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Population of the Nine Regions of Westeros


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the nine Regions in order of population

The Reach is 25 million

The North is 18 million

The Riverlands is 8 million

Westerlands and Vale have 6 million

The Stormlands and Dorne have 5 million each

the Crownlands have 4 million

the Iron Islands have 500,000

These figures are plausible but extremely conversative based on western europe which had much high population densities during the High Middle Ages only to lose 60% percent of the population due to famine and plague, this hasn't happened yet in Westeros as of TWo5K.

 

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Posted (edited)
13 hours ago, Alden Rothack said:

the nine Regions in order of population

The Reach is 25 million

The North is 18 million

The Riverlands is 8 million

Westerlands and Vale have 6 million

The Stormlands and Dorne have 5 million each

the Crownlands have 4 million

the Iron Islands have 500,000

These figures are plausible but extremely conversative based on western europe which had much high population densities during the High Middle Ages only to lose 60% percent of the population due to famine and plague, this hasn't happened yet in Westeros as of TWo5K.

 

That totals around 80 million, which does track with the peak population of Europe during the end of the high middle ages (80-90mil between 1250-1300), but I'm conflicted about some of the ratio if I'm being totally honest. Mainly just concerning the North and the Reach.

If we look at how many men each region can field, and including semi-canonical sources -

Soldiers per region:

North: (max) 45,000 // 20,000 (War of 5 Kings)

Vale: (max) 45,000 // 20,000 (6 Lords Declarant)

Riverlands: (max) 45,000 // <20,000 (War of 5 kings)

Dorne: (max) 45,000 // allegedly 50,000 (numbers a perpetuated bluff from conquest of Daeron) 10,000 (Roberts Rebellion)

Westerlands: (max) 50,000 // 35,000 (Tywin and Jamie's hosts) +unknown 3rd host of green boys at Oxcross (WO5K)

Iron islands: (max) 20,000 // 1000 ships (War of 5 Kings). (likely a higher percentage of pop. are fighters due to culture)

Crownlands: (max) 15,000 // 200 ships 5000 men (Stannis) 50 ships 2000 trained Goldcloaks (Joff)

Stormlands: (max) 30,000 // Pass (Renly's host was of Reach and Stormlands so this is difficult to determine.)

Reach: (max) 80-100,000 // 100,000(?) (50-70,000 host outside kings landing by end of book 3)

This all suggests a more equitable distribution of population to me. The Reach is still the most populace, but perhaps not so great as 25m. I would guess closer to 18-20m. The north is vast but also sparsely populated, so its total pop. I would suspect to be closer to the other main realms. I would put most around 9m, with the Iron island and the Crownlands still being around your estimate, but closer the 1&2mil respectively. 

It feels it would probably be most accurate to go by 14th century population numbers, which would best account for pre black death population count, putting us 300 years after William the conquer's conquest of England (like 300 years after Aegon), placing us right before the black death (grey death), and reinforcing Dany's claim to the title khal of khals (same era of mongol apex).

No high medieval European country boaster a population higher than 17mil (France) but we can bump that up to 18-20mil if we add Switzerland, the Netherlands and Belgium to the count, while the German empire, Italy, and Austria Hungry each averaged around 9-11mil in 1300. The Balkans ~8mil (Stormlands?).  Spain and Portugal averaged 6-7mil during this century (Dorne). The once territories of the north sea empire, while no longer intact were totaled around 5-7mil (England, Norway, Denmark) + (Scotland and Sweden). and thats ~7 kingdoms. But if we incorporate Northeastern Europe in addition (European Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, Poland, the Baltics, Finland) that is around another 12mil, so using them as a prototype along with the former North Sea empire, that puts us around ~18mil for the population of the North which fits your original model well, but I feel uneasy believing the north has this many people given how many men they have shown they can field.

Honestly, all in all, its none too far off from your estimate. I agree that the Stormland's and Dorne are likely the least populace of the seven kingdoms, followed by the Westerlands and Vale, which while both mountainous maintain important port cities in Lannisport and Gulltown, but I'm unsure to what degree we can say they are more or less populace than the Riverlands. 

 

But yeah, no doubt that Grey Plague is gonna hit hard. Can flesh turned to stone come back as wights? imagine being undead but unable to move, trapped in stone flesh like a fossilized Weirwood tree. It would be ironic if this disease hindered the Others, where simple starvation from famine and cold would have helped them.

Edited by Club-foot cleft-lips
added a musing to the end.
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I love that you've gone into such detail, relating it to populations in the late middle ages.....

I think the numbers are high though.  It seems like there are fewer peasants in GRRM's world....there's plenty of them around city centers...the places that can stockpile food.  The spaces between.....less so.  I suspect the crazy long winters make living away from a holdfast or city center harder than in real history.  Maybe cut these numbers in half?  Still.....pretty great that you've connected each region with a real historical area of europe and estimated based on that.  Pretty cool.

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Posted (edited)
57 minutes ago, Ring3r said:

Maybe cut these numbers in half?

Don't worry, if the Grey Death follows the course of the Black Death, it will do exactly that :)

Edited by Club-foot cleft-lips
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3 hours ago, Club-foot cleft-lips said:

That totals around 80 million, which does track with the peak population of Europe during the end of the high middle ages (80-90mil between 1250-1300), but I'm conflicted about some of the ratio if I'm being totally honest. Mainly just concerning the North and the Reach.

If we look at how many men each region can field, and including semi-canonical sources -

Soldiers per region:

North: (max) 45,000 // 20,000 (War of 5 Kings)

Vale: (max) 45,000 // 20,000 (6 Lords Declarant)

Riverlands: (max) 45,000 // <20,000 (War of 5 kings)

Dorne: (max) 45,000 // allegedly 50,000 (numbers a perpetuated bluff from conquest of Daeron) 10,000 (Roberts Rebellion)

Westerlands: (max) 50,000 // 35,000 (Tywin and Jamie's hosts) +unknown 3rd host of green boys at Oxcross (WO5K)

Iron islands: (max) 20,000 // 1000 ships (War of 5 Kings). (likely a higher percentage of pop. are fighters due to culture)

Crownlands: (max) 15,000 // 200 ships 5000 men (Stannis) 50 ships 2000 trained Goldcloaks (Joff)

Stormlands: (max) 30,000 // Pass (Renly's host was of Reach and Stormlands so this is difficult to determine.)

Reach: (max) 80-100,000 // 100,000(?) (50-70,000 host outside kings landing by end of book 3)

This all suggests a more equitable distribution of population to me. The Reach is still the most populace, but perhaps not so great as 25m. I would guess closer to 18-20m. The north is vast but also scarily populated, so its total pop. I would suspect to be closer to the other main realms. I would put most around 9m, with the Iron island and the Crownlands still being around your estimate, but closer the 1&2mil respectively. 

It feels it would probably be most accurate to go by 14th century population numbers, which would best account for pre black death population count, putting us 300 years after William the conquer's conquest of England (like 300 years after Aegon), placing us right before the black death (grey death), and reinforcing Dany's claim to the title khal of khals (same era of mongol apex).

No high medieval European country boaster a population higher than 17mil (France) but we can bump that up to 18-20mil if we add Switzerland, the Netherlands and Belgium to the count, while the German empire, Italy, and Austria Hungry each averaged around 9-11mil in 1300. The Balkans ~8mil (Stormlands?).  Spain and Portugal averaged 6-7mil during this century (Dorne). The once territories of the north sea empire, while no longer intact were totaled around 5-7mil (England, Norway, Denmark) + (Scotland and Sweden). and thats ~7 kingdoms. But if we incorporate Northeastern Europe in addition (European Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, Poland, the Baltics, Finland) that is around another 12mil, so using them as a prototype along with the former North Sea empire, that puts us around ~18mil for the population of the North which fits your original model well, but I feel uneasy believing the north has this many people given how many men they have shown they can field.

Honestly, all in all, its none too far off from your estimate. I agree that the Stormland's and Dorne are likely the least populace of the seven kingdoms, followed by the Westerlands and Vale, which while both mountainous maintain important port cities in Lannisport and Gulltown, but I'm unsure to what degree we can say they are more or less populace than the Riverlands. 

 

But yeah, no doubt that Grey Plague is gonna hit hard. Can flesh turned to stone come back as wights? imagine being undead but unable to move, trapped in stone flesh like a fossilized Weirwood tree. It would be ironic if this disease hindered the Others, where simple starvation from famine and cold would have helped them.

The issue is scale, the Reach by itself is almost exactly the size of Carolingian Empire at its greatest extent and that had between 10 and 20 million in the 9th century when few other states had even half the lower figure, the Reach is really really big as fertile countries go, by rights it should be three kingdoms not one but it isn't (yet)

The North has far more people than any realm except the Reach but due to sheer size seems very empty, I've got it as a third of the population density of the Reach but its also around two and a half times bigger so sheer size eats up a lot of the difference, they cound not however maintain very large armies in one place for a similiar amount of time due to lacking the Reachs vast fertile lands.

My numbers are actually quite a bit lower than the pre-famine, pre-plague 14th century when the most fertile countries reached up to a 100 people per square mile, at that density the Reach would have over 40 million by itself.

Basically all the kingdoms except the Iron Isles have far more men than they mobilize at once because they don't have the logistics to send them the thousands of miles required to do battle, secondly because they don't have the leadership and thirdly because its not required, a similar situation in France prevailed through the middle ages after the Carolingian Empire split.

the Riverlands is large and fertile but like France under most kings gets beat up on a lot due to infighting, its the second largest fertile kingdom and therefore should have a lot of people, I put it as about ten percent less populated than the Reach because of this.

What the Riverlands lacks isn't men its quality leadership and once the war begins leadership at all across much of it.

 

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On 5/12/2024 at 7:27 PM, Alden Rothack said:

the nine Regions in order of population

The Reach is 25 million

The North is 18 million

The Riverlands is 8 million

Westerlands and Vale have 6 million

The Stormlands and Dorne have 5 million each

the Crownlands have 4 million

the Iron Islands have 500,000

These figures are plausible but extremely conversative based on western europe which had much high population densities during the High Middle Ages only to lose 60% percent of the population due to famine and plague, this hasn't happened yet in Westeros as of TWo5K.

 

These look fine to me overall, but I do think you have some regions way too high and others way too low. Keep in mind that geography and climate differ from kingdom to kingdom, so rather than taking "Western Europe" as a whole, you should take specific countries that served as inspiration for individual kingdoms of Westeros.

I followed that approach, and got the following estimates:

https://fantasyview.wordpress.com/2024/04/17/population-of-westeros/

  • North
    • population by army size: 1 475 000 – 2 458 000
    • population by density: 7 500 000 – 12 500 000
    • military: 29 500
    • mobilization at density: 0,2 – 0,4%
  • Riverlands:
    • population by army size: 1 000 000 – 1 700 000
    • population by density: 12 700 000 – 14 400 000
    • military: 20 000
    • mobilization at density: 0,14 – 0,16%
  • Westerlands
    • population by army size: 1 750 000 – 5 625 000
    • population by density: 5 000 000 – 6 900 000
    • military: 67 500
    • mobilization at density: 0,98 – 1,35%
  • Stormlands
    • population by army size: 1 250 000 – 2 083 000
    • population by density: 3 817 000 – 5 722 000
    • military: 25 000
    • mobilization at density: 0,44 – 0,65%
  • Reach
    • population by army size: 3 250 000 – 8 396 000
    • population by density: 34 267 000 – 41 607 000
    • military: 100 750
    • mobilization at density: 0,24 – 0,29%
  • Vale
    • population by army size: 1 250 000 – 2 083 000
    • population by density: 7 180 000 – 8 376 000
    • military: 25 000
    • mobilization at density: 0,30 – 0,35%
  • Dorne
    • population by army size: 1 250 000 – 2 083 000
    • population by density: 5 010 000 – 6 008 000
    • military: 25 000
    • mobilization at density: 0,42 – 0,50%
  • Iron Islands
    • population by army size: 420 000
    • population by density: 10 000 – 20 000
    • military: 42 000
    • mobilization at density: 210 – 420%
  • Crownlands
    • population by army size: 550 000 – 4 437 000
    • population by density: 1 952 000 – 2 672 000
    • military: 53 250
    • mobilization at density: 1,99 – 2,73%
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10 hours ago, Aldarion said:

These look fine to me overall, but I do think you have some regions way too high and others way too low. Keep in mind that geography and climate differ from kingdom to kingdom, so rather than taking "Western Europe" as a whole, you should take specific countries that served as inspiration for individual kingdoms of Westeros.

I followed that approach, and got the following estimates:

https://fantasyview.wordpress.com/2024/04/17/population-of-westeros

I am aware of both takes, I agree with some parts but not others, the population has to match the descriptions of in the books on its not valid

I don't agree that any of them are too high, apart from the Iron islands all of them could go higher

the Reach for example is the same size as the Carolingian Empire which may have reached as many as 20 million in the 9th century.

10 hours ago, Thomaerys Velaryon said:

For another population analysis, there is this one by Werthead: https://atlasoficeandfireblog.wordpress.com/2016/03/06/the-population-of-the-seven-kingdoms

well the most obvious problem with this take is the kingdoms are a different size to the other take and the one i'm using because they fubbed the conversion between units.

The population densities are valid but the conclusion isn't because they got size wrong

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Reach looks way too high relative to the other kingdoms. North also looks very high.

There are a few issues with basing population estimates by comparing to medieval Europe. For starters, parts of Westeros, like the North, Dorne, the mountainous parts of the Vale, etc. are much less hospitable than most of medieval Europe was (particularly if you’re looking at the core population centers of Western Europe or the Mediterranean). The other big thing is that this is a world where winters last for years. If you actually want to evaluate things realistically, civilization existing as it does in ASOIAF is probably not very plausible. So it’s very easy for me to believe that the population density of Westeros is a lot lower than medieval Europe. 

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I’d put the North at 4-6 m.  I’d expect it to be most sparsely populated region.  The Riverlands, given their fertility, should be a bit higher, IMHO.

Initially, I was attracted to using army sizes as the basis for population estimates.

However, I’d discount that now, because 

(a) some armies are expeditionary forces, others are defending their home turf.  You should be able to raise a higher proportion of the population for the latter than the former.

(b) army sizes are self-limiting, for logistical reasons.  Beyond a certain point, an army will simply starve.  Especially as the nature of war in Westeros is one that maximises brutality and economic devastation.  In fact, Renly’s army of 100,000 is unrealistic.  It would have to be split into smaller units, to feed itself.

(c) Martin tends to be very vague about numbers.

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Westeros has some odd population quirks to remember about it though.

Long periods of huge population growth followed by mass starvation.

Continent next door with huge population and large volume of trade  and people passing between both.

The decline of the watch has left vast volumes of useable land in the north largely unoccupied for fear of willdling raids but they are across the water from ome of planetos largest cities in bravos 

The iron islands population to military  is probably bigger than it should be but declining due to them formerly having a larger  empire but being driven back to their rocks ! Add in as  well  them largely going to sea for raids/trade and fishing (we dont sow is b.s)  as well as  thralls for grunt work.

Dorne population got a huge boost from mymerias mass landing

 

 

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On 5/16/2024 at 7:05 PM, ATaleofSalt&amp;Onions said:

Reach looks way too high relative to the other kingdoms. North also looks very high.

There are a few issues with basing population estimates by comparing to medieval Europe. For starters, parts of Westeros, like the North, Dorne, the mountainous parts of the Vale, etc. are much less hospitable than most of medieval Europe was (particularly if you’re looking at the core population centers of Western Europe or the Mediterranean). The other big thing is that this is a world where winters last for years. If you actually want to evaluate things realistically, civilization existing as it does in ASOIAF is probably not very plausible. So it’s very easy for me to believe that the population density of Westeros is a lot lower than medieval Europe. 

I disagree, the descriptions do not support that despite how much sense it would make

 

On 5/18/2024 at 9:12 AM, SeanF said:

I’d put the North at 4-6 m.  I’d expect it to be most sparsely populated region.  The Riverlands, given their fertility, should be a bit higher, IMHO.

Initially, I was attracted to using army sizes as the basis for population estimates.

However, I’d discount that now, because 

(a) some armies are expeditionary forces, others are defending their home turf.  You should be able to raise a higher proportion of the population for the latter than the former.

(b) army sizes are self-limiting, for logistical reasons.  Beyond a certain point, an army will simply starve.  Especially as the nature of war in Westeros is one that maximises brutality and economic devastation.  In fact, Renly’s army of 100,000 is unrealistic.  It would have to be split into smaller units, to feed itself.

(c) Martin tends to be very vague about numbers.

the North is the second most thinnly peopled region, its only a third the density of the Reach but its also two and a half times the size so it ends up with a large total population

yes but most b) they lack the ability to marshal anything close to their full strength because of limited logistics and poor leadership

23 hours ago, astarkchoice said:

Westeros has some odd population quirks to remember about it though.

Long periods of huge population growth followed by mass starvation.

Continent next door with huge population and large volume of trade  and people passing between both.

The decline of the watch has left vast volumes of useable land in the north largely unoccupied for fear of willdling raids but they are across the water from ome of planetos largest cities in bravos 

The iron islands population to military  is probably bigger than it should be but declining due to them formerly having a larger  empire but being driven back to their rocks ! Add in as  well  them largely going to sea for raids/trade and fishing (we dont sow is b.s)  as well as  thralls for grunt work.

Dorne population got a huge boost from mymerias mass landing

Yes, the iron islands wouldn't normally even be a factor at their size but they over commit heaviliy to their military

 

 

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