My world is a medieval age with magic setting, with a fantasy style map (assume flat earth. Not entirely true but accurate enough). The world is several times bigger than Earth.

An Empire which controlled quite a lot of this world some 20,000 years ago had a huge, undefeatable army which it supported by growing crops on a massive scale using magic and feeding them. However, a magically engineered plague wiped out most of the plants and made it impossible to grow anything for ten to fifteen years. As a result, 80-90% of the population starved and died.

When the seeds which had been stored years ago were finally magically treated to be immune some ten years later (this magic hadn't been developed until then), this period, called the Great Starvation, finally ended.

How would economy and culture have been affected during and after the great starvation?

(The population is around 70 Billion, with around 28 Billion out of them slaves and 42 Billion 'Citizens')

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    $\begingroup$ Around half the population of Europe and Asia died in the Black Death, less than seven hundred years ago. What effect would you say that has had on our economy today? $\endgroup$ – Mike Scott Feb 3 at 9:43
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    $\begingroup$ Welcome to worldbuilding, please take a look at the tour and the help center to make yourself familiar with our community and standards. You are basically asking us to make up the economic history over 20000 years, which is longer than the time span mankind has been "civilized". That is quite broad. Please try to narrow your scope, else your question might be closed. $\endgroup$ – L.Dutch - Reinstate Monica Feb 3 at 10:05
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    $\begingroup$ You are aware that the entire history of mankind, from the earliest witten documents in Sumer to the latest iPhone, is less than 5000 years? 20,000 years ago mankind was in the Paleolithic. $\endgroup$ – AlexP Feb 3 at 12:18
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    $\begingroup$ 20,000 years is long enough that your peoples may have progressed to a different phase of the glaciation cycle so some landforms may look quite different. Some may be gone entirely. Oral history of the survivors may have conflated magic, politics, and physics into weird legends with little grounding in actual history (example). You, the author, can steer the direction of those legends any way you wish. $\endgroup$ – user535733 Feb 3 at 14:22
  • $\begingroup$ There are been many events in history which have rather suddenly killed large numbers of people including significant proportions of the populations of various settlements, small regions, larger regions, vast regions etc. Eurasia has been devastated by plagues like the Black Death killing tens of percent of the populations, as well as the Mongol Invasions and the World Wars. Old World diseases in the New World often reduced populations to less than of their previous numbers. The Toba Catastrophe theory suggests that the eruption of Toba 75,000 years ago almost - continued $\endgroup$ – M. A. Golding Feb 3 at 18:50

Twenty thousand years is a long time. Twenty thousand years is four times as long as all of recorded history. (The actual history of mankind stretches back far further than that; we have basically no idea what happened before this because writing hadn't been invented yet.)

On our earth, the oldest city (that we've found evidence for) is less than twenty thousand years old. Agriculture is less than twenty thousand years old. Twenty thousand years got us from almost nothing to what we have today.

One of the big questions you need to answer is what technology was lost forever when everybody who knew it was killed in the disaster. How much was lost? After twenty thousand years, most of what was lost that anyone cares about will have been reinvented / rediscovered (but maybe not all).

Technological / mageological advancement over twenty thousand years should be incredible.

The disaster will have had a huge effect, even 20K years later, because if the disaster had never happened, then wherever society is now, it would have (by this point) been far ahead of already. The more technology was lost during the disaster, and had to be rediscovered later, the bigger the gap will be.

Will this be 'noticeable'? Yes, in the sense that the world's economic analysts will be able to write papers estimating how harmful the great disaster was, and where things might be without it. Will it have noticeable effects on the average person's life? Probably not, it fades to background noise as 'the way things have always been' long before the present day in your setting.


During the Famine

Everything goes to pieces. The 90% death rate is much worse than the Black Death, or the Thirty Years War. They were lucky that they still had mages researching a cure, and not all starving because the remaining hunters and gatherers would not share their meager scraps.

After the Famine

The shocked survivors have to pick up the pieces. Petty warlords rule the post-apocalyptic survivors. Some of them pretend to represent the old order, but all rule by naked force. As things get better, standing armies become possible again and bigger warlords swallow the smaller ones. Perhaps there is only one left, or several warlords survive.

After 20,000 Years.

Everything is far beyond living memory. The fear of a famine may remain, the way modern people are aware of the Mongols and the Huns and conflated them with a vague Yellow Peril. (Before you click those links, ask yourself if the Mongols or the Huns came first. Then check your guesstimate. And could you tell without google which parts of the world the Vandals devastated? Yet the word vandalism remains in common use.)

Consider how Germans view inflation and the independence of the central bank today, compared to Italians or French. Yet the Hyperinflation was 100 years ago, not 10,000 or 20,000 years.


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