World Systems Theory, Regional Systems Theory, Historical Demography, Cities, Historical GIS


This study presents a method for mapping and comparing the regional extents of historical city-based economies at the global scale by integrating the World-Systems Theory of Immanuel Wallerstein with the Regional Systems Theory of G. W. Skinner. The approach taken here focuses on mapping urban cores and their rural peripheries based on available disaggregated urban population estimates for 1741 cities according to six main historical periods from ca. 3700 BCE to 1900 CE. As a result, a spatial history of some regional-scale changes wrought by increasing modes of capitalism in the Modern and Industrial periods may be compared with earlier patterns.