Thirdly, owing to the high mortality rate, the population size was 0.68 billions in 1700 and rose only to 0.98 billions till 1800. The population growth rate per year was 0.5 per cent per year in 1700 and 0.51per cent in 1800. Children under 15 years of age continued to constitute 36 per cent of the total population in Europe from 1700 to 1800 whereas the population more than 65 years of age consistently remained only 4 per cent of the total population in Europe (Lee 168). Hence, the main characteristics of the structure of the population in Europe before the commencement of the demographic transition were low life expectancy, high fertility rate, and low rate of population of growth. As a result of these characteristics, a vast majority of the population in Europe before the demographic transition was young. Q.2: Ans. The Vicious Circle of Agriculture in Europe In the era of pre-industrial farming in Europe, particularly during the middle Ages, there occurred a vicious circle of agriculture that was characterized by low manure and low yields. The European economy headed toward a vicious circle of agriculture wherein the productivity of laborers was reduced as a result of the low-level and chronic debilitating disease that they suffered from. The reduced output of grain played an important role in the spread of famine and hunger because of which, there occurred a tremendous increase in the prices of the grains. During the vicious circle of agriculture, the standard of living of the people
in Europe drastically declined. There was very limited growth of the diets and the Europeans at large faced a lot of challenges related to health. With the emergence of the typhoid epidemic, thousands of people in Europe lost their lives in the populated urban centers in general and Ypres in particular that is currently located in Belgium. In the year 1318, the animals in Europe were attacked by a pestilence with an unknown origin that is often termed as anthrax (MobileReference). The consequential death of cattle and sheep reduced the supply of food and money generated from the peasantry even more. Farming in Europe has a history of succession of a lot of changes with respect to technology, mechanism, and productivity. “[T]he circle could be broken, for example by keeping more livestock if extra pasture was available, or by combining the various systems of nutrient renewal, or by new technologies which enabled the cultivation of more land” (Baker 54). Q.3: Ans. Comparison of agricultural systems in Europe, Asia, Middle East, and Central America Middle Ages was a revolutionary period in the history of European agriculture during which the agricultural tools were improved and a three field crop system was introduced. The strength of agricultural system in Europe is mainly technological improvement whereas weakness includes the vicious cycle of agriculture and occasional famines. Asia has abundance of cultivatable land that has been used for crops cultivation and domestication since the earliest times. The strength of agricultural system in Asia is massive production of crops of extreme importance like wheat, rice, and barley whereas weakness includes immense dependence on chemical fertilizers and pesticides.