Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online

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Demographic Catastrophe
(925 words)

1. Definition

The extent, rapidity, and duration of the collapse of the indigenous population in what was to Europeans the New World after 1492 easily eclipsed the catastrophic epidemics that afflicted medieval and early modern Europe. Historians therefore quickly began to speak of a Demographic Catastrophe, sometimes even of an “American Holocaust” [9] (Colonialism). The mass death comprises one of the darkest chapters in the history of the European discovery and conquest of the Americas. The …

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Rinke, Stefan, “Demographic Catastrophe”, in: Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online, Editors of the English edition: Graeme Dunphy, Andrew Gow. Original German Edition: Enzyklopädie der Neuzeit. Im Auftrag des Kulturwissenschaftlichen Instituts (Essen) und in Verbindung mit den Fachherausgebern herausgegeben von Friedrich Jaeger. Copyright © J.B. Metzlersche Verlagsbuchhandlung und Carl Ernst Poeschel Verlag GmbH 2005–2012. Consulted online on 21 July 2019 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2352-0272_emho_COM_018222>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20170626



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