Depopulation is a term used to describe any great reduction in a human population. [ [http://www.m-w.com/dictionary/depopulation Depopulate] - Webter's Online Dictionary] It can be used to refer to longterm demographic trends, as in
urban decayor rural depopulation, but it is also commonly employed to describe large reductions in population due to violence, disease, or other catastrophes. [ [http://www.yourdictionary.com/depopulate Depopulate] - yourdictionary.com.]
History is replete with examples of large scale depopulations. Many wars, for example, have been accompanied by significant depopulations. During the
Age of Imperialism, Europeans migrating to new continents brought with them not only devastating new means of waging warfare and/or violent economic systems such as slavery, but also, often inadvertently, infectious diseasesto which indigenouspeoples had no resistance. These factors, particularly the latter, sometimes had a devastating impact on the indigenous inhabitants.
Some notable historical examples of large depopulation of entire continents include:
Black Deathin Europe, Asiaand the Middle Eastin the Middle Ages;
*The impact of the European slave trades on the continent of
*The impact of European
colonialismand accompanying introduced infectious diseases in the Americasand Australia.
Some examples of depopulation of large regions brought about mainly by warfare include:
*The Mongol Conquests of
China, the Russian steppesand the Middle East;
Tamurlane's military campaigns in the Middle and Near East;
Thirty Years Warin Europe;
- and a great many others.
Faminehas also frequently played a role in depopulation, whether as a result of war, climatic conditions, human incompetence and so on.
* [http://www.koteka.net/ International Action for West Papua]
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