Why was the historical marriage age of women so much higher in Western European countries than the rest of the world?

Read the Story

Show Top Comments

Generally it’s the cost of setting up a household and available employment opportunities (how economicly expansive a culture is), mortality and a few other factors.

If you need a farmstead or to be a senior craftsman to support a family and there is limited farmland and an increasinly competitive market (and wages dropping compared to housing prices)…yes, marrying age will go up.

There is a reason why for example US marrying age dropped like a rock during the early and mid 20th century and only bumped back to 1890 averages (26.1 years) in 1990…with the end of the economic boom, rising education costs and more competitive job market and increasing housing prices. The all-time low marrying age of 22.8 years (for males) in the 1950s and 1960s was primarily because young men and women had never had such well-paying jobs…and their ability to support a family was not tied to available farmland either.


I can only really speak about England, and the difficulty there is that 1500 to 1900 is a big period in which England underwent lots of social change, particularly during industrialisation. So these are all sweeping statements that you have to take with a pinch of salt.


>What was the reason that they waited until 25 years of age to marry, around 8-10 years later than the rest of the world?

My understanding is that this was partly to do with the economy. Most people didn’t have the money to set up home at a young age. Apprenticeships were common for men, and most apprentices would be banned from marrying until their apprenticeship was over. Many women would go into domestic service in some form, and they would usually not be allowed to marry either. So that would bump up the age of first marriage.

I have to say however that looking back at my own family history, which I do have some records for as far back as the 1700s, the average age for marriage seems to be around 21, 22 for both men and women. It makes me question that statistic because my family was very average and normal from what I can see.


>Were they expected to remain as virgins until that age?

Technically yes. However people did have sexual relationships and out of wedlock birth was relatively common.

>Did they usually help their families in the farm?

If you have a look at the excellent series ‘Tudor Monastery Farm’, you can get a sense of what women of that period would have been expected to do. Yes they would have been expected to contribute to most elements of farm work.

> Did they have land ownership rights?

Really depends on the period as women’s rights varied. By default, it was mostly men who were expected to own land and expected to inherit from their parents. However women did sometimes own land, if it was specified in a will that they would. I would imagine that there were more widowed land owners than unmarried women land owners. Also, the vast majority of land was owned by the upper classes anyway.


In Shakespeare class, we were told that in many villages, the marriage age was higher during this time period in England because they had to wait for a priest to perform the marriage and sometimes they couldn’t afford to get married until later. In the first case, waiting for the official marriage, they would “post the bans” in the village square so everyone would know that they were getting married and then go ahead and start living together and perhaps having kids in a kind of common law situation. It was OK as long as the bans had been posted. I have not verified this info though—just repeating what I was told. The issue came up because of the reference to the phase “posting the bans” and the age listed for marriages at the time.


Economic/ materialistic comfort => lowers mortality => reduces life’s incentive for only procreation => no rush to settle down => later age of marriages.


I remember in a college class that addressed the surprisingly older age for marriage during this time (and the early American period) is that young people did not get married until they could set up their own household and/or were pregnant. Young people were expected to help their parents on the farm, be house servants to send money back to their families or for young men learn a trade in an apprenticeship. This would take a long time to set someone up financially for their own home. Often the young people would be waiting to inherit part of the farm/business or have their parents enter retirement so they could take over the farm. Engagements were long and there was kind of a common law marriage situation prior to church marriage where a couple was engaged but not yet married in the church. People would get married in the church largely when they were pregnant. There was a cost associated with a church marriage and people didn’t do that until it was necessary. Young couples my professor said would push their parents to help set them up in their home by getting pregnant. Sort of, okay, you’ve been saying we are going to take over the family business/farm for a number of years and we are going to force your hand now.

This changed with industrialization. More young people going to cities, more movement in general. There’s a theory that the western tradition of engagement rings came from the industrialization. When couples were engaged in a lot of the west, they could engage in some sexual activity. When it was the pre-industrial period, couples would get engaged to people in their local community. So, if someone fell pregnant, you knew where to find that young man and how to pressure the family to assure the young folks would get church married and be set up for their future. When industrialization happened, you didn’t know the young man engaged to your daughter that well and with increased mobility, he could just up and leave without making good on his promise. So, you would need a sign that the young man was serious. The engagement ring illustrated that he was willing to invest a large sum into the relationship. Also, the young woman would have money to support herself if he did leave after breaking off the engagement because she could sell the ring.

I’ve noticed in middle eastern/Asian societies a young woman will join the household of their in-laws and not necessarily have a home of their own. The in-laws support the young couple and the in-laws are the familial leaders. The idea of this is/was very different in the west. Especially with the Christian tenants around “leave and cleave” in especially Protestant marriage where one leaves the family home and becomes one with the spouse making their family of origin secondary to the marriage. Two different cultural standards.



Read the Story

Show Top Comments

love the footage but i wish there were some more narration and information in exchange for the excessively epic music.


Interesting video. Was on the island today and have never seen so many people there.


I wish you had narrated a little more – like what was the row of pilings for? were they built by the Romans? what was on the island?


Ahh good old Techno Island! What a night that was


What happend to the trenches and the battlefields after ww1

Read the Story

Show Top Comments

Battlefield cleaners were soldiers and workers that had the task to clean a battlefield just after combats.

In France during WW1 lots of contract workers from China and workers from the Indochina colony had the role to rebuild the battlefields to normal fields.

Those were not supposed to stay in France but quite a few did and they were the first asian community in France


Most all were cleaned up, and put back to their normal agricultural uses. Every so often, one of the buried bunkers/tunnels will collapse leaving sinkholes. There was a situation a few years ago when a section of a farmers driveway collapsed into the bunker below leaving him stranded for several hours.


I’ve always wondered about places like the Western Desert and Kursk in WWII. There were literally millions of anti tank and personel mined- what did they do after the battles?


In Kiev you can still sometimes find WW2 trenches and moats in parks, if you don’t know what it is, you might think it’s simply strange landscaping. There are also many concrete machine-gun turrets to the south of the city, mostly also in forests, some blown-up, some whole (bit all metal has been scrapped). There are also at least two buildings with bullet marks from WW1 deliberately left unpatched for history sake.


Yes, yes, and yes. You can Google for “wwi trenches now” and see them. It’s fascinating.


WWII: The Japanese Soldier Who Surrendered 1974

Read the Story

Show Top Comments

There was a Japanese soldier found even later than Onoda. However, he was not treated as well as Onoda on his return to Japan.


Did he get back pay?


I kind of admired the guy for his dedication. But the tidbit at the end of him killing 30 people. Unfathomable. I’m soft I’m sure.


My dad served in the US Navy from 1950 to 1953. He spent some time on Guam. One night, a Japanese soldier came out of the jungle in tattered rags and surrendered to a marine standing guard duty. The marine told him to fuck off, thinking he was a panhandler. A local heard the guy talking and told the marine what the soldier was telling him. I believe that a day or two later, another one surrendered. It seems they saw my dad and his buddies playing baseball against the crew of a Japanese freighter earlier that day and figured out that A) The war was over, and B) They lost.


Surrendered to who?


‘Lambourghini’ of chariots discovered near Pompeii after looters’ tunneling just missed the ‘miraculously’ well-preserved ceremonial chariot, “grazing but not damaging [it].”

Read the Story

Show Top Comments

Oh thank god the looters missed it. Now, it can be enjoyed by humanity in a museum, where it belongs


How many horses did it have?


Wtf is a lambourghini?


That’s one of the most Italian things I’ve ever seen


One of the first pics is of a dude boning a lady hehehe


Rome’s Mausoleum of Augustus reopens after 100 years of neglect

Read the Story

Show Top Comments

The only man to ever look at Alexander’s tomb and be able to think he stacked up pretty well.


The article said it was the largest Mausoleum in Rome. It can’t be larger than Hadrian’s Mausoleum, now the Castel St. Angelo.


Well, it has been through periods of neglect before.


Oh, I walked by this a few times a year ago while it was still being worked on. Can’t wait to see it next time I’m there.


Educate an ignorant American : what’s a “rubbish tip”?


Scientists find way to read priceless letters sealed 300 years ago and never opened

Read the Story

Show Top Comments

>Dear sir & cousin,
>It has been a few weeks since I wrote to you in order to ask you to have drawn up for me a legalized excerpt of the death of sieur Daniel Le Pers, which took place in The Hague in the month of December 1695, without hearing from you. This is f…g I am writing to you a second time in order to remind you of the pains that I took on your behalf. It is important to me to have this extract you will do me a great pleasure to procure it for me to send me at the same time news of your health of all the family.
>I also pray that God maintains you in His Sainted graces & covers you with the blessings necessary to your salvation. Nothing more for the time being, except that I pray you to believe that I am completely, sir and cousin, your most humble & very obedient servant,
>Jacques Sennacques

“After all I did for you, you can’t send me a little document I asked for? I love you but … duuuude…”


Researchers find a way to “read” unopened letters from 300 years ago using a 3D X-ray computer program.


couldn’t have been me, I have the self control of a toddler. those letters would have been open in under an hour. somehow they managed to wait 95 years.


The authors mention collections of thousands of these letters, which can now be read with minimal user effort or so much as laying a finger on the paper. It’s pretty impressive in terms of image analysis, fancy folding algorithms, and even formalizing the art of “letterlocking”. What a study.


A 400 year old unreceived and unopened letter makes me sad, there’s something regretful in it, like an unfullfilled promise.


High-Tech Scan Peeks Inside Sealed Letters From The Renaissance

Read the Story

Show Top Comments

The letter is one cousin asking another for a death certificate of a family member


This is fascinating! The ink used to have metal in it, so that gives them a fighting chance. training the algorithm is the tricky part. You don’t really know how the paper is folded by looking at the outside.

~~They’re wondering if~~ it can also be used to decipher scrolls that are too old to unroll.



Okay so I just skimmed the article but.. and I know I’m being stupid… could someone explain why can’t just open the letter, normally?


What’s the over-under on it just being junk mail, about a pawn shop buying gold and old jewelry?


Can I just note how quiet the room where that video was filmed must be. Even the computer’s fan would bug me in there.