Institute of Latin American Studies.

NEWSON, L. A. in press Supervivencia indigena en la Nicaragua colonial. Managua: LeaGrupo Editorial.

NEWSON, L. A. in press. Spanish Medical Practice in the Early Colonial Philippines: Context and Prospects, in Colonial Medicine in Spanish Philippines ed. Raquel A. G. Reyes. Manila: Ateneo University Press.

NEWSON, L. A. 2013 The slave trading accounts of Manoel Batista Peres, 1613-1619: double-entry bookkeeping in cloth money, Accounting History 18(3): 343-365.  

NEWSON, L. A. 2013 La  travesía final. El tráfico esclavista desde Cartagena de indias al Perú a inicios del siglo XVII, Nueva corónica 2 (July 2013): 641-78.

NEWSON, L.A. 2012 Africans and Luso-Africans in the Portuguese Slave Trade on the Upper Guinea Coast in the Early Seventeenth Century. Journal of African History 53(1): 1-24

NEWSON, L.A.2012 Bartering for Slaves on the Upper Guinea Coast in the Early Seventeenth Century. Brokers of Change: Atlantic Commerce and Cultures in Pre-Colonial Western Africa. Toby Green ed., pp.257-282. London: British Academy/OUP  

NEWSON, L.A. 2009 Conquest and Pestilence in the Early Spanish Philippines. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press. 420pp.  Philippine edition, Manila: Ateneo University Press, 2011

NEWSON, L.A and J.P.KING, eds. 2009. Mexico City through History and Culture. London: British Academy/OUP. 

NEWSON, L.A. and S. Minchin 2007 From capture to sale: the Portuguese slave trade to South America in the early seventeenth century. Leiden: Brill. 

NEWSON, L.A and S. Minchin. 2007. Cargazones de negros en Cartagena de Indias en el siglo XVII: Nutrición, salud y mortalidad. In Cartagena de Indias en el siglo XVII, eds. A. Mesiel and H. Calvo, pp. 206-47. Cartagena: Banco de la República. 

NEWSON, L.A and S. Minchin. 2007. Diets, food supplies and the African slave trade in early seventeenth-century Spanish America, The Americas, 63 (4): 517-50. 

NEWSON, L.A. 2006 Conquest, pestilence and demographic collapse in the early Spanish Philippines, Journal of Historical Geography, 32 (1): 1-20. DOI:10.1016/j.jhg.2004.08.001

NEWSON, L.A 2006 Medical practice in early colonial Spanish America: A prospectus, Bulletin of Latin American Research 25(3): 367-91. DOI: 10.1111/j.0261-3050.2006.00203.x 

NEWSON, L.A. 2006 The demographic impact of colonization. In The Cambridge Economic History of Latin America, eds. V. Bulmer-Thomas, J. Coatsworth and R. Cortes Conde, pp. 143-184. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 

NEWSON, L.A. and S. Minchin 2004 Slave mortality and African origins: A view from Cartagena, Colombia in the early seventeenth century, Slavery and Abolition. 25: 18-43. ISSN 0144-39X. DOI: 10.1080/0144039042000302224

NEWSON, L.A. 2003 Patterns of Indian depopulation in early colonial Ecuador, Revista de Indias, vol. 63, number 227: 135-56 

Ubelaker, D.H. and NEWSON, L.A. 2002 Patterns of health and nutrition in prehistoric and historic Ecuador. In The backbone of history: health and nutrition in the Western hemisphere, (eds.) R. H. Steckel and J.C. Rose, pp. 343-375. New York: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0 521 80167 2.

NEWSON, L.A. 2001 Pathogens, peoples and places: geographical variations in the impact of diseases in early Spanish America and the Philippines. In Technology, disease and colonial conquests - sixteenth to eighteenth centuries: reappraising the guns and germs theories, ed. G. Raudzens, pp. 167-210. Leiden: Brill. ISBN 9004117458. 

NEWSON, L.A. 2000 Epidemias en del nuevo mundo en el Ecuador, 1524-1618, in Juicios Secretos de Dios: Epidemias y despoblación indígena en Hispanoamérica colonial, eds. W.G.Lovell and N.D.Cook, pp. 119-140. Quito: Abya-Yala


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