In pre-industrial societies both birth- and death-rates are high; but this still makes a positive rate of growth of population possible. If fertility and mortality rates are assumed to be more or less fixed with a positive difference between the two, we get a steady exponential rate of growth. But even a modest exponential rate would be difficult to maintain over a long period. Population perhaps doubled in England over the hundred years from Henry VIII to Charles II. At this rate a given number would increase a million times over two thousand years. The population of the world at the beginning of the Christian era has been estimated at 250 million. Clearly, we have to give up the assumption of a steady exponential rate of growth in historic time.
KeywordsFourteenth Century Henry VIII Agricultural Revolution Public Hygiene Rapid Industrial Growth
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