Advertisement

Population-influenced spatiotemporal pattern of natural disaster and social crisis in China, AD1–1910

  • Shengda ZhangEmail author
  • David Dian ZhangEmail author
Research Paper
  • 1 Downloads

Abstract

Researchers mostly ascribe contemporary natural disaster and the concomitant social crisis to anomalous climate change or global warming. However, whether such a relationship is still valid in long-term historical settings remains doubtful. In this study, data obtained from historical records about natural calamities (flood and drought) and their social impacts (famine, cannibalism, and war) at provincial and decadal scales during AD1–1910 are applied to mathematical statistics such as correlation and regression analysis as well as spatial visualization. Also, the role of population in the nexus of meteorological catastrophes and human miseries is investigated. Results show that at the provincial scale, generally there is high consistency among different variables and most of them are clustered in eastern part of China, especially in the north. More in-depth examinations indicate regional disparities that variables account for higher proportion in the south during the later imperial era, which may be attributed to the southward movement of population center. At the decadal scale, drought is the primary contributor to famine and cannibalism, while severe or even out-of-control famine i.e. cannibalism is more likely to incur war than ordinary famine per se. Besides, population growth rate exerts its positive effect on natural hazards and food crises, whereas more wars bring population loss and relieve population stress despite the weak negative association. These findings supplement previous views and confirm that the distributions of disasters in ancient China are affected by population rather than climatic variability, which only determines the occurrence of disaster.

Keywords

Natural disaster Social crisis Population Spatiotemporal pattern Historical China 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Notes

Acknowledgements

The authors thank the anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments on this manuscript

Supplementary material

References

  1. Acuna-Soto R, Stahle D W, Therrell M D, Gomez Chavez S, Cleaveland M K. 2005. Drought, epidemic disease, and the fall of classic period cultures in Mesoamerica (AD 750–950). Hemorrhagic fevers as a cause of massive population loss. Med Hypotheses, 65: 405–409CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Appleby A B. 1980. Epidemics and famine in the little ice age. J Interdiscip Hist, 10: 643–663CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bergholt D, Lujala P. 2012. Climate-related natural disasters, economic growth, and armed civil conflict. J Peace Res, 49: 147–162CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Blaikie P, Cannon T, Davis I, Wisner B. 2014. At Risk: Natural Hazards, People’s Vulnerability and Disasters. London: RoutledgeGoogle Scholar
  5. Carneiro R L. 2000. The transition from quantity to quality: A neglected causal mechanism in accounting for social evolution. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, 97: 12926–12931CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Cervellati M, Sunde U, Valmori S. 2011. Disease environment and civil conflicts. IZA Discussion Paper, 5614: 1–52Google Scholar
  7. Chen G. 1939. Tabulation of Natural and Manmade Disasters in Dynastic China (in Chinese). Guangzhou: Jinan University Book SeriesGoogle Scholar
  8. Chen Q. 2015. Climate shocks, state capacity and peasant uprisings in North China during 25–1911 CE. Economica, 82: 295–318CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Chen Y, Syvitski J P M, Gao S, Overeem I, Kettner A J. 2012. Socioeconomic impacts on flooding: A 4000-year history of the Yellow River, China. Ambio, 41: 682–698CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Cook E R, Anchukaitis K J, Buckley B M, D’Arrigo R D, Jacoby G C, Wright W E. 2010. Asian monsoon failure and megadrought during the last millennium. Science, 328: 486–489CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Ding Y, Ren G, Zhao Z, Xu Y, Luo Y, Li Q, Zhang J. 2007. Detection, causes and projection of climate change over China: An overview of recent progress. Adv Atmos Sci, 24: 954–971CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Drabo A, Mbaye L. 2011. Climate change, natural disasters and migration: An empirical analysis in developing countries. IZA Discussion Paper, 5927: 1–30Google Scholar
  13. Editorial Committee of Chinese Military History. 1985. Military History of China. Appendix: Tabulation of Wars in Ancient China (in Chinese). Beijing: People’s Liberation Army PressGoogle Scholar
  14. Emanuel K. 2011. Global warming effects on U.S. hurricane damage. Weather Clim Soc, 3: 261–268CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Fang X Q, Xiao L B, Wei Z D. 2013. Social impacts of the climatic shift around the turn of the 19th century on the North China Plain. Sci China Earth Sci, 56: 1044–1058CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Fei J, Zhang D D, Lee H F. 2016. 1600 AD Huaynaputina eruption (Peru), abrupt cooling, and epidemics in China and Korea. Adv Meteorol, 2016(15): 1–12CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Fei J, Zhou J. 2016. The drought and locust plague of 942–944 AD in the Yellow River Basin, China. Quat Int, 394: 115–122CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Fraser E D G. 2011. Can economic, land use and climatic stresses lead to famine, disease, warfare and death? Using Europe’s calamitous 14th century as a parable for the modern age. Ecol Econ, 70: 1269–1279CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Galloway P R. 1985. Annual variations in deaths by age, deaths by cause, prices, and weather in London 1670 to 1830. Popul Stud, 39: 487–505CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Galloway P R. 1986. Long-term fluctuations in climate and population in the preindustrial era. Popul Dev Rev, 12: 1CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Ge Q, Hao Z, Zheng J, Shao X. 2013. Temperature changes over the past 2000 yr in China and comparison with the Northern Hemisphere. Clim Past, 9: 1153–1160CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Helmer M, Hilhorst D. 2006. Natural disasters and climate change. Disasters, 30: 1–4CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Hoyos C D, Agudelo P A, Webster P J, Curry J A. 2006. Deconvolution of the factors contributing to the increase in global hurricane intensity. Science, 312: 94–97CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Jiang T, Zhang Q, Blender R, Fraedrich K. 2005. Yangtze Delta floods and droughts of the last millennium: Abrupt changes and long term memory. Theor Appl Climatol, 82: 131–141CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Koepke N, Baten J. 2005. The biological standard of living in Europe during the last two millennia. Eur Rev Econ Hist, 9: 61–95CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Le Houérou H N. 2002. Man-made deserts: Desertization processes and threats. Arid Land Res Manage, 16: 1–36CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Lee H F. 2014. Climate-induced agricultural shrinkage and overpopulation in late imperial China. Clim Res, 59: 229–242CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Lee H F, Fei J, Chan C Y S, Pei Q, Jia X, Yue R P H. 2017. Climate change and epidemics in Chinese history: A multi-scalar analysis. Social Sci Med, 174: 53–63CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Lee H F, Fok L, Zhang D D. 2008. Climatic change and Chinese population growth dynamics over the last millennium. Clim Change, 88: 131–156CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Lee H F, Zhang D D, Pei Q, Jia X, Yue R P H. 2016. Demographic impact of climate change on northwestern China in the late imperial era. Quat Int, 425: 237–247CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Lee H F, Zhang D D. 2010a. Changes in climate and secular population cycles in China, 1000 CE to 1911. Clim Res, 42: 235–246CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Lee H, Zhang D. 2010b. Natural disasters in northwestern China, AD 1270–1949. Clim Res, 41: 245–257CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Lee H F, Zhang D D. 2011. Relationship between NAO and drought disasters in northwestern China in the last millennium. J Arid Environ, 75: 1114–1120CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Lee H F, Zhang D D. 2012. Temperature change and natural disasters in northwestern China. Asian Geographer, 29: 89–108CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Lee H F, Zhang D D. 2013. A tale of two population crises in recent Chinese history. Clim Change, 116: 285–308CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Lee H F, Zhang D D, Fok L. 2009. Temperature, aridity thresholds, and population growth dynamics in China over the last millennium. Clim Res, 39: 131–147CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Letendre K, Fincher C L, Thornhill R. 2010. Does infectious disease cause global variation in the frequency of intrastate armed conflict and civil war? Biol Rev, 34: noGoogle Scholar
  38. Li J, Dodson J, Yan H, Zhang D D, Zhang X, Xu Q, Lee H F, Pei Q, Cheng B, Li C, Ni J, Sun A, Lu F, Zong Y. 2017. Quantifying climatic variability in monsoonal northern China over the last 2200 years and its role in driving Chinese dynastic changes. Quat Sci Rev, 159: 35–46CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Little L K. 2007. Plague and the End of Antiquity: The Pandemic of 541–750. Cambridge: Cambridge University PressGoogle Scholar
  40. Liu H, Ge Q, Zheng J, Hao Z, Zhang X. 2014. Crop yield and temperature changes in North China during 601–900 AD. Adv Meteorol, (3): 1–6Google Scholar
  41. Mann M E, Emanuel K A. 2006. Atlantic hurricane trends linked to climate change. Eos Trans AGU, 87: 233–235CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Mann M E, Zhang Z, Hughes M K, Bradley R S, Miller S K, Rutherford S, Ni F. 2008. Proxy-based reconstructions of hemispheric and global surface temperature variations over the past two millennia. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, 105: 13252–13257CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Nefedov S A. 2003. A theory of demographic cycles and the social evolution of ancient and medieval oriental societies. Vostok-Oriens, 3: 5–22Google Scholar
  44. IPCC. 2014. Climate Change 2014: Synthesis Report. In: Pachauri R K, Allen M R, Barros V R, Broome J, Cramer W, Christ R, eds. Contribution of Working Groups I, II and III to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate ChangeGoogle Scholar
  45. Pei Q, Zhang D D. 2014. Long-term relationship between climate change and nomadic migration in historical China. Ecol Soc, 19: 68CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Pei Q, Zhang D D, Lee H F. 2016. Contextualizing human migration in different agro-ecological zones in ancient China. Quat Int, 426: 65–74CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Pei Q, Zhang D D, Li G, Forêt P, Lee H F. 2016. Temperature and precipitation effects on agrarian economy in late imperial China. Environ Res Lett, 11: 064008–64016CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Pei Q, Zhang D D, Li G, Winterhalder B, Lee H F. 2015. Epidemics in Ming and Qing China: Impacts of changes of climate and economic well-being. Social Sci Med, 136–137: 73–80CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Peng X. 1957. Monetary History of China (in Chinese). Shanghai: Quanlian PublishingGoogle Scholar
  50. Ren G Y. 1999. Influence of human activities on the late Holocene vegetation changes at Maili, northeast China (in Chinese with English abstract). Sci Geogr Sin, 19: 42–48Google Scholar
  51. Schmid B V, Büntgen U, Easterday W R, Ginzler C, Walløe L, Bramanti B, Stenseth N C. 2015. Climate-driven introduction of the Black Death and successive plague reintroductions into Europe. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, 112: 3020–3025CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Scott S, Duncan S R, Duncan C J. 1998. The interacting effects of prices and weather on population cycles in a preindustrial community. J Biosocial Sci, 30: 15–32CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Stige L C, Chan K S, Zhang Z, Frank D, Stenseth N C. 2007. Thousand-year-long Chinese time series reveals climatic forcing of decadal locust dynamics. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, 104: 16188–16193CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Su M F, Wang H J. 2007. Relationship and its instability of ENSO—Chinese variations in droughts and wet spells. Sci China Ser D-Earth Sci, 50: 145–152CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Su Y, Fang X Q, Yin J. 2014. Impact of climate change on fluctuations of grain harvests in China from the Western Han Dynasty to the Five Dynasties (206BC–AD960). Sci China Earth Sci, 57: 1701–1712CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Sun G. 2004. Research of dispersed in time and space untal regularity of Chinese historical big pestilence (in Chinese with English abstract). Areal Res Develop, 23: 123–128Google Scholar
  57. Tan Q. 1982. Historical Atlas of China (in Chinese). Beijing: SinoMaps PressGoogle Scholar
  58. Tian H, Stige L C, Cazelles B, Linne Kausrud K, Svarverud R, Stenseth N C, Zhang Z. 2011. Reconstruction of a 1910-y-long locust series reveals consistent associations with climate fluctuations in China. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, 108: 14521–14526CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Tian H, Yan C, Xu L, Büntgen U, Stenseth N C, Zhang Z. 2017. Scale-dependent climatic drivers of human epidemics in ancient China. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, 114: 12970–12975CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Turchin P, Korotayev AV. 2006. Population dynamics and internal warfare: A reconsideration. Soc Evol Hist, 5: 112–147Google Scholar
  61. van Aalst M K. 2006. The impacts of climate change on the risk of natural disasters. Disasters, 30: 5–18CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Wang X, Chen F, Zhang J, Yang Y, Li J, Hasi E, Zhang C, Xia D. 2010. Climate, desertification, and the rise and collapse of China’s historical dynasties. Hum Ecol, 38: 157–172CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Webster D. 1975. Warfare and the evolution of the state: A reconsideration. Am Antiq, 40: 464–470CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Wei Z, Fang X, Su Y. 2014. Climate change and fiscal balance in China over the past two millennia. Holocene, 24: 1771–1784CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Xiao L B, Fang X Q, Ye Y. 2013. Reclamation and revolt: Social responses in eastern Inner Mongolia to flood/drought-induced refugees from the north China plain 1644–1911. J Arid Environ, 88: 9–16CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Xiao L, Fang X, Zhang Y, Ye Y, Huang H. 2014. Multi-stage evolution of social response to flood/drought in the North China Plain during 1644–1911. Reg Environ Change, 14: 583–595CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Xiao L, Fang X, Zheng J, Zhao W. 2015. Famine, migration and war: Comparison of climate change impacts and social responses in North China between the late Ming and late Qing dynasties. Holocene, 25: 900–910CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Yancheva G, Nowaczyk N R, Mingram J, Dulski P, Schettler G, Negendank J F W, Liu J, Sigman D M, Peterson L C, Haug G H. 2007. Influence of the intertropical convergence zone on the East Asian monsoon. Nature, 445: 74–77CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Yang B, Bräuning A, Zhang Z, Dong Z, Esper J. 2007. Dust storm frequency and its relation to climate changes in Northern China during the past 1000 years. Atmos Environ, 41: 9288–9299CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Yang Y. 2017. Migration and frontier society: Regulation of the Hanminority contradiction in Yunnan-Guizhou region during the Qing dynasty under the perspective of social control (in Chinese). J Yunnan Normal Univ-Human Soc Sci, 49: 9–19Google Scholar
  71. Ye Y, Fang X, Ge Q, Zheng J. 2004. Response and adaptation to climate change indicated by the relationship between revolt and drought-flood in Shandong Province during middle and late Qing dynasty (in Chinese with English abstract). Sci Geogr Sin, 24: 680–686Google Scholar
  72. Yin J, Su Y, Fang X. 2015. Relationships between temperature change and grain harvest fluctuations in China from 210BC to AD1910. Quat Int, 355: 153–163CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Yu G, Shen H, Liu J. 2009. Impacts of climate change on historical locust outbreaks in China. J Geophys Res, 114: D18104CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Zhai P, Zhang X, Wan H, Pan X. 2005. Trends in total precipitation and frequency of daily precipitation extremes over China. J Clim, 18: 1096–1108CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Zhang D D, Lee H F. 2010. Climate change, food shortage and war: A quantitative case study in China during 1500–1800. Catrina, 5: 63–71Google Scholar
  76. Zhang D D, Lee H F, Wang C, Li B, Pei Q, Zhang J, An Y. 2011. The causality analysis of climate change and large-scale human crisis. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, 108: 17296–17301CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Zhang D D, Pei Q, Lee H F, Zhang J, Chang C Q, Li B, Li J, Zhang X. 2015. The pulse of imperial China: A quantitative analysis of long-term geopolitical and climatic cycles. Glob Ecol Biogeogr, 24: 87–96CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Zhang D D, Zhang J, Lee H F, He Y. 2007. Climate change and war frequency in Eastern China over the last millennium. Hum Ecol, 35: 403–414CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Zhang D, Jim C, Lin C, He Y, Lee H F. 2005. Climate change, social unrest and dynastic transition in ancient China. Chin Sci Bull, 50: 137–144Google Scholar
  80. Zhang D, Liang Y. 2010. A long lasting and extensive drought event over China during 1876–1878 (in Chinese with English abstract). Adv Clim Change Res, 6: 106–112Google Scholar
  81. Zhang D, Lu L. 2011. Study of the large extent flooding over eastern China in 1823 as one of the major climatic events in history (in Chinese with English abstract). Quat Sci, 31: 29–35Google Scholar
  82. Zhang D E. 2012. A Study of the large scale flooding over Eastern China in 1755. Adv Clim Change Res, 3: 128–137CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  83. Zhang P, Cheng H, Edwards R L, Chen F, Wang Y, Yang X, Liu J, Tan M, Wang X, Liu J, An C, Dai Z, Zhou J, Zhang D, Jia J, Jin L, Johnson K R. 2008. A test of climate, sun, and culture relationships from an 1810-year Chinese cave record. Science, 322: 940–942CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  84. Zhang Q, Gemmer M, Chen J. 2008. Climate changes and flood/drought risk in the Yangtze Delta, China, during the past millennium. Quat Int, 176–177: 62–69CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  85. Zhang X, Ye Y, Fang X. 2012. Reconstruction of typhoons in the Yangtze River Delta during 1644-1949AD based on historical chorographies. J Geogr Sci, 22: 810–824CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  86. Zhang Z, Cazelles B, Tian H, Christian Stige L, Bräuning A, Stenseth N C. 2009. Periodic temperature-associated drought/flood drives locust plagues in China. Proc R Soc B-Biol Sci, 276: 823–831CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  87. Zhang Z, Li D. 1999. A possible relationship between outbreaks of the oriental migratory locust (Locusta migratoria manilensis Meyen) in China and the El Nino episodes. Ecol Res, 14: 267–270CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  88. Zhang Z, Tian H, Cazelles B, Kausrud K L, Bräuning A, Guo F, Stenseth N C. 2010. Periodic climate cooling enhanced natural disasters and wars in China during AD 10–1900. Proc R Soc B, 277: 3745–3753CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  89. Zhao S. 1994. Geography of China: Environment, Resources, Population, and Development. New York: John Wiley & Sons, IncGoogle Scholar
  90. Zhao W, Xie S. 1988. History of Population in China (in Chinese). Beijing: People’s PressGoogle Scholar
  91. Zheng J, Xiao L, Fang X, Hao Z, Ge Q, Li B. 2014. How climate change impacted the collapse of the Ming dynasty. Clim Change, 127: 169–182CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Science China Press and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of GeographyThe University of Hong KongHong KongChina
  2. 2.School of Geographical SciencesGuangzhou UniversityGuangzhouChina

Personalised recommendations