The Hundred Years’ War not only bled France white materially, it nearly extinguished the Valois dynasty. But the Valois were able to use the war as the springboard for another century-long round of building royal institutions, expanding their power in the process. This expansion of power underlay the emergence of the Old Regime, a complex structure of political and social institutions dominated by an increasingly absolute monarchy.
Once the conflict was over, the French population rebounded. Historians generally agree that from the 1450s until around 1620, the French population expanded considerably. This growth was probably due to a drop in the average age at marriage, which meant more marriages and births. The death rate also declined, especially among children, as epidemics became less frequent. The population of cities such as Lyon, Bordeaux, and Rouen grew between 50 and 100 percent from 1500 to 1600. By the late 16th century, the population of Paris reached about 300,000, and the French population as a whole once again stood at the high level of the early 14th century.
Production methods changed relatively little during this period. But rising domestic demand and increasing foreign trade through France’s coastal cities promoted product diversification. These changes can be seen in the growth of textile trades in northern France and the expansion of commercial wine production in the south. The growth of the labor supply eventually depressed wages. In addition, larger families meant that estates were divided into smaller, less viable homesteads. Increasing demand drove up prices over the long term. The standard of living gradually declined, and population growth leveled off about 1620. "France" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia.
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