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War and Population Displacement

Lessons of History

Fernando Puell de la Villa is Professor of Military History at the University Institute General Gutiérrez Mellado, Madrid. He has published extensively on military matters, and is President of the Spanish Association of Military History.

David García Hernán is Chairman of the Department of Humanities and Full Professor of Modern History at Carlos III University, Madrid. He has published widely on contemporary history and been a visiting researcher at the University of Chicago.

“These case studies represent a unique and valuable contribution to the knowledge of the dramatic phenomenon of population displacements caused by war.”
Professor Beatriz Frieyro de Lara, University of Granada

“This is a must-read for sociology and demography scholars, for military and demography historians, and for anyone interested in peace and security.”
Professor David Garcia Hernan, Carlos III University of Madrid

“The contributions to this highly welcome book clarify the background to current issues of extreme importance.”
Professor Enrique Garcia Riaza, University of the Balearic Islands

“This valuable book brings a much-needed historical perspective to an important but often overlooked aspect of war.”
Professor Geoffrey Jensen, Virginia Military Institute

“For those interested in gaining historical depth to some distressing contemporary crises this book offers a unique collection of expert views.”
Emeritus Professor Angel Viñas, Complutense University of Madrid

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) recently announced that the number of displaced persons caused by wars and conflicts, estimated at more than 65 million, has reached "the highest level ever recorded". This book explores the reality by examining some significant population displacements and/or deportations caused by armed conflict. Throughout human history people not directly involved in wars have endured its consequences – death, famine, destruction, illness, pillage, rape, robbery. These effects of war have become more globalized, resulting in migration in search of a better place to live or to find safety and security. Migration represents an indisputable reality found in every time and culture since prehistoric times until today, seen recently in the Mediterranean, Africa, and Asia. Armed conflict brings with it population displacement: refugees fleeing the dangers of war, dislodgement by invaders or regime change, population migration with expansionist purposes. These phenomena have not been adequately studied from a historical perspective. Cast in the mold of war and society studies, this book, endorsed by the Spanish Association of Military History, works to fulfill a historiographic need, covering twelve relevant dislodgments caused by wars in Antiquity, the Middle Ages, Modern and Contemporary History, and the present.

Published in association with the Association of Spanish Military Historians and the Cañada Blanch Centre for Contemporary Spanish Studies

Hardback ISBN: 978-1-84519-901-2
Hardback Price: £75.00 / $95.00
Release Date: June 2018
Page Extent / Format: 320 pp. / 234 x 156 mm
Illustrated: No




Fernando Puell de la Villa (University Institute General Gutiérrez Mellado, Spain) & David García Hernán (Carlos III University of Madrid, Spain)

1. Deportations in the First Persian Empire: Affinities and Differences in Comparison with the Neo-Assyrian and Neo Babylonian Periods
Marc Mendoza Sanahuja (Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain)

2. Population Displacement under the Roman Republic (268 BC–19 AD)
Luis Silva Reneses (University of Geneva, Switzerland)

3. Mass Deportations in Syria and Northern Mesopotamia under the rule of Xusrō Anōšīrvān (540-542)  Katarzyna Maksymiuk (University of Siedlce, Poland)

4. Population Displacement in the course of Mexica Empire Expansion
Marco A. Cervera Obregon (Anahuac University, México) & Alan Barrera Huerta (Autonomous University of Mexico)

5. The Alpujarras War and the Granada Morisco Dispersion: Logistics and Population Displacement
Miguel Fernando Gómez Vozmediano (Carlos III University of Madrid, Spain)

6. The French Revolution, the War of the Pyrenees and the French Migration into Spain
Encarna Jarque Martínez & José Antonio Salas Ausens (University of Saragossa, Spain)

7. The Cuban Reconcentration Policy (1896–1898): An Uncomfortable Past
Fernando J. Padilla Angulo (University of Bristol, United Kingdom)

8. Population Displacement: A Collateral Effect of Aerial Bombardment?
Baptiste Colom-y-Canals (Air Force Research Center, France)

9. Second World War Refugees and the Origins of the International Organization for Migration
Emilio Redondo Carrero (University of CastileLa Mancha, Spain)

10. Refugees and Photography: Esthetic, Art and Pain Awareness
Pablo Rey García (Pontific University of Salamanca, Spain) & Pedro Rivas Nieto (Loyola University of Andalusia, Spain)

11. Middle East Palestinian Refugees: Return and Integration
María González-Ubeda Alferez (Autonomous University of Madrid, Spain)

12. Liberia and Ivory Coast Civil War Population Displacements: Causes and Risk Factors
Jara Cuadrado Bolaños (University Institute General Gutiérrez Mellado, Spain) & Susana Ferreira (Portuguese Institute for Foreign Relations, Portugal)


As well as showing that population displacement is not a recent phenomenon, one of the major achievements of the historians assembled for this book is their demonstration of the complexity of the relationship between war and migration. To do so was the purpose of the Fourth International Conference of the Spanish Association for Military History (Asociación Española de Historia Militar – ASEHISMI) held in Madrid in the summer of 2017.  The volume edited by Professors Puell de la Villa and García Hernán is a splendid testimony to the work of that enterprise. In chronological terms, its twelve chapters range over ancient, medieval, early modern, modern and contemporary history and geographically from Europe to the Middle East and from South America to Africa. At a time when millions of refugees flood to Europe in search of safety and a better life and are often met with Islamophobia, this volume could hardly be more timely.
Prof. Paul Preston, LSE

All the displacements considered by the contributors to this book were forcible and a product of war or some consequence of armed conflict. While the book covers displacements from antiquity forward, the major part focuses on the contemporary era and the history of the modern world. While the American Civil War saw mass-scale refugee movements, World War I, with nearly eight million people displaced, displayed a new dimension in statistics. Later it was World War II and Stalin’s deportations that kicked the numbers up into the tens of millions. This book aims to present an overall vision of the phenomenon of displacement. It examines significant examples from history in chronological order. The book’s goal is to provide an overall international understanding of the humanitarian drama of the refugee.

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