Early Years of the Little Ice Age

in Northern Europe, 1300-1500


Korean Minjok Leadership Academy
International Program
Kim, Shin
Research Paper, AP World History Class, Fall 2007




Table of Contents


I. Introduction
           I.1) Historians' Negligence of the Climate
           I.2) Time-set and Place-set
           I.3) Research Methodology
II. The Great Famine, 1315-1318
           II.1) Introduction
           II.2) 1315 - The Rains Begin
           II.2.1) The Weather
           II.2.2) The Consequent Suffering
           II.3) 1316 - The Apex of the Famine
           II.3.1) The Weather
           II.3.2) The Consequent Suffering
           II.4) 1317 - Harshest Winter
           II.5) 1318 - Signs of Recovery
           II.5.1) The Weather
           II.5.2) The Prologning Consequences
           II.6) Major Factors Exacerbating the Famine
           II.6.1) Abruptness in the Climate Change
           II.6.2) A Crowded Population
           II.6.3) Ongoing of Wars
           II.7) Summary
III. Cod Migration and the Discovery of the New World
           III.1) Introduction
           III.2) Why Cod?
           III.2.1) General Description of the Gadus Morhua
           III.2.2) Significance of Cod Meat In Medieval Times
           III.2.3) Cod and Temperature Aberrations
           III.3) English Fishermen Excluded From Norway, Into Iceland
           III.3.1) Isolation of Iceland
           III.3.2) 1410 Shutdown of Bergen & the Hanse Merchants
           III.3.3) English Fishermen Move Into Icelandic Waters
           III.4) English Fishermen in Icelandic Waters
           III.4.1) Establishment of the Trade
           III.4.2) The Icelandic Trade
           III.4.3) Decline of the Trade
           III.4.4) From the Environmental Perspective
           III.5) Bristol Fleets' Discovery of the New World
           III.5.1) In Search of Hy-Brassyle
           III.5.2) What Cabot Sought and What Cabot Found
           III.5.3) English Discovery of the New World & the Little Ice Age
           III.6) Basque Fishermen's Discovery of the New World
           III.6.1) The Basque People
           III.6.2) The Great Basque Mystery
           III.6.3) Cooling Waters & Basque Explorations; a Hypothesis
           III.7) Summary
IV. Frequent Sea Floods in the 13th Century
           IV.1) Introduction
           IV.2) The Direct Impact
           IV.2.1) Identifying the Increase in Inundations and Storminess
           IV.2.2) Geographical Changes
           IV.2.3) Disasters
           IV.3) Why The Sea Floods?
           IV.3.1) Explanatory Reasons
           IV.3.2) Sea-Level Change
           IV.3.3) Sea-Level Fluctuations in the North Sea
           IV.4) The Indirect Impact; Land Reclamation
           IV.4.1) Early Forms of Struggle Against the Sea
           IV.4.2) Medieval Expansion of Farmland
           IV.4.3) Reclamation and the 13th Century Sea Floods
           IV.5) Summary
V. Land Desertion in Scandinavia
           V.1) Introduction
           V.2) 14th Century Depression in Scandinavia
           V.2.1) The Depression
           V.2.2) General Tendencies
           V.3) Causes of the Desertion
           V.3.1) Demographic Decline - The Black Death and the Great Famine
           V.3.2) Deteriorating Climate
           V.3.3) Economic Causes
           V.4) The Social Impacts
           V.4.1) Conversion to Grazing
           V.4.2) Falling Prices and Surging Wages
           V.4.3) Decline of Norway
           V.5) Summary
VI. Conclusion
VIII. Notes
IX. Bibliography

Teacher's Comment


I. Introduction

            I.1) Historians' Negligence of the Climate
            Climate's position in history has always been one less than it deserves. Historians were specifically careful to avoid environmental determinism - the claim that environmental or climatic change directly shaped human history. Their prudence used to be justified due of the absence of accurate measurements or observations of our climate from periods earlier than 200 years ago. However, situations are largely different today, thanks to the technological development that enabled paleoclimatologists to extract accurate information about past-climate from sources like tree-rings or ice-caps.
            Furthermore, we live in a world where not only the current climate affects us, but where even predictions of future climate have significant influence on us. Thus, the environmental factor, which heavily affects our decision-making even to this day, has become increasingly difficult to overlook.
            The "Little Ice Age" deserves attention because it is the latest drastic climate change that human civilization came through; it provides us insight into the matter of how vulnerable humans are to changes in their surrounding environment and how they adapt to a changing environment. Due to the technological breakthroughs mentioned above, studying the effects of the climate on medieval society is no longer a series of "likely" conjectures, but a process of logical reasoning, supported by scientific and historical evidence.


I.2) Time-set and Place-set
            This study focuses on the period between 1300 and 1500. This corresponds to the early years of the Little Ice Age, which is commonly considered to span from 1300 to 1850. The early years are critical because they represent a transitory period from the Medieval Warm Period, roughly from 900 to 1200, when the climate was warmer than usual. (See Figure 1.1) The impact of climate change was most significant during this transitory period because the medieval people who had gone through centuries of favorable weather were least expecting sudden harsh weather.

Figure 1.1 : Temperature changes shwon by oxygen isotope variations from north-west Greenland since AD 300. (After Whyte (1) ). The relatively high temperatures of the medieval optimum and the sharp fall at around 1200 at the start of the Little Ice Age are especially clear


            This research also has a place-set : Northern Europe. Northern Europe was and still continues to be the marginal area of climate change; when climate patterns shift, the impact is most evident in Northern Europe. Also, because descriptive records of the medieval climate by chroniclers, monks, and local administrators are relatively ample in Northern Europe, the area is convenient for analysis. Thus, this research confines itself to Northern Europe of 1300-1500.


I.3) Research Methodology
            The topic of the Little Ice Age is conventionally approached from two perspectives: the scientific perspective that focuses on reprocessing accurate climate of the past and the historical perspective that focuses on what kind of trouble mankind had to go through because of the Little Ice Age. This research aimed to merge the two perspectives and provide coherent narratives of historical events supported by strong scientific evidence.
            This study was mainly conducted on the basis of secondary sources, with occasional reference to primary sources whenever accessible. My primary source of information being books, I gained access to required books via purchases of used-books, or through the Korean National Library, the library of Seoul National University, and the online library Questia.


II. The Great Famine, 1315-1318

            II.1) Introduction
            The Black Death is often considered as the single most catastrophic event that has occurred to the Europeans during the Middle Age. Although there are none comparable with the Black Death in terms of casualties, the Great Famine of 1315-1318 was probably tantamount to the Black Death in terms of sufferings; during the Black Death, "for a few months men died," while in the Great Famine "the agony was slow" (2)
            1315-1318 were years of a famine unprecedented in scale and scope since the beginning of the Middle Age. The famine covered the British Isles, Northern France, Germany, and the southern portions of Scandinavia (3) . Historical evidence points to the worst cereal harvest in England during the entire Middle Ages, a similar situation in Germany, and up to a 50 percent decline of crop harvest in regions of France near Paris (4) . The poor peasantry suffered greatly in these years of bad harvests and little food, at least 10 percent of the entire English population dying and considerable amounts of arable land turning into non-arable land within a matter of a couple of years (5) .
            The Great Famine's significance in history is not solely due to the extensive suffering it inflicted on the North Europeans. It is also significant because it marks climatic turbulence at the end of one climatic era that called for the advent of another; the Medieval Warm Period - a period when mean summer temperatures were 0.7 to 1.4 degrees Celsius higher than those of the 20th century (6) - had come to an end and the Little Ice age was about to begin.
            This unexpected turn of weather, which surprised the medieval people with climatic situations the Middle Age had nearly ever seen, was what was primarily responsible for the ";greatness"; of the Great Famine. But of course, there were other complications that exacerbated the famine such as constant wars all across Europe, overpopulation to the degree that the contemporary agricultural technology could no longer support, and ineffective measures by local authorities and governments.


II.2) The Rains Begin
            II.2.1) The Weather
            The rains of 1315 started in spring. In England, the rains started from Pentecost (seven weeks from Easter), from mid-April in France and from the beginning of May in the Low Countries (7). Records left by nature and humanity confirm the rain alike. Tree ring data from Ireland reveal that 1315 was a year of extraordinary growth for oak trees (8). Also, chroniclers of the time have recorded "During this season it rained marvelously and for so long" and that "Exceedingly great rains descended from the heavens." (9)
            The rains, right away, spread throughout northern Europe, establishing the settings for a universal famine. Heavy rains affected from Ireland to the Baltics, and from southern Scandinavia to the Alps (10). The rains continued throughout the summer and after the rains came an unusually cold winter. (11)


II.2.2) The Consequent Suffering
            The Middle Age had never been too generous to the peasants, even during the best of years. In the 14th century, Farm workers in England had a life expectancy of 24 years, and medieval cemeteries reveal horribly deformed bodies due to hard labor (12). Furthermore, the rural communities were largely self-sufficient, meaning that large-scale risk management through interaction between villages and communities was impossible (13). The never-before-seen rains on top of the already harsh everyday life of the peasants were an ideal formula for a catastrophe.
            With the enormous amount of downpour, crop fields had turned into muddy wilderness (14). Crops were flattened by torrential rain, and the wet weather fostered plant diseases (15). This resulted in an average 50 percent decrease in crops in England during 1315-1316 (16).
            What was worse was the effect that the rains had on the soil. As rural populations grew during the Middle Ages, communities moved toward marginal farmlands where the soils were often more lighter and sandier. These marginal farmlands proved incapable of absorbing the sudden rain and the fertility of the topsoil of these lands was drastically reduced (17).
            Livestock were also affected by the rains. The continual wetness made it hard for farmers to mow the necessary hay, and if the hay lay on the ground for too long, it developed fungi that killed the cattle which ate it. Furthermore, epidemics of murrain (rinderpest) developed throughout the countryside, affecting cattle and lambs (18).
            This sudden harsh weather and the dire consequences instantly changed peasants' lives. "Strange diets" are said to have been developed; people started eating disagreeable plants, bark, leather, cloth, and diseased animals. The hygiene was generally better in the countryside where there was always some food that could be find, compared to that of the cities (19). Even rumors of cannibalism against kidnapped children ran wild during the winter of that year (20).
            Yet, 1315 was a prelude to the years coming. Rural communities were able to survive with the leftover crops in the storage from the previous years without too much casualties; the peasants passed 1315 hoping for better weather in 1316.


II.3) 1316 - The Apex of the Famine
            II.3.1) The Weather
            The weather of 1316, in contrast to the hopes of the north Europeans, did not get any better. It began with a severe winter that had started from 1315 (21). In the spring, more rains prevented the proper sowing of oats, barley and spelt (22). Rains continued throughout the year, and huge areas in the Low Countries had been inundated after major sea storms. Sea storms in the English Channel and the North Sea are known to have been particularly intense (23).


II.3.2) The Consequent Suffering
            Two consecutive severe crop failures were more than what most agricultural communities could sustain. Not to mention that the harvest of 1316 was worse than that of 1315; in fact, crop yields in 1316 were the worst in several centuries. Data from the Winchester and Westminster manors show that wheat yields were 64.1 percent, 55.9 percent, and 87.5 percent, and that barley yields were 86.9 percent, 69.7 percent, and 80.2 percent of the average during the 150 year period from 1217 to 1410. Crop yields were lowest on 1316 during the period given above (24). England, specifically, never saw a similar subsistence catastrophe in cereals during the whole of the Middle Ages (25).
            Livestock had increasingly become headaches for farmers. The damp weather disabled the appropriate harvest of hay and thus the livestock were left outside to forage during the winter to find the food on themselves. These animals which were already malnutritioned, staggered in the cold weather and many died in the cold. Sheep were especially severely hit by the cold (26). Epidemics were also constantly problems. Initially, cattle had been affected by rinderpest, and later on sheep would be affected by a parasitic worm called the liver fluke (27). Due to these reasons, flocks of Bolton Priory in northern England reported 913 out of 3000 animals left after the winter of 1316/1317 (28) was over and similar situations were reported throughout northern Europe. Some chroniclers called this phenomenon the "Great Dying of Beasts."
            The serious famine called for changes in people's lifestyles. People suffered diarrhea and lethargy from "strange diets" and rural men called vagabonds, who couldn't find food anywhere started to roam the countryside. These rural beggars aimlessly wandered around from town to town spreading stories of dubious authenticity and often threatening city-dwellers to give them any food that they may have. Also, there was (29) a surge in the number of farmers turning over their land to wealthy landlords. For example, the manor of Hindolveston in Norfolk experienced a 160 percent increase in surrender of land compared to the previous year in 1316 and another 70 percent increase in the next year.


II.4) 1317 - Harshest Winter
            Rains in 1317 were less of an everywhere phenomenon than in the earlier years. Areas like western Germany were hard hit, but the less populated areas weren't as severely hit. However the incumbent winter of 1317/1318 turned out to be the harshest winter of all (30). In such a weather, the famine situation prolonged and the livestock, particularly the sheep which are more vulnerable to cold, are known to have been hard hit.


II.5) 1318 - Signs of Recovery
            II.5.1) The Weather
            Though some studies consider the period until 1322 as the entirety of the Great Famine because there was another peak in the years of 1321-1322, climatic conditions certainly improved during 1318. Many chroniclers confirm the generally improving weather after the April of 1318 and though there were sufferings afterward, there were none as serious as the first three years of the famine (31). Studies have concluded that the recoveries were fast once the famine was over, that medieval communities "did not suffer a prolonging setback (32)."


II.5.2) The Prolonging Consequences
            Nevertheless in certain aspects, there were inevitable lingering effects, from the famine. In terms of land, the good land, which had been cultivated for centuries were relatively less hit. However the marginal lands that peasants had newly asserted which consisted of a layer of light soil were not able to sustain the heavy rain. The lands were visibly disfigured, and arable topsoil was eroded, and what was left of the soil remained waterlogged for a long period. These problems inflicted upon the terrain could only be solved by a long period of time (33); which the communities of the time had, because they would not be obliged to utilize the marginal land until the population loss was made up for so that the "good lands" would be fully utilized first.
            Recovery among the herds was also a potentially slow process. In manors where there was appropriate funding to foster the increase in livestock, the process was relatively fast. However, among peasants and the poor, full recovery in the number of herds had to wait entire decades (34).
            Another interesting consequence of the Great Famine is that farmers stopped writing responsiones which were estimates of the next year¢®?s grain yields so that farmers can establish a long-term plan. People had realized how useless responsiones could suddenly become, and what arrogance it was to predict something that only the divine could determine (35).


II.6) Major Factors Exacerbating the Famine
            II.6.1) Abruptness in the Climatic Change
            The sudden unfortunate turn of weather in 1315-1317 was something unexpected by the people living in the Middle Ages. As mentioned before, temperatures were warmer than contemporary conditions, allowing agricultural limits to extend into high altitudes. Not only was the temperature warmer, the weather was more stable as well. However, the weather during the Great Famine of 1315 - 1317 was something contrary to what people had experienced and expected. This unexpectedness among the people and inexperience against sudden natural disasters disabled the farmers to react in the most efficient ways; thus it intensified some of the impacts that could have been anticipated and counter-acted upon (36). Simply put, the famine had caught the medieval population by surprise.


II.6.2) A Crowded Population
            Another factor that must be discussed in the context of the Great Famine is the explosive population growth across Europe that continued onto the days of the Great Famine. The English population, which had been about 1.4 million in 1086, during the Domesday Survey, had exploded into 5 million by 1300. The French population also increased from 6.2 million in the late 11th century into about 17.6 million by 1300, and Norway also saw its population growing into half a million people (37). Such levels were never before seen in Europe and were never to be seen again until the later 18th century - the potato revolution - in most countries after the Great Famine and the Black Death curbed the increase in the 14th century. Behind such an increase was the agreeable weather during the Medieval Warm Period that enabled farmers to cultivate beyond initial boundaries of arable fields.
            However, eventually the population had reached a level where the economic development - the agricultural productivity in this case where over 95 percent of the population were occupied with agriculture - didn't follow up with the need of the increasing population. According to today's standards, the population density of the early 1300s wouldn't be considered so dense but there were several reasons why the demands were impossible to meet. First, neither the agricultural revolution that came along in the 16th century nor the industrial revolution starting in the late 18th century had not yet revolutionized agriculture. Second, the ownership of land was so scattered among such a mass that specialization of labor nor mass input of labor was possible (38). Third, the economy had a larger dependency on grazing compared to later times, particularly so in the mountain slope meadows of Norway, and the Alps, which meant that those areas utilized as grazing fields never achieved its full potential that could have been achieved through cultivation. This eventually resulted in a general inclination of which lightly settled areas escaped the great mortality, while some densely populated rural areas suffered greatly (39).
            To further elaborate on the lagging agricultural productivity, it can be said that several general phenomena were problematic. First, the pre-modern social infrastructure of the time, hindered economic growth after a certain level. The transportation costs were enormous and the transportation was always volatile, pushing the rural communities to become increasingly self-sufficient. Second, the population increase was causing uncontrolled expansion of marginal farmlands that were potentially very vulnerable and quickly lost its initial fertility (40). Overcropping (inadequate fallowing) was a common measure during a time when the weather was permitting (41). Such excessive pressure on the farmland eventually decreased the overall wheat yields drastically. As populations increased, the gap between the demanded resources and the produced resources increased rapidly. Such a situation left a number of people on the margin; those who barely maintained subsistence even during years of good harvest. All that was needed was a trigger to a catastrophe which would instantly put these marginal people out of the margin.


II.6.3) Ongoing of Wars
            Another important factor is the ongoing of wars in the high middle ages. Though, wars could not have caused the Great Famine independently, when it was combined with all other factors, it significantly exacerbated the situation. Wars caused suffering by interfering with the natural and efficient allocation of the crops which were in dire need to feed the starving population. The royal tax burdens obliged peasants to pay what they didn't have and monasteries and priories to pay what they might have used for charity and relief measures. Another possible complication of the war is in that by bringing an alien population - with their own diseases - in contact with rural people who had low resistance to foreign diseases(42). Lastly, it mustn't be forgotten that wars are essentially destructive actions. The socio-economic infrastructure and capital were devastated especially in regions along the borders.
            Though there wasn't a single major war in the time of the Great Famine - the 100 Year War was only coming up - there were constant local skirmishes and battles all over Europe.
            The Flemish cities, sympathizing with England, had rebelled against the French administration; the Count of Flanders had been taken hostage by the French king. A French army had already once been defeated in the Battle of Kortrijk (Courtai) during the early years of the rebellion. In 1315, Louis X planned a military campaign against the Flemish rebels but had to return on reaching the Flemish border because the summer rain was particularly so heavy. The Flemish population went on to consider this event, divine intervention (43). Though in this case, the harsh weather actually helped avoid major battles, in plenty of other cases, wars added more grief to what was already caused by the famine.
            The British Isles were at war as well. Since the beginning of the 14th century King Edward I of England had invaded Scotland and interfered with the Scottish succession dispute (44). By 1314, the Scottish were at full retaliation led by Robert the Bruce, gaining there decisive victory at the Battle of Bannockburn. As the Scottish wars of independence continued until 1328, long lasting damage was done to the near-border regions where both armies ravaged the other side (45). Wars were also seen on Irish and Welsh lands too as Robert the Bruce implemented his aggressive military campaigns (46).
            In Scandinavia, there were complicated struggles between the kingdoms of Norway, Denmark, and Sweden as well as civil wars within each of the countries throughout the famine. In Germany, war also broke out between Ludwig of Bavaria and Duke Frederick of Austria in 1314 after the "double election" to the German throne (47).
            The greater deaths are said to have arisen from the difficulties of having to provision entire armies and the epidemics rather than the actual killings in the battles (48). Eventually political leaders realized that it was unwise to carry on with wars during such a great famine, and from such mutual understanding arose numerous treaties, alliances, truces, agreements among the conflicting parties (49). Nevertheless, to some opportunistic leaders, the famine was simply an opportunity to achieve decisive victories while enemies were at their weakest.


II.7) Summary
            The Great Famine was the direct result of a few rainy springs and a few harsh winters in a row marking the transition of the dominant climate regime. Medieval Europeans who were used to warmer and more stable weather were not prepared to face such a sudden shift in the climate patterns. The adverse weather, exacerbated by its unexpectedness was enough to culminate in the worst famine ever to be recorded in the history of northern Europe. It serves as a warning to modern peoples to be ready for sudden shifts in climate patterns, as they too are living through one of the most turbulent periods in terms of shifts in climate patterns.


III. Cod Migration and the Discovery of the New World

III.1) Introduction
            This chapter aims to prove how the Little Ice Age resulted in the westward migration of the cod, and how European fishermen in pursuit of cod were eventually able to achieve the Pre-Columbian discovery of America. This chapter includes six sub-chapters. The first sub-chapter is this introduction and the second explains what cod meant to Europeans in the 1400s and 1500s, and how it was possible that its migration was the motivating factor of the discovery of the New World. The third and fourth sub-chapters prove the first part of the thesis: the loss of fishing grounds for European fishermen due to the westward cod migration as the sea cooled during the Little Ice Age. The fifth and sixth sub-chapters aims to prove the more subtle and controversial hypothesis of how cod fishermen were the first to discover the New World, even before Columbus. Though the discussion of the Basque exploration in the sixth sub-chapter contains no direct mention of the Little Ice Age, the sub-chapter was included as a part of the research because the Basques were considered indispensible in the discussion of the Pre-Columbian voyages to the New World.


III.2) Why Cod?
            III.2.1) General Description of the Gadus Morhua
            The term codfish consists of 10 families and over 200 species of fish. Though almost all of them live in the Northern Atlantic are similar to each other, the one of historical significance, and thus worthy of special interest is the Atlantic cod, or the Gadus Morhua.
            Cod have always been easy catch. A cod will eat almost anything, making it omnivorous. It will literally swim with its mouths open swallowing whatever it can get inside its mouth - including its own young ones. Thus no special baits are required to catch a cod. It will go for anything that comes in sight. Another factor that expedites its catch is its habitat. The cod prefers shallow water and are commonly found in depths within 120 feet. The cod is often found in continental shelves - the shallow sea along the coastline - and is accessible to fishermen without special boats. During its breeding period, it will come to shallower waters and still-closer to shorelines, making the catch even easier. A female cod that has reached maturity will lay several million eggs at a time. However the absolute majority of the eggs or the young fish die before they pass their first year, and only two successful ones among all the eggs that a female cod reproduces during its lifetime will suffice to maintain a stable population.
            The cod is well-known for its white flesh; the whitest of the white-fleshed fish. Its flesh is so white that it will almost seem like it is glowing when it is served on a plate. White flesh is an indicator of the sluggish muscle tissue, is fit for quick action but not for great strength. Thus, the cod will slowly cruise through the sea and suddenly pounce on a prey that comes by. Also, it is unique for having minimal amounts of fat; only 0.3 percent of its body mass. It has an unusually high proportion of protein - 18 percent - and when the water has evaporated from the meat after it has been dried, the meat will be almost 80 percent protein, making it particularly nutritious.


III.2.2) Significance of Cod Meat in Medieval Times
            Cod have been prized catches throughout history. In the past they were valued because they were an inexpensive, long-lasting source of nutrition and today they are in demand as an increasingly expensive delicacy. In medieval times, two groups of people were particularly fond of cod: The sea-faring mariners and devout Catholics.
            First, for sea-voyagers, cod were an essential part of their staple diet while they were on sea. The Vikings, in their heyday of the 10th and 11th centuries, traveled from Norway to Iceland to Greenland to Canada which was possible largely due to the fact that this is the exact range of the habitat of the Atlantic cod. They were able to travel these distant and barren shores without having to return for provisions because they had learned to preserve codfish by hanging it in the cold weather until the meat lost most of its weight and turned into durable, stiff hardtacks (50). The Basques, also a seafaring people, were able to adventure into even farther lands because they not only dried their fish but also salted it for longer preservation. Salt, though a rare commodity in those days, were relatively accessible to the Basques, living in the sub-Mediterranean sphere. Such dried and salted cod produced were consumed not only by the Basques themselves on sea, but were sold across Europe, known as Baccalao (51).
            Second, devout Catholics were in great want of cod because from the 8th century on, the Catholic Church obliged people to eat only fish on the so-called "Lean Days" (52). In these lean days - all Fridays, because the Christ was crucified on Friday, and the forty days of Lent, the period when Christ retreated to the wilderness and fasted - the church ecclesiastics encouraged people to practice abstinence by fasting and not engaging in sexual intercourse. However, while "hot" meat was forbidden, "cold" meat - which naturally meant the fish - was allowed even during the fast. Though not everybody strictly abided to this rule, fish were in great demand because many devout Catholics including the clergy ate only fish during this period which amounted to almost half of the entire year. Because salted cod was easily preserved and transported, lean days eventually became salt cod days (53). Cod meat was virtually without fat, meaning that it was well-fit for salting and drying, and would outlast any other fish meat. Also after being processed for preservation, the meat acquired a satisfying taste, superior to that of bland, fresh fish meat, which added to its popularity. For the poor who could rarely afford fresh fish, cod meat was cheap, high-quality nutrition (54).


III.2.3) Cod and Temperature Aberrations
            The cod is abundant in waters where the surface temperature is between 2 and 13 degrees Celsius, and temperatures between 4 and 7 degrees Celsius are optimal for reproduction and early survival. The regulation of water balance within the cod¢®?s body is disturbed in temperatures below 2 degrees Celsius and the cod is rarely found in those temperatures (55). Though the cod is found throughout the vast expanse of the Northern Atlantic, it is particularly abundant in regions where the cold currents and warm currents meet each other, because the sea life that the cod feed on clusters in these areas. To be more specific such regions include, where the warm North Atlantic Current meets the arctic currents north of the British Isles and where the warm Gulf Stream passes by the Labrador Current off North America (56); North American banks had a greater density of cod population than anywhere else until up to a few centuries ago, which is where the European fishermen eventually settled.
            In fact, the cod consistently follow this edge of warm currents and cold currents to the extent that some scientists believe the shifting of weather patterns can be monitored by recording where fishermen find cod (57) - which is highly related to what this chapter aims to do. Numerous records do exist that prove the correlation between shifts in sea current and cod fishing grounds; however, this is only after routine and accurate measurements were possible in modern days. The conditions during the 1300s and 1400s, the time-period of our interest, are only implied in various historical documents and contemporary efforts to restore pre-modern climate patterns. Yet, there is enough evidence to believe that as the general cooling proceeded in Northern Europe and as ice packs expanded southward from the polar region (58), the cod population moved westward and southward seeking toward warmer temperatures or at least the cod population became very unstable in the East Atlantic. This chapter aims to prove this shift in the cod population and how it was one of the important factors contributing to the discovery of the New World in the late 15th century.


III.3) English Fishermen Excluded from Norway, Into Iceland
            This subchapter deals with how the English fishermen who were known to have fished in the Norwegian waters throughout the 1300s were banned from these waters in 1410 which forced the English fishermen to move into Icelandic waters. The general cooling process in Scandinavia and Northern Europe of the 1300s is apparently a major driving force of these series of events; which will be proven throughout the subchapter. The three major actors of these events will be dealt with consecutively: the Icelanders, the Norwegians and Hanseatic merchants of Bergen, and the English.


III.3.1) Isolation of Iceland
            Despite the fact that the Icelanders were prohibited from engaging in any direct trade relationships with any foreigners, the entry of English fishermen into Icelandic waters was facilitated due to the almost complete isolation of the island in the late 1300s and the early 1400s. Because the Icelanders were isolated and in desperate need of foreign provisions they readily cooperated with foreigners, though it meant to engage in illegal activities. In those days agriculture was virtually impossible in Iceland and thus the Icelanders had to rely on imports from overseas for basic necessities (59). Life for Icelanders was tolerable during the Medieval Warm Period which was the time of the "Great Norse Exploration" and shipping was frequent between Scandinavian Viking settlements and Iceland, exporting what they could and importing what they needed. However, by the end of the 1300s, Iceland was losing touch with the outer world. The Icelandic Annals, which carefully enumerate the arrival of foreign ships, are silent during the period with the exception of erratic shipments from Norway (60). In one of these years, an annalist had to sorrowfully record, "No news from Norway to Iceland" throughout the entire year (61). One monkish chronicler even describes the island as a "desert in the ocean" (62). There are several explanations as to why contacts with the outer world were severed so abruptly and abysmally.
            First, the fault can be attributed to the Icelanders' decay in the spirit of enterprise which ultimately led to them to become dependent on the Norwegians instead of fostering their own merchant fleets. True, the age of the "Great Norse Exploration" was over with the Christianization of the Vikings, and Iceland is an island virtually without any trees to build ships with. Yet the union with Norway in 1262 was a strategic mistake. In 1262, Iceland chieftains signed a treaty with the Norwegian monarchy that united the two, under the conditions that the Norwegians sent six ships annually to Iceland (63). Though this union was meant to prevent the complete isolation of the island, Iceland quickly turned into a complete dependency and the trade was controlled by the Norwegians. The Icelandic trade was concentrated in the port of Bergen, the staple port of all Norwegian dependencies - meaning that trade with the Icelanders could not be conducted elsewhere (64). Excessive taxation in Bergen made the Icelandic trade an unattractive one. Furthermore, this Norwegian dependency was a dangerous economic structure because in the case when the Norwegians should suddenly collapse, the Icelanders would be left with no merchant fleets of their own, nor any trade partners other than the Norwegians.
            Second, the Norwegians, whom the Icelanders depended on, also were on the decline. Norwegians themselves were often facing famines and economic crises during the 1300s and the six-ships-a-year condition stipulated by the union was not kept very well; toward 1400, almost no ships sailed to Iceland at all. Also the Norwegians were facing the rival of a prominent commercial power on the Northern coast of Germany: the Hanseatic League. During the 1300s, the the Hanse had already pushed back the Norwegian merchants from the Baltic and the southern parts of the North Sea (65). The Hanse even went on to challenge the monopoly in Bergen and the restrictions were loosened in favor of the Hanse merchants. Slowly and steadily the Hanse undermined the Norwegian naval power and eventually Norway's trade, even with her own colonies withered away (66). The downfall of the Icelanders' monopolizing trade partner was certainly a grave problem for the Icelandic economy.
            Third, the environmental factors were largely in disfavor of the Icelanders. Toward the end of the 14th century, signs of the Little Ice Age were evident in Iceland as well. Winters were of exceptional severity (67), drift ice along the The Icelandic coast had sharply risen since the 13th century (68). (Look at Figure 3.1) Increase in the drift ice in the seas surrounding Iceland mean that it had become more difficult for the ships to move in and out of The Icelandic coast which were already hazardous in normal conditions, a partial explanation of why foreign ships ceased to visit Iceland during the period. Also major volcanic eruptions occurred in Iceland in the late 1300s and the island was not an exempt from the Black Death which further exacerbated problems.

Figure 3.1 Number of days per year that drift ice was observed along the Icelandic coast. (After Lamb (69))


            What finally triggered the rebelliousness among the Icelanders was the selfish and cruel administration of the Danish rulers after the Scandinavian kingdoms - including Norway - went initiated the Kalmar Union in 1397. According to Wilson, governors and Bishops appointed by the Danish would "travel through the land collecting taxes from learned as well as from laymen, whatever they could get; and under the oppression of such burdens the people had to remain" (70). If the Norwegians had the least amount of compassion for the Icelanders, for it was the Norwegians who settled in Iceland in the first place, the Danish considered Iceland no more than a ground for thorough exploitation. The angry Icelanders were now ready to accept any foreign ships arriving in their shores in defiance of the cruel administration.


III.3.2) 1410 Shutdown of Bergen & the Hanse Merchants
            In 1410, the staple port of Bergen decided to pursue a policy of exclusiveness and oust all foreigners; or more accurately, all foreigners except for the merchants of the Wendish quarter of the Hanseatic League.(71) The English were of course included among these foreigners who could no longer trade or fish in Bergen, but surprisingly, all Hanseatic merchants as well were ousted as long as they were not Wendish. The initiation of this policy, which eventually led the English to move out to Iceland and further on to the new world in search of stable fishing grounds for cod, had two dimensions to it; the political and the environmental.
            The political dimension is that this event symbolizes the steady culmination of the power of the Hanse merchants in Bergen, representative of the Northern Scandinavia. Though the Hanse ascendancy is not to last long, they had clearly gained effectively control of Bergen in 1410. This had been an ongoing process ever since the 1200s. Before then, the Hanseatic presence in Norway was unwelcome; in 1188 King Sverrir would not allow Hanseatic merchants because the wine they brought encouraged the gluttony of his people (72). However, in 1248, Håkon IV Håkonsson initiates the trade with Lübeck out of desperation because his country was on the verge of a famine and needed grain badly (73). From then on, the Hanse steadily increased their influence in Bergen by gaining privileges such as the allowance for them to stay within Bergen during the winter, and the right not to be jailed in Bergen (74). Numerous Norwegian kings attempted to check the growth of Hanseatic influence by taking away some of their privileges but each time the Norwegian monarchy had to give into the grain embargo imposed by the Hanse. The grain embargo was an effective strategy because grain production had dramatically fallen due to a "climatic cooling that had been under way from 1250 onwards" which eventually led to the "permanence of the cessation of farming after the Black Death in Norway" (75). Anyhow, the Wendish had gained enough control of Bergen by 1410 to accomplish a long-desired goal: monopolizing the Bergen trade for themselves.
            The environmental dimension of 1410 shutdown of Bergen is that the Norwegians were concerned about the deteriorating fish harvests in their seas and decided to ban foreign fishermen from entering their seas altogether. This is quite plausible because starting from the 1200s, "the cooling first intensified in the northeast, around Franz-Josefland and Spitsbergen, and then spread westward across the Arctic" (76). Cod - cod, because Bergen was the "most important place for the transshipment of cod" (77) - as mentioned in the earlier subchapter, can live only in waters above 2 degrees celsius. When the ice packs reached the Norwegian seas the cod would no longer have been able to live in the area. Thus with falling cod harvests - a major commodity in the Bergen market - the local authorities did not wish to overexploit the fish population or to have too much competition. Though not many historical sources directly cite this aspect, there is one evident case that directly addresses this factor. In 1415, which after the English cod-fishermen have moved to Iceland, the English House of Commons explains why their fishermen had to move to Iceland: "The Commons declared that since the fish had forsaken their former haunts, as is well known", the fishers had searched elsewhere and found great plenty in Iceland, where they had fished six or seven years past" (78). It says that the cod had left Norwegian waters is "well-known" implying the seriousness of the situation.


III.3.3) English Fishermen Move Into Icelandic Waters
            English fishermen and merchants had been engaged in the cod fisheries and cod trade of Bergen even before the Hanseatic merchants started to acquire political clout (79). And during the 1300s, more and more English cloth was being shipped to Norway while more and more codfish were coming into England from Norway (80). But in 1410, as Bergen was closed to foreigners, so were the Norwegian fisheries and trades. Yet, the English fishermen were growing increasingly adventurous and were willing to venture the unexplored possibilities, which ultimately led them to Iceland.
            However, the increasing storminess of the seas - another effect of the Little Ice Age - and the relatively farther distance to Iceland did not make it an easy journey for English fishermen to undertake. At this point, a few technological breakthroughs were extremely helpful to the English. From the beginning of the 15th century, the English fishermen started to utilize ships called "doggers", named so because they were originally used on the Dogger Bank in the southern North Sea (81). Doggers were inspired by the ships of the Basque and Dutch by adopting the practice of erecting the skeleton of a boat's hull before planking it - this would make the boat more seaworthy. These doggers were simply constructed and easily repaired, further facilitating journeys to outer-seas. In addition to the doggers, fishermen started to use the compass. Though the compass was not present when the first English fishermen visited Iceland, its increasing use throughout the century must have greatly stimulated the trade (82).
            Only after all this, were the three actors in the cod-trade ready to move onto the next phase: the Icelanders were ready to welcome foreign merchants who could lift them from their desolate isolation, the Hanse merchants of Bergen had closed off their seas to foreigners to protect their fish and trade, and the English had the 'doggers' which were seaworthy enough to fish in the rough Icelandic seas. In 1412, first English fishermen appeared on Iceland waters to boldly establish a direct trade despite restrictions prohibiting such action.


III.4) English Fishermen in Icelandic Waters
            III.4.1) Establishment of the Trade
            In 1412, Icelanders living on the southern end of the island reported that a strange ship had appeared. The annals record these people as "fishermen out from England" (83). In the next year, "thirty or more" doggers arrived and exchanged merchandise for cattle (84). Soon, English fishermen first succeeded in obtaining necessary license from King Erik of Denmark and so did merchants(85).
            Iceland's trade with England grew rapidly in terms of size. This was to such an extent that in 1414, the alarmed King Erik sent letters to Iceland forbidding all trade with the "outlandish men" (86). English fishermen, who arrived on Iceland that year, came with a letter issued by their own, Henry V. It was "to the people and chief men of Iceland, to the effect that licence should be given to transact business especially that relating to the king's own ship" (87). The Icelanders, despite the letter they had received from King Erik, decided to move on in the trade with the English. In 1415, King Erik directly complained to King Henry V about the sudden great influx of English fishermen and how unruly they were (88). The English monarchy gave a positive response by declaring that no ship shall visit Iceland unless through Bergen, confirming the Bergen Staple. To that, the angry House of Commons argued that after the fish stocks deteriorated in the Norwegian Sea that they used to be fishing, Iceland was the new fishing ground that they finally found, and could not give it up so easily (89). Though in numerous such cases governments attempted to interfere in the trade, the Icelanders and the English merchants continued to trade in spite of all the interference because the trade was lucrative for both sides. Eventually in the mid-1400s, the trade had reached its height. Then, the Danish king was compelled by its magnitude to recognize it. He made sure to insist that the English at least possess licenses, which were issued by the Danish government, but the law declaring Bergen as the monopolizing port of the Icelandic trade was tacitly ignored (90). Eventually, a somewhat uneasy situation was settled: according to the Bergen Staple, all foreign ships had to trade with the Icelanders only in Bergen. However, the Danish crown was selling English fishermen and merchants trade licenses so that they were exempt from the Bergen Staple. The English crown was also selling licenses of their own that permitted the Englishmen to engage in the Icelandic trade.


III.4.2) The Icelandic Trade
            Ships usually left England in early spring between February and April and they would arrive in Iceland in about a week when the winds were good. Merchants would stay onshore in Iceland throughout the summer and markets would be open all along. Fishermen would be fishing in waters some distance away from the shore all summer long, with occasional journeys back home. Between July and September, all the ships would come back to England (91). The fish - codfish, mainly - that they brought back would be mainly sold in October and November during Lent when Catholics were obliged to eat fish (92). In Iceland, the Englishmen's demand would be only codfish and nothing else; while the Icelanders demanded a variety of commodities - among them the most crucial food and iron (93). The Icelanders were open-arms when it came to the English merchants, for the merchants were bringing everyday necessities for the Icelanders; while they didn't greet the English fishermen as much because the fishermen were generally associated with lawlessness and were more unprincipled, prone to cause havoc (94).


III.4.3) Decline of the Trade
            Situations deteriorated in the latter-half of the 1400s. The main reason was that the Icelandic waters were overcrowded. In contrary to the isolated situation when Iceland was first visited by English fishermen, Iceland in the late 1400s faced over-competition. The Hanseatics even started to compete with the English in fetching the cod catch to London further accelerating the already tense competition (95). Also, other non-Wendish Hanseatic fishermen - therefore making them just as illegitimate as the English, according to the Bergen Staple - started to appear in Icelandic waters all the way from the German coasts. These "interlopers" - some known to have come from Hamburg and some Danzig - were often entirely financed by their respective cities (96). Annals that had recorded the arrival of every foreign ship in the early 1400s now only wrote of major tumults and disasters (97). The influx of foreigners were at such a great level that the feeble Icelandic administration had trouble coping with all of them and just to adjust the claims of the so many disputants (98).
            Even a war had broken out between the Danish and the English when the Danish were trying to regain control over the Icelandic trade. In 1463, the Danish king made resolute efforts to collect his dues in Iceland. He sent strict injunctions to Iceland saying that since the crown's right had been diminished so much, the Icelanders not engage in trade with those foreigners who had not paid the heavy taxes. The Danish governor of Iceland, Bjørn Thorleifsson, tried to implement the kings decrees, but was met with great opposition from the English and the angry English had eventually had Bjørn Thorleifsson "smitten to death". The Danish monarchy in 1468, took four English ships captive in retaliation for the loss of her governor (99). In counter-retaliation, the English started to persecute Hanse merchants in London by putting them into jail. This crisis eventually escalated into a war, though both sides were not too fervent about it. In the end, both sides agreed on a "mutual freedom of trade" which was nothing too new because it included the exception that the English still may not visit Iceland (100).
            Another troubling aspect about the Icelandic trade was that incompetent governments were in charge. For example, in the case of England, it was going through a dynastic struggle throughout the latter part of the 1400s. And whichever political faction came into power, it would exploit its power to give out trade licenses by giving them to merchants who offered them political support (101). The mercantile policy of England was not guided by any other principle but political expediency. Also the Danish crown grew increasingly subservient to the Hanseatic League. The Danish kings, who were destitute of their own naval fleets, relied on the support of the Hanseatic merchants with naval strength. The situation was intensified to the degree that many important decisions started to be made by the Hanse and the Danish kings were merely instrumental in this process (102).
            It was in this context that in 1475 the Danish King, at the instigation of the Hanseatic merchants, banned the fishermen and merchants of Bristol from coming to Iceland. Too much havoc was arising from the overcrowded Icelandic waters, and the Hanseatic merchants wished to monopolize the dried cod trade as it had done with the dried herring trade.


III.4.4) From the Environmental Perspective
            The people of Bristol promptly left Iceland in 1475 without waging a great fight because they had a few sensible reasons to do so. One of the most important reasons was that by then, the cod stocks of the Icelandic waters were fluctuating again. Due to the advent of the Little Ice Age, the general trend in the region was falling sea-water temperatures and increasing ice-packs in the surrounding seas. Looking at Figure 3.2 (103), we see that the ice-packs which had temporarily retreated during the early 1400s came back in the late 1400s. Because cod cannot survive in temperatures below 2 degrees Celsius, temperatures low enough for ice-packs to form meant that the cod would have to migrate toward warmer waters. As historian Fagan says, "Icelandic waters were too crowded and cod stocks were becoming depleted, partly because of occasional severe cycles of colder sea temperatures" (104). Also by then, the Bristol fishermen had well-heard of the Basques' secret fishing ground across the Atlantic, and were ready to search for this fishing ground; the Bristol fishermen were ready to move west once again.

Figure 3.2 Number of days per year that drift ice was observed along the Icelandic coast. (After Lamb (105))


III.5) Bristol Fleets' Discovery of the New World
            III.5.1) In Search of Hy-Brassyle
            In 1475, the Hanseatic merchants, through the decree of the Danish King, abruptly stopped the Bristol merchants from buying Icelandic cod (106). This was due to the Hanseatic ambition to monopolize the dried cod trade just as they had successfully monopolized the dried herring trade (107). However, on top of this, the Bristol merchants had another motive to leave Icelandic waters: the cod stocks were increasingly fluctuating due to the aberrational climate. Just as when they moved out of Norwegian waters, the climate, once again was a factor that inspired fishermen to open new horizons.
            The Bristol's success in those days as England's second biggest port was largely due to the booming cod trade in Bristol. Because Bristol was located in the middle between Iceland and the Mediterranean, it had become a leading port for dried cod from Iceland and wine from Spain (108). Due to such strategic importance of cod, the Bristol merchants felt the need to seek a new reliable source for cod. At the time, in Bristol, rumors described of an Atlantic island called Hy-Brassyle where cod would be living in abundance; probably a distorted version of the rumor of Basques fishing in the North American Coasts. In 1479, four years after the Bristol merchants were excluded from the Icelandic trade, four Bristol merchants received a royal charter to find another source of fish and trade (109). Two major investors in this expedition that launched in the next year, were John Jay and Thomas Croft. They sent two ships, Trinity and George in search for this mythical island of Hy-Brassyle; the first expedition in 1480, and the second in 1481 (110). Historical records say nothing about what kind of information these ships brought back; and thus are often recorded as failures. However, in 1490 when the Hanseatic League offered to reopen the Icelandic trade, the Bristol merchants simply declined (111).
            Wherever Trinity and George had been, there had been enough cod there for the Bristol merchants to no longer need Iceland. Dried cod was constantly arriving into Bristol with most of the people not knowing where they were from. People thought that Jay and Croft - the two former investors - were buying the cod from somewhere else. And soon, Croft was accused of engaging in illegal trades because he, as a customs officer, was not allowed to engage in foreign trade. Croft claimed that he was not buying the cod but catching them from far abroad (112). A letter from the Bristol merchants to Columbus confirms that Trinity and George had really been to North America. In the letter, which is dated before the Columbian journey, merchants allege that Columbus knows perfectly well about the fact that the Bristol ships had already been to America (113).


III.5.2) What Cabot Sought and What Cabot Found
            When the Venetian merchant (Genovese by birth, Venetian by citizenship) Giovanni Caboto, known to the English as John Cabot, sailed westward in 1497, he was not looking for cod - for that had already been achieved by the "George and Trinity" expedition - but was looking for the northern route to the spice fields of Asia that Columbus had supposedly missed. The English were particularly interested in finding a new route for access to spices because they were paying exceptionally high prices for the spices, due to the reason that they were so faraway from the southern spice route. Cabot did not find Asia nor spice fields, but he did find land and he did find cod. Cabot's landing place is thought to be either Newfoundland, Labrador, or Cape Breton, though the last is considered the most likely (114). Unlike those of the "George and Trinity" expedition who kept a secret of what they found, Cabot claimed the land that he found for the English crown and publicly made known his discovery.
            Cabot and his men's reports frequently mention the abundance of cod in the new world. A letter between two Italians who were staying in London at the time writes, "they affirm that that sea is covered with fish, which are caught not only with the net but with baskets, a stone being tied to them in order that the baskets may sink in the water" (115). Also mentioned in the letter is the claims made by Cabot's crewmen: "his comrades, say that they will bring so many fish that this kingdom will no longer have need of Iceland, from which country there comes a very great store of fish which are called stock-fish" (116). This aroused publicity about the rich fishing grounds across the Atlantic and fishermen started to fish in those waters more systematically and routinely. By 1500, fishing fleets were sailing every year for the Grand Banks (117). Bristol fleets would first sail to Portugal for salt and stay there for the winter, and then cross to Newfoundland for cod. After that they would return to Portugal and exchange their catch with things like wine, olive oil, and salt to trade in Bristol (118). The cod fishing was so successful in Northern coasts of North America that one historian commented that the Pilgrims migrated to America to "serve their God and to fish" (119).


III.5.3) English Discovery of the New World & the Little Ice Age
            The English cod-fishermen were pushed further and further westward to secure a stable supply of codfish. At first they were pushed out of Norwegian waters because cod were disappearing from those waters and because the Hanse wanted to monopolize on the Bergen trade. After fishing several decades in Icelandic waters, they were once again pushed westward partly because of irregular cod harvests due to irregular weather, and partly because the Hanseatic merchants wouldn't let them come to Iceland. In both of these incidents the general cooling during the Little Ice Age was the environmental factor that was basically driving the incidents. Fishermen were those who truly "discovered" America before the explorers and often settled precedents for the explorers. Thus it can be safely said that the Little Ice Age played an important role in stimulating the "true discovery" of the New World.


III.6) Basque Fishermen's Discovery of the New World
            III.6.1) The Basque People
            Basques were undoubtedly a seagoing people. Especially after the decline of the Vikings, the Basques were unparalleled in long-distance sea-voyages during the Pre-Columbian era. Even as early as 875, they were sighted on the Faeroe Islands of the North Sea (120), which was a 1,500-mile journey from their home in the Iberian Peninsula. Not only was the Basque history that of a voyager's history, it was also one that was deeply interwoven with codfish. To start with, their long voyages were made possible because they had learned how to cure - to process for preservation - codfish by drying and salting it. Also, their commercial success was largely due to the money they had earned through engaging in the cod trade. Because of such a strong economy, the Basques were able to maintain or at least strongly insist for their independence though they were surrounded by powerful peoples (Celts, Romans) and powerful dynasties (the royal houses of Aquitaine, Navarra, Aragon, and Castille) (121).


III.6.2) The Great Basque Mystery
            Though the Basques have many mysteries, the "Great Basque Mystery" is this: when did the Basque fishermen arrive in North America ? Historical evidence confirms that in 1534 the French explorer Jacques Cartier had sighted 1,000 Basque fishing-ships in the Grand Banks (122), and archeological excavations confirm the existence of Basque fishing wharfs in Newfoundland dating to 1530 (123). Yet, were they there before Jacques Cartier, John Cabot, and Christopher Columbus? An additional question posed by this paper is: was their discovery - whenever the exact timing may be - the result of shifts in temperature patterns at sea ? Or more specifically, the result of the Little Ice Age ? The answer for all of these questions is that we are uncertain. The Basques were not only a secret-loving people - the Basques fishermen wouldn't even tell others where they were coming from (124) - but they also had a strong incentive to keep their secret if they ever had one. In any fishing community, there would be boats with notably better catches, and the crews would be silent about there fishing grounds because it is their trade secret. It was the same with the Basques, only on a larger scale; (125) though ample evidence, which will be provided further on, indicates that the Basques were very likely the next to discover North America after the Vikings, it is not at all surprising that we find no solid evidence yet. If they had found America, only the best cod-fishing ground in the world, it would have been their biggest secret (126). As one historian says, "Fishermen were keeping secrets, while explorers were telling the world. Columbus had claimed the entire new world for Spain" (127).
            The evidence for the Basque discovery having come before that of Columbus can be classified into three categories. First, the wide spread rumors among the fishing communities across Coastal Europe. In the 15th century, the Basques were consistently major producers of dried cod but nobody knew where the fish was coming from. The Scandinavian fishermen of the Norwegian waters nor the English and Breton fishermen of the North Sea and the Icelandic seas had never seen the Basques in their respective fishing grounds (128). Throughout the 1400s rumors of Basque fishermen having found "a land across the sea" were widespread (129).
            In the second category are the inevitability arguments. To start with, the Basques were bringing such a large number of cod to European markets that the already-known fishing grounds alone could not explain the situation (130). The major explorers in the early 1500s report having seen Basque fishermen already fishing in great numbers along the Grand Banks and in Newfoundland; it is only logical and to a certain extent inevitable to explain that the Basques had been there all along. Furthermore, we know that the Basques were certainly capable of doing so; their whaling ships were seen whaling even off the coast of Brazil, in the far-northern arctic seas, and in the Antarctic seas as the European explorers were "discovering" the new seas (131).
            Last are the reports of the explorers and their crews in the 1500s that imply Basque presence in North America during the pre-Columbian era. Numerous reports claim that when Cabot and other explorers arrived in the new world, some native tribesmen were speaking Basque. A Spanish cleric in Barcelona who reported on the early discoveries said that the natives were already using the world baccallaos - dried cod in the Basque language. Also a French merchant writes that when the French were first exploring the rivers of Canada, the indigenous language "had come to be half Basque" (132).


III.6.3) Cooling Waters & Basque Explorations, a Hypothesis
            Whether the Basque adventures into the North American coastlines were direct results of the southward and westward migration of cod is a hypothesis impossible for modern contemporaries to authenticate at the moment. However, there is a very likely scenario (133). The Basques, from the early 1400s, as the far-Northern parts of the Atlantic were cooling down, were looking for fishing grounds that were warm enough for cod to flourish and those that weren't overcrowded like the North Sea or the Icelandic seas. During their sea-journeys, they followed the ancient sea routes of the Norse Vikings past Iceland and Greenland. Basque artifacts found in the Norse Eastern Settlement - on the southern tip of Greenland - confirm that they indeed were present on Greenland as early as 1450 (134). However, their arrival on Greenland was unlike anything the Vikings had encountered when they had arrived during the Medieval Warm Period; temperatures were falling and pack ice on the sea was steadily increasing, (135) chasing cod population southward and further westward. From Greenland, the journey to Newfoundland or to Labrador coast was a shorter one than the journey back home (136). In the North American coasts, they would have found themselves situated in the best cod-fishing ground in the world with virtually no competition at all. In conclusion, the Basques, by the mid-1400s had discovered America, and the Little Ice Age - falling temperatures in nearby fishing grounds - was probably a major motivating factor for this expedition, though the correlation is not as clear as in the case of the English fishermen's discovery of America.


III.7) Summary
            Cod migration itself was definitely a result of the Little Ice Age. However, the persistent westward movement of the cod-fishermen into the Atlantic was a combined result of the declining cod stocks and increasing political tensions that caused some pioneering fishermen to explore for better fishing grounds. Historical truth becomes even vaguer when it comes to the fishermen's discovery of the New World before 1492. Though it seems highly probable that Basque fishermen and Bristol merchants visited America before Columbus, no solid evidence exists to support for this hypothesis. Complete authentication of this possibility may be extremely difficult because it was to the interests of the Basque fishermen and the Bristol merchants that their discoveries - if there were any - be kept as secrets. Yet the entire affair illustrates how subtle environmental changes, like the increase of pack-ice over the North Sea, have the potential to result in major historical events like the discovery of the New World. Considering the climate as a playing factor in history doesn't mean that the environment has to determine everything; it can simply trigger a small change - like the migration of cod - which will potentially alter the entire course of human history.


IV. Frequent Sea Floods in the 13th Century

IV.1) Introduction
            Living in the low-lying areas on the coasts of the North Sea always meant always having inundations from the North Sea as a potential destabilizing factor. If exceptionally high tides happened to coincide with gale-force winds, the angry sea could swallow up several thousand hectares of farmland in a few short hours. This paper focuses on the 13th century when it seems that sea floods were abnormally frequent compared to preceding or proceeding centuries.
            The first chapter will prove the increased frequency of sea floods of the 1200s from historical accounts and depict direct consequences such as devastated settlements and changes in the coastal geography. The second chapter will try to address the sudden increase of sea floods in the context of the medieval climatic trends and draw few potential causes. Finally, and possibly most importantly, the third chapter will highlight the more indirect impacts of such increased sea floods and storminess upon the course of development of coastal civilizations, and particularly upon the development of dykes.


IV.2) The Direct Impact
            IV.2.1) Identifying the Increase in Inundations and Storminess
            Numerous historical studies regarding medieval societies along the North Sea point out how the 13th century was a time of increased storminess for those settlements. Though most studies highlight the abnormal weather patterns of the 13th century by referring to individual anecdotal accounts of specific floods or storms, some have attempted to more directly prove the 13th century storminess by creating comprehensive compilations of relevant accounts from primary historical sources and comparing the data from those of other eras.

Figure 4.1 Number of severe sea floods reported each century in the North Sea (After Lamb (137))

Figure 4.2 Climatic records of floods in England (After van Bath (138))

Figure 4.3 Number of storms and floods in Flanders (After Brooks (139))


            Though the specifics of the three studies may differ, the general trend of the frequency of storms and floods reaching a peak around the 1200s can be verified in each case; clearly indicating that certain climatic variables must have triggered such a change, and that such abrupt climatic change must have left considerable impact on history. Yet, some historians raised voices against the existence of such a sudden storminess and have attempted to provide alternative explanations for the historical accounts; (140) such counter-arguments will also be dealt with in further chapters.


IV.2.2) Geographical Changes
            Changes in the continental coastlines of the North Sea have been so frequent and dramatic that some have even set out to state that today's coastline is " a momentary stage of the ever-changing boundary between land and sea" (141). True, countless inlets have been formed and enlarged, coastal dunes established and perished, islands severed and submerged along the North Sea; yet the 13th century seems to be a period when these geographical changes were most frequent and extensive.
            Coastal changes from natural forces can be categorized under three titles: semi-permanent inundations, erosion of cliffs and coastlines, and sand-mass movement (142). Semi-permanent inundations were most frequent in the coastlines of the Low Countries, Germany, and Denmark. In these regions during the 1200s, spectacular storms would leave inlets of water that would stay not just for months, but for centuries and on. Erosion of cliffs and coastlines were more frequent on the east coast of England where the soil was more susceptible to erosion. Soil erosion is a non-ending process along such coasts that continues to this day, but the extra-storminess meant more significant erosion during those years. Last of all, the immense strength of storms could displace considerable amounts of sand changing the local geography by silting up rivers and altering the estuary landscape.

Figure 4.4 Netherlands in the 10th Century and the 15th Century (After Wagret (143))


            A classic example of coastline change during the 1200s is the formation of the Zuiderzee in today's Netherlands. Though today, part of what used to be the Zuiderzee has been reclaimed and the rest has been turned into a freshwater lake (IJsselmeer), until the 20th century Zuiderzee used to be a part of the North Sea as the name "zee" (sea) indicates. In Roman times around 0 AD, it used to be called Lake Flevo, and indeed it was but a freshwater lake which was connected to the sea through a river called the Vlie. Gradually the lake enlargened itself and by the end of the 5th century it was called "Almere" (Great Lake), though not a sea yet theoretically (144). Then the process was accelerated and completed during the 13th century. In a flood in 1250, it is said that the Northern half of the Zee formed (145). In 1287, during a flood in which 80,000 people died in Holland the formation of the Zuiderzee was completed (146). The flood turned the Vlie, hitherto a freshwater outlet of Almere (Zuiderzee), into a saltwater channel and broke the hitherto uninterrupted chain of dunes permanently to the south of Texel; the Zuiderzee was now clearly a part of the North Sea in the form which persisted until the recent intervention of mankind (147). The storms and floods that gave birth to the Zuiderzee in the northern parts of the Low Countries, also largely determined the geography of the estuaries of the Rhine, Meuse, and Scheldt in the south as these rivers grew deeper(148).
            A similar situation manifested on the Frisian (now German) coast when the Jadebusen basin was largely formed during a storm of 1218 that killed as many as 100,000 people in northern Frisia and the county of Holland (149). Also, the early 1200s was a critical period in the formation of Dollart Bay where the Ems discharges itself to the North Sea.
            The eastern coast of England, as mentioned earlier, was prone to damage by erosion. Two medieval ports, Ravenspurn and Dunwich, were well on their way to be swallowed up by the sea, eventually destroyed in the ensuing centuries.


IV.2.3) Disasters
            Storms and floods powerful enough to change coastal landscapes were undoubtedly forceful enough to swipe away entire villages and entire populations. Among many accounts of such disasters, the following are some of the conspicuous catastrophes: in a single flood in North Holland in 1212, 306,000 are known to have died (150). (note(151)) As a result of the floods of 1240 it was reported that sixty parishes accounting for over half the agricultural income of the Danish dio cese of Schleswig had been "swallowed by the salt sea" (152). In the floods of 1216, when King John of England was crossing the Wash, he lost the Crown Jewels to the water and subsequently died a few days later from the shock (153). In 1251, in Kent and Lincolnshire chroniclers recorded of floods 2m higher than "ever seen before" (154). In 1218, in the flood when Jadebusen was formed, 100,000 people died along the coasts of the North Sea, and in the subsequent year, 36,000 people died in Friesland from a storm(155).


IV.3) Why the Sea Floods?
            IV.3.1) Explanatory Reasons
            The frequency of sea floods and storminess in the North Sea during the 13th century can be explained attributed to various reasons. First is the influence of rising sea-level. The sea-level, global and local, has been a constantly changing factor. These sea level changes are considered cyclic, and from the perspective of the coastal shores, one cycle consists of a transgression phase followed by a sedimentation phase, and then a regression phase (156). High sea-levels toward the transgression phase or during the sedimentation phase indicates a frequency of sea floods during that era. Assuming that other things are equal, with higher sea-level, it is more likely to have inundations from the sea and lengthier occupation of low-lying lands by the seawater when flooded (157). The 13th century was situated at the end of a long warm epoch called the Medieval Warm Period so that the sea-level was as much as 40 to 50 centimeters higher than today's level (158). This condition, combined with occasional strong sea-gales, spelt numerous disasters for costal regions. Furthermore, even without the storms, civilizations in immediate coastal areas were threatened because the rising water table turned arable land into a more marshy state. Thus, changes in sea-level, even small ones, were influential especially in low-lying coasts such as the Netherlands, the Wash, or Lancashire (159).
            The second reason for the abundance of sea floods in the 1200s is the increase in the frequency and intensity of storms from the North Sea. It seems that the situation was set in the 1200s for unstable atmospheric conditions. In terms of broad climatic trends, the 1200s marked the height of a climatic era and the abrupt transition to another climatic era. Centuries of warmth that nurtured the expansion of medieval civilizations suddenly broke down with a general cooling trend throughout Northern Europe, especially in the Arctic region. This is exemplified by the fact that AD 1200 was about the time sea ice reappeared around Iceland (Figure 4.5) (160). Cooling climate in the North Sea is unfavorable for the coastal regions because it tend to increase the frequency and severity of the low-pressure systems passing the region and the frequency of northerly or northwesterly winds (161). Furthermore, the because of the Arctic that cooled more rapidly, the thermal contrast between the Greenland-Iceland region and middle Atlantic latitudes steepened, causing greater storminess (162).

Figure 4.5 Number of days per year that drift ice was observed along The Icelandic coast (After Lamb (163))


            The third and most subtle explanation for the surge of sea floods is that the sea floods were anthropogenic. This explained by the fact that land-reclamation had been booming for various reasons in the coasts of the North Sea, the Low Countries in particular, during the 1100s and 1200s. Many coastal reclamations necessitated the drainage of peat bogs, and this resulted in the compaction and sinking of the land surface because peat will oxidize and shrink in the absence of water (164). The point is that when land sinks by 1 or 2m at most, it becomes susceptible to sea floods because the relative sea level has risen significantly. Yet, this issue of the relationship between increased sea floods and frenzy for land reclamation requires delicate attention because numerous historical evidence indicates that the causal link is mutual between the two. Therefore the somewhat interesting topic of land reclamation in 1200s will be greatly elaborated in the third chapter and in this chapter, the rise in sea-level, which is the more easily verifiable and probably more significant factor in the 13th century sea floods will be dealt with.


IV.3.2) Sea-Level Change
            The sea-level being so closely related to sea floods and sea-storms it is logical to suspect a high sea-level in the 13th century which was characterized with a conspicuous rise in sea floods, which was proven in the earlier chapter. In fact, the sea-level reached a maximum around the 13th century supposedly because of the warm temperature that also reached a peak during the time. Yet, it takes millennia for rising atmospheric temperature to heat up oceans (165) and thus the link between warm temperatures and high sea-levels is not such a simple one. To elucidate the context under which the sea-level reached a peak in the 13th century, the mechanisms behind the fluctuations of the sea-level need a little clearing up.
            Sea-level change is largely categorized into eustatic sea-level change and isostatic sea-level change according to nature of the factor that altered the sea-level. Eustatic sea-level change is the global change in sea-level caused by fluctuations in the temperature (166). Melting glaciers are principal eustatic factors. For this matter, we only take into account the glaciers on land; marine ice packs are not considered because according to Archimedes' principle, the volume of the water that floating ice displaces is equal to the volume that ice assumes on melting (167). Of the Earth's entire total inventory of water, only 2.3% is locked up as frozen on land. Nevertheless, changes in this amount, combined with the fluctuations in the 0.6% flowing freshwater on land is enough to drive notable changes in the sea level(168). While the rises in sea-level due to all kinds of reasons after the last ice age summed up to a rise of 100m, the melting of all ice on land alone can raise the sea-level another 50m (169). This fact explains our special interest in the ice packs that cover Antarctica (85% of the global ice cover) and the ice packs that cover Greenland (12% of the global ice cover )(170). The thermal expansion of sea water is another eustatic factor; the heating of all sea-water by 1 degree causes 0.6m rise of the sea-level (171). However, as mentioned above, since it takes such a long time for all depths of the sea to be gradual warmed up (water has significant thermal inertia), thermal expansion is more or less negligible in the time scope of this paper. Therefore, the influx of melted ice from glacial contraction into the sea is the link between increase in temperature and rise in sea-level.
            Isostatic sea-level change, on the other hand, is a regional change of sea-level, in contrast to the global extent of eustatic sea-level change. It is the change in relative sea-level as the continental crust rises or subsides; (172) for example, subsidence of the European continent crust will mean a rise in the sea-level from the perspective of the inhabitants of the North Sea coast. The North Sea basin has been known to be experiencing a progressive downwarping since the Carboniferous and some estimate that it may have contributed up to 3m of the rise in sea-level of the Dutch and East Anglican coasts over the last 6500 years;(173) a rate of about 5cm per century. Again, though it can make a significant difference in the geological time-scale, the gradual change in sea-level due to crustal subsidence is insufficient to explain the sudden peak of sea floods and storminess in the 13th century.
            There are yet a few more factors that are capable of altering the sea-level; the astronomical cyclic variations of tidal forces (174) and changes in the shape of the equatorial bulge (175). Even though these additional factors may have made some contribution to the rise in medieval sea-level, these factors cannot possibly be major factors behind the sudden increase of sea floods because of the scale of their impact compared to the two afore mentioned factors and again, because of the millennia-long duration required to make significant differences.
            This leads to the conclusion that the main factor that could have increased the sea-level to a peak around the 13th century must have been eustatic factors, and more specifically, melting glaciers on land and changes in the levels of freshwater lakes and rivers initiated by the warming trend that continued until the 14th century (Medieval Warm Period); though additional factors such has the subsiding North Sea basin and tidal cycles may have contributed to the acceleration of rising sea-level.


IV.3.3) Sea-Level Fluctuations in the North Sea
            The previous transgression phase in the North Sea, called the Flandrian Transgression was during the Neolithic period from about BC7000 to BC2000 (176). During this time, the rise in sea level averaged about 20cm per century (177). The Flandrian transgression was followed by a regression that lapsed from approximately BC2000 to AD500, resulting in a fall of 5m in the sea-level. Toward the end of the Middle Age was the transgression phase of our interest, called the Dunkirkian Transgression (178). The Dunkirkian Transgression is in harmony with the previous conclusion that the main cause of rising sea-level had to be increasing temperatures in that it coincides with the Medieval Warm Period, the warmest period in all of historical times.

Figure 4.6 Changes in England¢®?s Yearly Average Temperature (After Lamb (179); the shaded area indicates the range of uncertainty of the values)


            Numerous studies confirm this phenomenon. Wagret states in his study of the history of polderlands that ¢®¡Ætoward the end of the Middle Ages, the sea-level evidently rose slightly¢®¡¾ (180). The renowned climate-historian Lamb writes " around the thirteenth century, the sea-level may have been a few decimeters higher after some hundreds of years of warmer climate in many parts of the world, and melting glaciers" (181). Grove, in his ground-breaking study of the Little Ice Age confirmed that "sea level around parts of the North Atlantic may have been slightly raised by melting and warming during the Medieval Warm Period so that levels in the 13th century may have been as much as 0.5m higher than around AD 700" (182) and also pointed out that the sea-level of the North Sea fell up to 0.5 m during the Little Ice Age (183). Fagan, one of the better known archeologists, wrote that "Over the next two centuries [following AD 1000], the North Sea rose as much as forty to fifty centimeters above today's height in the Low Countries" (184). All of these historians and scientists assert in common that the rise in sea-level was due to rising temperatures and many point to the consequent melting glaciers.
            In low-lying lands, the high sea-level altered the geography greatly compared to that of today. For example, seven centuries ago in England, a now-vanished shallow river extended deep into East Anglia, making Norwich and Ely important ports(185). Also, storms and floods left a bigger impact on the coastline geography when the waters were higher, not to mention that they were more frequent during this period; five representative inlets formed and enlarged during the Dunkirkian Transgression include the Jadebusen, the Dollart, the Lauwerszee, the Middelzee, and Zuiderzee (186).

Figure 4.7 The inlets along the Frisian coast around 1300 AD enlarged during the Dunkirkian Transgression. (After Wikipedia (187))


IV.4) The Indirect Impacts; Land Reclamation
            The Dutch like to say that God created the world, but the Netherlands. Dutch history over the last millennium, is so profoundly interwoven with the ceaseless fight against sea-water, that the Dutch saying isn't half wrong. However, certain periods of Dutch history are more important than others in terms of land reclamation. The Dutch have always had to deal with the sea, until the 1100s and 1200s measures taken were usually defensive. It was not until the 1100s, some regions earlier than others, that the Dutch actively took the offensive in literally reclaiming the land from the sea. After the Black Death, and for a while hence, land reclamation again quite stagnant. Thus the 1200s is an interesting period in that it was not only a period of active land reclamation, but also storms and sea floods were on the active counter-offensive during this period. Thus, the relationship between the contemporary climatic conditions and the development of reclamation is not so simple; starting with determining whether it was the deterioration of the climate that boosted the need for better dykes or it was the increasing number of dykes that caused the disasters that could have been avoided otherwise. This chapter will try to elucidate various aspects of this intriguing relationship.


IV.4.1) Early Forms of Struggle Against the Sea
            Until the 10th century most Dutch dwelt on high grounds, which were near enough to waters to have access to marine and riverine resources, but high enough to be protected from the precarious threats from rivers and seas (188). Yet even back then, and as early as the Late Bronze Age, some settled in more vulnerable locations and started fighting back by digging ditches around the farms and by raising the yards with the dug up soil (189). Frisians, for example, had settled in marshy coastal lands and they protected themselves by building artificial refuge mounds called terpen (190). Frisian terpen which appear at about BC 500, became more advanced and extended through the Roman period that terpen even provided farmland as well as refuge when the surrounding salt marsh surface became too wet (191). Terpen became a common form of defense against the sea in other areas such as Holland and Zeeland as well until the 1000s when the first dikes appeared.


IV.4.2) Medieval Expansion of Farmland
            During the Middle Ages, when agriculture flourished and the climate was benign, population moved out to peripheral areas that heretofore were left uninhabited and uncultivated. Coastal areas that were until now inhabited only by those such as the daring Frisians, were now inhabited "whenever and wherever possible" during the High Middle Ages (192).
            An ever-growing population's increased need for arable land was the main driving force behind the consistent extension of the boundaries of coastal civilizations (193). The nourishing climate during the Medieval Warm Period improved conditions for farming and provided social stability. The increasing population that arose out of such conditions required new farmland to support itself. These efforts of expansion were encouraged by feudal lords in attempt to enlarge their income (194). Furthermore, better plowing techniques and new draining techniques contributed to the rapid expansion to the moorlands and fenlands(195). Also, it is possible, as suggested by Brown, that this process represents "the urbanizing Low Countries waging something of a Kulturkampf against the wetlands lifestyle with its bloody minded denizens" (196) ; certain amount of hostility had always existed between inland-settlers and marsh-dwellers because marshlands have tended to be inhabited by refugee populations such as in the case of coastal Flanders, marais de Dol, the Vendee marsh, and the Normandy Bocage (197). Nevertheless, the course of history later on, clearly proved that it was the economic and demographic imperative, the need for extra farmland and the extra income, boosting the land reclamation; reclaimed land generally withstood storms of 1200s better than those of 1300s even though the former was more frequent and severe, because after the Black Death and the consequent fall in price of agricultural goods, it was less of an incentive to enthusiastically protect the reclaimed land compared to when the prices were higher in the 1100s and 1200s (198).


IV.4.3) Reclamation and the 13th Century Sea Floods
            By the 1200s the building of terpen had largely ceased, with the increase of defense by dykes, and the transformation of marshlands into polders. Terpen were now only utilized as a last resort in case dykes were destroyed (199). A polder is a piece of land won from the sea, referring to any artificial, man-made landscape. A vast majority of the polders were territories that were enclosed by dykes so that external water could not penetrate. At the same time internal water must also be controlled by draining the land to keep the water table low enough.
            This rapid process of reclamation was largely finished in the Utrecht region by 1200, the Holland region by 1300 (200), and the Zeeland-Flanders region also by 1300. Entire marsh districts were surrounded by an unbroken earth-wall of more than a man¢®?s height designed to shut seawater and acid bog-water seepage out of the vulnerable fresh water environment within the confines of the dike (201).
            Though the development of reclamation may seem like a simple linear process in the way it is described above, its relationship with the climate of the 1200s was complicated. To start with, the prevalent draining of peat bogs for cultivation in the 1000s and 1100s was a problematic change in the environment. Peat, found in many of the surface layers of reclaimed coastal marshes, is spongy, compressible, permeable material with high water volume, formed from decayed animals and plants (202). In order for peat to thrive, the water table must be high enough so that peat is right above the water table. However, when the land is drained during reclamation, the water table lowers and leads to the dehydration and oxidation of the peat, so that in the end, the land surface will subside (203). Because peat has such high water contents, it shrinks significantly when it is oxidated and dessicated; the central surface of a bog may sink 1 to 2 m after reclamation (204). Such sinking of the land surface on reclaimed land poses a serious threat because the resulting rise in the relative sea level will increase the frequency and susceptibility to sea-storms. In addition to that, the marginal farmland near the sea that had been cultivated under benign weather conditions was now under precarious conditions since the climate had turned adverse. Such increased danger of flooding, forced coastal inhabitants to build dykes where there had been none, and reinforce the dykes in places where there had been. Increased storms actually encouraged more active reclamation rather than constrained it (205); this was true at least in the Low Countries. Furthermore, as the climate grew worse, the sea proved to be too formidable an enemy to fight off on an unorganized basis. Rules and sometimes central authority were needed to orchestrate the collective efforts of land-owners more effectively. Sea floods of the 1200s and the increased storminess are known to have acted as a "catalyst for the further formalization of water control ' (206). To recapitulate, the history of reclamation can be divided into three phase. First, increased cultivation of coastal marshlands during the Middle Ages due to the need for extra arable land. Second, the subsidence of land, higher sea-level, and increased storminess put low-lying farmlands into flooding danger. Third, advances in dyke building in response to the increased flooding danger. Dyke building had developed in the Low Countries in spite of and because of increased flooding and storminess. Figure 4.8 encapsulates this three-phase development of land reclamation in the Low Countries. (Some features of the figure, such as the steep elevation may have been exaggerated for better depiction of the phenomenon.)

Figure 4.8 Cultivation - Subsidence - Dyke Building (After Tol & Langen (207))


            The political dimension of the matter also deserves examination. This is only natural because for the inhabitants of the Low Countries, defending themselves from the sea was a primary priority, and thus the way in which they organized themselves in their common fight against the sea bore significant resemblance to the way they organized themselves to make political decisions. In the days when terpen were prevalent in coastal geography, the fight against the sea was each man's own fight. After a storm a man would simply have to repair his own terp that protects his family. This individuality and lack of central authority, more marked in Frisia, often led to quarrels between neighbors (208).
            With the advent of dykes, however, men could no longer afford to not cooperate with each other. Because dykes usually span over large areas, often surrounding a large district, a neighbor's fate differed not much from one's own. In short, the fight against the sea was no longer a solitary task. Though it would be extreme to say that all the personal quarrels suddenly disappeared forever, in times immediately after floods, the "truce of the dikes" would override personal grudges for the common good (209). A thirteenth-century document records the oath of Rustringen: "We Frisians will defend our land, whether the tide be ebbing or flowing. We well fight day and night so that all Frisians may be free, ¢®as long as the wind blows through the lods and the world remains" (210).
            The increase in flooding danger during the 1200s again altered the political geography significantly. Increased flood risks called for more comprehensive dike systems (211) and more integrated, systematic work than ever. Thus, it was in the 1200s that early institutions concerning water management like waterschappen (waterships), dijkgraaf (lord of the dykes) were established often under the central authority of those like the Count of Holland (212). Also in 1237, the Hollandse Waard was formed. Soon after, Count William II and Count Floris V of Holland laid down a whole series of laws on dykes known as dijkwet in attempt to establish social order (213). Some regional institutions like the Hoofdwaterschap in the Rhine area that was established in 1255 became powerful companies whose influence even exists today (214).
            Yet, it was not only the increased necessity for protection against the sea that contributed to the development of central authority; feudal lords were driven by economics incentives and personal ambitions to promote reclamation in order to integrate larger areas under a unified authority. In the 13th century as the heretofore rather unconcerned Counts of Holland placed a 10% levy on the profits from the development, the Counts became strong proponents of reclamation and often provided the stimulation for reclamation (215). The involvement of these feudal lords enabled projects of water management at a new scale; closing of sea-inlets with dams and creation of larger-scale river canals were progressively realized (216). During this process, combined with their concern for flood safety, the so far relatively independent villages sought legal security and social stability in the larger feudal authorities (217); the Counts and Bishops recognizing this fact, were probably all the more motivated to promote reclamation.


IV.5) Summary
            If the Great Famine (1315-1318) is the single event that marked the transition from the Medieval Warm Period to the Little Ice Age, the increased sea floods in the 1200s signifies a steady trend of deteriorating climatic conditions towards the end of the Medieval Warm Period. Many inlets, small and large, were formed along the coasts of Holland and Frisia, and hundreds of thousands of people died throughout the century. Though the increased sea floods are largely attributable to the rising sea level, land subsidence due to reclamation of peat marshes is also a factor that is hard to ignore. In response to the sea floods, the Dutch and Frisians aggressively reinforced and integrated their dyke systems.


V. Land Desertion in Scandinavia

V.1) Introduction
            Development of human civilization during the Middle Ages in Europe was not a linear one. In terms of agriculture and the general economy, the period between 1150 and 1300 was truly a flowering period for Northern Europe (218). Population was reaching unprecedented levels that were never to be seen again until as late as the late 19th century in many countries; the English population experienced a staggering threefold increase in its population during the last century since the Domesday Survey in 1086 (219). Agricultural limits also expanded farther and higher into marginal areas that were never before cultivated. However, the beginning of the 14th century was a turning point for north European countries; the medieval golden age was now being reversed by a general decline, in what many historians call to be an agricultural depression.
            Several explanatory models attempt to explain the sudden conversion to a declining trend; among them, the two most prominent are the demographic- climatic explanation and the socio-economic explanation. The fair conclusion ought to be that the agricultural depression was due to a combined influence of both factors and that the depression would not have been so extensive in the existence of only one factor without the other. Nevertheless, this paper will focus on the demographic-climatic explanatory model with the emphasis on climatic changes around the 1300. Admittedly, the climatic factor is not widely accepted as the primary cause of the agrarian crisis; even some of the most prominent protagonist of the influence of climate on human civilization like Emmanuel de Roy Ladurie dissociates himself from such a theory. Yet, there are certain aspects of the agrarian crisis and that cannot be explained without bringing in the changing climate into the picture. For example, even though the Black Death is thought to be a primary factor that triggered the agrarian crisis, the Black Death in itself cannot explain the desertion of farmland that began in the early 14th century before the Black Death hit northern Europe in 1348. Again, the Black Death which was a single incident, in itself cannot explain the lengthy perpetuation of the deserted settlements and stagnating population considering how the population and settlements were exploding in the period right before 1300. It is these aspects that will be closely examined during the course of this paper, along with the general proceedings of the agrarian crisis.
            In this light, this paper will focus on Scandinavia, presumably because a lot of the marginal farmland that would have been susceptible to climate change was located in Scandinavia. Apparently, climate change is most influential in the areas marginal for agriculture either latitudinally or altitudinally (220), and if the climate really was a factor in this agrarian crisis, it would have made itself evident in Scandinavia above all other places. Also, this paper will examine the phenomenon of land desertion as the representative trait of the agrarian crisis. Above any other indicator, farmland that had heretofore been cultivated suddenly being deserted is a clear indicator that something has gone wrong. Furthermore, because cultivated land and settlements are subject to archeological research, it is possible to obtain information such as when the land was deserted, and what the settlement and the agriculture looked like prior to the agrarian crisis.
            The first chapter will deal with the general situation in Scandinavia during the 1300s and the early 1400s, in attempt to answer the question, "What happened ? " The second chapter will examine the various reasons behind the desertion with the emphasis on climatic reasons, as if in response to the question, "Why ?" The last chapter will attempt to answer the question, "So what ?" and explain the various social, economic repercussions of the Scandinavian land desertion in later history.


V.2) 14th Century Depression in Scandinavia
            V.2.1) Depression
            Anyone who looks into the agricultural history during the Middle Ages will find it quite dynamic; dynamic in that cultivated land and settlements expanded and contracted at remarkable speed. During the early Middle Ages between AD800-1000, the area of settlements which had remained largely unchanged since the Iron Age times, rapidly expanded into marginal areas, moving up valleys by 100-200m (221). The exact opposite of this growth spurt was experienced during the late Middle Ages during 1300-1500 as the civilizations rapidly retreated from the gains it had taken from nature (222). This was a phenomenon observed all across western and northern Europe including England, Scotland, Germany, parts of the Low Countries, France, and of course, all the Scandinavian countries (223); the east relatively well-withstood the crisis because it had a better economy that was independent from the west (224). The consequences were severe not only in the northernmost Scandinavian countries but in other areas as well; populations in Oxfordshire and Northamptonshire, during the period before the Black Death, 1300-1350, seem to have decimated over twice the number of the people that had been killed by the Black Death (225). Farms, and even entire villages were abandoned. In England these abandoned settlements are known as the ¢®¢çlost villages¢®?, in Germany as "Wüstungen" (226).
            In Scandinavia, the region of our interest, the impact was no doubt the severest compared to other north European countries. In parts of Denmark and Norway, the desertion seems to have begun around 1320 and continued for two centuries (227). In 1406, English visitors to a Danish royal wedding reported that much uncultivated land in the country and that wheat was grown nowhere (228). Among the Danish lands, Jylland (called Jutland in English) seems to have been the hardest hit, especially after the 1340s, as most of the villages in some part of Jylland were abandoned (229). A Danish history book describes the situation in the following way:

"soon all came to a standstill when the Black Death, then harrying Europe, reached Denmark in 1348, depopulating the country to such an extent that untenanted farms from now on remained a permanent problem" (230)

            Norway, was even harder hit than Denmark. According to the Scandinavian Research Project on Deserted Farms and Villages, only 2 out of 19 showed desertion frequencies slightly lower than 50% (231). Furthermore, Norway is also special in that the margin of cultivation receded, not only for a decade or two, but for two centuries. Indeed it seems that Norway was special even among the Nordic countries and this issue of the Norwegian peculiarity will be further elaborated in a later chapter. A Norwegian history book gives a sentimental portrayal of the situation:

" a bird flying over the country, especially in the west and north, could have noticed the woodland and wild slowly reconquering what had once been won from them by the axe" (232)

            The following is a map with notations of regional desertion frequencies; desertion frequencies are the proportions of farms or villages abandoned among all of the farms or villages.

Figure 5.1 Desertion Frequency in Scandinavia for Farms (in Denmark, Villages; after Gissel (233))


            Though most of the time, the standard historical evidence to verify the numbers such as in the figure above comes from historical records, for example a letter of 1340 which lists farms that had been deserted and rent reductions that had been ordered (234), another means is possible to prove that agriculture significantly receded starting from the 14th century. These are pollen studies, in which the pollen sedimentation of a certain era is scrutinized to figure out how a certain plant or crop fared during that time. In Scandinavia, and Norway in particular, a reduction in grain pollen has been recognized in the late Middle Ages (235). Figure 5.2, a pollen diagram from a study conducted in Central Norway, clearly shows that corn cultivation experienced an abrupt crisis around 1300 while spruce pollen data seem relatively stable.
           

Figure 5.2 Pollen diagram showing percentages of corn pollen. Data collected from a bog beside Skage church in Namdalen, central Norway. (After Lamb (236))


            Recovery was slow in the Nordic countries. With less than a handful of exceptions, there was no trace of new clearance or significant colonizing activity between about 1350 and 1500 in the Nordic countries (237). Again, in Norway, the recovery was the slowest as well; in west Norway, the medieval production was not exceeded until around the middle of the 18th century (238) and in Jamtland, the population stagnated at the late Middle Ages minimum throughout the 15th and 16th century (239).


V.2.2) General Tendencies
            The best way to verify what kind of factors were working behind this agricultural depression and to fathom relative importance of each factor, which hopefully will lead to finding the rightful position of the climatic factor, is to look for certain tendencies in the desertion process. For example, if the desertion frequency was particularly high in farms located on rocky soil, we would be able to identify rockiness of soil as an important factor in land desertion and look for ways to explain such a relationship.
            A typical tendency of a deserted farm was to be located in high-lying, hilly, forested areas, while it was rather unusual for a farm in low-lying agricultural district to be abandoned (240). Another important tendency that prevails throughout the Nordic countries was that desertion frequency increases from south to north(241). However, this turns out to be quite obvious because the agricultural conditions exacerbate as one moves north. Due to the same reasoning, as a general rule, desertion was more conspicuous in the northern parts and western parts of Scandinavia (Norway, Iceland, Jylland) where agricultural conditions were unfavorable, and such traces were weaker in the southern and eastern parts (Finland, central Sweden, the Danish islands) (242). Yet, in the case of Sweden, northern Sweden was less affected by desertion than southern Sweden because, in the north, population was so sparse that farmers settled themselves on only the best land, and thus tendency that hospitable agricultural conditions prevented farm desertion still stands (243). The same was also true in Finland. Because Finland had a low population as it entered late Middle Ages, her farms and villages were not located on marginal lands that provide mediocre crop yields (244). Thus the late Middle Ages was rather a period of expansion rather than desertion, and even in areas that desertion was observed the frequency was no higher than 2-3% (245).
            Whether a village was located near the coast or inland was also an important factor. Coastal settlements tended to better withstand the agrarian crisis because the sea provided alternative economic opportunities such as fishing. It has been mention above that northern and western parts of Norway tended to be severely affected by the crisis, and these areas were indeed affected. However, the north coast and west coast settlements rebounded form the crisis earlier than the rest of Norway because farmers could switch their livelihoods to fishing (246). As a matter of fact, fishing districts like those around Bergen and north of Bergen saw an increase in its population during the agrarian crisis and northern Norway saw its population drifting towards the coast from the interior, where they were abandoning farms (247). Danish waters, above all the Sound and the Limfjord also witnessed a great draw of former farming peasants to the fisheries.(248) The thriving fishing industry from the great demand of dried fish from the European continent during that time, prevented these fishing districts from being deserted (249). Though the inhabitants of the west/north coast of Norway and parts of Denmark managed to mitigate the effects of the depression through their geographical advantages, to those of other coasts where there was no flourishing fishing industry, the coastal location occasionally exacerbated the status quo. For example, on some parts of the coast of Jylland, extensive floods, such as the Grote Mandrenke in 1362, functioned as stimuli which triggered the desertion of farms.
            The proximity of the village or farm to a major town could also alter things greatly. Being near a town could be encouraging or discouraging to desertion according to circumstances. The former case would be when the rural population is drawn into the cities, deserting their farmland; in some areas of Denmark and Skåne (Scania), the depopulation of the countryside would apparently be accompanied with an influx of population to the towns (250). On the other hand, being near a town could provide stimulate the economy and provide various trading opportunities, and give the farmer good enough reason to not desert their land despite whatever adverse conditions that may have befallen upon them.
            Also in general, the traditional grain-raising districts were less affected compared to peripheral, newly-cultivated lands (251). It was these younger, low-rent, low-tax farms that were deserted before the more established farms (252). One factor that was not much of an influence in determining whether a land would be deserted or not was the ownership status of the land. Desertion was indiscriminate of land ownership (253); all land was affected from the agricultural depression.


V.3) Causes of the Desertion
            V.3.1) Demographic Decline - The Black Death and the Great Famine
            The single most destabilizing factor in the 1300s was the Black Death. The Scandinavian countries were not exceptions from the epidemic, and in Scandinavia between 1348-1350, about 1/3 of the population was decimated as was in most other European countries. Norway was again worst affected by the Black Death, and had its national capital reduced by two-thirds (254). Since the Black Death was such a singular historical catastrophe, it is perhaps natural to connect the general abandonment of farmland and dislocation of society with the Black Death (255). The Black Death indeed made a major contribution to the initiation of the desertion process in many places because the drastic fall in the workforce meant that only the best arable land got to be cultivated, leaving the marginal, less-productive land deserted. Furthermore, since the balance that marginal farms reached prior to the Black Death was a careful and subtle one, it was not easy to get those young farms that had just become worth cultivating right before the plague, back to operation (256).
            Though this seems to be a seemingly sound explanation, and is very likely that the desertion gained considerable momentum due to the Black Death, the Plague could not have been the real initiator because land desertion was a phenomenon that started to be observed as early as the second decade of the 14th century(257). Studies in Denmark also indicate that records of deserted farms go back to as early as 1334 (258). Not only was land desertion already underway before the Black Death, it even seems to have controlled the pattern of the plague's effect in devastating the countryside (259).
            If the Black Death could not have been the trigger for the desertion, an alternative candidate might be the Great Famine, which is another demographic catastrophe, from around 1315 to 1322.
            The Great Famine, which was a succession of cold winters and wet, cool summers, took the lives of 5-10% of the people living in the Low Countries, southern Scandinavia, and Germany (260). The Great Famine makes chronological sense to have been the true initiating event because it either coincides or comes slightly earlier than the earliest desertion. In many cases of farmland abandonment, the beginnings can be placed in the years of harvest failure after 1315 (261).
            Yet there is one more thing that cannot even be explained with the Great Famine: the permanence with which land desertion took place (262). In many areas, especially in Norway, it took centuries for men to reconquer what they had lost to nature, if it was accomplished at all. Considering that during the high Middle Ages the population often doubled and tripled within a century, it is hard to understand why it took such a long time to recover the population unless we assume that some other unfavorable change on a fundamental level must have taken place. Disasters and catastrophes like the Black Death or the Great Famine are good ways to explain a sudden temporary desertion of land, but in these are incidental changes, not fundamental changes. Fundamental changes that could sufficiently explain the permanent desertion that occurred in many parts of Scandinavia would be changes in climatic patterns or structural changes in the way the economy or the society was organized (263); these two are the next causes that will be examined.
            Yet, before we go on, it is interesting to note that the climate played a significant role in the demographic decline, which in turn greatly exacerbated the agrarian crisis. The bubonic plague, is known to have originated in China or central Asia, right after the great flood 1332, which in itself is one of the greatest weather disasters in history (264). Furthermore, numerous recurring epidemics during the late Middle Ages, that kept the population levels from growing steadily, especially those weather-associated diseases like ergotism, were fostered in the wetness during the 1300s and 1400s (265). Knowing only too well that the Great Famine is also an intrinsically weather-related phenomenon, it can be said that the climate and environment greatly influenced the population level, and that the population level was an important determinant of how many farms and villages were to be deserted.


V.3.2) Deteriorating Climate
            Certain characteristics regarding the process of land desertion encourages us to adopt the climatic model in explaining the agrarian crisis. The first characteristic that can be explained with the changing climate factor was that the desertion was semi-permanent, because changes in the climate patterns were not something you could recover from and thus it was difficult for men to recultivate the land they deserted. The second such characteristic is that the desertion was extensive all across Europe. That the land was deserted over such a large area adds plausibility to the climatic change because only the climate could have subjected such a large region under the same influence (266).
            The first years of the 1300s were the turning point for the climatic changes in most parts of Europe (267). To begin with, looking at Figure 5.3, temperatures reached a peak just before 1300 and rapidly declined after 1200.

Figure 5.3 Temperature curves for central England (After Lamb (268))

            Also, sea ice at the coast of Iceland, which is an indicator of falling temperatures, reappeared from 1200.

Figure 5.4 Sea ice incidence at the Icelandic coast (After Lamb (269))


            Furthermore, the climate exhibited much more aberration in the late 1200s and early 1300s compared to other eras. British climate shows that the frequency of cold, harsh winters, cool, wet summers, and droughts all increased in frequency (270), indicating how the climate patterns swung from extreme to extreme. In general, the climate in the late Middle Ages had become more of an Atlantic climate with heavier precipitation and cooler summer temperatures (271). The northerlies and northwesterlies made more frequent by the Atlantic climate meant trouble for north and west Norway, because these areas of Norway are so exposed to these winds compared to neighboring regions or countries (272).
            The effect of the reversal of the climate on agriculture is represented by the cultivation limits falling. In northern Norway, the cultivation limits (agricultural limits) receded by at least 150m between 1300 and 1600 (273). Cultivation limits existed, usually because crops cultivated above that limit would be damaged by frost. In the 1300s, many villages in northern Norway and peripheral northern Sweden became susceptible to frost as the climate cooled down, eventually leading to the desertion of these areas (274).
            Another direct impact of climate change on agriculture was the shortening of the growing season. The average growth season had probably become 5-7 weeks shorter than what the growing season used to be before 1300, during the high Middle Ages (275). Such a severe shortening of the growing season was observed in higher-most regions, only within about 200-300m of the limit of cultivation (276).
            The increased wetness of the time was another negative factor for agriculture. Such increased precipitation could have adversely affected agriculture in various ways. First, farms in west Norway are known to have experienced an increased frequency of landslides and other difficulties due to increased wetness (277). Second, some of the low-lying regions became too wet as a result of increased precipitation. For example, in Falster, deserted villages are generally lower in the terrain than other villages (278); while being located too high was problematic as the climate was cooling and the cultivation limits falling, it was also undesirable to be located too low as the wetness increased. Lastly, due to the increased wetness and colder weather, wheat farming was abandoned altogether in Scandinavia by 1400 (279); for Scandinavian farmers, wheat was a tricky crop that required more effort than other crops and wheat farming was always marginal at best, in Scandinavia (280). A tendency that can be found during observing the wetness records is that the colder periods of northern European climate was usually characterized by generally wetter ground (281).
            Glaciers also represented direct impacts from climate change as they swiftly protrude and retreat sensitively in response to changes in the temperature. No historical record directly addresses the movement of glaciers, and thus the presumed expansion of glaciers in the 1200s and 1300s cannot be directly proved. Still, as in the case of Jostedalsbreen, the sudden desertion of parishes around the glacier is hard to explain otherwise (282). Figure 5.5 shows the parishes around the Jostedalsbreen that were deserted or given a reduction in rent, in both of which case would strongly suggest the expansion of the glacier. Judging from these kinds of indirect evidence and scientific evidence, it can be concluded that glaciers and permafrost of Norway, Iceland, and the Alps started to advance in the 13th century (283).

Figure 5.5 Farms in the parishes north of Jostedalsbreen where tax was reduced in 1340 or where the land was deserted (After Grove (284))


            Though not directly related with climate change, land exhaustion has also been raised as one of the contributing causes that led to eventual land desertion. Advocates of this view point out that overpopulation during the Medieval Warm Period caused excessive exploitation of resources, particularly the exhaustion of soil. The argument is that the agricultural infrastructure weakened by such land exhaustion was not strong enough the stand the blow of the Great Famine or the Black Death, and thus eventually culminating in an agricultural crisis (After Grove (285). English land desertion, in particular, has often been attributed to overpopulation and land exhaustion, perhaps because the population increase was so explosive in England during the Medieval Warm Period (After Grove (286).


V.3.3) Economic Causes
            The advent of alternative economic opportunities and the consequent unattractiveness may have contributed to the desertion of farmland. With the increase of foreign trade, especially with the cities of the Hanseatic League, Scandinavians found themselves facing an influx of imported cheap grain. Peasants figured out that they could sell butter and fish to the German towns at a profitable price and import corn in return and thus the desertion of arable land was accelerated (After Grove (287). Among other reasons, the increase of imported grain contributed to the fall in grain prices during the 14th and 15th centuries. Wheat farming, in particular was completely abandoned in most northern agrarian societies by 1400 because wheat was such a tricky crop to grow (After Grove (288).
            Fishing was one of the more frequent enterprises that farmers switched to. Fishing was increasingly attractive for fishermen, particularly Norwegian fishermen for two reasons. First of all, the increasing demand of dried fish such as cod in the European continent pushed up fish prices. Secondly, the increased outflow of cold water from around the Arctic and Greenland of that time was probably compensated by an increased inflow of warm Atlantic water along the Norwegian coasts, making fishing more productive along the Norwegian coast (After Grove (289). Naturally, fishing towns and coastal economies expanded greatly, and the growth was often at the cost of nearby farming districts. For example, in and near the rich fishery districts in the Lofoten islands, up to 95% of the farms had been abandoned by the 1430s (After Grove (290).
            One factor that was a major cause of the devastation and regression of agriculture on the European continent but was quite negligible on the Scandinavian peninsula were wars. Political strife and wars were no less on Scandinavia but the general primitiveness of the settlements and the ever-present forests where people could hide and obtain new building material prevented peasants from going as far as to desert their farmland (291).


V.4) The Social Impacts
            V.4.1) Conversion to Grazing
            The impact of the agricultural depression on the agricultural industry itself was that many Scandinavian farmers no longer grew corn in their fields, but they chose to graze cattle. This shift from labor-intensive arable farming to non-labor-intensive cattle farming made sense to the medieval society after experiencing such a drastic drop in the population in the first half of the 14th century (292). Such a phenomenon is observed in the marginally arable areas of Norway, Jylland, and some Swedish districts (293). The premise upon which Scandinavian farmers were able to give up arable farming was that cheaper grain such as that from Poland was being imported from the Hanseatic League. To this day, much of the bread supply in the Nordic countries are imported from more fertile lands (294). However, though Norway, Denmark, and Sweden came out of the agricultural depression with a significantly larger cattle farming industry, the motives that drove these changes are somewhat different among the Nordic countries.
            Cattle farming in Norway was more due to the adverse local conditions. The deteriorating climate and labor shortage from depopulation left no choice to the Norwegians but to convert to what the climatic conditions and labor supply would allow (295). Though Norwegian farmers were further enticed by the fact that grazing paid off better than cereal cultivation, the conversion was more due to the inevitability factor in the former marginally arable areas. Cattle farming in Jylland and the few Swedish districts, meanwhile, was more of a commercial opportunity. Though cereal prices plummeted during the agrarian crisis, livestock prices well-withstood the crisis, with the prices of dairy products such as butter increasing (296). By the 15th century the Danes had become quite successful cattle farmers, carrying on a flourishing export trade of cattle to the cities of Lübeck, Hamburg, the Flemish towns and the German Rhineland, for the meat supply of those densely populated areas (297). The major difference from the Norwegian conversion to grazing is that Danish farmers, or Danish landlords at least, made a choice, while for the Norwegians, it was the nature making the choice for them.
            While it was the land desertion and lack of labor created favorable conditions to switch to cattle farming, it was the commercial conditions and the noble landlords who sought to make the most profit out of this opportunity that prolonged the desertion of farms and encouraged the semi-permanent status of deserted lands. The setting was quite encouraging for the more entrepreneurial landlords to expand their estate by acquiring the deserted land with their plentiful capital and engage upon the high-profit, less labor-intensive cattle breeding (298). Though there is no evidence that the powerful lords actually caused land desertion, or drove away the farming peasants, but it seems the lords may have contributed to making the desertion permanent because the once the estate was established on systematic, export-oriented cattle-breeding, it was hard to reverse the process and it was to the interest of the lords to keep it that way (299). This is verified by the fact that the agricultural regression tended not to become permanent in areas with weaker concentrations of landed nobility (300).
            Another point worth mentioning is that the important, well-established grain producing areas largely continued to do so and specialized in the grain production (301), while it was the marginal areas that gave up cereal cultivation. During the time, the seed/yield ratio actually improved because it was only the more fertile and productive areas that were being cultivated after the marginal areas were deserted, and perhaps because individual farmers put in more effort to compensate for the low cereal prices by higher production (302).


V.4.2) Falling Prices and Surging Wages
            Immediately after the Black Death, prices dropped suddenly and continued at a uniformly low level or even decreased further during the 15th century, not only in Scandinavia, but all over Europe (303). Falling prices were largely attributable to the declining demand due to the decimation of the population. Among the agricultural products, it was cereals that dropped most steeply, while butter, meat, and fat prices stood their ground more firmly, which explains the previously mentioned boom for cattle farming; in Norway between 1350 and 1400, butter, meat, and bacon prices even rose while cereal prices dropped (304). Falling cereal prices eventually sent down the rents of arable land in particular because what could be harvested from those lands was no longer as profitable as it used to be (305). Rent, the price of land, was nothing like it used to be in the early 1300s. As can be seen in Figure 5.6, in the interiors of Norway the rent fell to as little as one-fifth of what it used to be. Areas that experienced falling rent usually also witnessed reductions in tax and decreasing capital interests (306). As usual, Norway was the extreme case; by 1387 production and tax yields in some Norwegian districts were as little as 12% of what they had been around 1300 (307).

Figure 5.6 Decrease from high medieval rent. Late Middle Ages (308).


            Wages on the other hand, were on the increase because of the of the lack of labor. In England, for specific numbers are not available for the Nordic countries, it seems that real wages, expressed in terms of grain, had actually doubled (309).

Figure 5.7 England's real wage indices expressed in terms of wages/wheat-price (310)


            The Black Death and the agrarian crisis was a catastrophe in general, when mankind's progress retreated greatly. Yet, considering that commodity prices, rent, taxes fell considerable and while real wages rose significantly, the entire period of benign for those peasants who survived. Peasants who had worked as tenants on other people's land, were now able to acquire good land for themselves(311). Though some theories on political history relate this phenomenon with the peasant struggles and the elevation of the peasant class¢®?s status in continental Europe, there is not much evidence to support that any significant changes were made in the social structures of the Nordic countries. Nevertheless, in any case, the burden upon peasants were significantly reduced during the late Middle Ages (312), ironically because of the disasters and crises.


V.4.3) Decline of Norway
            Norway in the 1200s and early 1300s was in its heyday. When Hakon V died in 1319, his power was at least comparable to that of his English contemporary Edward II (313). In those days, Norway played an active part on the European scene; Hakon IV had been offered command of a crusader fleet and the Pope expressed that Hakon IV's appointment of Holy Roman Emperor would be welcomed (314). However throughout the proceeding centuries, Norway's status would continue to decline and eventually hit the bottom-line in 1536, when it was reduced to little more than a Danish province. When trying to explain Norway's decline, in terms of international politics, Scandinavianism was not so favorable to Norway. Her comparatively small population, lack of natural resources, and compactness of the settled area meant that any partnership with Swedes or Danes would be domineered by the interest of the respective foreign country (315).
            Norway's decline is also explainable in terms of the medieval agrarian crisis and climate change. The loss of lives due to the Black Death in Norway seems not to be particularly high; 1/3 of the population, a level commonly accepted for England, Denmark and Sweden. However the effects of the loss seems to have been greater than her neighboring countries (316). This was probably highly attributable to the fact that Norway represents one of the most marginal areas in terms of climate. Her coastal disposition probably caused her to be affected by the advent of the wet Atlantic climate, and her northernmost disposition probably made Norway the earliest victims of the deteriorating climate. The effects of climatic deterioration is evident when one realizes that the cultural capital of northern Europe moved southward from Trondheim to Bergen and Oslo, and later farther from the Atlantic Ocean, to Copenhagen and Stockholm (317). To go on even further, it might be said that the shift of the climate from the Medieval Warm Period benefited England and the Hanseatic League at the expense of the Nordic countries, and Norway in particular (318).


V.5) Summary
            That history was not a series of ceaseless expansions and developments and that settlements had actually once contracted and been abandoned is quite a surprise. Yet, that is what happened during the agricultural depression from about 1300 to 1500. Among numerous valid explanations behind the agricultural depression, climatic deterioration is an essential one because it explains what cannot be explained with the Black Death, and because it explains why the situation was more severe in Scandinavia, and Norway in particular. Over 50% of the farms were abandoned in many areas across Scandinavia, and rent, taxes, tithes fell by similar proportions while wages increased notably. As the new climatic regime - the Little Ice Age - was adverse for grain cultivation in many areas of Scandinavia, many people converted to fishing and cattle grazing as a means of livelihood.


VI. Conclusion

            We are a generation to whom climate change is a reality and global warming is the hottest potato on the table. The global average air temperature near the Earth's surface rose 0.74 ± 0.18 °C during the last 100 years, and since the Industrial Revolution, atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations have risen to levels unprecedented in 400,000 years (319). As all periods of changes are so, this period of changing climate holds critical importance because the consequences of our actions will resonate throughout future generations. To add a little dramatization, from the environmental perspective, our role is comparable to the role John. F. Kennedy bestowed his generation during his inaugural speech: "the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger." Only in this case defending not freedom, but the environment. In this light, this study has significant implications because it has dealt with how several hundreds of years ago, northern Europeans were influenced by the changing climate and how they adapted to the changing climate.
            By spotting general patterns of what it was like in the early years of the Little Ice Age, it is possible to learn several things that are still applicable today's world. First, little changes in the climate or environment can bring about significant influence or change to human society. The entire Little Ice Age was about a drop of temperatures by only 1 or 2 degrees on average. But to some people like the northern Europeans, who lived on marginal areas, that 1 or 2 degrees made a significant difference. Due to the slight change in temperature, the Thames River in England, which was not known to freeze and which did not freeze after the Little Ice Age was over, suddenly started to freeze in the winter with the advent of the Little Ice Age. Also, wheat farming in Scandinavia, which was not an easy task even before the Little Ice Age, was no longer possible. In addition to these direct influences to by the changing climate, there are some influences where the relationship is not so lucid such as the discovery of the New World due to the migration of cod, formalization and systemization of the water control system in the Low Countries due to frequent sea floods, and prolonged desertion of farmland in Scandinavia due to deteriorating climatic conditions. In these latter examples, it is unfair to say that these social changes are entirely attributable to the changing climate and the advent of the Little Ice Age. But again, as I have attempted to emphasize in the respective chapters, it would be just as unfair to leave out the climatic factor in explaining these phenomena. The general impression is that climate did not attain such a prominent role in analyzing history as much as economics and politics did; probably because information is more limited on the climate dimension. Yet, this research suggests that even seemingly minor climatic changes have major impacts on history.
            Secondly, it is also possible to conclude from this research that human beings have been resilient and flexible in adaptation to changing environments, despite the significant impacts of climate change. English fishermen who used to fish in the North Sea moved all the way across the Atlantic in pursuit of migrating cod, the Dutch found all the more reason to vitalize their defense system and even initiate unprecedented counter-offensives against the sea in the face of a surge of sea floods instead of retreating inland, and the Scandinavians flexibly switched from arable farming to cattle grazing and fishing as cereal cultivation became less feasible. Societies and peoples have been most courageous and creative when they were held up against great environmental perils that could easily have led to their demise.
            Though it is helpful to learn from the Little Ice Age, it is in a way inapplicable to the climate change that we are facing; while the Little Ice Age was a part of nature's fluctuations, today's global warming is anthropogenic. The good news for this is that since we started it, we can stop it, and hopefully even reverse it. The bad news is that since it is not a part of the natural fluctuation of the climate, it is not going to stop by itself as the Little Ice Age did; we can do something about it, and we must do something about it.

VIII. Notes

(1)      Whyte, Ian D. Climate Change and Human Society. p 47.
(2)      Jordan, William Chester. The Great Famine: Northern Europe in the Early Fourteenth Century. p 182.
(3)      Ibid. p 8.
(4)      Ibid. p 33.
(5)      Seavoy, Ronald E. Famine in Peasant Societies. p 73.
(6)      Brown, Neville. History and Climate Change: An Eurocentric Perspective. p 147.
(7)      Jordan, William Chester. The Great Famine: Northern Europe in the Early Fourteenth Century. p 18.
(8)      Fagan, Brian. The Little Ice Age: How Climate Made History, 1300-1850. p 31
(9)      Ibid. p 29.
(10)      Seavoy, Ronald E. Famine in Peasant Societies. p 32.
(11)      Fagan, Brian. The Little Ice Age: How Climate Made History, 1300-1850. p 29.
(12)      Ibid. p 33.
(13)      Ibid. p 37.
(14)      Ibid. p 32.
(15)      Jordan, William Chester. The Great Famine: Northern Europe in the Early Fourteenth Century. p 31.
(16)      Seavoy, Ronald E. Famine in Peasant Societies. p 72.
(17)      Fagan, Brian. The Little Ice Age: How Climate Made History, 1300-1850. p 32.
(18)      Seavoy, Ronald E. Famine in Peasant Societies. p 72.
(19)      Jordan, William Chester. The Great Famine: Northern Europe in the Early Fourteenth Century. pp 115-116.
(20)      Brown, Neville. History and Climate Change: An Eurocentric Perspective. p 252.
(21)      Jordan, William Chester. The Great Famine: Northern Europe in the Early Fourteenth Century. p 18.
(22)      Fagan, Brian. The Little Ice Age: How Climate Made History, 1300-1850. p 38.
(23)      Ibid. p 39.
(24)      Jordan, William Chester. The Great Famine: Northern Europe in the Early Fourteenth Century. p 32.
(25)      Ibid. p 33.
(26)      Jordan, William Chester. The Great Famine: Northern Europe in the Early Fourteenth Century. p 37.
(27)      Fagan, Brian. The Little Ice Age: How Climate Made History, 1300-1850. p 40.
(28)      Jordan, William Chester. The Great Famine: Northern Europe in the Early Fourteenth Century. p 38.
(29)      Fagan, Brian. The Little Ice Age: How Climate Made History, 1300-1850. p 38.
(30)      Jordan, William Chester. The Great Famine: Northern Europe in the Early Fourteenth Century. p 18.
(31)      Ibid. p 19.
(32)      Ibid. p 185.
(33)      Ibid. p 25.
(34)      Ibid. p 38.
(35)      Ibid. p 39.
(36)      Ibid. pp 15-17.
(37)      Fagan, Brian. The Little Ice Age: How Climate Made History, 1300-1850. p 33.
(38)      Seavoy, Ronald E. Famine in Peasant Societies. p 72.
(39)      Jordan, William Chester. The Great Famine: Northern Europe in the Early Fourteenth Century. p 119.
(40)      Hughes, J. Donald. An Environmental History of the World: Humankind¢®?s Changing Role in the Community of Life p 91.
(41)      Jordan, William Chester. The Great Famine: Northern Europe in the Early Fourteenth Century. p 26.
(42)      Ibid. p 116.
(43)      Fagan, Brian. The Little Ice Age: How Climate Made History, 1300-1850. pp 31-32
(44)      Ibid. p 43.
(45)      Jordan, William Chester. The Great Famine: Northern Europe in the Early Fourteenth Century. p 20.
(46)      Ibid. p 21.
(47)      Ibid. p 19.
(48)      Ibid. p 21.
(49)      Ibid. p 20.
(50)      Kurlansky, Mark. Cod: a Biography of the Fish That Changed the World. p 21.
(51)      Fagan, Brian. The Little Ice Age: How Climate Made History, 1300-1850. p 71.
(52)      Ibid. p 69,
(53)      Kurlansky, Mark. Cod: a Biography of the Fish That Changed the World. p 24;
(54)      Ibid. pp 22-23.
(55)      Grove, Jean M. The Little Ice Ages. p 391.
(56)      Kurlansky, Mark. Cod: a Biography of the Fish That Changed the World. pp 43-44.
(57)      Ibid. p 43.
(58)      Fagan, Brian. The Little Ice Age: How Climate Made History, 1300-1850. p 70.
(59)      Wilson, C.E.W., The Icelandic Trade. p 158.
(60)      Ibid. p 156.
(61)      Ibid. p 156.
(62)      Ibid. p 158.
(63)      Ibid. p 157.
(64)      Ibid. p 157.
(65)      Ibid. p 157.
(66)      Ibid. p 158.
(67)      Ibid. p 158.
(68)      Lamb, Hubert H. Climate, History and the Modern World. p 332.
(69)      Lamb, Hubert H. Climate: Present, Past and Future. Vol. 1. London: Metheun, 1972. p 332.
(70)      Wilson, C.E.W., The Icelandic Trade. p 159.
(71)      Ibid. p 161.
(72)      Bergen and the German Hanseatic League Skadi Forum. 6 Nov. 2006. 13 May 2007
(73)      Ibid.
(74)      Ibid.
(75)      Lamb, Hubert H. Climate, History and the Modern World. p 332.
(76)      Fagan, Brian. The Little Ice Age: How Climate Made History, 1300-1850. p 61.
(77)      Bergen and the German Hanseatic League; Skadi Forum. 6 Nov. 2006. 13 May 2007
(78)      Wilson, C.E.W., The Icelandic Trade. p 162.
(79)      Bergen and the German Hanseatic League.; Skadi Forum. 6 Nov. 2006. 13 May 2007
(80)      Wilson, C.E.W., The Icelandic Trade. p 159.
(81)      Fagan, Brian. The Little Ice Age: How Climate Made History, 1300-1850. p 74.
(82)      Wilson, C.E.W., The Icelandic Trade. p 159.
(83)      Fagan, Brian. The Little Ice Age: How Climate Made History, 1300-1850. p 75.
(84)      Ibid. p 75.
(85)      Wilson, C.E.W., The Icelandic Trade. p 161.
(86)      Ibid. pp 161-162
(87)      Ibid. p 162.
(88)      Ibid. p 162.
(89)      Ibid. p 162.
(90)      Ibid. p 171.
(91)      Fagan, Brian. The Little Ice Age: How Climate Made History, 1300-1850. p 75; Wilson, C.E.W., The Icelandic Trade. p 176.
(92)      Fagan, Brian. The Little Ice Age: How Climate Made History, 1300-1850. p 76.
(93)      Wilson, C.E.W., The Icelandic Trade.pp 175-176.
(94)      Ibid. p 163.
(95)      Ibid. p 181.
(96)      Ibid. p 181.
(97)      Ibid. p 182.
(98)      Ibid. p 182.
(99)      Ibid. p 180.
(100)      Ibid. p 180.
(101)      Ibid. p 177.
(102)      Ibid. p 178.
(103)      Lamb, Hubert H. Climate, History and the Modern World. p 332.
(104)      Fagan, Brian. The Little Ice Age: How Climate Made History, 1300-1850. p 76,
(105)      Lamb, Hubert H. Climate: Present, Past and Future. Vol. 1. London: Metheun, 1972. p 332.
(106)      Fagan, Brian. The Little Ice Age: How Climate Made History, 1300-1850. p 77.
(107)      Kurlansky, Mark. Cod: a Biography of the Fish That Changed the World. p 26.
(108)      Ibid. p 27.
(109)      It's All in a Name; Bristol Times 19 June 2001. 13 May 2007
(110)      Kurlansky, Mark. Cod: a Biography of the Fish That Changed the World. p 27.
(111)      Ibid. p 27.
(112)      Ibid. p 27.
(113)      Ibid. p 28.
(114)      Olson, Julius E., and Edward Gaylord Bourne, eds. The Northmen, Columbus and Cabot, 985-1503: The Voyages of the Northmen. p 421
(115)      Ibid. p 426.
(116)      Olson, Julius E., and Edward Gaylord Bourne, eds. The Northmen, Columbus and Cabot, 985-1503: The Voyages of the Northmen. p 426.
(117)      Fagan, Brian. The Little Ice Age: How Climate Made History, 1300-1850. p 77.
(118)      Ibid. p 78.
(119)      Ibid. p 78.
(120)      Kurlansky, Mark. The Basque History of the World: the Story of a Nation p 58.
(121)      Kurlansky, Mark. Cod: a Biography of the Fish That Changed the World. pp 18-19.
(122)      Ibid. p 29.
(123)      Kurlansky, Mark. The Basque History of the World: the Story of a Nation p 57.
(124)      Kurlansky, Mark. Cod: a Biography of the Fish That Changed the World. p 24.
(125)      Kurlansky, Mark. The Basque History of the World: the Story of a Nation p 60.
(126)      Ibid. p 60.
(127)      Kurlansky, Mark. Cod: a Biography of the Fish That Changed the World. p 29.
(128)      Ibid. p 24.
(129)      Kurlansky, Mark. The Basque History of the World: the Story of a Nation p 57.
(130)      Ibid. p 58.
(131)      Ibid. p 60.
(132)      Ibid. p 58-59.
(133)      Fagan, Brian. The Little Ice Age: How Climate Made History, 1300-1850. p 77.
(134)      Ibid. p 77.
(135)      Ibid. p 76.
(136)      Kurlansky, Mark. The Basque History of the World: the Story of a Nation p 58.
(137)      Lamb, Hubert H. Climate: Present, Past and Future. Vol. 2. p 127. (Reproduced for better comparison)
(138)      van Bath, Bernardus Hendrikus Slicher. The Agrarian History of Western Europe, AD 500-1850. p 161.
(139)      Brooks, CEP. Climate Through the Ages: a Study of the Climatic Factors and Their Variations. p 346.
(140)      Brown, Neville. History and Climate Change: An Eurocentric Perspective.
(141)      Wagret, P. Polderlands. p 21.
(142)      Lamb, Hubert H. Weather, Climate & Human Affairs. p 86.
(143)      Wagret, P. Polderlands. pp 60-61
(144)      Ibid. p 6.
(145)      Lamb, Hubert H., Climate: Present, Past and Future. Vol. 2. p 122.
(146)      Ibid. p 122.
(147)      Lamb, Hubert H. Weather, Climate & Human Affairs. p 79.
(148)      Wagret, P. Polderlands. p 23.
(149)      Lamb, Hubert H. Climate: Present, Past and Future. Vol. 2. p 121.
(150)      Lamb, Hubert H. Weather, Climate & Human Affairs. p 79.
(151)      In the middle ages, population statistics were not kept. While for that period we do have registers of farms (which could be taxed) have been compiled, and did survive to our days, for some areas (Domesday Book), no such sources exist for the areas in the Netherlands affected by the disastrous floods of the 13th and 14th century. The numbers given in various accounts thus have to be read with care. The settlement of the area lost to the sea is likely to have resembled Friesland closer than Holland, which during those years saw the emergence of over a dozen cities; no city is recorded having been lost to the sea. Given the fact that, the population of the entire county of Holland 275,000 at 1514 (van der Woude. The First Modern Economy. p 52.), that of Friesland (i.e. the modern Dutch province by that name) 79,000 (van der Woude. The First Modern Economy. p 53.), population losses for an area smaller in size than the province of Friesland given as 306,000 seem to have been inflated.
(152)      Lamb, Hubert H. Climate, History and the Modern World.
(153)      Wagret, P. Polderlands. p 68
(154)      Lamb, Hubert H. Climate: Present, Past and Future. Vol. 2. p 121.
(155)      Ibid. p 121.
(156)      Kooijmans, Louwe P. Archaeology and Coastal Change in the Netherlands. p 106.
(157)      Lamb, Hubert H. Climate: Present, Past and Future. Vol. 2. p 119.
(158)      Fagan, Brian. The Little Ice Age: How Climate Made History, 1300-1850. p 63.
(159)      Grove, Jean M. The Little Ice Ages. p 592.
(160)      Ibid. p 592.
(161)      Lamb, Hubert H. Weather, Climate & Human Affairs. p 85.
(162)      Fagan, Brian. Floods, Famines and Emperors: El Nino and the Fate of Civilizations. p 185.
(163)      Lamb, Hubert H. Climate: Present, Past and Future. Vol. 1. London: Metheun, 1972. p 332.
(164)      Lamb, Hubert H. Weather, Climate & Human Affairs. p 92.
(165)      Ibid. p 82.
(166)      Lamb, Hubert H. Climate: Present, Past and Future. Vol. 2. p 112.
(167)      Brown, Neville. History and Climate Change: An Eurocentric Perspective.
(168)      Lamb, Hubert H. Weather, Climate & Human Affairs. p 81.
(169)      Lamb, Hubert H. Climate: Present, Past and Future. Vol. 1. London: Metheun, 1972. p 343.
(170)      Grove, Jean M. The Little Ice Ages. p 591.
(171)      Lamb, Hubert H. Climate: Present, Past and Future. Vol. 1. London: Metheun, 1972. p 343.
(172)      Lamb, Hubert H. Climate: Present, Past and Future. Vol. 2. p 111.
(173)      Lamb, Hubert H. Weather, Climate & Human Affairs. p 83.
(174)      Ibid. p 83.
(175)      Lamb, Hubert H. Climate: Present, Past and Future. Vol. 2. p 113.
(176)      Wagret, P. Polderlands. p 23.
(177)      Kooijmans, Louwe P. Archaeology and Coastal Change in the Netherlands. p 115.
(178)      Wagret, P. Polderlands. p 23.
(179)      Lamb, Hubert H. Weather, Climate & Human Affairs. p 29.
(180)      Wagret, P. Polderlands. p 6.
(181)      Lamb, Hubert H. Weather, Climate & Human Affairs. p 106.
(182)      Grove, Jean M. The Little Ice Ages. p 592.
(183)      Ibid. p 592.
(184)      Fagan, Brian. The Little Ice Age: How Climate Made History, 1300-1850. p 63.
(185)      Ibid. p 63.
(186)      Wagret, P. Polderlands. p 56.
(187)      Article : Friesen, from Wikipedia, German edition 28. August 2007, http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friesen
(188)      Tol, Richard S., and Andreas Langen. "A Concise History of Dutch River Floods." Climatic Change. p 382.
(189)      Kooijmans, Louwe P. Archaeology and Coastal Change in the Netherlands. p 113.
(190)      Wagret, P. Polderlands. p 56.
(191)      Kooijmans, Louwe P. Archaeology and Coastal Change in the Netherlands. p 113.
(192)      Ibid. p 112.
(193)      van Bath, Bernardus Hendrikus Slicher. The Agrarian History of Western Europe, AD 500-1850. p 151.
(194)      Knottnerus, Otto S. "The Wadden Sea Region: a Unique Cultural Landscape." Wadden Sea Ecosystem. p 35.
(195)      Tol, Richard S., and Andreas Langen. "A Concise History of Dutch River Floods." Climatic Change. p 359.
(196)      Brown, Neville. History and Climate Change: An Eurocentric Perspective.
(197)      Wagret, P. Polderlands. p 56.
(198)      van Bath, Bernardus Hendrikus Slicher. The Agrarian History of Western Europe, AD 500-1850. p 161.
(199)      Wagret, P. Polderlands. p 56.
(200)      van Bath, Bernardus Hendrikus Slicher. The Agrarian History of Western Europe, AD 500-1850. p 152.
(201)      Knottnerus, Otto S. "The Wadden Sea Region: a Unique Cultural Landscape." Wadden Sea Ecosystem. p 36.
(202)      Wagret, P. Polderlands. p 31.
(203)      Tol, Richard S., and Andreas Langen. "A Concise History of Dutch River Floods." Climatic Change. p 359.
(204)      Brown, Neville. History and Climate Change: An Eurocentric Perspective.
(205)      Ibid.
(206)      Tol, Richard S., and Andreas Langen. "A Concise History of Dutch River Floods." Climatic Change. p 360.
(207)      Ibid. p 359.
(208)      Wagret, P. Polderlands. p 57.
(209)      Ibid. p 57.
(210)      Ibid. p 57.
(211)      Tol, Richard S., and Andreas Langen. "A Concise History of Dutch River Floods." Climatic Change. p 360.
(212)      Wagret, P. Polderlands. p 59.
(213)      Ibid. p 63.
(214)      Ibid. p 59.
(215)      Ibid. p 62.
(216)      van Bath, Bernardus Hendrikus Slicher. The Agrarian History of Western Europe, AD 500-1850. p 153.
(217)      Tol, Richard S., and Andreas Langen. "A Concise History of Dutch River Floods." Climatic Change. p 360.
(218)      van Bath, Bernardus Hendrikus Slicher. The Agrarian History of Western Europe, AD 500-1850. pp. 137
(219)      Fagan, Brian.
The Little Ice Age: How Climate Made History, 1300-1850 p 33.
(220)      Grove, Jean M. The Little Ice Ages. p 611
(221)      Lamb, Hubert H. Weather, Climate & Human Affairs. p 35.
(222)      Ibid. p 35.
(223)      Lamb, Hubert H. Climate: Present, Past and Future. Vol. 2. p 454.
(224)      Gissel, Svend. "The Joint Scandinavian Contribution to the European Study of Late Medieval Desertion." p 15.
(225)      Lamb, Hubert H. Climate: Present, Past and Future. Vol. 2. p 455.
(226)      van Bath, Bernardus Hendrikus Slicher. The Agrarian History of Western Europe, AD 500-1850. pp. 142
(227)      Lamb, Hubert H. Climate: Present, Past and Future. Vol. 2. p 456.
(228)      Ibid. p 454
(229)      Grove, Jean M. The Little Ice Ages. p 629
(230)      Danstrup, John. A History of Denmark. p 36.
(231)      Sandnes, Jørn. "Settlement Developments in the Late Middle Ages (approx. 1300-1540)." p 93.
(232)      Derry, Thomas K. A Short History of Norway. p 72.
(233)      Sandnes, Jørn. "Settlement Developments in the Late Middle Ages (approx. 1300-1540)." p 103.
(234)      Grove, Jean M. The Little Ice Ages. p 61
(235)      Ibid. p 629.
(236)      Lamb, Hubert H. Climate: Present, Past and Future. Vol. 2. p 454.
(237)      Sandnes, Jørn. "Settlement Developments in the Late Middle Ages (approx. 1300-1540)." p 110.
(238)      Lamb, Hubert H. Climate, History and the Modern World p 193.
(239)      Sandnes, Jørn. "Settlement Developments in the Late Middle Ages (approx. 1300-1540)." p 99 .
(240)      Grove, Jean M. The Little Ice Ages. p 629.
(241)      Sandnes, Jørn. "Settlement Developments in the Late Middle Ages (approx. 1300-1540)." p 106 .
(242)      Ibid. p 105.
(243)      Lamb, Hubert H. Weather, Climate & Human Affairs. p 36.
(244)      Lamb, Hubert H. Climate: Present, Past and Future. Vol. 2. p 454.
(245)      Sandnes, Jørn. "Settlement Developments in the Late Middle Ages (approx. 1300-1540)." p 90.
(246)      Ibid. p 99.
(247)      Lamb, Hubert H. Weather, Climate & Human Affairs. p 36.
(248)      Gissel, Svend. "Rents and Other Economic Indicators." p 154.
(249)      Sandnes, Jørn. "Settlement Developments in the Late Middle Ages (approx. 1300-1540)." p 93.
(250)      Lamb, Hubert H. Climate: Present, Past and Future. Vol. 2. p 459.
(251)      Sandnes, Jørn. "Settlement Developments in the Late Middle Ages (approx. 1300-1540)." p 105.
(252)      Teitsson, Bjorn. "Geographical Variables." p 181.
(253)      Österberg, Eva. "Social Aspects." p 215.
(254)      Derry, Thomas K. A Short History of Norway. p 73.
(255)      Lamb, Hubert H. Climate: Present, Past and Future. Vol. 2. p 454.
(256)      Derry, Thomas K. A Short History of Norway. p 72.
(257)      van Bath, Bernardus Hendrikus Slicher. The Agrarian History of Western Europe, AD 500-1850. pp. 137
(258)      Lamb, Hubert H. Climate: Present, Past and Future. Vol. 2. p 454.
(259)      Ibid. p 455.
(260)      Grove, Jean M. The Little Ice Ages. p 628.
(261)      Lamb, Hubert H. Climate: Present, Past and Future. Vol. 2. p 454.
(262)      Sandnes, Jørn. "Settlement Developments in the Late Middle Ages (approx. 1300-1540)." p 114.
(263)      Ibid. p 112.
(264)      Lamb, Hubert H. Climate, History and the Modern World p 189.
(265)      Ibid. p 188.
(266)      Ibid. p 190.
(267)      Kiss, Andrea, Some Weather Events in the Fourteenth Century (Angevin Period, 1301-1387),
(268)      Lamb, Hubert H. Weather, Climate & Human Affairs. p 29.
(269)      Lamb, Hubert H. Climate: Present, Past and Future. Vol. 2. p 452.
(270)      Grove, Jean M. The Little Ice Ages. p 628.
(271)      Sandnes, Jørn. "Conclusion." p 240.
(272)      Lamb, Hubert H. Climate, History and the Modern World p 194.
(273)      Grove, Jean M. The Little Ice Ages. p 629.
(274)      Österberg, Eva. "Methods, Hypotheses and Study Areas." p 69.
(275)      Lamb, Hubert H. Weather, Climate & Human Affairs. p 32.
(276)      Ibid. p 32.
(277)      Ibid. p 31.
(278)      Teitsson, Bjorn. "Geographical Variables." p 176.
(279)      Fagan, Brian. Floods, Famines and Emperors: El Nino and the Fate of Civilizations. p 193.
(280)      Ibid. p 194.
(281)      Lamb, Hubert H. Weather, Climate & Human Affairs. p 31.
(282)      Grove, Jean M. The Little Ice Ages. p 102.
(283)      Lamb, Hubert H. Climate: Present, Past and Future. Vol. 2. p 451.
(284)      Grove, Jean M. The Little Ice Ages. p 64.
(285)      Sandnes, Jørn. "Conclusion." p 239.
(286)      Grove, Jean M. The Little Ice Ages. p 627.
(287)      Österberg, Eva. "Methods, Hypotheses and Study Areas." p 56.
(288)      Fagan, Brian. Floods, Famines and Emperors: El Nino and the Fate of Civilizations. pp 193-194.
(289)      Lamb, Hubert H. Climate, History and the Modern World p 191.
(290)      Ibid. p 191.
(291)      Lönnroth, Erik. "Introduction." p 11.
(292)      Gissel, Svend. "The Joint Scandinavian Contribution to the European Study of Late Medieval Desertion." p 17.
(293)      Gissel, Svend. "Rents and Other Economic Indicators." p 154.
(294)      Derry, Thomas K. A Short History of Norway. p 73.
(295)      Gissel, Svend. "Rents and Other Economic Indicators." p 154.
(296)      van Bath, Bernardus Hendrikus Slicher. The Agrarian History of Western Europe, AD 500-1850. pp. 142
(297)      Ibid. pp. 143
(298)      Gissel, Svend. "Trade and Supply. The Commercial Background to the Development of Settlements." p 203.
(299)      Ibid. p 203.
(300)      Österberg, Eva. "Social Aspects." p 209.
(301)      Gissel, Svend. "Rents and Other Economic Indicators." p 154.
(302)      van Bath, Bernardus Hendrikus Slicher. The Agrarian History of Western Europe, AD 500-1850. pp. 144
(303)      Sandnes, Jørn. "Settlement Developments in the Late Middle Ages (approx. 1300-1540)." p 99.
(304)      van Bath, Bernardus Hendrikus Slicher. The Agrarian History of Western Europe, AD 500-1850. pp. 140
(305)      Ibid. pp. 140
(306)      Gissel, Svend. "Rents and Other Economic Indicators." p 161.
(307)      Lamb, Hubert H. Climate, History and the Modern World p 193.
(308)      Gissel, Svend. "Rents and Other Economic Indicators." p 165.
(309)      van Bath, Bernardus Hendrikus Slicher. The Agrarian History of Western Europe, AD 500-1850. pp. 138
(310)      Ibid. pp. 138
(311)      Derry, Thomas K. A Short History of Norway. p 72.
(312)      Gissel, Svend. "Rents and Other Economic Indicators." p 171.
(313)      Derry, Thomas K. A Short History of Norway. p 68.
(314)      Ibid. p 68.
(315)      Ibid. p 69.
(316)      Ibid. p 71.
(317)      Lamb, Hubert H. Weather, Climate & Human Affairs. p 36.
(318)      Lamb, Hubert H. Climate: Present, Past and Future. Vol. 2. p 449.
(319)      Article Global Warming, from .Wikipedia


IX. Bibliography

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3.      Danstrup, John. A History of Denmark. Copenhagen: Wilvels Forlag, 1947.
4.      Derry, Thomas K. A Short History of Norway. Greenwood P, 1979.
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7.      Gissel, Svend. "The Joint Scandinavian Contribution to the European Study of Late Medieval Desertion." Desertion and Land Colonization in the Nordic Countries C. 1300-1600. Ed. Svend Gissel. Uppsala: Almqvist & Wiksell International, 1981. 15-19.
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10.      Grove, Jean M. The Little Ice Ages. New York: Routledge, 1988.
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25.      Österberg, Eva. "Social Aspects." Desertion and Land Colonization in the Nordic Countries C. 1300-1600. Ed. Svend Gissel. Uppsala: Almqvist & Wiksell International, 1981. 205-229.
26.      Sandnes, Jørn. "Settlement Developments in the Late Middle Ages (approx. 1300-1540)." Desertion and Land Colonization in the Nordic Countries C. 1300-1600. Ed. Svend Gissel. Uppsala: Almqvist & Wiksell International, 1981. 78-114.
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41.      Article Global Warming, from .Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_warming.. 11 Sep 2007