The Great Famine in the County of Flanders (1315–17): The Complex Interaction between Weather, Warfare, and Property Rights

25 Pages Posted: 10 Oct 2018

Date Written: November 2018

Abstract

The exceptional weather conditions and associated harvest failures of 1315–17 marked the beginning of the worst subsistence crisis in European history. Until now, historians have mainly viewed the Great Famine, and medieval famines in general, through theoretical models of the larger fourteenth‐century crisis. However, this article suggests that this approach is flawed and instead applies recent theories on contemporary famines to the crisis of 1315–17 in the county of Flanders. This new perspective not only leads to a re‐examination of existing explanations, such as the role of warfare, but also reveals the importance of property rights in entitlement to food: the power of elites, the relative number of large‐scale landowners, and the structure of household income all influenced peasants’ degree of vulnerability.

Suggested Citation

Geens, Sam, The Great Famine in the County of Flanders (1315–17): The Complex Interaction between Weather, Warfare, and Property Rights (November 2018). The Economic History Review, Vol. 71, Issue 4, pp. 1048-1072, 2018. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3264242 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ehr.12605

Sam Geens (Contact Author)

University of Antwerp ( email )

Prinsstraat 13
Antwerp, Antwerp 2000
Belgium

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
1
Abstract Views
36
PlumX Metrics