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The Causes of Death in the Parish of Desne-Rujnica (1825-1861)

Maja Šunjić

Puni tekst: hrvatski pdf 1.835 Kb

str. 461-499

preuzimanja: 967



Extending from the north-west to the south-east towards the Neretva river, mountain Rujnica represents the spine of the Desne-Rujnica parish. The analysis of death causes and mortality is based on the data derived from the parish register of deaths for the period 1825-1861 as recorded by the parish priest Šimun Tomić Romić, whose colourful reports are cited in this article. Accidents and injuries make up 4.17% of all the death causes, which is significantly higher than the Dalmatian average of 1.1% in the mid-nineteenth century. The majority of accidents with lethal outcome fall within drowning in the Neretva River and its meanders, most commonly while trying to steer the characteristic shallow boats used in this area. A considerable number of accidents is one of the causes of increased mortality of the fertile male population, whereas pregnancy and birth are important risk factors of the mortality of the fertile female population. The analysis of maternal mortality also shows that the deaths of the new-borns were not systematically recorded in the death register nor birth register, which brings into question the reliability of the data regarding perinatal and infant mortality. However, a portion of infants and children up to the age of nine shows certain transitional changes. The latter have also been detected in an extremely high portion of persons over 70 (11.2%). Older persons usually die of natural causes. In terms of seasonal distribution, late autumn and early winter have proved to be a critical period for all age groups which, with minor oscilations, may be considered characteristic of all the studied parishes in the Neretva valley. Infant mortality rate shows a marked drop in summer, which may be correlated with the lesser incidence of abdominal deceases during the summer months. With regard to epidemic deceases, the outburst of cholera in 1855 was the reason of many deaths, this year being the one with the highest mortality rate. Cholera caused mainly the death of the middle-aged population. Increased mortality may also be accounted by the epidemics of measles (1848, 1851, 1857, 1858).

Ključne riječi

Neretva valley, 19th century, mortality, causes of death, demographic transition

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