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DRAGONMOUNT

A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY

Census : Randland 996NE


Noah Ruan
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Having only read the first 3 books (to this point) I apologize ahead of time if RJ brings this up later in the books - however, I was wondering just how many people are actually alive during the books.

 

I mean - to the characters point of view (having lived in a "small village") any city would of course seem "huge" to them. However, just how huge?

 

Are we talking thousands, millions...... billions?

 

When RJ goes on about the crowds of Tar Valon, Illian, Andor, etc I am always picturing a scene much like New York City.

 

Its the random small things that cross my mind having read so far. :huh:

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From what I can tell, the total population now is in the (low) millions in Randland (the continent the books are taking place on), but not the billions.

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Regarding the sizes of the armies, and the relatively few "big" cities, I would guess in the lower millions, from a couple to no more than 15ish on the main continent. I can't imagine that the big cities would hold anywhere close to 1 million each. Somebody with a good grasp of demographics and history could probably guess the city populations from the descriptions, I believe some of them have rough estimates of physical size in the books. There are also vast areas of unsettled land that has not been in use for centuries, and borders of many nations have receded in recent years.

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Try thinking of Randland as equivilant to Europe cira 1500-1600 without the obvious gunpowder technologies (...spoilers...!). The varius cities are pretty much equivilant to period great cities like Rome, Paris, Madrid, London. Tar Valon throws a wrench in the mix on that comparison as it is archetectualy unlike anything seen in any city in our history, as well as being uncomonly large, say 2 to 3 times the size and populations of Caaymlen or even Tear.

 

I pick the 16th century as, similar to 16th century Europe, Randland is an example of a civilization in decline. Population has been decreasing, trade is fairly stagnent and technolegy has actualy regressed in some areas such as archetecture, mathmatics, knowlege of the sextant is limited to the Sea Folk, medicine is limited to village herb-women and nations are constantly mired in warfare that does little to actualy benefit either nation without gain of territory or recources.

 

16th Century was very similar in that it was constantly wracked with warfare and famine. The only diference was that the 15th and 16th centurys were times of great exploration in Europe, the New world had been discovered as well as routes to the Orient whereas Randland is traped on their part of the world by the limitations of their shipbuilders and the Aiel Waste and all those "savages".

Edited by Lurk31
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The area depicted in the map at the front of the book alone is at least twice the size of Europe. Nations are fielding armies of hundreds of thousands, something unheard of until "recent times". Disease is also much less common than it was in our history because much of it (though certainly not all) was wiped out during the Age of Legends. In the major cities, Tar Valon, Caemlyn, Cairhien, Tear, etc... we're talking about over a hundred thousand people in the city alone, potentially a few hundred thousand in some. France in 1500 had about 15-18 million people. Spain about 8 million. Germany about 12 million. And we're likely going to see healthier (literally) populations in Randland, even if the population has been in decline from what it once was, and I'm fairly certain the technology is better than it was in 1500 on many fronts, at least in terms of industry and the press.

 

The first wave of the Seanchan Return brought more than half a million people by itself.

 

Just for some perspective.

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Jordan stated that Tar Valon has around 500,000 whilst cities like Caemlyn and Tear has more along the lines of 300,000. Beyond that numbers are a bit uncertain.

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Jordan stated that Tar Valon has around 500,000 whilst cities like Caemlyn and Tear has more along the lines of 300,000. Beyond that numbers are a bit uncertain.

 

This sounds more comparable with Europe in 1700 than 1500 too, so maybe that should be taken into account for projections.

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it seems to be even though the land area is fairly large theres alot more wilderness and very little cities. Although areas around cities and towns are heavily farmed. We have very little evidence about populations in randland, but we do know more about the aiel. The combined aiel armies including the shaido was nearing 1 million, since the majority were men except the maidens you can probably guess there are more than 2x that many aiel, so at least 2 million aiel in the waste. I would guess though that randland is much denser population even though it is all wilderness. So still expect tens of millions there.

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Jordan stated that Tar Valon has around 500,000 whilst cities like Caemlyn and Tear has more along the lines of 300,000. Beyond that numbers are a bit uncertain.

My previous guess wasn't that bad then. :biggrin:

 

We have very little evidence about populations in randland, but we do know more about the aiel. The combined aiel armies including the shaido was nearing 1 million, since the majority were men except the maidens you can probably guess there are more than 2x that many aiel, so at least 2 million aiel in the waste. I would guess though that randland is much denser population even though it is all wilderness. So still expect tens of millions there.

 

When you say "tens" I have a hard time picturing more than 20, frankly I don't think its even that. If the above claim about TV and capitals is true, it should be closer to 10 or maybe even less. Look at the number of nations and how few "big" cities there are in addition to the capitals. Most capitals are likely to be smaller than Caemlyn but say 300,000 each and there is 500,000 (TV) + 13*300,000) = 4.4 million (this should be exaggerated enough to include independent regions/cities like Falme, Two Rivers etc). Add Mayene and Far Madding at 300,000 each (doubtfully) and we are at 5 million. If the population in nations outside the capitals match the capitals we are at 8.9 million. If the population outside capitals is twice the capitals we are at 12.8 million.

 

 

I can't in any way vouch for what I just wrote (its way too rough and sloppy) but given the claim i based it on I'm already exaggerating a lot (assuming every capital is the same population as Caemlyn which they are clearly not). In short, I don't think the 500k + 300k claim can support a population above 15 million no matter how you count, in fact it indicates an even lower population.

Edited by Alric
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Get a army-country ratio from a couple of 1600-1700 european countries, get numbers from WOT books, i.e caemlyn army, with the ratio roughly guess the population:P

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Jordan stated that Tar Valon has around 500,000 whilst cities like Caemlyn and Tear has more along the lines of 300,000. Beyond that numbers are a bit uncertain.

My previous guess wasn't that bad then. :biggrin:

 

We have very little evidence about populations in randland, but we do know more about the aiel. The combined aiel armies including the shaido was nearing 1 million, since the majority were men except the maidens you can probably guess there are more than 2x that many aiel, so at least 2 million aiel in the waste. I would guess though that randland is much denser population even though it is all wilderness. So still expect tens of millions there.

 

When you say "tens" I have a hard time picturing more than 20, frankly I don't think its even that. If the above claim about TV and capitals is true, it should be closer to 10 or maybe even less. Look at the number of nations and how few "big" cities there are in addition to the capitals. Most capitals are likely to be smaller than Caemlyn but say 300,000 each and there is 500,000 (TV) + 13*300,000) = 4.4 million (this should be exaggerated enough to include independent regions/cities like Falme, Two Rivers etc). Add Mayene and Far Madding at 300,000 each (doubtfully) and we are at 5 million. If the population in nations outside the capitals match the capitals we are at 8.9 million. If the population outside capitals is twice the capitals we are at 12.8 million.

 

 

I can't in any way vouch for what I just wrote (its way too rough and sloppy) but given the claim i based it on I'm already exaggerating a lot (assuming every capital is the same population as Caemlyn which they are clearly not). In short, I don't think the 500k + 300k claim can support a population above 15 million no matter how you count, in fact it indicates an even lower population.

 

To me this sounds about right. I took some civilization classes in University, and applying some of that knowledge to Randland, I always figured the big cities were around 250-500k, with a max population around 5 million.

 

This leads to a pet peeve of mine regarding cultures in Randland. For the size and amount of people, there are way too many distinct cultures, in my opinion. But I'm not a cultural expert, so who knows. I suppose the known world was larger in the AoL and after the breaking a lot of the population got crammed into what is now Randland?

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The "many cultures" do not seem to be very different at all though. They seem to only differ in their appearance, their food, and how they choose their monarchs. Given that there seems to be so much trade and everyone speaks the same language, I am actually surprised that appearances are so rigid in Randland

 

As to population. We seem to know how big the cities are, but the armies seem just way too large to me in comparison. Population of French Empire in 1810 was around 40 million, and it fielded a Grand Armee of about 600,000. Granted it probably supported more troops as it had to fight in Spain and defend its other possessions. Any military historians here?

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Extremely impressed and thankful for the torrent of well educated comments to the OP. :biggrin:

 

That said, I guess I have always thought of Randland's population somewhere between 5-10 million (which seems to be a gross overestimation at this point).

 

In regards to this quote

Jordan stated that Tar Valon has around 500,000 whilst cities like Caemlyn and Tear has more along the lines of 300,000. Beyond that numbers are a bit uncertain.

 

Could you source that ..... Being that HE commented on the population numbers .... can't really debate it. :ohmy:

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Extremely impressed and thankful for the torrent of well educated comments to the OP. :biggrin:

 

That said, I guess I have always thought of Randland's population somewhere between 5-10 million (which seems to be a gross overestimation at this point).

 

In regards to this quote

Jordan stated that Tar Valon has around 500,000 whilst cities like Caemlyn and Tear has more along the lines of 300,000. Beyond that numbers are a bit uncertain.

 

Could you source that ..... Being that HE commented on the population numbers .... can't really debate it. :ohmy:

 

https://docs.google.com/View?docID=dcjspjqg_82hd463gcf&revision=_latest

A Crown of Swords book tour 25 August 1996, Victoria, BC - Greebs reporting

Q: How big are the cities in The Wheel of Time?

RJ: Tar Valon has 500,000 people and cities like Caemlyn and Tear are around 300,000 or so. I've envisioned a seventeenth century society and you've got to remember that for those times 300,000 would be huge. Some Asian cities of that period had populations near one million but nothing in Europe was even close.

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So we probably have about 2.5-4 million living in the capital cities. Also, there are many smaller cities that RJ never put on the maps other than for Andor. Plus if we are talking about a 1700 century society, the % of people living in an urban versus rural environment is probably at most 50%. I am not a historian, other than general interest and the high school level, but it seems to me widespread urbanization didn't occur in Europe until the 18th and 19th centuries. So Noah, your initial estimate of between 5 and 10 million seems reasonable to me

Edited by Ruthan Gudd
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So lets say there are 3 million living in cities. An urban/rural ratio equivalent to England's in 1700 implies a Randland population of almost 18 million.

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Found this quote as well that seems to bump the numbers up a bit. Pretty shocked to see that Andor estimate however.

 

Winter's Heart book tour 12 December 2000, Atlanta Chapter 11 - Br00se reporting

 

The larger cities had between 300k and 600K [people]. Tar Valon has 700K people. Andor has a population of 10 million.

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Found this quote as well that seems to bump the numbers up a bit. Pretty shocked to see that Andor estimate however.

 

Winter's Heart book tour 12 December 2000, Atlanta Chapter 11 - Br00se reporting

 

The larger cities had between 300k and 600K [people]. Tar Valon has 700K people. Andor has a population of 10 million.

 

 

I agree Suttree - Andor's population is almost impossibly larger than the surrounding nations. And with regards to the % of urban to rural population - yes of course in 1600's Europe the numbers were pretty decidedly rural - however, I have gotten the impression from WoT that most of the world's people ( and by most I mean a large majority - 65%?) live within the confines of a safely built metro area.

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I like this topic because it was one of the things i thought about when I read the first few books. I love the world that RJ made in part due to it being full of people. It was in big contrast Lord of the Rings which had vast areas devoid of civalization.

The impression i get of the lands between the areth ocean and the dragon wall is like several people say sixteen century (1500s) but to use europe's populations at that time to compare to RJ's world would be misleading. The black death was a savage blow the eueropes population and took several centuries to return.

But my general opinion is that the population of the lands between the areth ocean and the dragon wall is hundreds of millions perhaps near 500,000,000

Edited by kinggeorge
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Found this quote as well that seems to bump the numbers up a bit. Pretty shocked to see that Andor estimate however.

 

Winter's Heart book tour 12 December 2000, Atlanta Chapter 11 - Br00se reporting

 

The larger cities had between 300k and 600K [people]. Tar Valon has 700K people. Andor has a population of 10 million.

 

 

I found a different version of the same signing--again by Br00se. In it he is uncertain of what Jordan said about Andor.

 

Interview: Dec 5th, 2000

WH Signing Report - Br00se

Robert Jordan

Someone asked about the populations of the major cities. After a little clarifications, he basically said that Tar Valon has a population of about 700,000 and the several of the other cities have around 500,000. He gave a number for the total population of Andor, but I'm not sure of the number, and hope that made it to the tape I'm going to analyze tomorrow.

 

Perhaps the recording was garbled, or your quote was paraphrased by someone else when entered into the database. The Andor numbers do seem out though--the whole quote seems a little odd, with the numbers jumping like that. Perhaps Jordan was not thinking clearly that day :)

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I have to say you guys are seriously underestimating the population of these nations. As I stated before, the population of France ALONE in the year 1500 is estimated to be about 15-18 million. This goes up to 21 million by 1700. Randland is more than twice the size of Europe and seems to have a healthier population and denser cities than you'd find in the year 1500.

 

popgrowthsince_1500.jpg

 

Judging by this chart, western Europe (and I stress just western Europe, not all of Europe) had a population of 50 million by 1500. Randland is definitely over 100 million, and I'd put my bets between 125-175 million, and that's conservative and doesn't take into account the massive hit to population growth and the decline in population in Europe due to plagues. We could be looking at over 300 million.

Edited by Agitel
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I don't know what to believe frankly, but I think I would put the most weight on the actual quotes by RJ (if those are authentic). I can't imagine 100-300 million in total if the biggest cities are between 300,000 to 500,000/700,000. We don't hear or see much about activity (political or economical) outside of the capitals either, and we _are_ told (and shown) a decline in Randland. Nations between the borders of current nations have disappeared, _and_ the borders of current nations are shrinking. I can't see where all these people would hide. How many Aes Sedai are there, around 1000? Count the Kin as well. But even with horribly inefficient recruiting, 3% of the population is supposed to be able to channel. Of 150+ million... Well I just can't make such a high population number work. 

Edited by Alric
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