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History of Society & Demographics

society demographics Neolithic civilization failed civilization nomadic tribes social trends societal development population

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#1
Yuli Ban

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Here's a thread meant to hold articles for and discuss things like historical population patterns, social trends from ancient and medieval times, and document the general move towards civilization from the Neolithic era. Basically building off the "History of Humans & Primates" thread. 

Just so I can say it somewhere, you're encouraged but not required to post articles here rather than in their own threads. Just know that I may one day decide to combine whatever separate thread there is into a general thread, months or years down the line.

 

 

To start, here's the population of the world's largest countries from 10,000 BCE all the way to 2016.

 


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#2
Yuli Ban

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Funny how the Indus Valley civilization was collapsing at this time, considering how ancient it was. IIRC, it started around 3500 BCE. Which still isn't the oldest civilization. That honor goes to the Mesopotamians (as far as we know).


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#3
Yuli Ban

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#4
Yuli Ban

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Here's a world map for 2000 BCE.

World_2000_BCE.png


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#5
PhoenixRu

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The turning point of world history: the population growth rate that was slowly increasing during previous centuries, then shraprly fell within just a few decades. Today it seems logical and understandable, but until 1960-s only a very few could predict such a graph:

 

b86c855a.jpg


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#6
Yuli Ban

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How the Black Death Changed the World

Following very precisely the medieval trade routes from China, through Central Asia and Turkey, the plague finally reached Italy in 1347 aboard a merchant ship whose crew had all already died or been infected by the time it reached port. Densely populated Europe, which had seen a recent growth in the population of its cities, was a tinderbox for the disease.
The Black Death ravaged the continent for three years before it continued on into Russia, killing one-third to one-half of the entire population in ghastly fashion.
The plague killed indiscriminately – young and old, rich and poor – but especially in the cities and among groups who had close contact with the sick. Entire monasteries filled with friars were wiped out and Europe lost most of its doctors. In the countryside, whole villages were abandoned. The disease reached even the isolated outposts of Greenland and Iceland, leaving only wild cattle roaming free without any farmers, according to chroniclers who visited years later.
New landscape
Social effects of the plague were felt immediately after the worst outbreaks petered out. Those who survived benefited from an extreme labor shortage, so serfs once tied to the land now had a choice of whom to work for. Lords had to make conditions better and more attractive or risk leaving their land untended, leading to wage increases across the board.
The taste of better living conditions for the poor would not be forgotten. A few decades later, when lords tried to revert back to the old ways, there were peasant revolts throughout Europe and the lower classes maintained their new freedoms and better pay.
The Catholic Church and Jewish populations in Europe did not fare so well.
Distrust in God and the church, already in poor standing due to recent Papal scandals, grew as people realized that religion could do nothing to stop the spread of the disease and their family's suffering. So many priests died, too, that church services in many areas simply ceased.
Jewish populations, meanwhile, were frequently targeted as scapegoats. In some places, they were accused of poisoning the water because their mortality rates were often significantly lower, something historians have since attributed to better hygiene. This prejudice was nothing new in Europe at the time, but intensified during the Black Death and led many Jews to flee east to Poland and Russia, where they remained in large numbers until the 20th-century.
A study earlier this year found that despite its reputation for indiscriminate destruction, the Black Death targeted the weak, taking a greater toll among those whose immune systems were already compromised.

090618-46-Medieval-Middle-Ages-History-P

 

You always hear about the death toll in Europe, but never Asia. Why is that? Simply put: the Black Death + the Mongols killed so many in Asia, there weren't enough recorders to take an accurate census. We only have a rough idea of how many died in Europe, but we truly will never know how many died in Asia. If anything, Asia probably got off lighter precisely because they'd been ravaged by the Mongol hordes. 

Europe, whose population was at a record high coming into the 1300s, truly was decimated like never before (or since). The Spanish Flu technically killed more people, but going by percentages, it's unlikely the Black Death will ever be topped barring nuclear or biological warfare.


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#7
Outlook

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Boy, that Rome city-state is pretty small compared to Carthage. Doesn't look like it has a bright future.
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#8
joe00uk

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(Nothing seems to be appearing, but what I put was a link to a YouTube video, "history of the entire world, i guess" by Bill Wurtz, it's pretty funny)


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#9
Yuli Ban

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(Nothing seems to be appearing, but what I put was a link to a YouTube video, "history of the entire world, i guess" by Bill Wurtz, it's pretty funny)

Option 1: https://www.youtube....h?v=xuCn8ux2gbs

Option 2: Click this link, and the video will show up. The page security will be turned off (hence why it's http and not https): http://www.futuretim...cs/#entry262513


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#10
joe00uk

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Oh cool, it works now. Thanks!



#11
Outlook

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I know this is sort of weird, but it's absolutely crazy how radically identity can shift amongst populations. Ancient identities seemingly go completely extinct in place for new ones. The most obvious example is the middle east, but even in Europe with the huge shift from tribal group identity to this ethno-linguistic identity. Or I guess what better example than Turkey, where Greek and Byzantine identity was completely dumped by Turkic migrants.

Of course in the modern era with our access to academic history, ancient identities are starting to resurface, but if you told someone to look at an ancient map and asked them to predict what would happen, they'd be completely far off.
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#12
Yuli Ban

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#13
Yuli Ban

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I'm relatively unfamiliar with this era, the "Dark Ages" as popularly known in the West. Other than the Tang Dynasty and Byzantine/Eastern Roman Empire, this is relatively new information to me. Interesting how things changed (or haven't changed) from 1300 BC!


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#14
Yuli Ban

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And here's 1300 AD. Literally the eve of modern society as we know it.

East-Hem_1300ad.jpg


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#15
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#16
Yuli Ban

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I am also surprised that the members of this forum didn't make any mention of ancient transhumance, considering how close it sounds to that other concept we all love (though they share no common origin). It's not a term I presume many people are familiar with and even tripped me up when I first came across it back around 2011. 

Considering that this is what Eurasians were doing 3,000 years ago on back (possibly much farther than that), transhumant nomads are like looking at a snapshot of proto-civilization.

I've always been interested in nomadic populations, and at the same time I'm also fascinated by how transhumance seems to be unique to the highlands regions

BergerAlpage.jpg

 

I wonder if humans— Sapiens, at least— are naturally nomadic apes. I've heard it said that we've been nomads for 99% of our history.


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#17
PhoenixRu

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Interesting infografics found in twitter. The growing secularism in Arab world. Morroco and Egypt are especially impressive: the number of non-religious people have grown by 3-4 times within less than decade.

 

The only exception was Yemen where secular-minded population declined from 11,7 to 4,8 percent. Was it the result of war? Other hand, in Libya even the endless civil war was unable to stop the victorius march of secularism:

 

EHPmsQIXkAY7d0K.jpg


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#18
Yuli Ban

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Funny how the Indus Valley civilization was collapsing at this time, considering how ancient it was. IIRC, it started around 3500 BCE. Which still isn't the oldest civilization. That honor goes to the Mesopotamians (as far as we know).

Another fun thought is how many nomads, hunter-gatherers, and pastoralists still existed at this time. For all we talk about the rise of civilization starting around 6,000 to 8,000 years ago (and really kicking in around 3,000 to 5,000 years ago), the cold fact is that large organized civilizations weren't actually "common" at this time. We talk about the Egyptians and the Assyrians and the Mycenaeans and the Olmecs and the Shang Chinese, but never really outside of those and others. And that's because most humans still lived as we did in prehistoric times. In many cases even in these major ancient civilizations, the average peasant lived a life largely unchanged from prehistoric times. Sure, the population wasn't very big anyway, but we were still spread far throughout the world, and if you threw a dart at any landmass, chances are you would come across still-Stone Age human societies.

 

You could still find Stone Age societies in plenty parts of the world as late as the 1800s, though it's not politically correct to consider them such and the definition of what qualifies as "Stone Age" is contentious— some think that people have to be living in caves and using flinthead spears in purely hunter-gatherer tribes, while others say pastoralism and limited horticulture still qualifies as Stone Age (hence "Neolithic"). Nowadays, the number of "Stone Age" peoples can be measured in the thousands. In that time, I'm sure plenty of people were aware of "modern" hunter-gatherers and pastoralists, but wrote them off as being racially inferior because of their lifestyle. I'm sure of it because that's exactly what happened often. Hell, that was one of the justifications for the ethnic cleansing of the Native Americans

.

My point being, people have a tendency to assume that the whole world follows the apex, that technology spreads everywhere equally once it's created & distributed (hence the William Gibson quote smacking that delusion down). If civilization was a thing in 5,000 BC, then that means all humans in all parts of the world transitioned from hunter-gatherer lifestyles into using bronze tools and never looked back. We're living in a civilized country now and aspects of Western civilization are spread throughout the whole world, and we learn about paleolithic & neolithic lifestyles only in history books that stop mentioning them alongside the rise of the Sumerians & the Fertile Crescent; ergo, no Stone Age peoples still exist. 

Even if you push it back to 1300 BC, you'd probably come across people who can't accept the idea most humans were still living in the Stone Age "because the Egyptians and Chinese were there."


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#19
Erowind

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And they say Islam is the fastest growing religion. It is I think, but the loss of religion in some regions is astonishing. 



#20
Yuli Ban

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Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: society, demographics, Neolithic, civilization, failed civilization, nomadic, tribes, social trends, societal development, population

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