Thursday, March 02, 2023

The Witch Trials of Europe

550 Years of Witch Trials in Europe is a dashboard and interactive map which allows you to explore the history and data of witch trials and executions in Europe between 1300 and 1850. During this period up to 110,000 people (mainly women) were accused of witchcraft, around half of whom were subsequently executed. 

550 Years of Witch Trials in Europe uses data collected by Peter T. Leeson and Jacob W. Russ from George Mason University. This includes information on around 43,000 people tried for witchcraft in 21 European countries between 1300 and 1850.

The interactive map in 550 Years allows you to view the number of people tried and executed in different European towns and cities by decade. Press play on the map timeline and you can view an animated visualization of the number of witchcraft trials and executions for every decade from 1300 to 1850. If you switch to the 'Total' view you can view the total number of trials and executions in each town during the entire period. For example between 1430 and 1670 3,378 people were killed for witchcraft in Vaud, Switzerland. 

The University of Edinburgh has released a series of interactive maps visualizing the nearly 4,000 women and men accused of being witches in Scotland from the 16th to 18th centuries. The Witchcraft Act was in force in Scotland between 1563 and 1735. Under the Witchcraft Act the practice of witchcraft and the act of consulting with witches could be punished by death. It is not known exactly how many women and men were executed for being witches but the Survey of Scottish Witches estimates that around two-thirds were killed. About 84% of those accused of witchcraft in Scotland were women.

The University of Edinburgh's Witches project includes a number of different maps of the Survey of Scottish Witches data. The Residences with Timeline map is among the most interesting of the maps in the project, as it allows you to explore the data using a number of different filters. Using these filters you can view the location of only females or only males accused of witchcraft, you can explore the numbers accused by social class or by occupation. You can also explore the numbers of people accused of witchcraft during any selected date range.

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