Height in eighteenth-century Chilean men: Evidence from military records, 1730–1800s

Manuel Llorca-Jaña, Juan Navarrete-Montalvo, Federico Droller, Roberto Araya-Valenzuela

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


This article provides the first height estimates for the adult population for any period of Chilean history. Based on military records, it gives an analysis of the average heights of male soldiers in the last eight decades of the colonial period, c.1730–1800s. The average height of Chilean men was around 167 centimetres, making them on average taller than men from Mexico, Italy, Portugal, Spain and Venezuela, but of a similar height to men from Sweden. However, Chilean men were clearly shorter than men in neighbouring Argentina, the USA and the UK. Chilean height remained stable during the 1740–1770s, but it declined by some 2–3 centimetres between the 1780 s and the 1800s, in line with a fall in real wages due to increasing food prices and population growth.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)168-178
Number of pages11
JournalEconomics and Human Biology
StatePublished - May 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Anthropometric history
  • Biological standard of living
  • Chile
  • Eighteenth century
  • Height
  • Physical stature


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