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Diseases in Early Modern Sweden: A Parish-level Study 1631-1775

Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift
Författare Daniel Larsson
Publicerad i Scandinavian Journal of History
ISSN 0346-8755
Publiceringsår 2019
Publicerad vid Institutionen för historiska studier
Språk en
Länkar https://doi.org/10.1080/03468755.20...
Ämnesord dysentery, fevers, historical diagnoses, historical diseases, mortality crises, smallpox, Sweden
Ämneskategorier Medicinens historia, Historia


In early modern Scandinavia, the population’s sensitivity to disease and food supply shortages was great. Researchers have long been interested in the crises caused by these conditions, and the dominant causes of death have been well documented in Sweden since the late eighteenth century. But for the seventeenth and early eighteenth century, in the mortality regime preceding the initial stage of the demographic transition, our understanding of the infectious diseases is significantly limited. Through an analysis of causes of death and tithe levels, this article gives new insight regarding mortality rates, harvests and, above all, diseases in a parish located in a Swedish forested area during the mid- and late seventeenth century and first half of the eighteenth century. It presents new research about which diagnoses were most common, how often the more prevalent diseases of fevers, smallpox, and dysentery broke out, and the varying role of diseases on mortality rates during bad harvest years. The inhabitants in this parish presumably had a food supply buffer in their summer farm system, yet they remained vulnerable to bad harvests, and people in the area were just as susceptible to the common infectious diseases as the inhabitants in more tightly populated areas.

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