A Statistical View of European Rural Life, 1600-1800
Between the 17th and 19th centuries, the average European's diets varied greatly due to natural causes. Most peasants lived in unsanitary conditions, far away from conventional medical help, and would live in a single room with a large family. Most farmers were illiterate especially in Southern Europe and their farming technology was not updated. Protestant Northern Europe had higher literacy rates because Protestantism encouraged individual bible reading, while catholic Southern Europe was highly illiterate because the Catholic Church did not encourage literacy in the least bit. The spread of education led to new ideas and farming techniques which developed from the cities and spread to rural areas of Europe.
In different areas of Europe, the yield ratios of wheat, rye, and barley would vary; the climate would be a big factor in determining the yield ratio. According to Document 1, Zone I, England, and the Low Countries would have the high yield ratios.
In Zone II, France, Spain, and Italy were not far behind England in yield ratios. In Zone III and IV, Germany, Switzerland, Scandinavia, Russia, Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Hungary the yield ratios were very low, and from 1800-1820, they did not produce wheat, rye, or barley at all. Countries like England and the Netherlands had predictable weather patterns and were able to grow an abundance of crops. The farther East a country was, the lower its yield would be due to poor and unpredictable weather. The average European peasant's diet was poor and not sufficient to human needs. Most diets included bread, cheese, and butter. Meat and vegetables were rare and eaten possibly twice a year. Most peasants were always on the verge of starvation and ate anything edible to survive. The average person's requirements are about 2,500 calories to...