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Mark Sawyer

How many people live in Westeros? in each kingdom?

163 posts in this topic

Active military forces per 1000 capita

India

1.1

Indoneia

1.3

Brazil

1.6

China

1.7

Spain

3.2

United States

4.7

Vietnam

5.1

Turkey

6.6

Iran

7.9

South Korea

13.7

Greece

14.6

Israel

24.4

North Korea

48.8

------------------------------------------------

The thing to notice is that larger countries tend to have smaller militaries-per-capita. Small countries with larger neighbors tend to have the largest militaries-per-capita.

Also, the range of active military forces per capita is enormous. It can range by a factor of 50 times. Obviously during times of warfare, military strength can easily increase 50-100 times.

The whole idea that Westeros has a fixed army-to-civilian ratio is beyond ridiculous. And the ratio being repeatedly cited is extremely flimsy at best.

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Yes, ASOIAF world is loosely based on the feudal age and you have to remember that this is before the creation of modern states and permanent armies.

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Yes, ASOIAF world is loosely based on the feudal age

Truth is, ASOIAF is not your typical "fantasy" genre world. Don't be fooled by the dragons, giants and zombies. GRRM has said that originally he had no intention of including "fantasy" elements.

"Good artists copy, great artist steal." GRRM stole Westeros from the pages of English history just like Terry Brooks stole "The Sword of Shannara" from Tolkien's "The Lord of the Rings".

In terms of language, race, culture, weapons, food, architecture, etc. Westeros is stolen from the pages medieval England. It's no coincidence that Westerosi don't go around carrying Samurai swords. Cooks bake pies not baklava or moon cakes. I don't hear any of GRRM's characters speaking in Elvish. It's abundantly clear that GRRM took very little from Tolkien. This sets him apart from the vast majority of traditional "fantasy" writers.

In fact, GRRM has started an entire category of medieval history based "fantasy" just as JRRT started the traditional "fantasy" genre.

and you have to remember that this is before the creation of modern states and permanent armies.

"A bird in hand is worth two in the bush." It's better to work with something than nothing at all. Too many arguments in this thread have been based on thin air rather than actual facts.

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Active military forces per 1000 capita

India

1.1

Indoneia

1.3

Brazil

1.6

China

1.7

Spain

3.2

United States

4.7

Vietnam

5.1

Turkey

6.6

Iran

7.9

South Korea

13.7

Greece

14.6

Israel

24.4

North Korea

48.8

------------------------------------------------

The thing to notice is that larger countries tend to have smaller militaries-per-capita. Small countries with larger neighbors tend to have the largest militaries-per-capita.

Also, the range of active military forces per capita is enormous. It can range by a factor of 50 times. Obviously during times of warfare, military strength can easily increase 50-100 times.

The whole idea that Westeros has a fixed army-to-civilian ratio is beyond ridiculous. And the ratio being repeatedly cited is extremely flimsy at best.

Those are modern figures, which are completely irrelevent when comparing them to a medieval setting.

All we can do is look at the size of medieval armies in England, Scotland, France, Russia, Germany etc., and compare that to the estimated population sizes at the time.

Typical medieval armies in England numbered around 8000-10 000 soldiers, and this was based on a population size of at least 2 million people.

And these 2 million people all lived in an area less than half the size of the Stormlands - the smallest of the Westerosi kingdoms in geographical area.

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Truth is, ASOIAF is not your typical "fantasy" genre world. Don't be fooled by the dragons, giants and zombies. GRRM has said that originally he had no intention of including "fantasy" elements.

"Good artists copy, great artist steal." GRRM stole Westeros from the pages of English history just like Terry Brooks stole "The Sword of Shannara" from Tolkien's "The Lord of the Rings".

In terms of language, race, culture, weapons, food, architecture, etc. Westeros is stolen from the pages medieval England. It's no coincidence that Westerosi don't go around carrying Samurai swords. Cooks bake pies not baklava or moon cakes. I don't hear any of GRRM's characters speaking in Elvish. It's abundantly clear that GRRM took very little from Tolkien. This sets him apart from the vast majority of traditional "fantasy" writers.

In fact, GRRM has started an entire category of medieval history based "fantasy" just as JRRT started the traditional "fantasy" genre.

"A bird in hand is worth two in the bush." It's better to work with something than nothing at all. Too many arguments in this thread have been based on thin air rather than actual facts.

And how does that goes against anything i had said? What do you mean?

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Those are modern figures, which are completely irrelevent when comparing them to a medieval setting.

If you want to believe pigs fly in Westeros, that's completely fine with me. No point in arguing with your "fantasy" figures.

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And how does that goes against anything i had said? What do you mean?

My point is, GRRM bases Westeros closely on England. Period. Not France, not Germany, not Pakistan and not Indonesia.

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I have trouble believing this as well. King's Landing, the largest city in Westeros, only has about 500,000 inhabitants according to Tyrion. Oldtown should have about the same number, Lannisport is said to be significantly smaller than both but is still much larger than Gulltown and White Harbour. So unless you're willing to believe than less than 2% of the population lives in the Top 5 cities in Westeros, that estimates seems much too big to me.

Lannisport is actually the largest city in Westeros

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My point is, GRRM bases Westeros closely on England. Period. Not France, not Germany, not Pakistan and not Indonesia.

It looks like England, but it's based on all of Europe

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A population of 75 million could not feed itself in this primitive culture and there is no delivery system for food. I agree with Hedge knight and the 3 million population. I would go as high as 5 million on the entire continent of Westeros. The winters have keep the population low and it does not matter that the last winter was 10 years ago. Just wait till WINDS OF WINTER and the population will drop to under 100,000, if the people of Westeros are fortunate.

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If you want to believe pigs fly in Westeros, that's completely fine with me. No point in arguing with your "fantasy" figures.

On the contrary, you're the one that should be more realistic in your assessment.

A medieval setting that can muster about 250 000 men (the rough total of all the Kingdoms forces at the time of the War of the Five Kings) would have to have a base population of at least 30-40 million people, based on real medieval examples.

But then, we've been through all of this, and the close to official figures from Ran - which will most likely make itself into the World of Ice and Fire book - have already been put forward at around 40 million.

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Well, first thing first is to take a tally of armies, so I will use GoT and CoK as my sources.

The North - 18 000 with Robb and Rodrik could muste 2000 to retake Winterfell, plus Ramsay's 600 traitorous men, so 21 000 is a likely strength

The Vale - Petyr in I believe FfC mentioned they could get 20 000 men against him, and that seems like a total strength number

Dorne - Is frequently mentioned to have 50 000 spears, but I doubt this as Doran tells Arianne in FfC that Dorne is the least populous nation of Westeros, so half of the north or around 10 000-12 000 is a more likely number (and ould still bugger things up considering their fame as raiders). I can confirm my estimate here if needed.

Highgarden - Renly`s army is around 100 000, of which Mace has 10 000 at Highgarden, 10 000 dornish, and 80 000 with him, which I wil split 50é50 so Highgarden has around 50 000.

Stormlands - Using above math, 40 000

Crownlands - 6000 as the City Watch, and few others aside. Maybe 10 000 in all?

Dragonstone - Stannis could muster 5000 men on foot

Riverlands - Has around 20 000, including 4000 Freys, as Robb's total strength is mentioned at 40 000 By Renly and Jaime Lannister. At most 22 000.

Westerlands - Jaime had a host of 12 000, Tywin 20 000, and Stafford managed 10 000 with sellswords, green men, and Jaime's broken host, so 5000 new people. Assuming Lannisport and Casterly Rock are garrisoned, 38 000 or around 40 000 men can be expected.

Iron Island - I believe 15 000 is a more realistic number than the 25 000 mentioned above, but I do not question the Iron Fleet's strength.

King's Landing has 500 000, Oldtown probably 400 000-450 000, Lannisport 200 000ish, Gulltown 100 000 (Medieval Venice), and White Harbour 30 000ish. I'll keep these cities out of further calculations.

Medieval populations could only muster so many men, even when it came to a fight for survival. Assuming that 50% of the population is female, that the average life expectency would be around 50-60 (I'll use 60), and that boys could not fight until they were 15, That leaves 35% or so at fighting age. Farmers, and ther common jobs asides would bring it down to 5-10% at most, which most armies mentioned here were at. So, using 7% as a probably number of fighting men, the population sizes would be:

North- 300 000

Vale- 285 000

Dorne- 142 000

Highgarden- 714 000

Stormlands- 571 000

Crownlands- 585 000

Dragonstone- 71 000

Riverlands- 314 000

Westerlands- 571 000

Iron Islands- 212 000

Westeros- 3 765 000 (plus or minus 100 000 for wanderers and other such people)

Keep in mind that while battles here are fought for survival more often than not, and by every man the lord can muster. Agincourt and such were battles fought by semi-professional armies, and during the war of the Roses the battle of Towton could have had as many as 100 000, in similiar conditions. War of the Rose era England had 2-3 million population, so it`s not too farfetched. As for distances, It is never mentioned how big a Westersi mile is.

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You should have read the entire thread. This calculation was already done several times, with way different results.

1. your army sizes are way off

North 50,000+

Vale 40,000

Riverlands 40,000 pre war

Dorne 30,000

Westerlands 50,000-60,000

Reach 70,000

Stormlands 30,000

Iron Islands 25,000-35,000

...

2. The percentage of military: 1-2% absolute maximum for agricultural societies, lower in rough circumstances (like the North)

3. Westeros being similar in size to South America, not to England. being 137 (one-hundred-thirty-seven!) times bigger and all.

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source: http://www.fordham.e.../pop-in-eur.asp

this source says that europe in 1340 had 73 million. according to wikipedia south america is almost double the size of europe.

http://en.wikipedia...._and_population

so according to a basic google this does seem to be roughly accurate.

Which is another reason why I am never going to take seriously that BS about Westeros being the size of South America. It makes practically no sense, from many different points of view.

If those numbers are accurate, the military numbers we've been given don't match the demographics at all. Robb went south with what, 18K-20K men? With a population of 15 million, he should have fielded 10-15 times that, and same with all of the other houses.

Judging population by the size of armies is nonsensical as well, I agree. Medieval armies were limited chiefly by logistics (i.e. the ability to feed a given number of men in given territory for a given period of time). Medieval France was by far the largest country in Europe in terms of population, but the French king never actually called all his vassals' forces at one time. There was no way to feed such a large army (not to mention *lead* it).

Martin actually happily ignores this aspect of medieval warfare. Keeping a force numbering in tens of thousands in one place for any extended period of time was impossible, it would eat the countryside bare like a swarm of locusts.

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Which is another reason why I am never going to take seriously that BS about Westeros being the size of South America. It makes practically no sense, from many different points of view.

Where would you place Sunspear and Last Hearth on Earth? From the description of the respective climate I'd choose Grenada, maybe even Algier and Hammerfest.

Judging population by the size of armies is nonsensical as well, I agree. Medieval armies were limited chiefly by logistics (i.e. the ability to feed a given number of men in given territory for a given period of time). Medieval France was by far the largest country in Europe in terms of population, but the French king never actually called all his vassals' forces at one time. There was no way to feed such a large army (not to mention *lead* it).

Martin actually happily ignores this aspect of medieval warfare. Keeping a force numbering in tens of thousands in one place for any extended period of time was impossible, it would eat the countryside bare like a swarm of locusts.

Being exactly what's happening to the Riverlands. And what happened during the War of Thirty Years? The battles regularly fielded 20,000 or 40,000 per side.

And the numbers based on the army sizes are minimum numbers. The population could very well be vastly higher.

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Where would you place Sunspear and Last Hearth on Earth? From the description of the respective climate I'd choose Grenada, maybe even Algier and Hammerfest.

I made this map once. Westeros could be a bit bigger, but not by much.

Being exactly what's happening to the Riverlands. And what happened during the War of Thirty Years? The battles regularly fielded 20,000 or 40,000 per side.

And the numbers based on the army sizes are minimum numbers. The population could very well be vastly higher.

The "Thirty Years War" happened in the 17th century - some 250 years after the medieval period. Plus, numbers tend to get exaggerated in historical records.

Mind you, I am not saying that it was completely impossible to field huge armies, but it only happened very rarely, and such forces were usually constantly on the move. Once an army stayed too long in one place, it tended to quickly exhaust the place's reserves of foodstuffs and then bad things happened. For this reason, you wouldn't want to go to war with all your strength, but rather with an army of the "right" size for what you hoped to accomplish. Also, peasant levies were usually conscripted for a rather short period of time, about two months if I remember correctly. For longer wars, you needed largely professional armies, i.e. mercenaries (who were quite expensive to maintain).

In any case, that's a bit off-topic. I only wanted to say that judging populations in Westeros by some random troop numbers GRRM gave us is a bit silly. I'd much rather rely on common sense aided by reasonable estimates based on comparisons with medieval Europe.

So, for example France in the 14th century had something between 15-20 million inhabitants. If The Reach is roughly equivalent to France, maybe slightly bigger, so it shouldn't have more than 25 million inhabitants. Other parts of Westeros should be much smaller in terms of population. Actually, my numbers quite correspond with those from post #5 in this thread.

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2. The percentage of military: 1-2% absolute maximum for agricultural societies, lower in rough circumstances (like the North)

I agree with the 1-2%. Roman Empire had one soldier per about 85 inhabitants. Romans always had several wars going on, a long border to guard, so I guess they had a quite large number of legionnaires according to the population. With a larger number of soldiers nobody was left to farm the fields. The main reason why one can't compare it to modern standards, they had no tractors and no food industry ;)

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I made this map once. Westeros could be a bit bigger, but not by much.

The "Thirty Years War" happened in the 17th century - some 250 years after the medieval period. Plus, numbers tend to get exaggerated in historical records.

Mind you, I am not saying that it was completely impossible to field huge armies, but it only happened very rarely, and such forces were usually constantly on the move. Once an army stayed too long in one place, it tended to quickly exhaust the place's reserves of foodstuffs and then bad things happened. For this reason, you wouldn't want to go to war with all your strength, but rather with an army of the "right" size for what you hoped to accomplish. Also, peasant levies were usually conscripted for a rather short period of time, about two months if I remember correctly. For longer wars, you needed largely professional armies, i.e. mercenaries (who were quite expensive to maintain).

In any case, that's a bit off-topic. I only wanted to say that judging populations in Westeros by some random troop numbers GRRM gave us is a bit silly. I'd much rather rely on common sense aided by reasonable estimates based on comparisons with medieval Europe.

The Wall is 300 miles long. Go and measure Westeros yourself using the Wall as a key. From the Wall to Dorne comes out at about 3000 miles. And the width of the continent is about 800-1000 miles.

That gives you a rough surface area of about 3 million square miles. England is about 50 000 square miles in size. That means Westeros is about 60 times as large as England. And that's at a conservative estimate.

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Pre-colonialism, mostly pre-agriculture South America is estimated to have had a population of around 20 million from the figures I've seen. If westeros is about the same size it should be significantly higher in terms of population.

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<p>

The Wall is 300 miles long. Go and measure Westeros yourself using the Wall as a key. From the Wall to Dorne comes out at about 3000 miles. And the width of the continent is about 800-1000 miles.

I don't care. Westerosi miles might be shorter or longer, and the maps have never been meant to be to scale anyway. And it also contradicts the nonsense about "the size of South America" which people for some reason keep taking *literally*.

Pre-colonialism, mostly pre-agriculture South America is estimated to have had a population of around 20 million from the figures I've seen. If westeros is about the same size it should be significantly higher in terms of population.

Define "significantly higher". It's probably less then 100 million, more likely something above 70 million or so, if we judge it by medieval European standards (and medieval Europe was densely populated until the Black Death and a few famines trimmed the population - these pop. levels were only reached again in the 19th century, some 500 years later). Even that is strange, because in the books it often seems the land is essentially empty - Arya and Brienne travel through the Riverlands, but aside from a few towns, keeps, and villages, and a couple inns, we don't get to see many people. I get the same impression from other regions as well, they just don't seem to be too densely populated. Plus, large areas of Westeros are mountains, deep forests, or bogs, and deserts in Dorne and subarctic barrens in the north.

So, the overall population might actually be lower than in medieval Europe - which would makes sense, due to the years-long winters Westeros experiences and which likely prevents the population from growing beyond certain limits. So, if we use early medieval Europe as our starting point, the overall population of Westeros might be much lower than 70 million, probably close to 35 million.

Saying all that, I think it's a) not that important; B) impossible to determine unless GRRM decides to tell us. Which he won't, because it's fantasy, and because in the Middle Ages even the well-administered feudal kingdoms rarely attempted something of a proper census.

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