Reconstructing Mortality in the Face of Plagues and Warfare during the Seventeenth Century Low Countries

Activity: Talk or presentationOral presentationAcademic


European communities experienced regular visitations of plagues and warfare throughout the early modern period. The associated losses of human lives and the disruptions of social and economic patters seem evident. Often, plague and warfare seemed to occur simultaneously, thus further increasing the weight of the disaster on local economic and social life. However, current empirical knowledge on the occurrences and consequences of plagues and warfare is fragmentary due to a limitations of sources. In particular, these source limitations have so far prevented systematic analyses of the consequences – and especially variations thereof – and long term effects of plagues and warfare, and even more so, prevented research into the joint occurrence of war and plague. In this paper we attempt to address these empirical questions by exploiting a new dataset of mortality rates from a large number of localities scattered throughout the Low Countries. The dataset spans the entire seventeenth century, and thus covers the numerous episodes of warfare and plague epidemics in that period. In the paper, we reconstruct geographical patterns of mortality, which we then link to the geographical reach of war and to known years of plague outbreaks. Doing so, we shed new light on the empirical questions about the social and economic consequences of plagues and warfare
Period4 Apr 2018
Event titleEuropean Social Science History Conference
Event typeOther
LocationBelfastShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational

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