Early modern demography

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Early modern demography is the demography of the world after the end of the medieval period, encompassing the whole of the Early modern period until the availability of accurate census records and other data which form the basis for contemporary demography.

Depending on the context, the end of the medieval world and the beginning of the modern may be dated to the Black Death in the middle of the 14th Century, the Fall of Constantinople in the middle of the 15th Century, or the Age of Exploration and the resulting epidemic deaths.

Early Modern Demography in Europe

Karl Julius Beloch estimated the population of early modern Europe, circa 1600, as follows:[1]

  • Italy, 13,000,000
  • Spain and Portugal, 10,000,000
  • France, 16,000,000, in its boundaries in 1600[2]
  • England and Wales, 4,500,000
  • Scotland and Ireland, 2,000,000
  • Netherlands, 3,000,000, including the Spanish Netherlands in 1600[3]
  • Denmark, 600,000
  • Sweden, Norway, and Finland: 1,400,000
  • Poland with Prussia: 3,000,000
  • Germany: 20,000,000, probably including most or all of the territory of the Holy Roman Empire outside Italy.[4]

See also


  1. Julius Beloch, "Die Bevölkerung Europas zur Zeit der Renaissance" in Zeitschrift für Socialwissenschaft, 1900, pp. 765 to 786.
  2. Beloch gives it an area of 470,000 km2, too small for France in 1900.
  3. Beloch gives it an area of 75,000 km2, enough to include Belgium and possibly even Luxemburg.
  4. Beloch gives it an area of 72,000 km2, about twice the size of modern Germany.