Fernand Braudel

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Fernand Braudel’s chapter, The eighteenth century: watershed of biological regimes, in Civilization and Capitalism 15th - 18th Century. The Structures of Everyday Life, discusses devastation mankind has experienced from the late 15th century up until the end of the 18th century. He defines this period as the biological ancien regime: a period in time in which population remained at a steady rate and birth and death rates balanced each other out, creating said status quo (71 Braudel). The ancien regime is also defined by high infant mortality, famine; chronic under-nourishment; and formidable epidemics (91). Braudel discuses how “famine recurred so insistently for centuries on end that it became incorporated into man’s biological regime and built into his daily life” (73). It was hard during much of the biological ancien regime to develop and yield good crops (74). Braudel goes in depth about the devastations that resulted due to famine through out history in Europe and Asia. In many instances, people resorted to begging in towns in search for food (75), and the problem had gotten so bad across Western Europe that many of the poor and hungry were secluded or separated into hospitals…show more content…
Many epidemics swept across the world, such as smallpox, which affected 95 in every 100 people in 1775 and had killed 1 in seven people (79). Epidemics jumped from large populations masses to another, such as the case of the plague being brought to the West from China and India (81). Tying hand in hand with famine, disease affected the poor the greatest, and many of the poor and sick were “penned up” together in contaminated towns (85). Many perished to the plague, so much to the fact that it is said “a good half of the population of Marseilles succumbed” (88). Diseases constantly reappeared through out history due to virgin soils never experiencing the disease and gaining immunity, or due to new forms and mutations
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