Little Ice Age

Topics: Sun, Little Ice Age, Greenland Pages: 5 (1997 words) Published: December 10, 2010
Europe had experienced a general cooling of the climate between years 1150 and 1460 and a very cold climate between 1560 and 1850. This event came to be known as the “Little Ice Age.” This cold weather had impact on agriculture, health, economics, emigration, and art and literature . The term “Little Ice Age” was named by Francois Matthes in 1939 to describe the most destructive climate drop in Europe. This ice age was consisted of mountain glaciers which brought temperatures as low as 2 degrees Fahrenheit. Numerous people got sick and some were even killed and starved to death because of a famine. Farms and villages were lost due to the cold weather. It is unknown on what caused this “Little Ice Age.” We do know that this event impacted the people living in Europe. Many people have spotted out that the sunspot activity during this time period was low. This rare occurrence of sunspots triggered a cold sun, also the many volcanic eruptions which then turned into an ice age. Imagine the fog hugging the ocean waters, cold winds coming in from the north, no horizon, no boundary between the sea and sky, land is frozen, and there you are gazing at a futureless world. Although “The Little Ice Age” was not a true ice age because it didn’t last long enough to cause ice sheets to grow larger, but it did change the daily life in Europe. At the conclusion of the Medieval Warm Period, the ice age made Iceland and Greenland attractive colonies for many Europeans to emigrate to due to the lack of food and cold temperatures. Even schools of cod, fish were forced out into the western Atlantic Ocean due to the frigid water temperature. Pilgrims followed the cod down the coast of North America settling on Cape Cod. Population increased in Europe during the warm period which left a large amount of people starving and dying during the first year of “The Little Ice Age,” due to famine. Rain was harsh during this time, it drenched the farmlands. To overcome this dilemma, farmers had plowed soils with long furrows, creating fields that absorbed large amounts of rain without doing much drainage problems. After it was cleared the land became a muddy wilderness. The crops were flattened where they grew. Europeans needed to find a new way to rely on food. One way in particular, was tree bark was made into bread. No longer were they able to rely on crops due to the flooded and frozen grounds. The frozen conditions led farmers to lose their cattle, hunters could no longer hunt for food, and fisherman could no longer fish for food. Villages of people subcommed to the famine. The famine outbreak occurred between the years of 1315-1317 where over 25 million people died from famine or famine related diseases. One in particular known as Black Death. Many of the hungry were also killed by famine diarrhea. This condition was resulted from bad nutrition and changes in the intestines that upset the water and salt balance in the body. The people of Europe were forced to eat the flesh of dead animals as part of their survival. The hungry would abandon their homes and villages and go to hospitals and sometimes even crowded prisons just to survive. In doing so, the large majority of people also brought on many other infectious diseases. People huddled together for warmth. When people died their clothes, including their underwear, were passed on to other people. When these people left their homes they only left with what they wore on their backs. In addition to the impact “The Little Ice Age” had on human survival, it had a large impact on economics. Increasing grain prices with lower wine production greatly affected the income of many. Property values and loss of taxes were at a decline . Population was increasingly declining due to the famine. With all these factors many of the people suffered much hardship. The lack of production in Europe caused other countries to have bidding wars against one another for...
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