Henry F. Dobyns

Henry Farmer Dobyns, Jr. (July 3, 1925 – June 21, 2009) was an anthropologist, author and researcher specializing in the ethnohistory and demography of native peoples in the American hemisphere.[1] He is most well known for his groundbreaking demographic research on the size of indigenous American populations before the arrival of Christopher Columbus in 1492.[2][3]

Henry F. Dobyns
Henry Farmer Dobyns, Jr.

July 3, 1925
DiedJune 21, 2009
ResidencePhoenix, Arizona
EducationPhD in anthropology (1960), Cornell University
Alma materCornell University
OccupationAnthropology, Ethnohistory and Demography
EmployerUniversity of Kentucky; University of Oklahoma
TitleChairman of the Department of Anthropology;
Vice-president for Academic Affairs
Spouse(s)Zipporah Pottenger; Cara Richards; Mary Faith Patterson

Early life and education

Dobyns was born in Tucson, Arizona on July 3, 1925 to Henry F. and Susie Kell Dobyns, and spent his childhood in Casa Grande, Arizona. He graduated from Casa Grande Union High School and then immediately entered the U.S. Army in 1943. Following his service, he attended the University of Arizona where he received a B.A. in Anthropology in 1949 as well as a M.A. in Anthropology in 1956.[1]

Dobyns received his Doctorate degree in Anthropology from Cornell University in 1960.


Dobyns worked with Native American tribes on land claims and a water rights case while he was a graduate student at the University of Arizona in 1952. He continued this work over the next 50 years with various tribes. From 1952 to 1956, he gathered ethnohistorical and archaeological evidence for the Hualapai Tribal Nation’s land claims case and acted as an expert witness before the U.S. Supreme Court with much of the information in his M.A. thesis being used in the Indian Claims Commission hearings. He also spent three decades working as a consultant for the Gila River Indian Community in their litigation over water rights.

He joined the Cornell Peru Project in 1960 after earning his Ph.D. There he worked as a research coordinator from 1960 to 1962, and as a Peace Corps coordinator from 1962 to 1964, and coordinator of the Comparative Studies of Cultural Change program. He was also the Coordinator of the Andean Indian Community Research and Development project from 1963 to 1966, and the Associate Director of the Cornell Peru Project. Dobyns was made Director of the project in 1966 after the death of the former director, Allan R. Holmberg.[4]


From 1949 to 1952 he was an instructor at Cornell University’s Field Laboratory in Applied Anthropology in Arizona and New Mexico.

In 1966 Dr. Dobyns became the Chairman of the Department of Anthropology at the University of Kentucky. In 1970, he joined the staff of Prescott College, Center of Man and Environment as a professor and later as the Vice-president for Academic Affairs. Between 1977 and 1979 he taught at the University of Florida, Gainesville. Dobyns taught at the University of Wisconsin–Parkside from 1974 to 1977 and also 1983 through 1984. In 1983 he directed seminars on Native American Historical Demography, funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). He was a professor at the University of Oklahoma in 1989.

Dobyns also worked as a senior researcher at the Bureau of Applied Research in Anthropology at the University of Arizona and on projects for the National Park Service. Between 1980 and the early 1990s, he returned to the Newberry Library each summer to contribute to the NEH Summer Institute in Native American Literature.

Awards and accolades

Dobyns has been awarded numerous fellowships in support of his research, including:

Dobyns won the Bronislaw Malinowski Award from the Society for Applied Anthropology in 1951 for his article "Blunders with Bolsas." He was a lifetime member of the Arizona Historical Society.[2]

Personal life

In 1948 Dobyns married Zipporah Pottenger with whom he had four children; Rique, Bill, Maritha and Mark. He married his second wife, anthropologist Dr. Cara Richards in 1958 and had one child, York Dobyns. In 1968 he married his third wife, Mary Faith Patterson.

Dobyns died June 21, 2009.

Selected works

Dobyns began his extensive publishing career while he was a graduate student.

  • Papagos in the Cotton Fields (1951)
  • Tubac Through Four Centuries: A Historical Resume and Analysis (1959)
  • Estimating Aboriginal American Population: An Appraisal of Techniques with a New Hemispheric Estimate (1966)
  • The Ghost Dance of 1889 among the Pai Indians of Northwestern Arizona (1967)
  • Spanish Colonial Tucson: A Demographic History (1976)
  • Indians of the Southwest: A Critical Bibliography (1980)
  • From Fire to Flood: Historic Human Destruction of Sonoran Desert Riverine (1981)
  • Their Number Become Thinned (1983) ISBN 0870494007

From 1971 to 1976 Dr. Dobyns edited the Indian Tribal Series, a 40 volume series of tribal history and culture of which Dobyns wrote six volumes.


  1. ^ a b Henry F. Dobyns; Arizona Archives Online - Biography; 2012
  2. ^ a b Renowned Anthropologist, a UA Alumnus, Leaves Papers to University Libraries, New Endowment Established in His Memory; University of Arizona Library; December 17, 2009
  3. ^ 1491; The Atlantic; Charles C. Mann; March 2002
  4. ^ Guide to the Henry F. Dobyns Papers; Cornell University Library; May, 2008

External links


Dobyns is a surname. Notable people with the surname include:

Emery Dobyns, American record producer

Henry F. Dobyns (1925–2009), American anthropologist

Jay Dobyns (born 1961), American special agent

John P. Dobyns (born 1944), American politician

Lee Dobyns (born c. 1935), American football coach

Lloyd Dobyns (born 1936), American news anchor

Stephen Dobyns (born 1941), American poet and novelist

European colonization of the Americas

The European colonization of the Americas describes the history of the settlement and establishment of control of the continents of the Americas by most of the naval powers of Western Europe.

Systematic European colonization began in 1492, when a Spanish expedition headed by the Italian explorer Christopher Columbus sailed west to find a new trade route to the Far East but inadvertently landed in what came to be known to Europeans as the "New World". He ran aground on the northern part of Hispaniola on 5 December 1492, which the Taino people had inhabited since the 9th century; the site became the first permanent European settlement in the Americas. Western European conquest, large-scale exploration and colonization soon followed. Columbus's first two voyages (1492–93) reached the Bahamas and various Caribbean islands, including Hispaniola, Puerto Rico, and Cuba. In 1497, Italian explorer John Cabot, on behalf of England, landed on the North American coast, and a year later, Columbus's third voyage reached the South American coast. As the sponsor of Christopher Columbus's voyages, Spain was the first European power to settle and colonize the largest areas, from North America and the Caribbean to the southern tip of South America.

The Spaniards began building their American empire in the Caribbean, using islands such as Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Hispaniola as bases. The North and South American mainland fell to the conquistadors, with an estimated 8,000,000 deaths of indigenous populations, which has been argued to be the first large-scale act of genocide in the modern era. Florida fell to Juan Ponce de León after 1513. From 1519 to 1521, Hernán Cortés waged a campaign against the Aztec Empire, ruled by Moctezuma II. The Aztec capital, Tenochtitlan, became Mexico City, the chief city of what the Spanish were now calling "New Spain". More than 240,000 Aztecs died during the siege of Tenochtitlan. Of these, 100,000 died in combat. Between 500 and 1,000 of the Spaniards engaged in the conquest died. Later, the areas that are today California, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Texas, Missouri, Louisiana, and Alabama were taken over by other conquistadors, such as Hernando de Soto, Francisco Vázquez de Coronado, and Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca. Farther to the south, Francisco Pizarro conquered the Inca Empire during the 1530s. The de Soto expedition was the first major encounter of Europeans with North American Indians in the eastern half of the United States. The expedition journeyed from Florida through present-day Georgia and the Carolinas, then west across the Mississippi and into Texas. De Soto fought his biggest battle at the walled town of Mabila in present-day Alabama on October 18, 1540. Spanish losses were 22 killed and 148 wounded. The Spaniards claimed that 2,500 Indians died. If true, Mabila was the bloodiest battle ever fought between native Americans and Europeans in the present-day United States. The centuries of continuous conflicts between the North American Indians and the Anglo-Americans were secondary to the devastation wrought on the densely populated Meso-American, Andean, and Caribbean heartlands.The British colonization of the Americas started with the unsuccessful settlement attempts in Roanoke and Newfoundland. The English eventually went on to control much of Eastern North America, The Caribbean, and parts of South America. The British also gained Florida and Quebec in the French and Indian War. Other powers such as France also founded colonies in the Americas: in eastern North America, a number of Caribbean islands and small coastal parts of South America. Portugal colonized Brazil, tried colonizing the eastern coasts of present-day Canada and settled for extended periods northwest (on the east bank) of the River Plate. The Age of Exploration was the beginning of territorial expansion for several European countries. Europe had been preoccupied with internal wars and was slowly recovering from the loss of population caused by the Black Death; thus the rapid rate at which it grew in wealth and power was unforeseeable in the early 15th century.Eventually, most of the Western Hemisphere came under the control of Western European governments, leading to changes to its landscape, population, and plant and animal life. In the 19th century over 50 million people left Western Europe for the Americas. The post-1492 era is known as the period of the Columbian Exchange, a dramatically widespread exchange of animals, plants, culture, human populations (including slaves), ideas, and communicable disease between the American and Afro-Eurasian hemispheres following Columbus's voyages to the Americas.

Henry F. Dobyns estimates that immediately before European colonization of the Americas there were between 90 and 112 million people in the Americas; a larger population than Europe at the same time.

History of Native Americans in the United States

The history of Native Americans in the United States began in ancient times tens of thousands of years ago with the settlement of the Americas by the Paleo-Indians. Anthropologists and archeologists have identified and studied a wide variety of cultures that existed during this era. Their subsequent contact with Europeans had a profound impact on their history of the people.

Lower Shawneetown

Lower Shawneetown (15Gp15), also known as the Bentley Site, Shannoah and Sonnontio, is a Late Fort Ancient culture Madisonville horizon (post 1400 CE) archaeological site overlain by an 18th-century Shawnee village; it is located within the Lower Shawneetown Archeological District, near South Portsmouth in Greenup County, Kentucky and Lewis County, Kentucky. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on April 28, 1983.Between about 1734 and 1758 Lower Shawneetown became a center for commerce and diplomacy, "a sort of republic populated by a diverse array of migratory peoples, from the Iroquois to the Delawares, and supplied by British traders, Lower Shawneetown had become a formidable threat to French ambitions. With a 'fairly large number of bad characters from various nations,' Lower Shawneetown posed a significant challenge to France and Great Britain alike. The community was less a village and more of a 'district extending along the wide Scioto River and narrower Ohio River floodplains and terraces.' It was a sprawling series of wickiups and longhouses ... French and British traders regarded Lower Shawneetown as one of two capitals of the Shawnee tribe."The town was destroyed by floods in November, 1758, and the population relocated to another site further up the Scioto River.

Native Americans in the United States

Native Americans, also known as American Indians, Indigenous Americans and other terms, are the indigenous peoples of the United States, except Hawaii. There are over 500 federally recognized tribes within the US, about half of which are associated with Indian reservations. The term "American Indian" excludes Native Hawaiians and some Alaska Natives, while Native Americans (as defined by the US Census) are American Indians, plus Alaska Natives of all ethnicities. Native Hawaiians are not counted as Native Americans by the US Census, instead being included in the Census grouping of "Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander".

The ancestors of modern Native Americans arrived in what is now the United States at least 15,000 years ago, possibly much earlier, from Asia via Beringia. A vast variety of peoples, societies and cultures subsequently developed. Native Americans were greatly affected by the European colonization of the Americas, which began in 1492, and their population declined precipitously mainly due to introduced diseases as well as warfare, territorial confiscation and slavery. After the founding of the United States, many Native American peoples were subjected to warfare, removals and one-sided treaties, and they continued to suffer from discriminatory government policies into the 20th century. Since the 1960s, Native American self-determination movements have resulted in changes to the lives of Native Americans, though there are still many contemporary issues faced by Native Americans. Today, there are over five million Native Americans in the United States, 78% of whom live outside reservations.

When the United States was created, established Native American tribes were generally considered semi-independent nations, as they generally lived in communities separate from British settlers. The federal government signed treaties at a government-to-government level until the Indian Appropriations Act of 1871 ended recognition of independent native nations, and started treating them as "domestic dependent nations" subject to federal law. This law did preserve the rights and privileges agreed to under the treaties, including a large degree of tribal sovereignty. For this reason, many (but not all) Native American reservations are still independent of state law and actions of tribal citizens on these reservations are subject only to tribal courts and federal law.

The Indian Citizenship Act of 1924 granted U.S. citizenship to all Native Americans born in the United States who had not yet obtained it. This emptied the "Indians not taxed" category established by the United States Constitution, allowed natives to vote in state and federal elections, and extended the Fourteenth Amendment protections granted to people "subject to the jurisdiction" of the United States. However, some states continued to deny Native Americans voting rights for several decades. Bill of Rights protections do not apply to tribal governments, except for those mandated by the Indian Civil Rights Act of 1968.

Pima Revolt

The Pima Revolt, or the O'odham Uprising and the Pima Outbreak, was a revolt of Pima native Americans in 1751 against colonial forces in Spanish Arizona and one of the major northern frontier conflicts in early New Spain.

Tubac, Arizona

Tubac is a census-designated place (CDP) in Santa Cruz County, Arizona, United States. The population was 1,191 at the 2010 census. The place name "Tubac" is an English borrowing from a Hispanicized form of the O'odham name, which translates into English as "rotten". The original O'odham name is written Cuwak. The first syllable is accented. When first taken into Spanish speech, it was spelled Tubaca. Finally over time the last "a" was dropped. Tubac is situated on the Santa Cruz River.

Tubac was the original Spanish colonial garrison in Arizona. It was depopulated during the O'odham Uprising in the 18th century. During the 19th century, the area was repopulated by miners, farmers and ranchers, but the town of Tubac is best known today as an artists' colony.

United States

The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country comprising 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles (9.8 million km2), the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles (10.1 million km2). With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.Paleo-Indians migrated from Siberia to the North American mainland at least 12,000 years ago. European colonization began in the 16th century. The United States emerged from the thirteen British colonies established along the East Coast. Numerous disputes between Great Britain and the colonies following the French and Indian War led to the American Revolution, which began in 1775, and the subsequent Declaration of Independence in 1776. The war ended in 1783 with the United States becoming the first country to gain independence from a European power. The current constitution was adopted in 1788, with the first ten amendments, collectively named the Bill of Rights, being ratified in 1791 to guarantee many fundamental civil liberties. The United States embarked on a vigorous expansion across North America throughout the 19th century, acquiring new territories, displacing Native American tribes, and gradually admitting new states until it spanned the continent by 1848.During the second half of the 19th century, the Civil War led to the abolition of slavery. By the end of the century, the United States had extended into the Pacific Ocean, and its economy, driven in large part by the Industrial Revolution, began to soar. The Spanish–American War and World War I confirmed the country's status as a global military power. The United States emerged from World War II as a global superpower, the first country to develop nuclear weapons, the only country to use them in warfare, and a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. Sweeping civil rights legislation, notably the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Fair Housing Act of 1968, outlawed discrimination based on race or color. During the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union competed in the Space Race, culminating with the 1969 U.S. Moon landing. The end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 left the United States as the world's sole superpower.The United States is the world's oldest surviving federation. It is a federal republic and a representative democracy. The United States is a founding member of the United Nations, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, Organization of American States (OAS), and other international organizations. The United States is a highly developed country, with the world's largest economy by nominal GDP and second-largest economy by PPP, accounting for approximately a quarter of global GDP. The U.S. economy is largely post-industrial, characterized by the dominance of services and knowledge-based activities, although the manufacturing sector remains the second-largest in the world. The United States is the world's largest importer and the second largest exporter of goods, by value. Although its population is only 4.3% of the world total, the U.S. holds 31% of the total wealth in the world, the largest share of global wealth concentrated in a single country.Despite income and wealth disparities, the United States continues to rank very high in measures of socioeconomic performance, including average wage, human development, per capita GDP, and worker productivity. The United States is the foremost military power in the world, making up a third of global military spending, and is a leading political, cultural, and scientific force internationally.

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