I am looking for this information everywhere, but I can't seem to find the population of anyone else but the Europeans during the middle ages.

We know that the population of the European countries reached 70 to 100 million people during the high middle ages, but there are no estimations about anyone else.

I have found some information about Egypt in the early middle ages, that a cencus estimated the male adults where about 12 mil people, which I think is highly impropable.

Can anyone provide any actual numbers about the neighboors of the Europeans during that time, backed by any kind of credentials (even not widely accepted)?

2 Answers 2


The following is taken from my dog-eared copy of the New Penguin Atlas of Medieval History. However, the source numbers supposedly come from Colin McEvedy's Atlas of World Population History (which I sadly don't have a copy of. Hint to Santa).

One thing to note is that, since the full advent of the Neolithic age, there have pretty much always been the same number of people in Egypt as in the rest of North Africa combined (mostly living from Tunisia westward). So if you really had a number that said 12 million in Egypt, that would imply there'd be roughly another 12 million in the rest of North Africa (for a total of 24 million). Now here's what Mr. McEvedy had:

737 AD: About 4 million in Spain, mostly in the Mediterranean coastal areas (which were all in Muslim Hands). About 3 million in Egypt and another 3 in the rest of North Africa. About 22 million in the rest of Europe combined (mostly in France, the Low Countries, and Italy).

1,346 AD: About 9 million in Spain, most in either the northern or southern thirds of the peninsula (all but the small Emirate of Granada was in Christian hands). About 4 million in Egypt and another 5 in the rest of North Africa. About 70 Million in the rest of Europe (mostly in areas from Poland and Serbia westwards). The Black Death broke out this year, so this is the highest the population ever got during the entire Middle Ages.

  • Could you please, give me these numbers for one or two Nations for that time? Commented Oct 24, 2012 at 13:33
  • @ThanosK. - I'll do what I can. IIRC, the way Mr. McEverdy did it was to just place icons representing X number of people in general areas, without the political borders even drawn. His later atlases did add the political borders, I think cheifly because the advent of Conscription made the relative size of countries an important factor in everybody's thinking. In the middle ages, armies had to be professional to be any use though, so a country's population wasn't that important a consideration.
    – T.E.D.
    Commented Oct 24, 2012 at 13:53
  • What I am really looking for is an estimation of the muslim population minus those that lived in southern Spain. Is it 10-20 million people or closer to 50 - that kind of estimation is good enough. Commented Oct 25, 2012 at 16:56
  • 2
    @ThanosK. - Well, you should know that that most Muslims lived (and live) outside of Africa, quite a few in places that can in no way be considered "neighbors" of Europe (eg: Indonesia).
    – T.E.D.
    Commented Oct 26, 2012 at 11:53
  • 1
    @LouisRhys - If you mean for the purposes of my population proportion rule-of-thumb, then no. However, the Muslim-ruled portions of Spain were culturally part of the Muslim world, with particularly strong ties to North Africa. The ruling classes and military were of Berber stock, and spoke Semitic languages. So I do think it fair to call their portion of Spain a "Neighbor of the Europeans" rather than European.
    – T.E.D.
    Commented Jul 22, 2013 at 12:33

"What I am really looking for is an estimation of the Muslim population..." @ThanosK and @T.E.D., an overall, general population estimation f.e. as provided by McEverdy would not really help to answer the question. Since about 350 AD the entire Maghreb, with Egypt being the core territory, is step by step Christianized. After the invasion of the Arabs and the Islamization of these territories authorities would always fudge censuses to the disadvantage of Maronite, Coptic, or other Christian minorities. This tradition is still alive today.

  • 1
    "authorities would always fudge censuses" : what censuses?
    – fdb
    Commented Dec 9, 2014 at 14:51

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