A Frigid Golden Age: Climate Change in the Seventeenth Century

Friday, April 6, 2018 1:00 pm - 1:00 pm EDT

The Department of History Speaker Series presents Dagomar Degroot, assistant professor of history at Georgetown University, speaking on his new book, The Frigid Golden Age. Specifically he will talk about “Coping with Climate Change in the Seventeenth Century.”

book cover with old Dutch painting
Beginning in the thirteenth century, natural forces cooled Earth’s climate in a “Little Ice Age” that reached its chilliest point in the seventeenth century and, according to many scholars, destabilized societies around the world. Yet the precocious economy, unusual environment, and dynamic intellectual culture of the Dutch Republic in its seventeenth-century Golden Age allowed it to thrive as neighbouring societies unravelled. The Little Ice Age presented not only challenges for Dutch citizens but also opportunities that they aggressively exploited in conducting commerce, waging war, and creating culture. The overall success of their Republic in coping with climate change offers lessons that we would be wise to heed today, as we confront the growing crisis of global warming.

Dagomar Degroot bridges the humanities and the sciences to explore how societies have thrived - or suffered - in the face of dramatic changes to the natural world.