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Births and Deaths in Shakespearean London – “Shakespeare” – Bill Bryson

May 4th, 2012 · No Comments · Civilisation, Immigration, Policy

In nearly every year for at least two and a half centuries, deaths outnumbered births in London. Only the steady influx of ambitious provincials and Protestant refugees from the Continent kept the population growing – and grow it did, from 50,000 in 1500 to four times that by century’s end… by the peak years of Elizabeth’s reign, London was one of the great cities of Europe, exceeded in size only by Paris and Naples…. But survival was ever a struggle. Nowhere in the metropolis did life expectancy exceed thirty-five years, and in some poorer districts it was barely twenty-five. The London that William Shakespeare first encountered was overwhelmingly a youthful place.

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