Follow @PoliticsIE
 
 
 
Page 1 of 11 12345 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 105

Thread: The 1650s: how many died in the decade of death?

  1. #1
    Politics.ie Member Shqiptar's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Strypetown
    Posts
    6,308
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)

    Default The 1650s: how many died in the decade of death?

    When people speak of periods when a massive drop of population occurred in Ireland, attention tends to focus on the 1845-51 period of the Great Famine. However, there have been earlier periods well into the era of historical documentation when proportionately speaking, the loss of people was greater, sometimes much greater.

    The 1650s was one such decade. To put it into context, Oliver Cromwell had landed in Dublin in late 1649 and proceeded to subdue the rebellion that had begun in 1641. In the few short months he spent here, numerous towns were stormed and sacked with much slaughter and loss of life. The conflict was to continue into the early 1650s when with a scorched earth policy of destroying crops and foodstuffs and burning homesteads, the last pockets of resistance were finally overcome.

    It will seem coldly analytical but I'm interested in the numbers of deaths and what I'll being doing in this thread is looking at different statistics and sources. Various sources quote William Petty who estimates that by 1652, out of a total pre-war population of 1.5 million, 618,000 had died or were killed (1). McManus seems to turn this on its head and says that out of 1.466 million, 616,000 were left alive (2).

    Source 3 works with a "lowest projected figure" of 200,000 deaths pointing out that this still represented over 10% of the population. Where things get confusing is on estimates of population in 1700 when a period of calm (albeit resentful) had been imposed. Source 3 gives it as 2 million which seems scarcely believable if the population in 1652 had been roughly 1.26 million, going by the maximum estimates. Bear in mind that even though the rebellion had been largely put down by 1652, the country was still in a state of turmoil. The Act of Settlement (the "To Hell or Connaught" decree) was still to come and whilst we can only surmise, it's reasonable to assume that this would have led to conditions under which the population would have fallen further. McManus cites examples of the conditions of the time and of the people being driven westwards (4) - this in a decade which saw the onset of the Maunder Minimum when winters in Europe were particularly harsh.

    The next checkpoint in Irish population figures seems to be in the late 1730s where a figure of 3 million is mooted - this ironically in tandem with another (climatic rather than human-made) disaster which led to the deaths of some 400,000 people or roughly 13% of the population (6).

    All in all, Petty's absolute figures probably underestimate the total population at the time. Other researchers have since made the point that he based his figures on the Hearth Tax even though many households tended to be missed by collectors (5). One researcher (7) radically upgraded Petty's estimates by two-thirds and arrived a population of 3 million as early as 1725. Other researchers have tended towards the belief that Petty's figures aren't so wildly inaccurate (8). But to reach a population of some 3 million by the mid-18th century would have required a much higher base of population in the 1660s than Petty would appear to be suggesting.

    However, the number of deaths up to 1652 may well be pretty accurate given that Petty was subtracting one underestimated figure from another which we can only assume was roughly equally underestimated. If he was out by one million or so, that still leaves a death rate that, in percentage terms, is well in excess of that that occurred during the famine of the 1840s - and that doesn't include deaths post 1652 during the implementation of the Act of Settlement.

    Sources.

    1. p. 214 Going to the Wars: The Experience of the British Civil Wars, 1638-1651, By Charles Carlton (viewable in Google Books)
    2. p. 432 The Story of the Irish Race by Seumas MacManus
    3. War and Famine in Ireland, 1580-1700 | The Irish Story
    4. McManus, pp 430-31
    5. p. 20 An Introduction to Population, By Helen G. Daugherty (viewable in Google Books)
    6. 1741: The Year of Slaughter | Irish History Podcast
    7. pp 279-289, The Population of Ireland by K.H. Connell (Oxford 1950)
    8. p. 3 New Developments in Irish Population History by Joel Mokyr and Cormac Ó Gráda. Viewable at: http://researchrepository.ucd.ie/bit...pdf?sequence=1
    Eagla agus eaglais: an bhfuil an fhréamh teangeolaíochta céanna acu?

  2. #2
    Politics.ie Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Dún Laoire, Éire
    Posts
    867
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)

    Default

    The period between 1540 and 1690 was probably the most destructive 150 years in Irish history. At the start of the 17th century at least 10% of population had died as result of the 9 year war.

    Decent enough article here:

    War and Famine in Ireland, 1580-1700 | The Irish Story
    Y Chromosome Haplogroup: R1b-L21+/DF41+
    Mitochondrial DNA Haplogroup: U4*

  3. #3
    lochlannach
    Guest

    Default

    I see no reason to question Petty's estimates as to the number of deaths. He was an agent for the British so if anything he'd have underestimated the numbers killed.

  4. #4
    Politics.ie Member
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Posts
    3,310
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Shqiptar View Post
    When people speak of periods when a massive drop of population occurred in Ireland, attention tends to focus on the 1845-51 period of the Great Famine. However, there have been earlier periods well into the era of historical documentation when proportionately speaking, the loss of people was greater, sometimes much greater.

    The 1650s was one such decade. To put it into context, Oliver Cromwell had landed in Dublin in late 1649 and proceeded to subdue the rebellion that had begun in 1641. In the few short months he spent here, numerous towns were stormed and sacked with much slaughter and loss of life. The conflict was to continue into the early 1650s when with a scorched earth policy of destroying crops and foodstuffs and burning homesteads, the last pockets of resistance were finally overcome.

    It will seem coldly analytical but I'm interested in the numbers of deaths and what I'll being doing in this thread is looking at different statistics and sources. Various sources quote William Petty who estimates that by 1652, out of a total pre-war population of 1.5 million, 618,000 had died or were killed (1). McManus seems to turn this on its head and says that out of 1.466 million, 616,000 were left alive (2).

    Source 3 works with a "lowest projected figure" of 200,000 deaths pointing out that this still represented over 10% of the population. Where things get confusing is on estimates of population in 1700 when a period of calm (albeit resentful) had been imposed. Source 3 gives it as 2 million which seems scarcely believable if the population in 1652 had been roughly 1.26 million, going by the maximum estimates. Bear in mind that even though the rebellion had been largely put down by 1652, the country was still in a state of turmoil. The Act of Settlement (the "To Hell or Connaught" decree) was still to come and whilst we can only surmise, it's reasonable to assume that this would have led to conditions under which the population would have fallen further. McManus cites examples of the conditions of the time and of the people being driven westwards (4) - this in a decade which saw the onset of the Maunder Minimum when winters in Europe were particularly harsh.

    The next checkpoint in Irish population figures seems to be in the late 1730s where a figure of 3 million is mooted - this ironically in tandem with another (climatic rather than human-made) disaster which led to the deaths of some 400,000 people or roughly 13% of the population (6).

    All in all, Petty's absolute figures probably underestimate the total population at the time. Other researchers have since made the point that he based his figures on the Hearth Tax even though many households tended to be missed by collectors (5). One researcher (7) radically upgraded Petty's estimates by two-thirds and arrived a population of 3 million as early as 1725. Other researchers have tended towards the belief that Petty's figures aren't so wildly inaccurate (8). But to reach a population of some 3 million by the mid-18th century would have required a much higher base of population in the 1660s than Petty would appear to be suggesting.

    However, the number of deaths up to 1652 may well be pretty accurate given that Petty was subtracting one underestimated figure from another which we can only assume was roughly equally underestimated. If he was out by one million or so, that still leaves a death rate that, in percentage terms, is well in excess of that that occurred during the famine of the 1840s - and that doesn't include deaths post 1652 during the implementation of the Act of Settlement.

    Sources.

    1. p. 214 Going to the Wars: The Experience of the British Civil Wars, 1638-1651, By Charles Carlton (viewable in Google Books)
    2. p. 432 The Story of the Irish Race by Seumas MacManus
    3. War and Famine in Ireland, 1580-1700 | The Irish Story
    4. McManus, pp 430-31
    5. p. 20 An Introduction to Population, By Helen G. Daugherty (viewable in Google Books)
    6. 1741: The Year of Slaughter | Irish History Podcast
    7. pp 279-289, The Population of Ireland by K.H. Connell (Oxford 1950)
    8. p. 3 New Developments in Irish Population History by Joel Mokyr and Cormac Ó Gráda. Viewable at: http://researchrepository.ucd.ie/bit...pdf?sequence=1
    Good OP

    Historian Padraig Lenihan writes in Consolidating Conquest, p230,'It is generally accepted that fewer than 1 million people lived in Ireland in 1600 and around 2 million a century later. When one allows for mass inflows of settlers on the one hand and the heavy death toll of 1649-54 on the other, the doubling of in population implies significant natural increase or excess of births over deaths'.

    Apparently Irish women married two years younger than English and had an average of 5 as opposed to 4 children, which helps to explain the rapid demographic recovery, along with influxes of settlers from England and Scotland (from the latter mainly in the 1690s). Lenihan (as above p134) estimates the demographic losses of the war of 1641-52 at between 10-20% of the population. Through a very crude estimate of about 1.5 million in 1641 (halfway between 1 and 2 million) this would mean 150,000-300,000 dead or in exile by 1652.

  5. #5
    Politics.ie Member
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Posts
    3,310
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by lochlannach View Post
    I see no reason to question Petty's estimates as to the number of deaths. He was an agent for the British so if anything he'd have underestimated the numbers killed.
    If you read what Petty actually says, he had no real idea of the population in 1641. It's not as if he had censuses to work with. Factor in also that he included in that the figure of 150,000 Protestant settlers massacred in 1641, which we know to be an enormous exaggeration - the true total is somewhere between 4 and 12,000 - and you can see that 650,000 is probably a substantial overestimate.

  6. #6
    Politics.ie Member Cruimh's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    County Londonderry
    Posts
    35,414
    Mentioned
    2 Post(s)

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by lochlannach View Post
    I see no reason to question Petty's estimates as to the number of deaths. He was an agent for the British so if anything he'd have underestimated the numbers killed.
    All those who died in Ireland were "Killed" and by the Brits?

  7. #7
    Politics.ie Member Cruimh's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    County Londonderry
    Posts
    35,414
    Mentioned
    2 Post(s)

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnD66 View Post
    If you read what Petty actually says, he had no real idea of the population in 1641. It's not as if he had censuses to work with. Factor in also that he included in that the figure of 150,000 Protestant settlers massacred in 1641, which we know to be an enormous exaggeration - the true total is somewhere between 4 and 12,000 - and you can see that 650,000 is probably a substantial overestimate.
    John - if you follow the first reference in the OP you'll see that the "pre-war population" referred to is a guesstimate of the population of the 1630s. That rather changes everything.

  8. #8
    lochlannach
    Guest

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Cruimh View Post
    All those who died in Ireland were "Killed" and by the Brits?
    Killed by Cromwell's troops or died prematurely as a result of the Cronwellian invasion.

  9. #9

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Cruimh View Post
    All those who died in Ireland were "Killed" and by the Brits?
    Yes, even the ones who keeled over from old age, the British alchemists you see they interfered with their free radicals, did you not learn anything in science class?
    "If we can but prevent the government from wasting the labours of the people, under the pretence of taking care of them, they must become happy." - Thomas Jefferson

  10. #10
    lochlannach
    Guest

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnD66 View Post
    If you read what Petty actually says, he had no real idea of the population in 1641. It's not as if he had censuses to work with. Factor in also that he included in that the figure of 150,000 Protestant settlers massacred in 1641, which we know to be an enormous exaggeration - the true total is somewhere between 4 and 12,000 - and you can see that 650,000 is probably a substantial overestimate.
    How does that work? He had a figure for 1649 and 1652 and subtracted them. Wouldn't both have contained the 1641 "exaggeration" and hence the exaggeration would have been cancelled out?

Page 1 of 11 12345 ... LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •