This is the mistake:
I went to reinstall I dragged my library from the external drive back into iphoto.
You dragged your back up library into iPhoto, so it's importing the Library.
Never import one Library to another. Every version and thumbnail is imported like a distinct photo, you lose all your Albums, Keywords etc., the link between Original and Previews is destroyed, the non-destructive editing feature is ruined and so on. In summary: it's mess.
So, quit that, it's a waste of time.
To restore: Drag your back up iPhoto Library to the Pictures Folder. Then hold down the option (or alt ) key key and launch iPhoto. From the resulting menu select 'Choose Library' and point it at the back up library.
Hi, that's def solved the problem importing the correct number of photos. Thanks a lot. If you dont mind a second follow up, what if I want the photos to be my primary library on iPhoto's now? I plan on putting the external hard drive in a safe location and just want the photos back on my computer. If I disconnect my hard drive it obviously cannot reference that.