RHI Seminar: The Black Death: window of opportunity or disaster? Demographic growth, stagnation and decline in the County of Hainaut (1349-1541)

On invitation of the Rural and Environmental History Group, Dr. Joris Roosen from Maastricht University will give a seminar on November 11, 2021. To attend, please register via email

Organised by Economic and Environmental History

Thu 11 November 2021 16:00 to 17:15

Venue Leeuwenborch, building number 201
Room B0075


Historians have observed a strong degree of divergence in population trends after the Black Death across Europe. A comprehensive explanation for this divergence is still missing and previous scholarship has cited the importance of either endogenous or exogenous factors. The most prominent exogenous factor cited in the literature is regional variation in the impact of the Black Death and repeat plague outbreaks, while explanations referring to the effect of endogenous factors have pointed to the role of fertility as the prime mover in long-terms demographic developments instead. This chapter will use the county of Hainaut in the Southern Low Countries as a case study to analyse the effect of endogenous socio-institutional factors on diverging regional population developments. However, by using data from a single (nearly) continuous source of mortmain accounts, this chapter will also take into account long-term mortality trends. This chapter concludes that diverging regional population trends after the Black Death in the county of Hainaut are mostly due to endogenous societal factors and not differentials in exogenous mortality trends in the long run. 

Time and venue: The RHI Seminar is held in room B0075 in the Leeuwenborch building on the WUR campus. The presenter presents for 25 minutes (16:00-16:25), followed by discussion/questions from the audience. Please read the paper in advance so that we can have a stimulating discussion.