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Death, Religion, and the Family in England,
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Ralph Houlbrooke

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9780198208761

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198208761.001.0001

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The Face of Death

The Face of Death

(p.5) 1 The Face of Death
Death, Religion, and the Family in England, 1480–1750

Ralph Houlbrooke

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses various demographic and physical facts about death. Fluctuations in mortality exercised a strong influence over population trends between the 15th century and the mid-18th. In the period 1540—1750 there were eleven national crisis years when mortality rose 30% above trend. The estimated life expectancy was between 30 and 40 years. The first year of life was the most dangerous, seeing the largest numbers of deaths. Among the epidemic diseases, the most notorious experienced in late medieval and early modem times was bubonic plague, a disease of the summer and early autumn months.

Keywords:   death rates, infant mortality, demographic aspects, mortality rates, bubonic plague, diseases

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