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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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34. Historical Demography in Spain (1960−2011)

Extract

Historical Demography in Spain (1960–2011)

Ofelia REY CASTELAO1

Between 1945 and 1948, when France and England created research centers and scientific journals that launched modern historical demography, the academic world in Spain was living through the consequences of the Civil War and the associated disorder. The demographic data of the 19th century was hardly studied at all in the 1950s and the first years of the 1960s. As for the Early Modern Age, historians focused above all on the Spanish Empire but without taking into account neither the internal population behavior, nor the migration to America. The issues that most interested historians were the number of inhabitants in Spain during different periods, the territorial distribution of the population and the catastrophic crises. In order to study these aspects, they only used general censuses (1591, 1787, 1860, etc.), sporadically also non-statistical documents that allowed for observation of the habitat characteristics. These sources were not submitted to critical rigor and, hence, the results were variable and unreliable, as can be seen in the first synthesis concerning the Spanish population published in 1966 by Jordi Nadal, a book that can be considered to be the first sign of a change.

The renovation of demographic studies began in the late 1960s and occurred within the context of a general change in Spanish historiography. This change was largely due to foreign influence, from France and specifically of the Annales School, but not only. The influence on Spain arrived...

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