Thursday, July 9, 2015

Medieval Latin America Populations

The first answer that comes to mind would be to reduce the population by eighty percent, which would result a combined populaton of 117 million. (Or 104 million if you were to draw from 2003 populations, when the blog was original written.) But a question I asked myself--much of this are was settled and colonized for centuries before Anglo-America, but it tended to be less populated until the 1950's, that is, heavy industrialization. Considering Florida, one of the most populated states in Industrial America and the most tropical region in the continental U.S., took a major population crash, would that apply to Mexico, Central and South America?

I decided to take a two-prong approach. The first was de-urbanization. I multiplied the population by the percentage of people who did not live in big cities. It's a pretty handy trick--the U.S. is about 80% urbanized, which is also the number by which Medieval America is reduced. (It even tends to work for individual states, for the most part) However, it's not a perfect system. De-urbanizing France gives you numbers it would be at in the Middle Ages, but applying  that to Great Britain gives you 12 million--more than the island can actually contain. So part two involved looking at the populations for these countries from about 1885-1890, as that would be the period the U.S. had a population comparable to this. (Which granted, is a pretty imperfect way to look at it, but I figured concentrated industrialization amongst swaths of wilderness balances itself out) For the most part, the difference between the two stats is not that significant, so I averaged the two and come up with the numbers for Medieval Latin America.

The total number is around 66 or 67 million,  About a third of them border of the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean sea, and a third lives in a fifth of the total area--from Mexico to Colombia. This makes sense as Mexico was theorized to have as many twenty million people when Spain first arrived (I don't have it as high, but that number is conceivable), and since trade works in the dynamics of North/South as opposed to the east/west dynamics of the old world. Mexico and Central America are very much a good stopping point. Brazil takes the biggest hit--making up well over a third of Latin America's population in the Industrial era, it makes up less than a third in the medieval era. I actually ratcheted up the population a bit up to 20 million due to the vast space, and that the Parana River is pretty fertile agriculturally, but it's important not to mess with it too much

Wednesday, July 1, 2015


A map I saw that shows how largely urbanized this country is in the industrial age, (Although to be fair, a quarter of Medieval America lives in a a space not much bigger than all the blue area combined) It really needs to be stressed how much de-urbanization can cut off a nation's population. In medieval times, one in ten people lived in cities. In modern America, it's more like four out of five.

If you look at White's two population maps, the biggest differences are Ohio/Indiana and Florida. Florida, not having the infrastructure of the industrial era, has dissipated greatly, while the Ohio Valley is much, more populated. Curiously enough, Cuyahogo and Summit County aren't part of the super dense region of Ohio, and Franklin may just barely be in there. Wisconsin has also seen more of its population concentrated on the lake coasts--the area around Madison isn't as populated as today. Though it makes sense a lot of the Midwestern capital districts aren't as dense--government is less of a presence (and source of jobs) in the medieval world, and so the former capitals aren't really bustling metropolises unless they're on strategic harbors or rivers like Boston or Montgomery.

The so-called Bos-Wash region if a good example of this at work. In the modern era it made up about a tenth of the U.S.'s population. But now, it makes up much less. It's not that the area is particularly unlivable--in fact the Delaware river is actually pretty fertile in some places. Likewise, it's an important center of trade. But there's only so much square mileage to go around.