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Depopulation (also known as population decline) is a term used to describe any great reduction in a human population. It can be used to refer to longterm demographic trends, as in urban decay or rural flight, but it is also commonly employed to describe large reductions in population due to violence, disease, or other catastrophes.

History is replete with examples of large scale depopulations. Many wars, for example, have been accompanied by significant depopulations.

During the Age of Imperialism, Europeans migrating to new continents brought with them not only devastating new means of waging warfare and/or violent economic systems such as slavery, but also, often inadvertently, infectious diseases such as smallpox to which indigenous peoples had no resistance. These factors, particularly the latter, sometimes had a devastating impact on the indigenous inhabitants.

Some notable historical examples of large depopulation of entire continents include:

Some examples of depopulation of large regions brought about mainly by warfare include:

- and a great many others.

Famine has also frequently played a role in depopulation, whether as a result of war, climatic conditions, human incompetence and so on.

In recent years depopulation is observed in many countries of Eastern Europe due to a catastrophic increase in death rates in the early 1990s.

See also

External links


  1. Depopulate - Webster's Online Dictionary
  2. Depopulate -
  3. Population crises and cycles in history. A review of the book Population Crises and Population cycles by Claire Russell and W.M.S. Russell.
  4. Stacy Goodling, "Effects of European Diseases on the Inhabitants of the New World"

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