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A Global History of Historical Demography

Half a Century of Interdisciplinarity

Antoinette Fauve-Chamoux, Ioan Bolovan and Sølvi Sogner

At the XXIst World Congress of the International Committee of Historical Sciences (ICHS/CISH) in 2010 in Amsterdam, the International Commission for Historical Demography (ICHD) decided to write an overview of its own history. Fifty years had gone by since the CISH XIst World Congress in Stockholm 1960, when historians took the first tentative initiatives to create a wholly new interdisciplinary commission for historical demography, a meeting place for a budding discipline where researchers in letters and science could meet, exchange ideas, cultivate and develop a new field. This book is the outcome of that decision.

Demography, past, present and future is a common concern for all inhabitants of this planet. The variation is great, however, with regard to sources, social and political conditions, state of the art, technological development, national and local initiatives. In the course of half a century many changes take place. Keeping abreast of the gigantic streams of information and innovation in the field is demanding, even more so for a discipline with global dimensions and ambitions. The book makes fascinating reading, and preparing it has been a rewarding and thought provoking experience. The thirty-seven articles in the book represent as many different stories.

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10. Historical Demography in the Czech Republic

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Historical Demography in the Czech Republic

Ludmila FIALOVÁ and Eduard MAUR1

The history of the population in the Czech lands has been a subject of interest since 18th-century Enlightenment statistics.2 After that, it was pursued within the frameworks of history and demography and long without any significant mutual contact between the two fields.3 Historians initially concentrated on calculation the total size of the population in the Czech lands and identifying historical changes to population size, for example, in connection with the Thirty Years War. This stage in the study of population change in the Czech lands culminated in a 1957 monograph by Otto Placht (Placht 1957), but more detailed studies of this type are still being written today. Parallel to the study of the Czech population, research on the populations of individual Bohemian and Moravian towns also began to emerge in the second half of the 19th century. Estimating of population size was closely linked to the study of the social and socio-professional structure of individual towns, which ultimately led to the publication of numerous studies on this subject in the 1950s and 1960s.

The first summary of the population development of Czechoslovakia from pre-historic times up to the present was published by the demographer Antonín Boháč (Boháč 1936). The best-known historical study of population development by a Czech demographer in the post-war period was Zdeněk Pavlík’s Nástin populačního vývoje světa (An Outline of Population Development...

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