The Measles Epidemic of 1714-1715 in New France


  • Ryan Mazan Population Studies Centre, Department of Sociology, University of Western Ontario, London Ontario
  • Alain Gagnon Population Studies Centre Department of Sociology and Department of Epidemiology & Biostatistics, University of Western Ontario, London Ontario
  • Bertrand Desjardins Département de démographie, Université de Montréal, Montréal Québec



This study utilizes methods to follow a measles epidemic in New France, where cause of death information is lacking. We fit a series of splines to estimate mortality and trace the origin, spread, duration and severity of the epidemic, which originated in the region of Montreal during the 2nd quarter of 1714. By the 3rd quarter, the epidemic had spread throughout the colony and had run its course by the second quarter of 1715. Overall, the measles death rate was 52.8 per 1,000 for children under age 15 and females were more likely than males to have died from the virus.