The German populations of these lands seem in Roman times to have been scanty, and Roman subjects from the modern Alsace and Lorraine had drifted across the river eastwards.
The small proportion of land tilled is due to many causes, among which paucity of populations is not the least.
A Bourbon at Versailles, a Habsburg at Vienna, or a thick-lipped Lorrainer, with a stroke of his pen, wrote off province against province, regarding not the populations who had bled for him or thrown themselves upon his mercy.
Milan and Piedmont were comparatively well governed; but repugnance to Austrian rule in the former case, and the contagion of French Jacobinical opinions in the latter, brought those populations into increasing hostility to the rulers.
There are a number of large towns in the state, but the census returns include their populations in those of the municipios (communes) to which they belong.