Climate and the Crises of the Early Fourteenth Century in Northeastern Europe

Huhtamaa, Heili

This article demonstrates how tree-ring material can be applied to histori-cal research using the climate-driven crises of the fourteenth century as a case study. Medieval northeastern Europe is a promising case study for such a purpose, because climate-sensitive tree-ring data are readily available for this period and region. Whereas large areas of western Europe were affected by continuous heavy rains and bitter winters during the 1310s, this dendrochronological evidence suggests that northeastern Europe was not. Favorable climatic conditions prevailed in northeastern Europe in the late 1310s, and, more generally speaking, during the first half of the fourteenth century, as well. The juxtaposition of this new information from tree-ring analyses with the established under-standing of the development of the region challenges the view that the crises of the four-teenth century reached the northeasternmost corner of Europe. The case study demon-strates how teleconnections of climate and society, like the crises of the early fourteenth century, can materialize on a societal level very different ways in different locations.