Some time ago some figures of Portuguese civilian deaths caused by the building of the lines were published. I subsequently did some enquiring and here are the results. Andy Grainger, of the British Commission for Military History was kind enough to chase up some responses. I trust they will be of interest:
`Charles Esdaile caveats Mendo's comments as follows:
`Just a quick line to comment on all this. The figures are those generally accepted, though the vast majority would have fallen victim to disease and starvation rather than bullets and bayonets (I believe that combat deaths were a mere 10,000 and probably somewhat fewer). What I take issue with is the stuff about deliberate massacre. That some pretty nasty things happened I do not doubt, especially in the desperate situation which developed in 1810-11, when I suspect things got completely out of hand, but there was no policy of wholesale massacre in the manner suggested here: terror was a part of French occupation policy, certainly, but it was not the be-all and end-all of everything.
`Mendo's figures apply to the losses during the entire war. I tend to use 30,000 to 40,000 died during the winter of 1810-11 behind the Lines and in Lisbon. Lisbon's population was 200,000 in 1800 so natural deaths account for about 10,000 (5%) of this number. About 40,000 people were displaced - add their natural deaths (2,000). Many of the displaced died of starvation and disease/natural causes because the inhabitants of Lisbon did not invite them into their homes and they were thus left to fend for themselves in refugee camps, where disease was rife. So I would use 25,000 as a good figure to cover deaths as a 'direct' result of the Lines.`