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The problem, of course, is that by the time that the Europeans gotaround tocounting the Indians, there were a lot fewer to count

Population of the World In Millions

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Not the most solid grounds, I'll grant you.

One contender for worst century has to be the Seventeenth (the1600s). The30 Years War was the bloodiest single conflict in Europe until WorldWar One. Russia began the century in bloody chaos. The Manchu conquestof China wascertainly responsible for one the top population collapses in EastAsia, whilethe Mughal invasion of South India caused the highest alledged bodycount inSouth Asian history. Meanwhile, the collapse of the Native Americanpopulationbottomed out, and the Slave Trade was accelerating. All this wasclobbering aworld with a population only a fifth that of the world in the middle oftheTwentieth Century.

Here are just a few of the estimates that are kicking around:

Consider the Powhatans of Virginia. As I mentioned earlier, Stannardcitesestimates that the population was 100,000 before contact. In the sameparagraph, he states that European depredations and disease had reducedthispopulation to a mere 14,000 by the time the English settled Jamestownin 1607. Now, come on; should we really blame the English for 86,000deaths that occuredbefore they even arrived? Sure, he hints at pre-Jamestown"depredations",but he doesn't actually list any. As far as I can tell, the handful ofEuropeanventures into the Chesapeake region before 1607 were too small to domuchdepredating, and in what conflicts there were, the Europeans often gotthe worstof it. [see and and]

I haven't the foggiest, but here's an interesting essay on thesubject:

Twentieth Century Atlas - Historical Body Count

I've graphed the estimates chronlogically to show that the passageof timeand the gathering of more information is still not leading toward aconsensus. Over the past 75 years, estimates have bounced around wildlyand ended up rightback where they started -- around 40 million.

China's Rise, America's Fall, by Ron Unz - The Unz Review

I've also graphed the population of Europe in 1500 because this ismagicnumber to which many of the estimates aspire. Native American historyistraditionally treated as marginal -- a handful of primitive kingdomsthat wereeasily overwhelmed by the most dynamic civilization on Earth -- but ifit couldsomehow be proven that the Americas had even more people than Europe,thenhistory would be turned upside down. The European conquest could betreated asthe tail wagging the dog, like the Barbarian invasions of Rome, a smallfringeof savages decending on the civilized world, wiping out or enslavingthe bulk ofhumanity.

Population of the Western Hemisphere in 1492 according to variousexperts:

Rome-Han Empire Comparison Chart | CourseNotes

You may take your pick, but I like Option One because it doesn'trequirethat we invent hypothetical and mysterious technologies, psychologiesorconspiracies out of thin air.

I get a lot of comments on this, most of them trying to explain awaythelack of artifacts.

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Many critics assume that modern war is alwaysmore destructive simply because the weaponry is more destructive. What everyoneforgets, however, is that modern war can also be lessdestructive by rushing food and medicine into affected areas. Amedieval peasant returning to his looted farm after the Mongols hadpassed through would face winter without any stockpiled food, ruinsinstead of shelter and rags on his back. A crowded medieval cityunder siege would be swept by epidemics without any vaccines to stopthem. Say what you will about the brutality of the modern would,at least we have the Red Cross.

i'm looking for stuff based in a more ancient europe and surrounding areas.

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If you want to study the question of pre-Columbian population anditssubsequent decline in detail, two good books to start with are DavidHenige, (1998) and Russell Thornton, (1987).