Negative Feedbacks

David Levine

in At the Dawn of Modernity

Published by University of California Press

Published in print February 2001 | ISBN: 9780520220584
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520923676 | DOI:
Negative Feedbacks

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  • Modern History (1700 to 1945)


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In considering the social implications of the Black Death, it is vital to emphasize the point that it was a recurrent pandemic. Its devastation was not just the result of its initial encounter with a virgin population but the way in which its repeated attacks precluded a quick recovery. These repetitive attacks turned the demography of the next five or six generations inside out. In each decade during the five or six generations after the Black Death, there were seven years of normal mortality and three years of crisis mortality. The implications of the recurrent plague visitations translated into making the average annual death rate 2.2 times the normal background level. The Black Death reconstructed the age profile of the European population, from a broadly based pyramid toward a rough and vertically extended one. The plague pandemic set new demographic mechanisms in train so that for more than one hundred years, a negative rate of population growth prevailed.

Keywords: Black Death; Europe; plague; demography; population

Chapter.  34900 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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