By Stale Dyrvik, Tore Gronlie, Knut Helie, Edgar Hovland, Rolf Danielsen
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Additional resources for Norway: A History from the Vikings to Our Own Times
Working on the basis of 6 persons per holding and allowing for the number of people in towns and the number in the countryside not living on farms and holdings, the leading historians in the field have estimated the total population to have been between 400,000 and 500,000. Given the uncertainty of our average population per holding and making yet another estimate, this time of the population living in the areas later added to Sweden (Bahuslen, Jemtland and Herjedalen), we arrive at a POPULATION, SETTLEMENT AND THE ECONOMY UP TO AROUND 1 3 5 0 35 figure for the population of mainland Norway, around the year 1300, of somewhere between 300,000 and 550,000 persons.
Between these two catastrophies it would seem that the population grew steadily throughout Europe. Population growth was especially strong in the period 1050-1300 along with the growth of agricultural and urban settlement and an increasing output from agriculture and other economic activities. Norway and, indeed, Scandinavia as a whole fit into this general picture of development. Archaeological detection of abandoned farms in Rogaland and Agder suggest a fall in population and a reduction in the number of settlements towards the end of the Migration Period, at about the time the first demographic crisis hit the southern parts of Europe.
But there is much to suggest that such organizations were universally dependent on a more clearly denned leadership and had a more markedly aristocratic character. The question turns rather on what we can call chieftainships headed by men who were both political and religious leaders and who tied their people to them by bonds of personal allegiance. It is very likely that the chieftainships were constantly in dispute over territory and resources and could quickly change both their rulers and power bases.
Norway: A History from the Vikings to Our Own Times by Stale Dyrvik, Tore Gronlie, Knut Helie, Edgar Hovland, Rolf Danielsen