Chapter

People and Population Change, 1600–1914

Liam Kennedy, Kerby A. Miller and Brian Gurrin

in Ulster Since 1600

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780199583119
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191744822 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199583119.003.0005
People and Population Change, 1600–1914

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Ulster was a thinly-populated, war-torn province in 1600. Two centuries later east Ulster was one of the most densely populated regions of Ireland and the province's share of the population of the island as a whole had expanded markedly. The key to these dramatic changes seems to have been a unique combination of factors centering on property rights, the presence of a semi-open ‘frontier’, the innovation of the potato, and changing market conditions affecting both the linen industry and agriculture. This new model of population growth may also help explain the population explosion in Ireland generally in the later eighteenth century. The religious demography of Ulster has political as well as demographic implications, though it is worth noting that the proportion of Protestants in Ulster varied substantially through time, in part because of differential emigration and in part because of economic change.

Keywords: population; demography; religion; population explosion; protestants; catholics; linen; Ulster

Chapter.  8133 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)

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