The seventeenth century, broadly conceived, marks an important turning point in the history of European population movements. Long cycles characterized, first, by population expansion and subsequently by mortality contractions due to famine or disease held long-term population growth largely in check. The subsistence and mortality crises of the middle decades of the seventeenth century and the fundamental shift in the capacity of the European population to grow after 1750 together suggest that the case for a “general crisis of the seventeenth century” has strong demographic support.

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