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Mrstrategy

Realistic population of North

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Realistic population with 10 year winters? About as many as Inuits - so somewhere in the region of 100 000 - 200 000, and definitely no more than a million.

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The fact that karstarks are having trouble with collecting the harvest due to the 2k ish soldiers going south, is enough to tell you its quite meagre.

Also that article is pretty inaccurate. Grant you they are using the correct techniques in order to calculate the population through using the rule of 1-2% of its military strength. However when you read martins books you can clearly see that the rule dosent exist and the numbers can be whatever martin wants them to be. 

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Their military strength is similar to that of the Vale. In turn, we know the Vale is stronger than Dorne and the Stormlands, numbers wise.

So even if we ignore every other bit of evidence, we know that the North’s population is on par with the average medieval kingdom of the South. Meaning we can dismiss the ridiculous theories that they somehow have an “Inuit” level population etc.

To mobilize, equip and march 30,000 medieval soldiers a thousand miles south to the Trident like Torhenn Stark did requires a population in the millions.

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1 minute ago, Angel Eyes said:

So the show's not the only one with a regenerating army (or two or three).

The show took it to another level. Dumb & Dumber clearly never had a thorough understanding of medieval warfare. This partially applies to martin as well. 

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2 hours ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

Their military strength is similar to that of the Vale. In turn, we know the Vale is stronger than Dorne and the Stormlands, numbers wise.

So even if we ignore every other bit of evidence, we know that the North’s population is on par with the average medieval kingdom of the South. Meaning we can dismiss the ridiculous theories that they somehow have an “Inuit” level population etc.

To mobilize, equip and march 30,000 medieval soldiers a thousand miles south to the Trident like Torhenn Stark did requires a population in the millions.

 

Yep like 3,000,000 at the least if I remember right it's 1% that is normally sent to War and I doubt the North is even sending that.  Ignoring the silly people who think the north is constantly starving the population should be huge.

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Martin stated outright that the Ironborn are an exception to the normal medieval societies on the mainland, in that they can raise a higher percentage of warriors than the mainland kingdoms can. The North has the same logistical constraints as all of the mainland kingdoms, if anything, the constraints are much worse for them. Meaning they can’t raise a higher proportion of their population for war than the others. If anything they can raise a lower percentage than the richer Westerlands or Reach.

Hence, whatever rules apply to the South - whether it is 1% or 2% - apply even more so to the North. 

Edited by Free Northman Reborn

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6 hours ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

Martin stated outright that the Ironborn are an exception to the normal medieval societies on the mainland, in that they can raise a higher percentage of warriors than the mainland kingdoms can. The North has the same logistical constraints as all of the mainland kingdoms, if anything, the constraints are much worse for them. Meaning they can’t raise a higher proportion of their population for war than the others. If anything they can raise a lower percentage than the richer Westerlands or Reach.

Hence, whatever rules apply to the South - whether it is 1% or 2% - apply even more so to the North. 

 

3 hours ago, SeanF said:

4 to 5 million would be my guess.  

 

6 hours ago, Darksnider05 said:

 

Yep like 3,000,000 at the least if I remember right it's 1% that is normally sent to War and I doubt the North is even sending that.  Ignoring the silly people who think the north is constantly starving the population should be huge.

 

9 hours ago, The Young Maester said:

The fact that karstarks are having trouble with collecting the harvest due to the 2k ish soldiers going south, is enough to tell you its quite meagre.

Also that article is pretty inaccurate. Grant you they are using the correct techniques in order to calculate the population through using the rule of 1-2% of its military strength. However when you read martins books you can clearly see that the rule dosent exist and the numbers can be whatever martin wants them to be. 

OP is asking about realistic population of the North, not the population implied by military strength in books.

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11 minutes ago, Aldarion said:

 

 

 

OP is asking about realistic population of the North, not the population implied by military strength in books.

The North is 1.1 m square miles.  I think it could sustain my figure.   It’s a lower population density than medieval Scotland, similar to Norway in about 1000.  Even with limited agriculture, there should be a substantial economy based upon the export of timber, pitch, furs, amber, and the import of foodstuffs and luxuries, with plenty of fish and game.  Braavos in particular, should be seeking tons of Northern oak and pine, to maintain its navy, and mercant marine.

Edited by SeanF

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In relation to realism one should expect that some trade is going on along the eastern coast of the North - especially with Braavos but also the Ibbenese.

But in light of the fact that the only two harbors mentioned on that coast are White Harbor and Eastwatch and in light of the fact that the Westerosi feudal framework would imply that the Umbers and Karstarks and Boltons controlling those shores would ship their goods from their own harbors rather than sending them down to White Harbor so that the Manderlys can claim the profits ... chances are that there is pretty much no such trade.

I mean, people go as far north as Eastwatch to trade but do not bother visiting Widow's Watch? Or the mouths of the Weeping Water and whatever river is close to Karhold?

The Braavosi do need timber for their ships ... but Braavos isn't just a city. The Braavosi control vast reaches of land in northern Essos, and they should get all the resources they need from there.

And by the way, the situation at the west coast is even less realistic. Yes, ships might sail as far as Lannisport for the gold the Lannisters have to offer, and perhaps some folks would even bother trading with the Ironborn for iron, but who would bother going as far north as Bear Island? What is up there that folks couldn't get in the Narrow Sea/Shivering Sea? And where are the harbors where a big ship could even land?

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1 hour ago, Lord Varys said:

In relation to realism one should expect that some trade is going on along the eastern coast of the North - especially with Braavos but also the Ibbenese.

But in light of the fact that the only two harbors mentioned on that coast are White Harbor and Eastwatch and in light of the fact that the Westerosi feudal framework would imply that the Umbers and Karstarks and Boltons controlling those shores would ship their goods from their own harbors rather than sending them down to White Harbor so that the Manderlys can claim the profits ... chances are that there is pretty much no such trade.

I mean, people go as far north as Eastwatch to trade but do not bother visiting Widow's Watch? Or the mouths of the Weeping Water and whatever river is close to Karhold?

The Braavosi do need timber for their ships ... but Braavos isn't just a city. The Braavosi control vast reaches of land in northern Essos, and they should get all the resources they need from there.

And by the way, the situation at the west coast is even less realistic. Yes, ships might sail as far as Lannisport for the gold the Lannisters have to offer, and perhaps some folks would even bother trading with the Ironborn for iron, but who would bother going as far north as Bear Island? What is up there that folks couldn't get in the Narrow Sea/Shivering Sea? And where are the harbors where a big ship could even land?

The North is clearly isolationist in terms of trading with other people. White Harbour alone is the exception to that rule. If any Northmen are living on the coasts, they're probably living as fisherfolk rather than traders. Maybe there's a bit of trade flow between the various houses of the North, but there's lots of examples in real life of humans living on the coasts without relying on oceanic trade routes. The Ironborn are the true sea culture, so it makes sense that they raid or trade by travelling on the open water, but the North is pretty much self-reliant for a more primitive way of living than goes on in the Reach or Dorne or the Crownlands, or even the Riverlands for that matter.

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Another thing is that the North seems to have usually nicer climate than Finland. For instance oaks seems to grow even beyond the wall when they only can grow in southern Finland and no tree would survive in northern Finland.

Also Northmen unlike medieval Finns seems to have heavy cavalry. Only horses that could survive in Finland during that time were hirsute ponies who could not carry heavily armoured people. So there never had been any lancers in here. But scouts, skirmishers and border guards who very often fought as riding snipers armed with crossbow. Or they did not usually fight on horseback but used their horses as a getaway vehicle.

So I assume that most parts of kingdom of Starks has usually climate of continental Europe.

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3 hours ago, Loose Bolt said:

Another thing is that the North seems to have usually nicer climate than Finland. For instance oaks seems to grow even beyond the wall when they only can grow in southern Finland and no tree would survive in northern Finland.

Also Northmen unlike medieval Finns seems to have heavy cavalry. Only horses that could survive in Finland during that time were hirsute ponies who could not carry heavily armoured people. So there never had been any lancers in here. But scouts, skirmishers and border guards who very often fought as riding snipers armed with crossbow. Or they did not usually fight on horseback but used their horses as a getaway vehicle.

So I assume that most parts of kingdom of Starks has usually climate of continental Europe.

If you open that can of worms things immediately deteriorate. You have to assume that the plant life in Westeros somehow can cope with winters and snow and ice stretching over years.

Which means those oaks have to be seen as fantasy oaks ... just as the animal life must be 'fantasy animals' and the wildlings 'fantasy people' because there is just no way that people and animals north of the Wall would survive so much as a single years-long winter.

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12 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

In relation to realism one should expect that some trade is going on along the eastern coast of the North - especially with Braavos but also the Ibbenese.

But in light of the fact that the only two harbors mentioned on that coast are White Harbor and Eastwatch and in light of the fact that the Westerosi feudal framework would imply that the Umbers and Karstarks and Boltons controlling those shores would ship their goods from their own harbors rather than sending them down to White Harbor so that the Manderlys can claim the profits ... chances are that there is pretty much no such trade.

I mean, people go as far north as Eastwatch to trade but do not bother visiting Widow's Watch? Or the mouths of the Weeping Water and whatever river is close to Karhold?

The Braavosi do need timber for their ships ... but Braavos isn't just a city. The Braavosi control vast reaches of land in northern Essos, and they should get all the resources they need from there.

And by the way, the situation at the west coast is even less realistic. Yes, ships might sail as far as Lannisport for the gold the Lannisters have to offer, and perhaps some folks would even bother trading with the Ironborn for iron, but who would bother going as far north as Bear Island? What is up there that folks couldn't get in the Narrow Sea/Shivering Sea? And where are the harbors where a big ship could even land?

Well, the Royal Navy and English shipbuilders imported thousands of tons of pine and pitch from the Baltic, rather than rely on domestic supplies,  and Jon’s negotiations with the Iron Bank involved timber. Braavos doubtless has supplies of wood, but the North has immense forests.  White Harbour must be trading something substantial to sustain a resident population of thirty thousand or so (two or three times the size of medieval York or Bristol).

There seems nothing implausible to me in having the Karstarks, Umbers etc. selling timber and pitch to merchants in White Harbour, who then export it.

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15 minutes ago, SeanF said:

Well, the Royal Navy and English shipbuilders imported thousands of tons of pine and pitch from the Baltic, rather than rely on domestic supplies,  and Jon’s negotiations with the Iron Bank involved timber. Braavos doubtless has supplies of wood, but the North has immense forests.  White Harbour must be trading something substantial to sustain a resident population of thirty thousand or so (two or three times the size of medieval York or Bristol).

There seems nothing implausible to me in having the Karstarks, Umbers etc. selling timber and pitch to merchants in White Harbour, who then export it.

Considering the Umbers are wary to work with the Manderlys to build a fleet for Robb I doubt that.

Basically, Essos seems always as a different world separate from Westeros. There should be strong economic and political ties between the Free Cities and Westeros - especially between those very close to Westerosi kingdoms - meaning Tyrosh/Lys and Dorne, Tyrosh/Myr and the Stormlands, Pentos and Dragonstone/KL, Pentos and the Vale, Braavos and the Vale/North.

But that just isn't the case aside from minor background noise, so to speak. There is no indication that you have long-term trade relations, with one side providing raw material and the others certain other goods, etc.

Historically, there should also have been massive political and economic wars and other conflicts between those parties.

White Harbor doesn't seem to be a port where raw material like timber are exported - rather it is a city where people produce and export (luxury) goods that are in demand elsewhere.

If Braavos were importing a significant amount of timber from the North then we should expect this to have some political significance - meaning Robb having the opportunity to gain Braavosi support in his war, say, or Braavos itself having a vital interest to preserve stability and prosperity in the North.

In that sense I expect Braavos is, for the most part, not dependent on timber exports from abroad to maintain its fleet - be it the North or any other power.

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And for some reason nobody’s tried to build up a navy to deter the Ironborn on the west coast.

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