How Big Were 18th Century European Armies?

Compared to the wars of the 20th century, 18th century warfare appears quite small scale. The period was characterised by limited war in which small professional armies competed for specific territorial objectives and to assert their status within a community of states, all of whom practiced limited war.

Nonetheless, in the course of the century armies did grow as they slowly moved toward the modern era of total war in which the greater part of a state’s resources might be deployed against an enemy. Even so, when compared to the armies of modern wars, for example World War One, 18th century armies were relatively small.

Size of Armies in the 18th Century

1790 Armies as Percentages of Populations

Alex is a history student at King's College London focusing on Europe and the Near East in the Middle Ages. He currently works writing and editing content for madefromhistory.