Great Famine of 1315–1317

The Great Famine of 1315–1317 (occasionally dated 1315–1322) was the first of a series of large-scale crises that struck Europe early in the 14th century. Most of Europe (extending east to Russia and south to Italy) was affected.[1] The famine caused millions of deaths over an extended number of years and marked a clear end to the period of growth and prosperity from the 11th to the 13th centuries.

The Great Famine started with bad weather in spring 1315. Crop failures lasted through 1316 until the summer harvest in 1317, and Europe did not fully recover until 1322. The period was marked by extreme levels of crime, disease, mass death, and even cannibalism and infanticide. The crisis had consequences for the Church, state, European society, and for future calamities to follow in the 14th century.

Great famine
From the Apocalypse in a Biblia Pauperum illuminated at Erfurt around the time of the Great Famine. Death sits astride a manticore whose long tail ends in a ball of flame (Hell). Famine points to her hungry mouth.


Famines were familiar occurrences in Medieval Europe. For example, localised famines occurred in France during the fourteenth century in 1304, 1305, 1310, 1315–1317 (the Great Famine), 1330–34, 1349–51, 1358–60, 1371, 1374–75, and 1390.[2] In England, the most prosperous kingdom affected by the Great Famine, there were famines such as in 1315–1317, 1321, 1351, and 1369.[2] For most people there was often not enough to eat, and life was a relatively short and brutal struggle to survive to old age. According to official records about the English royal family, an example of the best off in society, for whom records were kept, the average life expectancy in 1276 was 35.28 years.[2] Between 1301 and 1325, during the Great Famine it was 29.84 years while between 1348 and 1375 during the Plague, it was only 17.33 years.[2] It demonstrates the relative steep drop between 1348 and 1375 of about 42%.[3]

During the Medieval Warm Period (the period prior to 1300), the population of Europe exploded compared to prior eras, reaching levels that were not matched again in some places until the nineteenth century—indeed parts of rural France today are less populous than at the beginning of the fourteenth century.[2] However, the yield ratios of wheat, the number of seeds one could eat per seed planted, had been dropping since 1280, and food prices had been climbing. After favourable harvests, the ratio could be as high as 7:1, but after unfavourable harvests it was as low as 2:1—that is, for every seed planted, two seeds were harvested, one for next year's seed, and one for food. By comparison, modern farming has ratios of 30:1 or more (see agricultural productivity).[2]

The onset of the Great Famine coincided with the end of the Medieval Warm Period. Between 1310 and 1330, northern Europe saw some of the worst and most sustained periods of bad weather in the entire Middle Ages, characterized by severe winters and rainy and cold summers. The Great Famine may have been precipitated by a volcanic event,[4] perhaps that of Mount Tarawera, New Zealand, which lasted about five years.[5][6]

Changing weather patterns, the ineffectiveness of medieval governments in dealing with crises and population level at a historical high made it a time for little margin for error in food production.[2]

Great Famine

Europe in 1328
Europe in 1328.

In the spring of 1315, unusually heavy rain began in much of Europe. Throughout the spring and the summer, it continued to rain, and the temperature remained cool. Under such conditions, grain could not ripen, leading to widespread crop failures. Grain was brought indoors in urns and pots to keep dry. The straw and hay for the animals could not be cured, so there was no fodder for the livestock. The price of food began to rise; prices in England doubled between spring and midsummer. Salt, the only way to cure and preserve meat, was difficult to obtain because brine could not be effectively evaporated in wet weather; its price increased from 30 shillings to 40 shillings.[7] In Lorraine, wheat prices grew by 320%, making bread unaffordable to peasants. Stores of grain for long-term emergencies were limited to royalty, lords, nobles, wealthy merchants, and the Church. Because of the general increased population pressures, even lower-than-average harvests meant some people would go hungry; there was little margin for failure. People began to harvest wild edible roots, plants, grasses, nuts, and bark in the forests.[7]

A number of documented incidents show the extent of the famine. Edward II of England stopped at St Albans on 10 August 1315 and had difficulty finding bread for himself and his entourage; it was a rare occasion in which the King of England was unable to eat.[8] The French, under Louis X, tried to invade Flanders, but in the low country of the Netherlands, the fields were soaked and the army became so bogged down that they were forced to retreat, burning their provisions where they left them, unable to carry them away.[9]

In the spring of 1316, it continued to rain on a European population deprived of energy and reserves to sustain itself. All segments of society from nobles to peasants were affected but especially the peasants, who represented 95% of the population and who had no reserve food supplies.[10] To provide some measure of relief, the future was mortgaged by slaughtering the draft animals, eating the seed grain, abandoning children to fend for themselves (see "Hansel and Gretel") and, among old people, voluntarily refusing food for the younger generation to survive.[10] The chroniclers of the time noted many incidents of cannibalism, although, self-admittedly, "one can never tell if such talk was not simply a matter of rumor-mongering".[10]

The height of the famine was reached in 1317, as the wet weather continued. Finally, in that summer, the weather returned to its normal patterns. By then, however, people were so weakened by diseases such as pneumonia, bronchitis, and tuberculosis, and so much of the seed stock had been eaten, that it was not until 1325 that the food supply returned to relatively normal levels and the population began to increase again. Historians debate the toll, but it is estimated that 10–25% of the population of many cities and towns died.[2] Though the Black Death (1347–1351) would kill more people, it often swept through an area in a matter of months, whereas the Great Famine lingered for years, prolonging the suffering of the populace.[2]


The Great Famine was restricted to Northern Europe, including the British Isles, northern France, the Low Countries, Scandinavia, Germany, and western Poland.[11] It also affected some of the Baltic states except for the far eastern Baltic, which was affected only indirectly.[11] The famine was bounded to the south by the Alps and the Pyrenees.


The Great Famine is noteworthy for the number of people who died, the vast geographic area that was affected and its length but also its lasting consequences.


In a society whose final recourse for all problems had been religion, and Roman Catholicism was the only tolerated Christian faith, no amount of prayer seemed effective against the causes of the famine. That undermined the institutional authority of the Church[2] and helped lay the foundations for later movements that were deemed heretical by the Church, as they opposed the papacy and blamed the perceived failure of prayer upon corruption within the Church.[2]


Medieval Europe in the fourteenth century had already experienced widespread social violence, and even acts then punishable by death such as rape and murder were demonstrably far more common (especially relative to the population), compared to modern times.[2][12]

The famine led to a stark increase in crime, even among those not normally inclined to criminal activity, because people would resort to any means to feed themselves or their family.[2] For the next several decades, after the famine, Europe took on a tougher and more violent edge; it became an even less amicable place than during the twelfth and the thirteenth centuries.[2] This could be seen across all segments of society, perhaps most strikingly in the way warfare was conducted in the fourteenth century during the Hundred Years' War, when chivalry ended, as opposed to the twelfth and the thirteenth centuries when nobles were more likely to die by accident in tournament games than on the field of battle.[2]

The famine also undermined confidence in medieval governments for their failure to deal with its resulting crises.[2]


The Great Famine marked a clear end to an unprecedented period of population growth that had started around 1050. Although some believe growth had already been slowing down for a few decades, the famine was undoubtedly a clear end of high population growth. The Great Famine would later have consequences for future events in the fourteenth century, such as the Black Death, when an already weakened population would be struck again.[2]


The Great Famine coincided with and greatly influenced the Bruce campaign in Ireland, the attempt of Edward de Bruce, a younger brother of Robert the Bruce of Scotland, to make himself High King of Ireland. At first, the Irish-Scottish alliance seemed unstoppable, as it won battle after battle and gained control of most of Ireland in less than a year. It was on the verge of driving the Anglo-Norman settlers out of Ireland altogether. The famine hit Ireland hard in 1317 and struck most of the country, making it difficult for Edward de Bruce to provide food to most of his men. He never regained momentum and was defeated and killed in the Battle of Faughart in 1318. That ended the last organized effort in many centuries to end English rule in Ireland.

See also


  1. ^ Lucas, Henry S. (October 1930). "The great European Famine of 1315, 1316, 1317". Speculum. 5 (4): 343–377. doi:10.2307/2848143.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q Ruiz, Teofilo F. "Medieval Europe: Crisis and Renewal". An Age of Crisis: Hunger. The Teaching Company. ISBN 1-56585-710-0.
  3. ^ Note: the average life expectancy figures are inclusive of child mortality which was naturally high compared to the modern-era even during non-famine years.
  4. ^ Cantor, Norman L. (2001). In the wake of the plague: the Black Death and the world it made. New York: Free Press. p. 74. ISBN 0-684-85735-9.
  5. ^ Nairn I. A.; Shane P. R.; Cole J. W.; Leonard G. J.; Self S.; Pearson N. (2004). "Rhyolite magma processes of the ~AD 1315 Kaharoa eruption episode, Tarawera volcano, New Zealand". Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research. 131 (3–4): 265–94. Bibcode:2004JVGR..131..265N. doi:10.1016/S0377-0273(03)00381-0.
  6. ^ Hodgson K.A.; Nairn I.A. (September 2005). "The c. AD 1315 syn-eruption and AD 1904 post-eruption breakout floods from Lake Tarawera, Haroharo caldera, North Island, New Zealand". New Zealand Journal of Geology and Geophysics. 48 (3): 491. doi:10.1080/00288306.2005.9515128.
  7. ^ a b "Famine of 1315". Medieval Sourcebook. Fordham University. Retrieved 1 November 2010.
  8. ^ Warner, Kathryn. "Edward II: The Great Famine, 1315 to 1317". Edward II. Retrieved 1 November 2010.
  9. ^ Goldberg, Fred. "Climate Change in the Recent Past" (PDF). Frontier Centre for Public Policy. Retrieved 1 November 2010.
  10. ^ a b c Nelson, Dr. Lynn H. "The Great Famine and the Black Death 1315–1317, 1346–1351". Lectures in Medieval History. WWW Virtual Library. Retrieved 7 November 2010.
  11. ^ a b Jordan, William C. (1996). The Great Famine. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. ISBN 1-4008-0417-5.
  12. ^ Historical research has calculated that approximately 12% of human deaths from 700-1500 A.D. were homicides, compared to an estimated rate of 1.3% in the 21st century. [1]

Further reading


The 1310s was a decade of the Julian Calendar which began on January 1, 1310, and ended on December 31, 1319.

== Events ==

=== 1310 ===

==== January–December ====

January – Forces of the Kingdom of Castile retreat from the Siege of Algeciras, after enduring severe losses, and secure a peace treaty.

March – Muhammed III, former Sultan of the Emirate of Granada, is blinded and found dead in a pool, after an attempted coup to retake his throne from his brother Nasr.

May 11 – In France, 54 members of the Knights Templar are burned at the stake for heresy.

==== Date unknown ====

Abu al-Fida becomes governor of Hama.

The first purpose-built accommodation for students (the Mob Quad) is completed in Merton College, Oxford, England.

Basarab I, after the battle against the Tatars, is named "big prince" of Wallachia by the feudal lords of the region. The country remains under Hungarian domination until the Battle of Posada on 12 October, 1330.

=== 1311 ===

==== January–December ====

March 15 – Battle of Halmyros: The Catalan Company defeats Walter V, Count of Brienne and his forces, to take control of the Duchy of Athens.

August 16 – The Parliament of England presents the Ordinances of 1311 to King Edward II (document dated 5 October; published on 11 October); these substitute the 21 Lord Ordainers for the King as the effective government of the country.

October 16 – The Council of Vienne begins.

==== Date unknown ====

Bolingbroke Castle passes to the House of Lancaster.

Lincoln Cathedral in England is completed; with the spire reaching around 525 feet (160 m), it becomes the world's tallest structure (surpassing the Great Pyramid of Giza, which held the record for almost 4,000 years), a record it holds until the spire is blown down in 1549.

=== 1312 ===

==== January–December ====

April – Pope Clement V forcibly disbands the Knights Templar. This is following years of persecution of the Knights Templar, initially started on Friday, October 13, 1307, in collusion with King Philip "the fair" Le Bel of France.

June 15 – Battle of Rozgony: King Charles I of Hungary defeats the family of Palatine Amade Aba.

June 29 – Henry VII, Holy Roman Emperor is crowned in the Lateran Palace, due to St Peter's Basilica being occupied by Romans hostile to him.

September 27 – The Charter of Kortenberg is signed, and is possibly the first constitution which allows democratic decisions in feudal mainland Europe.

October 31 – Henry VII, Holy Roman Emperor is forced to abandon his campaign against Florence.

==== Date unknown ====

Battle of Amorgos: The Knights Hospitaller, newly based on Rhodes, defeat a Turkish fleet.

The Siege of Rostock begins.

The Canary Islands are "rediscovered" by Lancelotto Malocello, a Genoese navigator, who sails to Lanzarote, and remains there for almost two decades.

=== 1313 ===

==== January–December ====

November 9 – Battle of Gamelsdorf: Louis the Bavarian defeats his cousin Frederick I of Austria.

==== Date unknown ====

The Siege of Rostock ends.

Stefan Uroš II Milutin of Serbia founds the Banjska monastery.

Wang Zhen, Chinese agronomist, government official, and inventor of wooden-based movable type printing, publishes the Nong Shu (Book of Agriculture).

=== 1314 ===

March 18 – Jacques de Molay, the 23rd and the last Grand Master of the Knights Templar, is burned at the stake in Paris, France.

April 4 – Exeter College, Oxford is founded in England by Walter de Stapledon, Bishop of Exeter.

June 24 – Battle of Bannockburn: Scottish forces led by Robert the Bruce defeat Edward II of England, regaining Scotland's independence.

August 31 – King Haakon V of Norway moves his capital from Bergen to Oslo, where he builds Akershus Fortress, from which Norway is ruled for the next 500 years.

October 19 – Frederick the Fair of the House of Habsburg is elected King of the Romans at Sachsenhausen (Frankfurt am Main), by four of the electors, being crowned on November 25 at Bonn Minster.

October 20 – Louis IV of the House of Wittelsbach is elected King of the Romans at Sachsenhausen by five of the electors, being crowned on November 25 at Aachen.

November 29 – Philip IV of France dies, possibly very much affected by the Tour de Nesle Affair, and is succeeded by Louis X.

Undated – Amda Seyon starts to rule as Emperor of Ethiopia. He defeats the Muslims at Ifat.

=== 1315 ===

==== January–December ====

May 9 – Eudes IV succeeds Hugh V as Duke of Burgundy.

August – Louis X is crowned King of France at Reims.

August 13 – Louis X of France marries Clemence d'Anjou.

August 29 – Battle of Montecatini: Pisa defeats the forces of Florence and Naples.

September – Battle of Moiry Pass (Bruce campaign in Ireland): Edward Bruce (brother of the King of Scotland), with a Scots-Irish army, defeats a garrison of Hiberno-Norman troops of the Lordship of Ireland at Armagh, as part of his attempt to revive the High Kingship of Ireland.

October 25 – Banastre Rebellion: Adam Banastre, Henry de Lea and William Bradshaw attack Liverpool Castle.

November 15 – Battle of Morgarten: The Swiss defeat Leopold of Austria on the shore of the Ägerisee, ensuring independence for the Swiss Confederation.

==== Date unknown ====

Louis X of France abolishes slavery within the Kingdom of France.

Hōjō Mototoki becomes Kamakura shōgun of Japan.

John XIII Glykys becomes Patriarch of Constantinople.

Flushing, Netherlands is granted city rights.

Witzlaw III, prince of Rügen, builds a castle at Barth.

Emir Ismael Abu-I-Walid orders the Jews of Granada to don the yellow badge.

Dassel, Germany is granted city rights.

The Kos Fortress is erected by the Knights Hospitallers in Greece.

The Arsenian schism ends.

History of Sudan (Coming of Islam to the Turkiyah): A Muslim prince of Nubian royal blood ascends the throne of Dongola as king.

Estimation: Cairo, capital of Mamluk Egypt becomes the largest city of the world, taking the lead from Hangzhou in Mongolian China.

The Borough of Liverpool, along with Liverpool Castle, is granted to Robert de Holland.

The Great Famine of 1315–1317 begins.

=== 1316 ===

==== January–December ====

January 28–March 18 – Llywelyn Bren revolts against English rule in Wales.

February 22 – Battle of Picotin: Ferdinand of Majorca defeats the forces of Matilda of Hainaut.

July 5 – Battle of Manolada: Forces of the Duchy of Burgundy defeat the Kingdom of Majorca, kill its king, Ferdinand, and conquer the Principality of Achaea.

August – Battle of Gransee: A North German-Danish alliance, led by Henry II of Mecklenburg, decisively defeats the forces of Waldemar of Brandenburg.

August 7 – Pope John XXII succeeds Pope Clement V as the 196th pope.

August 10 – Second Battle of Athenry: Norman rule is retained in Ireland, at the cost of over 5,000 dead.

==== Date unknown ====

The Great Famine of 1315–1317 is at its peak.

The Pound sterling experiences the greatest year of inflation in its history, at 100.04 percent, losing over half its value.

The Au peninsula in Switzerland is first mentioned as "Owe", belonging to the commandry of the Knights Hospitaller in Bubikon.

=== 1317 ===

==== December ====

December 10–11 – King Birger of Sweden has his brothers, Dukes Eric and Valdemar, captured and thrown into a dungeon during the Nyköping Banquet, as a revenge for their imprisonment of him in the Håtuna games in 1306. As the dukes soon starve to death in the dungeon, their followers rebel against the king, throwing Sweden into civil war, in which the king is deposed in 1318.

==== Date unknown ====

The Great Famine of 1315-1317 comes to an end.

Pope John XXII erects the dioceses of Luçon, Maillezais, and Tulle and issues the decretal Spondent Pariter prohibiting alchemy, but not chemistry (which John himself had studied).

A Hungarian document mentions for the first time Basarab as leader of Wallachia (historians estimate he was on the throne since about 1310). Basarab will become the first voivode of Wallachia as an independent state, and founder of the House of Basarab.

=== 1318 ===

==== January–December ====

March – King Birger of Sweden is deposed, and forced to flee to Denmark (alternative date is April).

April 1 – Berwick-upon-Tweed is retaken by the Scottish from the English.

April – The inhabitants of Benevento, Italy rise against the Pope, and demand some political autonomy. The rebellion is crushed by William of Frejus, and the archbishop of Naples.

May 11 – Battle of Dysert O'Dea: The Irish armies of Conor O'Dea defeat the Hiberno-Normans under Richard de Clare.

June 27 – Mats Kettilmundsson is appointed regent (rikshövitsman) of Sweden, in the absence of a Swedish king.

October 14 – Battle of Faughart: An Hiberno-Norman force defeats a Scots-Irish army commanded by Edward Bruce (who is killed in the battle), ending the Bruce campaign in Ireland.

==== Date unknown ====

Emperor Go-Daigo succeeds Emperor Hanazono on the throne of Japan.

Pope John XXII declares the doctrines of the Franciscans, advocating ecclesiastical poverty, erroneous.

Disease hits cattle and sheep, reducing the herds and flocks in Europe.

Qala'un Mosque, Cairo, Egypt is founded by Al-Nasr Muhammad.

=== 1319 ===

==== January–December ====

May 8 – Upon the death of his maternal grandfather, King Haakon V, three-year-old Magnus Eriksson becomes King of Norway.

July 8 – Three-year-old Magnus Eriksson is elected king of Sweden, thus establishing a union with Norway. His mother Ingeborg of Norway is given a place in the regency, in both Sweden and Norway.

July 23 – A Knights Hospitaller fleet scores a crushing victory over an Aydinid fleet, off Chios.

December 22 – The infante James of Aragon renounces his right to inherit the Crown of Aragon and his marriage to Eleanor of Castile, in order to become a monk.


Year 1315 (MCCCXV) was a common year starting on Wednesday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar.


Year 1316 (MCCCXVI) was a leap year starting on Thursday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar.


Year 1317 (MCCCXVII) was a common year starting on Saturday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar.


The 1330s was a decade of the Julian Calendar which began on January 1, 1330, and ended on December 31, 1339.


Year 1333 (MCCCXXXIII) was a common year starting on Friday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar.

14th century

As a means of recording the passage of time, the 14th century was a century lasting from January 1, 1301, to December 31, 1400. Political and natural disasters ravaged both Europe and the four khanates of the Mongol Empire. Consequently, the Mongol court was driven out of China and retreated to Mongolia, the Ilkhanate collapsed in Persia, the Chaghatayid dissolved and broke into two parts, and the Golden Horde lost its position as a great power in Eastern Europe.

In Europe, the Black Death claimed between 75 and 200 million lives wiping out over 60 percent of the European society, while England and France fought in the protracted Hundred Years' War after the death of Charles IV, King of France led to a claim to the French throne by Edward III, King of England. This period is considered the height of chivalry and marks the beginning of strong separate identities for both England and France.

Battle of Faughart

The Battle of Faughart (or Battle of Dundalk) was fought on 14 October 1318 between a Hiberno-Norman force led by John de Bermingham (later created 1st Earl of Louth) and Edmund Butler, Earl of Carrick, and a Scots-Irish army commanded by Prince Edward Bruce, Earl of Carrick, brother of King Robert I of Scots ('Robert the Bruce'). It was a battle of the First War of Scottish Independence and more precisely the Irish Bruce Wars. The defeat and death of Bruce at the battle ended the attempt to revive the High Kingship of Ireland. It also ended, for the time being, King Robert's attempt to open up a second front against the English in the War of Scottish Independence.

Economics of English agriculture in the Middle Ages

The economics of English agriculture in the Middle Ages is the economic history of English agriculture from the Norman invasion in 1066, to the death of Henry VII in 1509. England's economy was fundamentally agricultural throughout the period, though even before the invasion the market economy was important to producers. Norman institutions, including serfdom, were superimposed on an existing system of open fields.

Over the next five centuries the English agricultural economy grew but struggled to support the growing population, and then suffered an acute crisis, resulting in significant political and economic change. By the end of the period, England would have an economy dominated by rented farms, many controlled by the rising class of the gentry.

Late Middle Ages

The Late Middle Ages or Late Medieval Period was the period of European history lasting from 1250 to 1500 AD. The Late Middle Ages followed the High Middle Ages and preceded the onset of the early modern period (and in much of Europe, the Renaissance).Around 1300, centuries of prosperity and growth in Europe came to a halt. A series of famines and plagues, including the Great Famine of 1315–1317 and the Black Death, reduced the population to around half of what it was before the calamities. Along with depopulation came social unrest and endemic warfare. France and England experienced serious peasant uprisings, such as the Jacquerie and the Peasants' Revolt, as well as over a century of intermittent conflict, the Hundred Years' War. To add to the many problems of the period, the unity of the Catholic Church was temporarily shattered by the Western Schism. Collectively, those events are sometimes called the Crisis of the Late Middle Ages.Despite the crises, the 14th century was also a time of great progress in the arts and sciences. Following a renewed interest in ancient Greek and Roman texts that took root in the High Middle Ages, the Italian Renaissance began. The absorption of Latin texts had started before the Renaissance of the 12th century through contact with Arabs during the Crusades, but the availability of important Greek texts accelerated with the Capture of Constantinople by the Ottoman Turks, when many Byzantine scholars had to seek refuge in the West, particularly Italy.Combined with this influx of classical ideas was the invention of printing, which facilitated dissemination of the printed word and democratized learning. Those two things would later lead to the Protestant Reformation. Toward the end of the period, the Age of Discovery began. The expansion of the Ottoman Empire cut off trading possibilities with the East. Europeans were forced to seek new trading routes, leading to the Spanish expedition under Christopher Columbus to the Americas in 1492 and Vasco da Gama’s voyage to Africa and India in 1498. Their discoveries strengthened the economy and power of European nations.

The changes brought about by these developments have led many scholars to view this period as the end of the Middle Ages and the beginning of modern history and of early modern Europe. However, the division is somewhat artificial, since ancient learning was never entirely absent from European society. As a result, there was developmental continuity between the ancient age (via classical antiquity) and the modern age. Some historians, particularly in Italy, prefer not to speak of the Late Middle Ages at all but rather see the high period of the Middle Ages transitioning to the Renaissance and the modern era.

List of lost settlements in Hertfordshire

Where current settlements are listed they are not the same as the disappeared villages. For example, Stevenage relocated to be closer to the Great North Road, abandoning the previous Stevenage.

Little Ice Age

The Little Ice Age (LIA) was a period of cooling that occurred after the Medieval Warm Period. Although it was not a true ice age, the term was introduced into scientific literature by François E. Matthes in 1939. It has been conventionally defined as a period extending from the 16th to the 19th centuries, but some experts prefer an alternative timespan from about 1300 to about 1850. Climatologists and historians working with local records no longer expect to agree on either the start or end dates of the period, which varied according to local conditions.

The NASA Earth Observatory notes three particularly cold intervals: one beginning about 1650, another about 1770, and the last in 1850, all separated by intervals of slight warming. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Third Assessment Report considered the timing and areas affected by the Little Ice Age suggested largely-independent regional climate changes rather than a globally-synchronous increased glaciation. At most, there was modest cooling of the Northern Hemisphere during the period.Several causes have been proposed: cyclical lows in solar radiation, heightened volcanic activity, changes in the ocean circulation, variations in Earth's orbit and axial tilt (orbital forcing), inherent variability in global climate, and decreases in the human population (for example from the Black Death and the colonization of the Americas).

Lordship of Ireland

The Lordship of Ireland (Irish: Tiarnas na hÉireann), sometimes referred to retroactively as Norman Ireland, was the part of Ireland ruled by the King of England (styled as "Lord of Ireland") and controlled by loyal Anglo-Norman lords between 1177 and 1542. The lordship was created as a Papal possession following the Norman invasion of Ireland in 1169–1171. As the lord of Ireland was also the king of England, he was represented locally by a governor, variously known as justiciar, lieutenant, or Lord Deputy.

The kings of England claimed lordship over the whole island, but in reality the king's rule only ever extended to parts of the island. The rest of the island—known as Gaelic Ireland—remained under the control of various Gaelic Irish kingdoms or chiefdoms, who were often at war with the Anglo-Normans.

The area under English rule and law grew and shrank over time, and reached its greatest extent in the late 13th and early 14th centuries. The lordship then went into decline, brought on by its invasion by Scotland in 1315–18, the Great Famine of 1315–17, and the Black Death of the 1340s. The fluid political situation and English feudal system allowed a great deal of autonomy for the Anglo-Norman lords in Ireland, who carved out earldoms for themselves and had almost as much authority as some of the native Gaelic kings. Some Anglo-Normans became Gaelicised and rebelled against the English administration. The English attempted to curb this by passing the Statutes of Kilkenny (1366), which forbade English settlers from taking up Irish law, language, custom and dress. The period ended with the creation of the Kingdom of Ireland in 1542.


Murrain is an antiquated term for various infectious diseases affecting cattle and sheep. It literally means "death" and was used in medieval times to represent just that. Murrain did not refer to a specific disease, but was an umbrella term for what are now recognized as a number of different diseases, including rinderpest, erysipelas, foot-and-mouth disease, anthrax, and streptococcus infections. Some of these could also affect humans. The term murrain also referred to an epidemic of such a disease. There were major sheep and cattle murrains in Europe during the 14th century, which, combined with the Little Ice Age, resulted in the Great Famine of 1315-1317, weakening the population of Europe before the onset of the Black Death in 1348.The term murrain is also used in some Bible translations relating to the fifth plague brought upon Egypt.

Exodus 9:3: "Behold, the hand of the LORD is upon thy cattle which is in the field, upon the horses, upon the asses, upon the camels, upon the oxen, and upon the sheep: there shall be a very grievous murrain."

"Pestilence", which is mentioned 47 times in 46 verses of the Bible, can be translated "murrain" by Christian apologists.

[Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon].

see Psalms 91:3 KJV

The word in Hebrew is דֶּבֶר "dever" (Strong's # 01698), derived from the primitive root "dabar" in the sense of "to destroy."

In some parts of Scotland, force-fire was believed to cure it and in some remote regions of Cumbria, England, murrain is still used as a term for a curse, specifically a curse placed upon land or livestock. It is believed that the medieval term has, by a process of syncreticism become synonymous with witchcraft. This usage inspired the ATV television play, Murrain, written by Nigel Kneale, which was broadcast on 27 July 1975 as part of the channel's Against the Crowd drama strand.

Poem on the Evil Times of Edward II

Poem on the Evil Times of Edward II, also known as The Simonie and Symonie and Couetise, is a Middle English poem in three distinct versions probably composed and modified over a century by anonymous authors. The original poem, perhaps not exactly reproduced by any of the surviving texts, has been dated to 1321 by Thomas Wright (1839), to 1327 by J. Aberth (2000), and to 1322-30 by Dan Embree and Elizabeth Urquhart (1991).

Version A is in Edinburgh, National Library of Scotland, MS Advocates 19.2.1. It is 476 lines long, breaking off in mid-stanza. It can be s dated to the 1320s or 30s.

Version B is in Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Bodley 48. It is 413 lines long, but 216 lines have been cut from the manuscript. It can be dated to the 1320s

Version C is in Cambridge, Peterhouse MS 104. It is 468 lines long, apparently complete. It might be dated to any point up to the date of the manuscript itself—1375-1425.

The three versions vary radically from one another—much more extensively than is usual for a text that has been merely copied and much more chaotically than is plausible for a text revised by its author. Each version has unique inclusions and omissions; only 35 percent of the lines in A are shared by B and C.

It was a "social protest" poem that arose in the aftermath of the Great Famine of 1315-1317. It clearly targeted the negligences and vices of specific social groups, such as the clergy and nobility, within the context of the failures of the Great Famine and wars of the early 14th century. The tradition of social protest poems in England would later culminate with Piers Plowman – see Piers Plowman tradition for further discussion.

Subsistence crisis

Subsistence crisis can be defined as an extreme situation where the basic means of livelihood are endangered. In France, due to the rapid expansion of the population from 23 million in 1715 to 28 million in 1789, a subsistence crisis occurred. A subsistence crisis is a crisis caused by economic factors (generally high food prices), which in turn may be caused by either natural or man-made factors, which threatens the food supplies and the survival prospects of large numbers of people (it is considered famine if it is extremely severe and large numbers of lives are lost). A subsistence crisis can be considered genuine if it is visible in demographic data.

It was in France that the notion of a subsistence crisis was first formulated by Meuvret in 1946, and greatly popularised by Goubert in 1960 through his influential study of the Beauvaisis in Beauvais. The theory of subsistence crises, in its contemporary guise, was first formulated by Meuvret in 1946. As an economic historian and specialist in price history Meuvret was struck by the coincidence between high prices and the increase in the number of deaths in the region of Gien in 1709–10. He then posed the problem of the nature of demographic crises, very tentatively at first, since he thought it was a hopeless quest to try to distinguish statistically between phenomena that were so closely associated: namely, mortality through simple inanition (starvation); mortality caused by disease, though attributable to malnutrition; and mortality by contagion, which in turn was linked to the scarcity that helped both spawn diseases and spread them through the migration of poor beggars.

Volcanic winter

A volcanic winter is a reduction in global temperatures caused by volcanic ash and droplets of sulfuric acid and water obscuring the Sun and raising Earth's albedo (increasing the reflection of solar radiation) after a large, particularly explosive volcanic eruption. Long-term cooling effects are primarily dependent upon injection of sulfur gasses into the stratosphere where they undergo a series of reactions to create sulfuric acid which can nucleate and form aerosols. Volcanic stratospheric aerosols cool the surface by reflecting solar radiation and warm the stratosphere by absorbing terrestrial radiation. The variations in atmospheric warming and cooling result in changes in tropospheric and stratospheric circulation.

World population

In demographics, the world population is the total number of humans currently living, and was estimated to have reached 7.7 billion people as of November 2018. It took over 200,000 years of human history for the world's population to reach 1 billion; and only 200 years more to reach 7 billion.World population has experienced continuous growth since the end of the Great Famine of 1315–1317 and the Black Death in 1350, when it was near 370 million.

The highest population growth rates – global population increases above 1.8% per year – occurred between 1955 and 1975, peaking to 2.06% between 1965 and 1970. The growth rate has declined to 1.18% between 2010 and 2015 and is projected to decline further in the course of the 21st century.Total annual births were highest in the late 1980s at about 139 million, and as of 2011 were expected to remain essentially constant at a level of 135 million, while deaths numbered 56 million per year and were expected to increase to 80 million per year by 2040.

The median age of the world's population was estimated to be 30.4 years in 2018.

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