Book Chapter

The 1310s Event



Slavin P (2018) The 1310s Event. In: White S, Pfister C & Mauelshagen F (eds.) The Palgrave Handbook of Climate History. 1st ed. Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 495-515.

In the 1310s, northwestern Europe experiences two environmental crises, each on a catastrophic scale. First, between approximately July 1314 and July 1316, there were twenty-four months of extreme weather, characterised by almost incessant torrential rain in summer, autumn and spring, and then frost during winter. The disastrous weather resulted in three back-to-back harvest failures and omnipresent food dearth. Because of both anthropogenic and demographic factors, the 'Great Famine' of the 1310s became probably the single harshest subsistence crisis in Europe of the last two millennia. Second, between around 1314 and 1321, Europe was devastated by a disastrous cattle pestilence, most likely caused by rinderpest. In order to appreciate the environmental and biological foundations of the two disasters, it is necessary to consider their wider ecological and climatic contexts.

Publication date31/12/2018
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Professor Philip Slavin

Professor Philip Slavin

Professor, History