Demographic reversals


Ad Honoris
May 2014
Which cases have there been where a country's or territory's demographics significantly changed only to eventually return to what they previously were?

Off the top of my head, I can think of:

-German settlement in Eastern Europe during the Middle Ages (Ostsiedlung) and beyond, only to see this reversed in the 20th century as a result of mass expulsions of Germans from Eastern Europe and also mass emigration of Germans from Romania and the former Soviet Union.
-Polish settlement in the Kresy (the eastern territories of Poland before 1939). A lot of Poles settled in the Kresy in the second millennium only to have this trend be reversed in the 20th century as a result of Stalin's deportation of Poles from the Kresy to Poland.
-The exodus of the Jews from Palestine in Roman times and their subsequent return to Palestine in the 20th and 21st centuries.
-Russian settlement in the "Near Abroad" during Tsarist and Soviet times, which was in large part (though certainly not completely) reversed after the collapse of the Soviet Union--when many of these Russians moved back to Russia.
-The settlement of large numbers of Europeans in Algeria in the 19th and early 20th centuries only to see these Europeans be expelled from Algeria in 1962 (which is when Algeria gained its independence from France). A similar trend might have also occurred on a smaller scale in various other African and Third World countries.
-The settlement of large numbers of Non-Hispanic White people in the Southwestern U.S. in the 19th and 20th centuries, followed by a massive increase in the Hispanic percentage of the total population in the Southwestern U.S. in the late 20th and 21st centuries as a result of large-scale Hispanic immigration. The Southwestern U.S. had a huge Hispanic percentage before it was conquered by the U.S. in 1848 and its demographics are gradually reverting to what they were before the U.S. conquest of these territories.

Anyway, which examples of demographic reversals am I missing/forgetting to list here?
Likes: Frank81


Ad Honorem
Sep 2011
Well, "Turkish" and "Greek" are a little relative. Primarily they swapped Muslims for Orthodox Christians. The "Greeks" did include other christians as well, though the Greeks from the Ionian and Pontian coasts were by far the most numerous, and spoke Greek. Most of the "Turks" were the Muslim population of Greece, and spoke little or no Turkish. But their appearance in Greece would have begun with the Ottoman conquest in the Middle Ages, yes.

Though thinking about it, considering how specific you made your initial question (it's a little convoluted) with the last bit of of "return to what they previously were", the demographic, ethnic, religious history Anatolia is so convoluted there just can't be any "return to what they previously were". What would that be even? Luvian? Though the Greek in Anatolia had been there continuously for some 2500 years.

So possibly I shouldn't have brought the 1923 events up. It might not fit the stipulated criteria. Otoh it does bring into focus a certain kind of assumptions about ethnicity as curiously stable over centuries and millennia even.
Last edited:
Aug 2014
7th - 6th c. BC.
There is good evidence of significant cultural exchange between the Aegean and the Levant/Anatolia beginning in the 14th C BC and continuing through to the Iron Age. Many Greeks settled in the area during this time. The Philistines were likely originally Greek.


Ad Honorem
Sep 2011
There is good evidence of significant cultural exchange between the Aegean and the Levant/Anatolia beginning in the 14th C BC and continuing through to the Iron Age. Many Greeks settled in the area during this time. The Philistines were likely originally Greek.
The colonies the Greeks settled along the coasts of Anatolia were clearly part of the later Greek political situation, identified and known according to which was their mother city. They continued to have status and particular duties to their mother cities too.


Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
Population of European stock depleted by the end of colonialism and it's bastard child Apartheid in Southern Africa
from 5 millions in 1997 to 4 millions today
in Angola Portuguese stock went from 330.000 to 40.000 in 1976 , very few remain today


Ad Honorem
Feb 2010
Canary Islands-Spain
7th - 6th c. BC.

Much before, for sure they were stablished there in 8th century; the Aeolian migration to Asia Minor probably started in the 11th century.

It is possible Mycaenean Greeks had some settlement there centuries before, but this is speculative.


In the Iberian Peninsula, the settlement of thousands of Arabs and Berbers in a power position led to the mass transformatio of its demography into an Arab society.

The Reconquista turned the tide back, and by 1609 all the Arab-Muslim population had been expelled. In 21th century Spain, at least 900,000 Maghrebians live in the country, with significant proportions of them in the southern and eastern coastal areas. It is a demographic tide that move back and forth

In Tunisia and eastern Algeria, the settlement of Phoenicians and later the expansion of the Carthaginians led to the conversion of its population into Punic. A re-Berberization was just partial during Roman times, because most of the Punics were converted into Romans, in addition to a massive settlement of Romans from Italy. This process got a highmark around the 3rd century, and then started to reced, with larger and larger portions of the country returning to Berber, both demographically and politically. By the time of the Arab invasion, the Berberization was so heavy that their queen, Kahina, was the main obstacle to the Muslim expansion