Life, Death, and Disease

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13 Feb 2011
HIS243 Life, Death, and DiseaseThursday January 20th 2011
Key Terms
Malthusian rap
Life cycle poverty
Little ice age (mondar minimum)
Lecture Outline
People by the numbers
Family Life
Urban centres
Influence on population:
Von Sonnenfels vs. Malthus
Von Sonnenfels argued that a growing population was a good thing
More people = more production = more money = more security
Malthus was concerned about the lives of the poor, took a different view of unchecked
population growth
He believed that population grew exponentially and food supply grew arithmetically
= starvation
Malthusian trap: population outgrows food supply
Hotly contested fields in history
Before 1801 (first English census), only record of peoples were tax record
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HIS243 Life, Death, and DiseaseThursday January 20
th 2011
Tax records are the most likely to survive from this period, well-kept because it
meant money
Parish registers are another source
Most people belonged to the state church, so they were recorded
But, its hard to record people who were not part of the state church
Not always reliable, depends entirely on how accurate the parish priest was at
Europes population doubled in the 17
th century, and then again between 1720 1820
For the beginning of the century, birth rate was met by the death rate
Beginning of the 17
th century = plague, warfare, destruction
By 1650, Castile alone had lost half of its population through death and migration
Only England the Dutch republic escape population decline at the beginning of the
17th century
Although Germany seems to be expanding, they were merely just recovering from
the devastating 30 Years War
Between 1695-99 Scotland experienced a dearth (back to back to back to back bad
harvests) leading to an extreme population loss
There will only be a few parts of Europe: England and Dutch Republic escape the
Malthusian trap
The rest of Europe doesnt succeed in escaping the trap
Age of marriage
Nobles tended to marry younger than those of lower social rank, but the myth of
child-brides is just that, a MYTH
Most women didnt even start menstruating until the age of 17 (depends on how well
fed you are), so women were not married and having children at 12
Women rarely married before 24, men before 27
Fertility usually stopped between 35-40
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