This study is provided by ICPSR. ICPSR provides leadership and training in data access, curation, and methods of analysis for a diverse and expanding social science research community.

Great Power Wars, 1495-1815 (ICPSR 9955)

Principal Investigator(s): Levy, Jack S.


This study identifies "great power" wars, i.e., major-minor wars, or those involving at least one great power on each side. In order to exclude protracted conflicts with low levels of fighting, an annual average of 1,000 battle deaths was required for inclusion in this collection. Great powers are defined as countries or states that play a major role in international politics with respect to security-related issues. Such powers must have a high level of military capability relative to other states and be able to project military power beyond their borders with the option of using force, or the threat of force, to help shape their external environment. They play a large role in international organizations and politics and are perceived as great powers by other members of the international community. Variables in this collection include the duration of each war, its severity in terms of the number of battle-connected deaths, the extent of the war (defined as the number of great powers participating in the fighting), magnitude of the war (combining extent and duration indicators), and the concentration of war (the ratio of severity to magnitude).

Access Notes

  • Data in this collection are available only to users at ICPSR member institutions. Please log in so we can determine if you are with a member institution and have access to these data files.


DS1:  Main Data File - Download All Files (0.222 MB)
ASCII + SPSS Setup   
DS2:  SAS Data Definition Statements - Download All Files (0.007 MB)

ASCII + SAS Setup   

Study Description


Levy, Jack S. GREAT POWER WARS, 1495-1815. New Brunswick, NJ and Houston, TX: Jack S. Levy and T. Clifton Morgan [producers], 1989. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 1994. https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR09955.v1

Persistent URL: https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR09955.v1

Export Citation:

  • RIS (generic format for RefWorks, EndNote, etc.)
  • EndNote XML (EndNote X4.0.1 or higher)


This study was funded by:

  • National Science Foundation (SES86-10567)

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:    defense (military), international conflict, international relations, military strength, national security, war, war deaths, world politics

Geographic Coverage:    Global

Time Period:   

  • 1495--1815

Date of Collection:   

  • 1986--1989

Universe:    All wars from 1495 to 1815 in which the sum of fatalities for all participants was at least 1,000.

Data Type(s):    event/transaction data


Data Source:

Monographs, encyclopedias, and journals. See the bibliography at the end of the codebook for full citations.

Extent of Processing:   ICPSR data undergo a confidentiality review and are altered when necessary to limit the risk of disclosure. ICPSR also routinely creates ready-to-go data files along with setups in the major statistical software formats as well as standard codebooks to accompany the data. In addition to these procedures, ICPSR performed the following processing steps for this data collection:

  • Standardized missing values.


Original ICPSR Release:   1994-05-20

Related Publications



Metadata Exports

If you're looking for collection-level metadata rather than an individual metadata record, please visit our Metadata Records page.

Download Statistics