Environmental history #3 of 4. The 1815 volcanic eruption of Mount Tambora changed history. The year following the eruption, 1816 was known in England as the “Year without a Summer,” in New England as 18-hundred-and-froze-to-death, and “L’annee de la misere” or “Das Hungerhjar” in Switzerland. Germans dubbed 1817 as “the year of the beggar.” The Chinese and Indians had no name for it but the years following the massive eruption were remembered as ones of intense and widespread suffering. Scientists are, only today, uncovering the historical impacts of this ecological disaster. Suddenly we have climatic data which have reshaped our understanding of the events of 1815 and the years that followed. Now it is historians’ job to explore the social, political, and cultural influence of this catastrophic event. All this and more today as we explore the eruption of Mount Tambora in April 1815.
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