The 1310s Event

  • Philip Slavin


In the 1310s, northwestern Europe experienced two environmental crises, each on a catastrophic scale. First, anomalous weather from the summer of 1314 to the summer of 1316, including torrential rains and frosts, brought widespread harvest failures. This was a tipping point into the single harshest subsistence crisis in Europe of the last two millennia. Second, between c.1314 and 1321, northwestern Europe was devastated by a cattle pestilence, most likely caused by rinderpest, which based on contemporary English evidence, killed over 60% of bovine stocks and brought about a long-term depression within the dairy industry. The disasters had serious implications for human health and paved the way for the Black Death. This chapter explains the environmental and biological foundations of the two disasters and places them in their wider ecological and climatic contexts.


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© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Philip Slavin
    • 1
  1. 1.School of HistoryUniversity of KentCanterburyUK

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