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Historic Encyclopedias on Major Disasters


Korean Minjok Leadership Academy
International Program
Cho, Yeon Ju
Term Paper, AP European History Class, June 2009



Table of Contents


I. Introduction
II. Volcanic eruption of Mountain Tambora
II.1 Encyclopedia Britannica, 1902 edition
II.2 Encyclopedia Britannica, 1911 edition
II.3 Catholic Encyclopedia, 1907-1914 edition
II.4 Pierer's Universal-Lexikon 4th ed. 1857-1865
II.5 Analysis
III. Cholera
III.1 Encyclopedia Britannica, 1902 edition
III.2 Encyclopedia Britannica, 1911 edition
III.3 Catholic Encyclopedia, 1907-1914 edition
III.4 Pierer's Universal-Lexikon 4th ed. 1857-1865
III.5 Analysis
IV. Potato Famine
IV.1 Encyclopedia Britannica, 1902 edition
IV.2 Encyclopedia Britannica, 1911 edition
IV.3 Catholic Encyclopedia, 1907-1914 edition
IV.4 Pierer's Universal-Lexikon 4th ed. 1857-1865
IV.5 Analysis
VI. Conclusion
Notes
Bbliography



I. Introduction
            This paper will deal with different perspectives of encyclopedias which are 'Encyclopeda Britannica, 1902 edition', 'Encyclopedia Britannica, 1911 edition', 'Catholic encyclopeida, 1907-1914', 'Pierer's Universal-Lexikon 4th edition, 1857-1865', and others. These encyclopedias are from different kinds or different era. This paper will elaborate on comparing and contrasting perspectives of encyclopedias on articles about major natural disasters occurred in 19th century.

II. Volcanic eruption of Mountain Tambora
            Mountain Tambora is an active volcano on Sumbawa island, Indonesia. There was a big eruption in 1815, creating optical phenomena all around the world. For instance, sunsets and twilights were brilliantly colored and seen in London, England. Decrease of average global temperature caused significant agricultural problems, resulting in failure of harvests and rise of food price that brought about the worst famine of the 19th in Europe.

II.1 Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1902 edition
            There was no article about volcanic eruption of Moutain Tambora in the Encyclopedia Britannica, 1902 edition.

II.2 Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1911 edition, Article: Sumbawa
            Tambora, forming a minor peninsula east of Sumbawa Bay, is said to have lost a third of its elevation in the eruption of 1815, but is still 9055 ft. high. [1]
            This part shows how destructive the volcanic eruption of Mountain Tambora was. However, the effect it gave to the Europe is not explained.

II.3 Catholic Encyclopedia, 1907-1914 edition
            There was no article about volcanic eruption of Mountain Tambora in the Encyclopedia Britannica, 1902 edition.

II.4 Pierer's Universal-Lexikon 4th ed. 1857-1865
            Article: Tambora
            It was unknown that the mountain was a volcano until 1815(April 5-11), an outbreak took place, which belongs to the most terrible, what was ever to have occurred. ... 38,000 people died as a result of the emerging famine ... [2]
            This part states that the volcanic eruption of Mountain Tambora ¡®belongs to the most terrible, what was ever to have occurred.¡¯ This means that the article shows negative perspective toward the volcanic eruption. However, the article doesn¡¯t deal with world-wide effect of the eruption.
            Article: Sumbawa
            ... by the eruption of Tambora came to many others died as a result of subsequent famine and plague, and many emigrated. [3]
            This article also doesn't show how the eruption affected Europe.

II.5 Analysis
            Although the volcanic eruption of Mountain Tambora was occurred in Indonesia, it is clear that it had affected Europe. However, the articles of Encyclopedias do not deal with much about these effects. No articles can be found in Encyclopedia Britannica, 1902 edition and Catholic Encyclopedia, 1907-1914 edition. In Encyclopedia Britannica, 1911 edition, the volcanic eruption of Mountain Tambora is shortly presented without mentioning any of its influences. Likewise, in Pierer's Unversal-Lexicon 4 th ed. 1857-1865, it is not shown exactly how the eruption affected Europe though it presented some influences of the volcanic eruption. It just states that the volcanic eruption of Mountain Tambora was very destructive. Since the eruption was occurred in Indonesia where many European people did not have interest in. This means that the writers of encyclopedias did not regarded it necessary to describe the effect of volcanic eruption toward Europe continent.

III. Cholera
            The Cholera that affected the Europe around 1829-1851 was the Second cholera pandemic which reached Russia, Hungary and Germany in 1831, London and Paris in 1832.

III.1 Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1902 edition, Article: Cholera
            It ravaged the northern and central parts of Europe, and spread onwards to England appearing in Sunderland in October 1831, and in London in January 1832 during which year it coutinued to prevail in most of the cities and large towns of Great Britain and Ireland, and its disastrous effects are still in the recollection of many persons. [4]
            This part is also shown in the Encyclopedia Britannica, 1911 edition. However, the last sentence mentioning that many people would remember disasterous effects of cholera could not be found. Since this encyclopedia is the oldest among four encyclopedias, it is the closest encyclopedia to the era of Cholera. It is sure that people then still had fear of Cholera.

III.2 Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1911 edition, Article: Cholera
            This disease is sometimes called Cholera Nostras, the word nostras, which is good Latin and used by Cicero, meaning "belonging to our country." The relations between it and Asiatic cholera (see below) are obscure. Clinically they may exactly resemble each other, and bacteriology has not been able to draw an absolute line between them. The real difference is epidemiological, cholera nostras having no epidemic significance. [5]
            This is added part which explains differences between Cholera Nostras and Asiatic cholera that the former has no epidemic significance.
            Much light has been thrown upon Asiatic cholera by Western experience; and the study of the disease by modern methods has resulted in important additions to our previous knowledge of its nature, causation, mode of dissemination and prevention. ... [6]
            Here is also added part which states about the fact that the study of cholera dedicated to find the characteristics of it and methods to prevent it.

III.3 Catholic Encyclopedia, 1907-1914 edition
            Article: Sisters of the Poor of St. Francis
            In the latter part of 1848 a mild form of cholera broke out in Aachen, followed by an epidemic of small pox, and an infirmary was opened in an old Dominican building, the property of the city. The Sisters offered their services as nurses and they were authorized to take up their abode in the building (1849). [7]
            The article is about Sisters of the Poor of St. Francis, and cholera is mentioned in order to show how they helped poor people.
            Article: Edward Caswall
            In 1849 Caswall's wife, who had also become a Catholic, died suddenly of cholera, and early in 1850 he became an Oratorian. [8]
            It is not about cholera itself, but about a person whose wife died because of cholera.
            Article: Francis Patrick Cardinal Moran
            Of his three sisters, two became nuns, one of them offered her life to God in care of cholera patients whom she nursed, and died the last victim of the plague in Ireland.
            It is also not about cholera itslef, but cholera is mentioned above to show that the sister of Francis Patrick Cardinal Moran was a person who take care of cholera patients.

III.4 Pierer's Universal-Lexikon 4th ed. 1857-1865
            Article: Cholera
            The dispute between the doctors on the question whether the disease was contagious or not, as currently there may be decided that their contagion effect only on a very low level due [10]
            There were controversy between whether Cholera was contagious or not.
            there is less than other people, therefore, emerged as the strongest barrier repeatedly useless, so that only exaggerated fear and contempt for all experience with individual governments whose belief in the invalidity up to the latest time away can still have, therefore, have finally attempts by intentionally inoculate, rub, inject or enjoying removal of the cholera sufferers delivered [11]
            This part states that people who were contaminated by Cholera were quarantined since the dieases can be contagious. Also , it gives some examples of treatments of Cholera.

III.5 Analysis
            Articles of Encyclopedia Britannica, 1902 edition and Encyclopedia Britannica, 1911 edition have similar perspectives on Cholera since they are of same kinds. However, the order of contents contained in the article changed. Also, some part of article was erased or added. It can be interpreted that the erased parts contained outdated information, especially with the aspect of scientific advance. Considering from a similar standpoint, some parts are added in the Encyclopedia Britannica, 1911 edition which was published later since science and medical technology advanced during the term. Catholic Encyclopedia, 1907-1914 doesn¡¯t concentrate much on Cholera itself, but deals with people who took care of cholera patients or have relatives who worked for cholera patients or died of cholera. Since Pierer's Universal-Lexikon 4th ed. 1857-1865 is the oldest among the encyclopedias, it presents scientific controversies and cholera sufferers' life more vividly. Various remedies for cholera are given, too.

IV. Potato Famine
            Potato famine started in 1845, causing people suffer from poverty and migrate to other countries. The cause of potato famine was potato disease, known as potato blight.

IV.1 Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1902 edition
            Article: Agriculture
            The restoration of peace to Europe, and the re-enactment of the Corn Laws in 1815, mark the commencement of another era in the history of our national agriculture. It was unshed in with a time of severe depression and suffering to the agriculture community. The immense fall in the price of farm-produce with then took place was aggravated, first by the unpropitious weather and deficient harvest of the years 1816, 1817; ... [12]
            Although it is well-known that potato famine can be classified as a natural disaster, this part mentions that the Corn Law also had some influence on the occurrence of potato famine.
            ... , they have been as nothing in comparison with the effects of the mysterious potato blight, which, first appearing in 1845, had since pervaded the whole Europe, and in Ireland especially proved the sad precursor of famine and pestilence. This seemingly insignificant blight for a time well-nigh withdrew from cultivation one of our most esteemed field crops; it influences the business of farming in a may that baffles the shrewdest calculator, and is producing social changes of which no man can predict the issue. [13]
            Potato famine is also mentioned that its cause of occurrence was potato blight, which appeard in 1845, affecting the whole Europe.
            Article: Migration
            The Irish famine, ensuing on an almost total failure of the potato crops, was the first in the order of events to which this remarkable increase of emigration is to be ascribed; ... . [14]
            Article shows one of the effects of potato famine that was the increase in migration.

IV.2 Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1911 edition
            Article: Ireland
            This movement of population took its first great impulse from the famine of 1846 and has continued ever since. When that disaster fell upon the country it found a teeming population fiercely competing for a very narrow margin of subsistence; and so widespread and devastating were its effects that between 1847 and 1852 over 1,200,000 of the Irish people emigrated to other lands. [15]
            It is mentioned here that the potato famine caused incresed number of people to migrate to other coutnries.
            But the potato famine and the repeal of the Corn Laws, occurring almost simultaneously, caused an immediate and startling diminution in the number of smaller holdings. [16]
            This part the repeal of the Corn Laws aggravated the situation, causing diminution of the number of smaller holdings.
            It was found that labour and exposure were not good for half-starved men. The jobbing was frightful, and is probably inseparable from wholesale operations of this kind. The policy of the government was accordingly changed, and the task of feeding a whole people was undertaken. One good result of the famine was thoroughly to awaken Englishmen to their duty towards Ireland. [17]
            It shows positive perspectives of potato famine by saying that there was 'one good result of the famine'.

IV.3 Catholic Encyclopedia, 1907-1914 edition
            Article: Migration
            With bad crops and sunless summers throughout Europe, the climax was reached in the potato famine of 1847 in Ireland. This destructive calamity occasioned a heavy migration from Ireland to the United States, where abundant and increasing opportunity was to be found. [18]
            According to this part, not only bad crops but also sunless summers made the potato famine worsen its influences. Also, it can be noticed that severe famine caused a lot of people to migrate.
            Article: Ireland
            The potato blight first appeared in Wexford, in 1845, whence it marched with stealthy tread all over the country, poisoning the potato fields as it passed. ... most of them living in abject poverty with the potato as their only food. And now, with half the crop of 1845 gone and with the loss of the whole crop in the two succeeding years, millions were face to face with hunger. [19]
            This article states that the cause of potato famine was potato blight. By using word 'abject', this part shows how miserable people would feel without their staple food, potato.
            In 1848 and in 1849 the famine was only partial, but in the latter year cholera appeared. In 1851 the famine was over, and such was the havoc wrought that a population, which at the previous rate of increase should have been 9,000,000, was reduced to 6,500,000. [20]
            According to the article, cholera is one of the factors that aggravated the famine.
            Article: The Irish (in countries other than Ireland)
            But side by side with the blackened potato fields there were abundant crops of grain which were in no way affected by the potato blight. These, however, were disposed of frequently by distraint, as the sole means of providing the rent for the landlord, while the unfortunate tenants by whose labour they had been produced were left without food. [21]
            This part shows that the people who were suffered from the famine were mainly tenants, since they did not have potato which were their staple food, while landlords have abundant crops of grain which were not affected by the potato blight.

IV.4 Pierer's Universal-Lexikon 4th ed. 1857-1865
            There was no article about potato famine in Pierer¡¯s Universal-Lexikon, 1857-865.

IV.5 Analysis
            In spite of the fact that the potato famine is a natural disaster, there are also other factors that caused the potato famine. The articles from encyclopedias give different factors. Encyclopedia Britannica, 1902 edition views that the Corn Law as well as potato blight caused potato famine, while Catholic Encyclopedia, 1907-1914 edition states that sunless summer and cholera can also be factors that aggravated the potato famine. Basically, all encyclopedias agreed that many people suffered from hunger and the potato famine brought about the increase of migration. However, interestingly, Encyclopedia Britannica, 1911 edition shows the good result of the potato famine.

V Conclusion
            After comparing and contrasting the perspectives of different encyclopedias, I found out that differences in viewing specific subjects among encyclopedias exist. Since articles were all about natural disasters, they show objectivity toward such things. However, differences exist because the era that those encyclopedias were written vary. Since Encyclopedia Britannica 1902 edition and Encyclopedia Britannica 1911 edition are of the same kind, they show similar perspectives. However, the difference in published year gave them differences in content of scientific knowledge. Since Pierer's Universal-Lexikon 4th edition is the oldest and its publish year is closest to the era that those disasters occurred, it contains more articles that describe the situation and people's feelings than others. In conclusion, the perspectives of the encyclopedias vary according to the era that the encyclopedias were written.


Notes

1.      Article "Sumbawa", in Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1911 edition
2.      Article "Tambora", in Pierer's Universal-Lexikon 4th ed. 1857-1865
3.      Article "Sumbawa", in Pierer's Universal-Lexikon 4th ed. 1857-1865
4.      Article "Cholera", in Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1902 edition
5.      Article "Cholera", in Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1911 edition
6.      ibid.
7.      Article "Sisters of the Poor of St. Francis", in Catholic Encyclopedia, 1907-1914 edition
8.      Article "Edward Caswall", in Catholic Encyclopedia, 1907-1914 edition
9.      Article "Francis Patrick Cardinal Moran", in Catholic Encyclopedia, 1907-1914 edition
10.      Article "Cholera", in Pierer's Universal-Lexikon 4th ed. 1857-1865
11.      ibid.
12.      Article "Agriculture", in Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1902 edition
13.      ibid.
14.      Article "Migration", in Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1902 edition
15.      Article "Ireland", in Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1911 edition
16.      ibid.
17.      ibid.
18.      Article "Migration", in Catholic Encyclopedia, 1907-1914 edition
19.      Article "Ireland", in Catholic Encyclopedia, 1907-1914 edition
20.      ibid.
21.      Article "The Irish (in countries other than Ireland)", in Catholic Encyclopedia, 1907-1914 edition


Bibliography

Note : websites quoted below were visited in June 2009.

Primary Sources
1.      Article "Agriculture", in Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1902 edition, posted by 1902 Encyclopedia http://www.1902encyclopedia.com/A/AGR/agriculture-007.html
2.      Article "Cholera", in Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1902 edition, posted by 1902 Encyclopedia http://www.1902encyclopedia.com/C/CHO/cholera.html
3.      Article "Migration", in Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1902 edition, posted by 1902 Encyclopedia http://www.1902encyclopedia.com/E/EMI/emigration.html
4.      Article "Cholera", in Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1911 edition, posted by Classic Encyclopedia http://www.1911encyclopedia.org/Cholera
5.      Article ¡°Ireland¡±, in Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1911 edition, posted by Classic Encyclopedia, http://www.1911encyclopedia.org/Ireland
6.      Article "Sumbawa", in Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1911 edition, posted by Classic Encyclopedia http://www.1911encyclopedia.org/Sumbawa
7.      Article "Cholera", in Pierer's Universal-Lexikon 4th ed. 1857-1865, in German, posted by Zeno, http://www.zeno.org/Pierer-1857/A/Chol%C4%95ra?hl=cholera
8.      Article "Sumbawa", in Pierer's Universal-Lexikon 4th ed. 1857-1865, posted by Zeno, http://www.zeno.org/Pierer-1857/A/Sumb%C4%81wa?hl=sumbawa
9.      Article "Tambora", in Pierer's Universal-Lexikon 4th ed. 1857-1865, posted by Zeno, http://www.zeno.org/Pierer-1857/A/Tamb%C5%8Dra?hl=tambora
10.      Article "Edward Caswall", in Catholic Encyclopedia, 1907-1914 edition, posted by New Advent http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/03417a.htm
11.      Article ¡°Francis Patrick Cardinal Moran¡±, in Catholic Encyclopedia, 1907-1914 edition, posted by New Advent http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14366a.htm
12.      Article "Ireland", in Catholic Encyclopedia, 1907-1914 edition, posted by New Advent http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/08098b.htm
13.      Article "Migration", in Catholic Encyclopedia, 1907-1914 edition, posted by New Advent http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/10291a.htm
14.      Article "Sisters of the Poor of St. Francis", in Catholic Encyclopedia, 1907-1914 edition, posted by New Advent http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12257a.htm
15.      Article "The Irish (in countries other than Ireland)", in Catholic Encyclopedia, 1907-1914 edition, posted by New Advent http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/08132b.htm

Secondary Sources
16.      Article "Cholera", in Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cholera
17.      Article "Great Famine (Ireland)", in Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Irish_Famine
18.      Article "Mount Tambora", in Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Tambora


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