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"Death Comes To Us All"
Infant and Child Mortality

12% born would die in their first year 2% in the first day

36% died before the age of six, and another 24% between the ages of seven and sixteen. In all, of 100 live births, 60 would die before the age of 16.

The following diseases, while affecting all ages, were common causes of death in childhood. Whooping cough, diphtheria, dysentery, tuberculosis, typhus, typhoid fever, rickets, chicken pox, measles, scarlet fever, smallpox and plague under their period names, were all listed as causes of death in children. Death from disease was higher in urban than in rural areas.  Teething was also listed among infants whom died at 7 months.  Not listed is malnutrition which I believe would also have contributed. Worms are parasites which generally live-in balance with the host. Worms, and lice as well, were seen as a positive force, cleansing the body of corruption.


   In the 1600s the minimum legal age for marriage in England, Scotland, and Ireland was 12.  The typical age of marriage for women was the late teens and early twenties.  2nd, 3rd, and 4th marriages were common with both men and women, given the high mortality rate of the times. 

 1.5 percent of women giving birth died. Note that the rate is per birth, so the lifetime risk of dying in childbirth was much higher, perhaps 4 or 5 percent. 


What Are Ancestors Survived

SEP 1547 

-  Battle of Pinkie Cleugh - Musselburgh in Lothian 5 miles east of Edinburgh . While English losses stood at around 500, estimates suggest those of Scotland were anything between 6,000 and 14,000 – many of whom were slaughtered as they retreated.


-  The Witchcraft Act was passed by the Scottish Parliament.  Few, if any acts, passed by the Scottish Parliament have had such deadly consequences


Black plague returns to Europe, takes an especially heavy toll on Ireland


- 3,000 and 4,000 accused witches may have been killed in Scotland 


- The Great Scottish Witch Hunt of 1597 the exact number of those executed is unknown but is believed to be about 200.  A much higher rate than for neighboring England.


- The English army under orders from the English government from 1605 to 1656 ordered all Caledonians out of Scotland.  Those who did not flee, or were not wealthy enough to leave, were herded in mass to the sea and slain upon the sand.  There their bodies were left to rot.

1645 - 47

-  38,0000 Died.  The plague epidemic which gripped Edinburgh was, without exception, the most devastating.  It is estimated that up to half of the population died, while in Leith the percentage was even higher.  Corpses littered the closes and local government collapsed as the infected fell in their tens of thousands. Dumfries, Fife, St Andrews, Dundee, Aberdeen and Elgin were also hit hard.

1661 - 1663

-  The king's most excellent majesty, finding it fit for the good of his service that there be a new nomination of justices of the peace in the several shires of this kingdom, does, therefore, Within the shire of Edinburgh Major John Biggar of Wollmet


1661 - 1662

-  Witch Trials  Edinburgh - Major John Biggar was responsible for the torture, death, and burning of 28 Women and 4 men. 


- Plague The Great Plague of London, lasting from 1665 to 1666, had 75,000 deaths.

NOV 28, 1666

-  Battle of Rullion Green  Pentland Hills, in Midlothian


Irish indentured servants were Irish people who became indentured servants serfs slaves in territories such as the British West  Indies (particularly Barbados, Jamaica, and under the control of the British Empire, the Leeward Islands), British North America, and later Australia. Indentures agreed to provide up to seven years of labor in return for passage to the New World and food, housing, and shelter during their indenture. At the end of this period, their masters were legally required to grant them "freedom dues" in the form of either land or capital. An indentured servant's contract could be extended as punishment for breaking a law, such as running away, or in the case of female servants, becoming pregnant.                                                                 

Those transported unwillingly were not indentures. They were political prisonersvagrants, or people who had been defined as "undesirable" by the English state.  Penal transportation of Irish people was at its height during the 17th century, during the Cromwellian conquest and settlement of Ireland (1649–1653).  During this period, thousands of Irish people were sent to the Caribbean, or "Barbados", against their will. Similar practices continued as late as the Victorian period, with Irish political prisoners sent to imperial British penal colonies in Australia. 

       "The high mortality rate...necessitated a constant input of fresh slaves"

"It is estimated that between 1627 to 1807, some 387 000 Africans were shipped to the island against their will, in overcrowded, unsanitary ships, which made the Middle Passage a synonym for barbaric horror. Over time, many of these individuals were re-exported to other slave-owning colonies, either in the West Indies or to North America. However, and this is especially true for the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, the high mortality rate among slaves working on the sugar plantations necessitated a constant input of fresh slaves in order to maintain a workforce."

Slavery and Economy in Barbados  By Dr Karl Watson

May & Jun 1685 - 

Banishments of Covenanters and Argyll Prisoners. Following the unsuccessful Argyll Rising of May to June 1685, the government conducted large-scale banishments of prisoners held in Edinburgh. Most were banished to the plantations in Jamaica.

1700 -

- smallpox's death rate was 33%. It afflicted small children most seriously; for them, it was often fatal claiming 1 child for every 3 or 4 infected.

17 January 1746

At The Battle of Falkirk II 2,000 died including Lt Colonel Robert Biggar

1783 - 1800

19% of all of Scotland's deaths were due to smallpox

16 April 1746

-  The Battle of Culloden - the final confrontation of the Jacobite rising of 1745. 1,500 and 2,000 Jacobites were killed or wounded, while about 300 government soldiers were killed or wounded


- First Cholera Pandemic 150,000 worldwide


- Cholera caused 22,000 deaths in England and 10,000 deaths in Scotland. Glasgow alone suffered 3,000 deaths. Dundee's 1832 epidemic lasted 30 weeks with over 800 people infected and over 500 succumbing to the disease


- Cholera  epidemic, England and Scotland had over 60,000 deaths.


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