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The Great Famine

Even in academic circles, very little is known of the great famine of 1623 and its impact upon the Scottish population. In the 1970s, Michael Flinn touched briefly on the subject in his benchmark work Scottish Population History from the 17th Century to the 1930s, and more recently, in an excellent paper published in the International Review of Scottish Studies, Laura Stewart assessed the impact of the famine upon the largest and most prosperous burgh, Edinburgh. Be it as it may that Edinburgh was then the largest urban area within Scotland, its population would not have exceeded more than 25,500 during the 1620s. That is less than three per cent of the entire population of c.900,000. What then, was the impact of this famine upon the rest of Scotland, and upon ordinary Scots?

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History Scotland
May - June 2018

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