Monday, April 18, 2016

Recent Population Turnover In China

Razib notes in a recent blog post:
[T]he population of modern Sichuan has only weak demographic connections to classical Sichuan, as instability in the 17th century resulted in a population crash to around ~1 million. Subsequent to this over 10 million Han Chinese from the regions directly to the east, Hunan and Hubei, migrated into the region, replenishing its population. This obviously has cultural and genetic implications….(if this was common, as some have asserted, then the low between population differences between Han regions in terms of genetics makes a lot of sense).
Modern anthropologists and historians tend to have a hard time knowing what to make of extreme population turnovers that ancient DNA evidence makes clear have happened in multiple places at multiple times over the course of history. The event in Sichuan, in the historical era, could shed some valuable light on what this kind of population turnover event looks like in more human terms.

There are also some places in Europe where I understand that there has been great population turnover in the last thousand years or so: Hungary and some coastal and island areas around the Balkans immediately come to mind.

1 comment:

Joyce said...

This region has always been impacted a lot in wartime throughout history. The worst depopulation happened during Mongol invasion and plague(more virulent and devastating in the basin)and it was repopulated by people from Hunan and Hubei(government sponsored). The history channel in US described that thousands of women jumped to their death from the tall wall of Chengdu. Mongols were notorious for burning everyone and everything, including the grass, if no surrender before attack. The fat from burn bodies flew like rivers, according to witness. Chinese killed a lot of Mongols too, but not before half of population perished because of the plague and the carnage of the war. It is no exaggeration that historians estimate the human toll of Mongol conquest over 100 million. In the 17th, Manchu invaded during Chinese in fight. The genetics of classic Sichuan people can only be partially checked by ancient DNAs, I doubt they were much different.