Droughts and Scarcity before Independence in the Viceroyalty of New Granada, 1800–1810


  • Katherinne Mora Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Colombia


This article offers an environmental perspective on the crisis preceding the independence of New Granada (present-day Colombia). The economic and political factors well known in the historiography are here complemented by weather and climate factors that changed the levels of precipitation, caused droughts, and were related to cattle mortality, loss of crops, and high prices. The author compares her own findings on the Province of Santafe, the capital city of New Granada, with some information about the situation on the Caribbean coast and in other viceroyalties of the Spanish Empire.

Author Biography

Katherinne Mora, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Colombia

Katherinne Mora holds a Master’s degree in environment and development and a new PhD from the history program at Universidad Nacional de Colombia. Her dissertation is about the adaptation strategies employed by farmers and herders of the Sabana de Bogota (Eastern Andes of Colombia) to coexist with climate variability in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Her research interests are the climate history and the agricultural history of Colombia during the Colonial period and the nineteenth century. Her main publications are the book Prácticas agropecuarias coloniales y degradación del suelo en el Valle de Saquencipá, Provincia de Tunja, siglos XVI y XVII. (Bogota: Universidad Nacional De Colombia, 2015), the book chapters “Agriculture and Livestock in Wetlands in the Bogota Plateau (Colombia), Eighteenth Century. Land Use and Wetland Management” In: Environmental History in the Making. Volume II: Acting, edited by Cristina Joanaz de Melo, Estelita Vaz y Lígia M. Costa Pinto, 3–13 (Cham: Springer, 2017), and “Agricultura, ganadería y degradación del suelo en Saquencipá, Nuevo Reino de Granada, s.XVI y XVII.” In: Semillas de Historia Ambiental, edited by Stefania Gallini, 157–182. (Bogota: Universidad Nacional de Colombia, 2015), and some articles published in Colombian and Spanish journals.