Here is a fragment from Anders Hald's A History of Probability and Statistics and Their Applications before 1750:

The original meaning of statistics is thus a collection of facts of interest to a statesman. Statistics was used in this sense in Italy in the 16th century, and from there it spread to France, Holland, and Germany, where it was taught at the universities in the 17th and 18th centuries. It embraced the political constitutions of states and mainly verbal descriptions of the important characteristics of states, such as population, economy, and geography. The use of the word “statistics” in this sense died out in the beginning of the 19th century. [emphasis added]

I would like to have details on the bold part but I couldn't find it. For example:

  • What were said universities?

  • Were they located only in Germany?

  • For what students were the classes intended to?

  • $\begingroup$ "Were they located only in Germany?" You have already answer in you quotation: "...and from there it spread to France, Holland, and Germany,..." $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 15, 2020 at 8:50
  • $\begingroup$ Gottfried Achenwall, who coined the term in his Vorbereitung zur Staatswissenschaft (1748) taught first in Marburg and then in Göttingen. $\endgroup$
    – Conifold
    Commented Oct 15, 2020 at 8:58
  • $\begingroup$ It must be said that we are there very far from the current meaning of the word "statistics". Having double entries tables (country/productions) is a first step, but remember that the concepts weren't present (for example standard deviation came very slowly in use between WWI and WWII...) $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 16, 2021 at 18:47


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