Climate and Crisis: War, Famine, and Empires in the 1590s


Location: Fischer Hall

The University of Notre Dame and the Institute of Historical Research, in collaboration with the Oxford Centre for Global History, present a lecture hors-série in the Global History Seminar Series entitled The Climate and Crisis: War, Famine, and Empires in the 1590s by Geoffrey Parker.  

Andreas Dorpalen Professor of History, The Ohio State University, Professor Parker’s books include Europe in Crisis, 1598-1648, The Grand Strategy of Philip II, and Global Crises.  
Professor Parker says:
“In 1985, a book entitled The European crisis of the 1590s: essays in comparative history, edited by Peter Clark, examined the experience of ten individual regions of western Europe, eight of them ruled either by Philip II or by his principal enemies: Elizabeth Tudor, Henry IV of France, and the Dutch.  Although the individual authors noted individual disasters – in France, a combination of famine, plague and war reduced agricultural and industrial production to the lowest levels recorded in three centuries, and the population of the kingdom fell by perhaps one-fifth – most concluded that it was merely one of the cyclical crises that afflicted Pre-Modern societies.  Since then, the publication of data on the global climate reveals that the 1590s saw some of the worst weather ever recorded in the northern hemisphere, a severe episode in the ‘Little Ice Age’ – an era of major volcanic eruptions, reduced solar activity, and multiple El Niño events – linked with an increased frequency of plague and war.”
The event will be simulcasted to the University of Notre Dame, Indiana.

Originally published at