Migration and Climate in World History

  • Franz Mauelshagen


“Climate migration” deserves recognition among historians as a research perspective just as much as other generally accepted types of migration, such as labor migration or chain migration. However, climate should not be reduced to a push factor, as has often been the case in recent debates on global warming and its (expected) consequences. Historians are well advised to apply approaches open enough to allow them to explore the full variety of human-climate interactions that can be involved in migration. This is the main goal of this chapter, which presents a chronological survey starting with the peopling of the Earth tens of thousands of years ago. The examples presented here are far from comprehensive, but they illustrate the multidimensionality and variety in patterns of migration and their entanglement with climate variability and climate change.



This book chapter is based on research funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, Germany, which allowed the two cooperating institutions, the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities (Essen) and the Rachel Carson Center (Munich), to establish and host a group of researchers working on “Climates of Migration: Climate Change and Environmental Migration in History.”


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Authors and Affiliations

  • Franz Mauelshagen
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute for Advanced Sustainability StudiesUniversity of PotsdamPotsdamGermany

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