History: Extreme Weather during the Maunder Minimum
Many of these correspond directly with the Grand Solar Minimum Symptoms, and we should not be surprised to be seeing these sorts of things happening again now.
Extreme Weather during the Maunder Minimum (1645-1715 A.D.)
The region around the eastern Mediterranean (the Ottoman Empire) was severely affected by adverse climate during the Maunder Minimum.
Most areas suffered drought and plague in the 1640’s, the 1650’s and again in the 1670’s, while the winter of 1684 was the wettest recorded in the eastern Mediterranean during the past five centuries, and the winters of the later 1680’s were at least 3° C cooler than today.
In 1687 a chronicler in Istanbul, Turkey reported ‘This winter was severe to a degree that had not been seen in a very long time.
For fifty days the roads were closed and people could not go outside.
In cities and villages, the snow buried many houses.’
In the Golden Horn [major urban waterway and the primary inlet of the Bosphorus in Istanbul], the snow ‘came up higher than one’s face.’
The following year, floods destroyed crops around Edirne [close to Turkey's borders with Greece and Bulgaria], ruining the estates that normally supplied the imperial capital with food. In the 1640’s and 1650’s, a civil war griped the British Empire.
This war combined with the effects of a series of failed harvest that led to famines, and plague epidemics killed approximately a quarter of a million people in England, Scotland and Wales or 7% of the population.
The population in Ireland alone fell by 20%.
In 1655, it was recorded that ‘a man might travel twenty or thirty miles [in Ireland] and not see a living creature’ except for ‘very aged men with women and children’ whose skin was ‘black like an oven because of the terrible famine.’
It produced in Scotland a famine of which ‘the lyke had never beine seine in this kingdome heretofor, since it was a natione.’ From Newfoundland [Canada] to Patagonia [the southern end of South America], the Americas experienced notably colder winter and cooler summers in the 1640s and 1660s.
In 1675 a ‘year without summer’, remains the second coldest recorded in North America during the last six centuries.
All surviving harvest records show dearth in the 1640s and 1650s. The Canadian Rockies experienced a severe and prolonged drought from 1641 to 1653. Between 1643 and 1671, Indonesia experienced the longest drought recorded during the past four centuries with intense episodes between 1659 and 1664. In 1645 A.D. in England, the summer was excessively hot and dry. ‘The air very warm and so infectious that dogs, cats, mice, and rats died, and several birds in their flight over the town dropped dead.’
The plague was very violent. In 1645 and 1646 in Russia, there was a drought and plague of locust; and early frosts and poor harvests in the south in 1647 and 1648, creating widespread food shortages. In 1645, a great storm struck Shanghai, China, which caused the sea to break the dikes, spread saltwater over the land and destroyed the rice crop. In 1645, rains in Crete more intense than anything recorded in the twentieth century destroyed crops and buildings. Starting in September 1645, rain fell almost continuously on Sicily for a year, destroying first the winter crops and then drastically reducing the yield of the summer harvest.
In August 1646, the wheat prices rose higher than ever previously recorded.
Then in the autumn of 1646, a great drought occurred that lasted through the winter and into the succeeding spring of 1647, which seemed to threaten a universal catastrophe.
In 1646, a great storm struck Holland and Denmark and the floods drowned 110,000 people.
The sea broke in at Dordrecht, the Netherlands, and thereabout, and drowned 10,000 people. Around Dullar in Friesland and Zealand, it drowned 100,000 people, and 300 villages. In the Ukraine, the cruel winter of 1645-46 produced heavy snow and frosts.
These gave way to daily rains so torrential that the roads became impassable.
This destroyed the harvest and made it impossible for the Cossack communities along the lower Dnieper to feed themselves. Torrential rains in 1646 and a drought in 1647 destroyed the harvest surpluses on which Istanbul (the capital of the Ottoman Empire) depended, creating a food shortage. The imperial Mughal army [of India] invaded Afghanistan but the winter of 1646-47 brought such intense cold that the Mughal garrisons ‘burned themselves in the fires they lit for warmth, and no one left their houses for fear of being frozen.’ In 1646, a plague of locust destroyed the crops in Moldavia.
‘No leaf, no blade of grass, no hay, no crop, nothing remained.’
The same disaster destroyed the next two harvests. In Crimea in 1647, people were starving.
According to a chronicle ‘last year there was no harvest, and now the cattle, sheep and cows are dying.’ In England, ‘bad weather ruined the harvest of corn [grain] and hay for five years from the autumn of 1646 onward.’ In 1647 and 1648 in England, the weather was very cold, damp and rainy over most of these years.
Cattle died everywhere of a murrain.
The price of wheat hit its highest mark in 1648 and 1649 (over the 100 year period from 1646-1745) denoting a scarcity. In the Iberian Peninsula, 1646 produced a disastrous harvest.
In May 1647, just when the new grain harvest seemed safe, all over Andalusia, in southern Spain ‘the weather turned cold, even worse than the coldest January day’.
Freak frosts killed the ears of grain and produced the worst harvest of the century. In 1647, the harvest failed in France, leaving both the capital and the court short of food. In some regions of the Dutch Republic, it rained every day between April and November 1648, so that the hay and grain rotted in the fields.
Then came 6 months of frost and snow during which the canals froze over, stopping all barge traffic in the Netherlands.
Many complained the winter lasted six months.
The summer of 1649 was also unusually wet, and the summer of 1650 unusually cold.
Between 1648 and 1651, grain prices in the Republic stood at their highest level for a century. The French kingdom suffered from several years of extreme climate, which led to crop failures and famines.
These problems were compounded by excessive taxation, which led to the Fronde revolution in France in the years 1648 to 1653.
About one million French men and women died, either directly or indirectly, because of the Fronde.
As dawn broke on 27 August 1648, ‘one saw children five and six years old with daggers in their hands, and mothers arming them themselves.’ Adverse weather ruined the harvest of 1648, throughout southern Italy.
The price of grain in Naples quadrupled.
Officials reported murmurs among the people saying,‘It was always better to die by the sword than to die of hunger.’ In the Yucatán in Mexico, beginning in 1648 heavy rains brought a plague of yellow fever into the region.
The rains were followed by ‘such a hard and extraordinary drought that it rendered the land sterile and produced such intense heat’ that wildfires raged throughout the Yucatán, destroying all crops left by the drought.
The local chronicler Diego López Cogolludo claimed that ‘Almost half the Indians perished with the mortality caused by the plague, famine and smallpox’ from 1648 to 1656.
During the winter of 1648-49, the River Thames froze in London, England.In 1649, there were great floods in England and France.
In 1649 and 1650, there was a famine in Scotland and the North of England from rains and wars.
This was followed by a plague in Ireland and England.
In 1650 and 1651, there was a famine throughout the country of Ireland.Since 1636, Scotland had experienced the worst sustained drought in a millennium.
This culminated in heavy snow followed by a cereal harvest of ‘small bulke’ in the summer of 1649, so that the prices of food ‘of all sortes were higher than ever heretofore aney[one] living could remember.’ The plague epidemic that spread through southern Europe in the decade after 1649 killed one half of the inhabitants of Seville, Barcelona, Naples and other similar cities. In 1649, there was 226 days of rain or snow in Germany followed by a winter that lasted 6 months. The winter of 1649-50 was the coldest on record in both northern and eastern China. In Russia, tree-ring, pollen and peat-bed data show that the springs, autumns and winters between 1650 and 1680 were some of the coldest on record during the past 500 years.
Repeatedly, crops either failed or produced little food. Reconstructed tree-ring sequences from the island of Tasmania [island state of Australia] showed a succession of poor growing seasons in the mid and late seventeenth century, a period that saw the ‘most prolonged cool period in the past 700 years.’ In Sweden, a prolonged period of cold weather had reduced crop yields and trade, and the harvest of 1650 ‘was the worst Sweden had known for fifty years, or was to know for near fifty more’, and in March, the Stockholm bakers fought each other at the city gates to secure some of the scarce flour. In China the winters between 1650 and 1680 formed the coldest spell recorded in the Yangzi and Yellow river valleys over the last two millennia. In southern China in the 1650’s, seventeen counties in Guangdong province reported frost or snow.
This was the highest number in two centuries. In 1650, there were excessive heat and drought in Italy.
After the harvest, the scorching heat was succeeded by very great rains and these were followed by a most rigorous cold. In France, this year was noted for a great scarcity of grain; the price was three times higher than in the previous five years. In 1650 in Egypt, the Nile River during its annual flood reached its lowest level of the century.
According to Alan Mikhail, ‘Egypt is a desert with a river running through it’; a poor Nile flood drastically reduced the crop yields of the entire province.
During this period of time, Egypt was the breadbasket of the Ottoman Empire. The thunderstorms of the year 1651 produced a great flood year in France. All the rivers overflowed their banks. In Provence, France on September 8th, the Durance River ascended to the gates of Avignon. In November at Grenoble, the Isère River overflowed bridge and fifty houses, drowned fifteen hundred beasts in the country and three hundred in the city. The flood left three or four feet of sand in the streets. The waters rose, they say, more than twenty feet above their usual height.In 1651 in the Netherlands, so much snow fell that the state funeral of Stadtholder William II had to be postponed because numerous mourners could not reach The Hague.
The year 1651 saw the longest recorded drought in Languedoc and Roussillon, the Mediterranean borderlands between France and Spain, which lasted 360 days. In 1652, there was a drought in Scotland. The warmth was very great, the summer being the driest ever known in Scotland.
It was also very hot and dry in England and Denmark. In England, the years 1651-54 produced scorching hot dry summers and dry years. In July 1653, it was so furiously hot in Poland, that in the regiment of foot soldiers, which was the King’s Guard, marching most of them barefooted upon sand, more than 100 fell down altogether disabled [heat stroke], whereof a dozen died outright, without any other sickness. In 1653, a drought near Shanghai, China caused a famine. During 1654-57, an epidemic of the bubonic plague caused widespread depopulation in Russia. There was a great drought in southern France in 1654-56. Rains were very rare.During the winter of 1654-55, it was so cold in Belarus in the Balkans that the provisions of wines and beer froze on the sledges in one night even though they were insulated with straw.
The soldiers had to break the vessels and put the pieces of ice wine into kettles to thaw them over a fire in order to drink them. In 1655 during the winter, Mau and Tien lakes in China were frozen over. For several days, people could walk over them. This winter of 1655-56 in France and Germany was very severe. In France, the Seine River froze.
In Germany, the cold was so great that one could get in Wismar (Mecklenburg-Schwerin) onto the frozen Baltic Sea with a loaded four-horse wagon and travel a distance of 5-6 German miles, which has not been the case for many years. On the land, the wells were frozen to the bottom. On the roads in Bohemia [now western Czech Republic], several people were found frozen to death.
It was very cold in Scotland.In 1656 and 1657 in Rome, Italy, there were floods and a famine.
In July, there was a great rainstorm, which caused the Danube River in Europe to flood over its banks, tearing down bridges and mills, drowning many people and cattle.
Sixteen towns and villages were swept away. Between 1657 and 1661, England experienced 5 bad harvests in a row. The winter of 1657-58 was very severe in Europe.
The bays and inlets of Northern Europe froze over. Charles X of Sweden crossed the strait to Denmark with his whole army, including the artillery, baggage and provision trains. In January his army crossed the frozen Small Belt on foot and invaded and conquered the island of Funen. He then traveled on the frozen Great Belt and leapfrogged through the islands of Langeland, Lolland, Falster, and finally his army reached Zealand on 11 February. There was great snow in Rome, Italy on 27 February 1658. The rivers of Italy froze deep enough to bear the heaviest carts. The cold winter in France destroyed the olive trees and it was accompanied by deep snows.
The Seine River in France was completely frozen from the first days of January. After the landmark winter of 1657-58, the snow-melt in France was augmented by torrential rains and many rivers burst their banks, including the Seine, which flooded Paris for the third time in a decade.
Since farmers could not sow their crops, the following harvest was very poor. The winter of 1657-58 was also severe along the U.S. Atlantic coast.
Massachusetts Bay froze over while the Delaware River froze so hard that deer ran across it.
The winter was severe in England.
‘The crow’s feet were frozen to their prey; islands of ice enclosed both fish and fowl frozen, and some persons in their boats.’ In Europe, people rode their horses on the ice across the Danube River at Vienna, Austria; across the Main River at Frankfurt, Germany; and across the Rhine River at Strasbourg, France; while barge traffic along the rivers and canals of the Netherlands gave way to sledges.
The canal between Haarlem and Leiden in the Netherlands remained frozen for 63 days.
The Baltic froze so hard that a horse and cart could pass easily from the mouth of the Vistula River at Gdańsk, Poland to the Hel Peninsula. In England during the spring of 1658, the north wind and cold continued so rigorous and long that farmers lost hope of their grain either growing or ripening. In Modena in northern Italy, there was excessive heat and drought. In Abdera in Greece, there was an excessively hot summer. In Denmark and Copenhagen, there was drought and excessive heat.
In September, England was struck by a strong gale that caused much destruction on land and eight frigates and ships of the line, and two thousand officers and seamen perished. In 1658-60, a catastrophic monsoon failure produced a widespread famine in India, especially in Gujarat whose population relied heavily on imported food.
In 1659, the southeast India saw ‘so great a famine’, that ‘the people [are] dying daily for want of food’, while in Gujarat ‘the famine and plague’ became ‘so great’ that they ‘swept away the most part of the people, and those that are left are few’.
The drought continued in Gujarat into 1660 and the famine raged and ‘the living being hardly able to bury the dead’. The Aegean and Black Sea regions experienced the worst drought of the last millennium in 1659, followed by a winter so harsh that the Danube at Giurgiu (200 miles inland from the Black Sea) froze so hard in a single night that the Ottoman army marched across the ice into Romania, ‘laying waste all the villages and leaving no blade of grass or soul alive anywhere’.
Because of the famine, many were forced to sell their children.
Transylvania also experienced meager harvests, which caused widespread starvation.
An official noted in his journal that, thanks to war and the weather, ‘Transylvania never knew such misery as this last year ’. The cold winter of 1659-60 was very severe in England, France and Italy.
It destroyed the olive trees almost completely. Between 1660 and 1680, more typhoons struck southern China at Guangdong province than at any other time in recorded history. A disastrously wet winter and spring in 1661 in France caused another famine and the price of bread in Paris tripled.
King Louis XIV bought grain in Aquitaine, Brittany and the Baltic and brought it to the capital. In 1661 in the northwest region of India and eastern Pakistan there was a severe drought that led to a famine.
‘Life was offered for a loaf, but none cared for it; rank was to be sold for a cake, but none cared for it. For a long time dog’s flesh was sold for goat’s flesh and the pounded bones of the dead were mixed with flour and sold. Destitute at length reached such a pitch that men began to devour each other and the flesh of a son was preferred to his [son’s] love. The numbers of the dying caused obstruction in the roads. ’On 18 February 1661, a great and dreadful storm struck England. The damage was estimated at a little less than 2 million [£240 million in today’s currency using the retail price inflation index]. In 1662, there was a great drought in Shanghai, China.
This caused a bad harvest and food was very scarce.The winter of 1662-63 was very cold in France and England.
The Seine River froze in France along with the River Thames in England. In this frost, ice skates were introduced into England from Holland. On 1 December, the king witnessed the performance of skating. In 1663, there was an excessive wet autumn in England and as a result a great death of cattle.
On 28 August there was a very great frost.
Eastern France experienced cold and rainy weather during the summer also. For 6 months in 1663, the northwest regions of Iran received neither rain nor snow, so that ‘wells dried up and crops withered’.
Poland experienced frost on several summer days in 1664, 1666 and 1667.2The winter of 1664-65 was long and cold in England.
It was very severe in France. In Belgium there were very severe frosts and heavy snowfalls. The winter in Poland was so severe that most of the wines froze and several people lost their limbs [due to severe frostbite], and others froze to death. In 1665 in England, there were great flooding of rivers, and inundations from the sea.
There was a great plague in England.
In London 68,596 persons are said to have died from the plague.
After an order to kill cats and dogs, it is said that 40,000 dogs and 200,000 cats were destroyed. The plague was very fatal at Derby. ‘The country people refused to bring their commodities to the marketplace, depositing them outside town; then retired to a distance till the buyer had deposited his money in a vessel filled with vinegar. ’At Winchester, the dead were carried out by cartloads at a time, and the plague was as bad as in London. In 1666, there was a great drought in England.
In the moors between Yeovil and Bridgwater, the dried pasture showed the outline of trees beneath. They were dug up and there was hundreds of oaks as black as ebony [petrified wood]. In England, it was intensely hot and dry. The Great Fire of London occurred. [This was the largest fire that ever occurred in London. It began on 2 September 1666 and continued for four days, and consumed thirteen thousand houses, eight-six churches and public buildings. St. Paul’s Cathedral was among the number. The buildings were all destroyed on 400 streets.] In 1666, England was struck by massive storms that contain exceptionally large hail and tornadoes.
Some of the hailstones were a foot in circumference.
These storms occurred on 17 July and 13 October. On 14-15 August 1666, a great Atlantic hurricane struck the islands of Guadeloupe, Martinique and other islands in the Caribbean causing approximately 2,000 deaths. All the vessels [17 sails] in the Saints [Barbados] were driven on shore. The whole of Lord Willoughby's fleet, only two were ever heard of afterwards. All the batteries (with walls of six feet thick) near the sea were destroyed; and guns, fourteen pounders, were washed away. In 1666, there was a great drought in Shanghai, China.Spain suffered from harvest failures in 1665-1668 and 1677-1683, a plague epidemic in 1676-1685, and then more harvest failures in 1685-1688. Between 1666 and 1679 in most if not all regions of China, 9 out of 14 summers were either cool or exceptionally cool, and a recent study of Chinese glaciers suggests a late seventeenth-century climate on average more than 1° C colder in the west and more than 2° C colder in the northwest than today. The winter of 1666-67 was very severe in the Netherlands producing extreme cold.
This occurred late in the winter season from 16 March to 1 April.
The seas near Amsterdam froze completely.
Several ships were stuck in the ice.During the winter of 1666-67, Poland experienced 109 days of frost. In the years 1666 and the 3 years after, Iran experienced plagues, locusts that destroyed the harvest, and famines.
In Montbéliard, France in 1667 the summer was very cold and dry. There was not a single month throughout the year in which it had not frozen. On 1 September 1667, a tremendous hurricane desolated the island of St. Kitts in the West Indies. All the houses and building on the island were blown down.
This is probably the same hurricane that moved up the Atlantic coast in the U.S. and struck in what is now Virginia on 6 September. Buried in the ruins were much goods and many people. Many lives were lost.
In 1668, a small pox epidemic killed 1/9th the population of London, England. During the winter of 1669-70 it was intensely cold. The Little and Great Belts were frozen, and many people perished. [The Great Belt in Denmark (Danish: Storebælt) is a strait between the main Danish islands of Zealand (Sjælland) and Funen (Fyn). The Little Belt separates Fyn from Jylland.] The Danube River was frozen so hard that it carried people, horses and wagons. In Italy and France, there was severe cold. The extreme cold [in France] during January and February destroyed a large number of trees. In west-central Germany, the waters of the Rhine River froze at Koblenz, so that artistic craftsman exercised their several trades upon the ice (ice fair on the Rhine).
In Moldavia, in the summer of 1670, ‘Terrible floods, frequent showers and heavy rainfall day and night raged for three months on end, destroying all the best wheat, barley, oats, millet and all types of crop. Because they lie in water and are attacked by too much moisture, they neither ripen nor can bear seeds. Nor can the grasses and herbaceous seeds in hayfields grow, for frost and water; or, if they do, they cannot be harvested [because] the sun never warms or dries up the land.’
In Africa, according to a Turkish traveler in the 1670’s, ‘no one in Egypt used to know about wearing furs. There was no winter. But now we have severe winters and we have started wearing fur because of the cold.’
In 1671, severe droughts struck many regions of China. In 1671, excessive heat and drought destroyed the harvest in Sicily. The famine caused heavy mortality.
On 8 December 1671 there was a great snowfall in England. Then on 9-11 December, a storm of freezing rain struck England. It destroyed a great many trees and made the roads impassable. Many travelers were stranded. This was then followed by a heat wave where apple trees blossomed before Christmas.
The winter in France was severe and the cold lasted for three months. In May 1672, the drought lowered the water in the l’Yssel [sometimes called Gelderse lJssel River in eastern Netherlands] and the Rhine River [in Germany]. The river was fordable on one arm of the river at several locations. This allowed the army of Louis XIV, to cross the river on June 5.
An epidemic of measles prevailed in London, England in that year.
And in Shanghai, China, a great drought struck the region. In France, the year 1672 saw the worst harvest in a decade due to a drought followed by torrential rains, and those of the two succeeding years were scarcely better. In 1673 in England the year was a cold unseasonably bad year, and a very late lean year.
Shanghai, China was struck by an unusual hailstorm. The individual hailstones weight 3 or 4 pounds.
The winter of 1673-74 was severe in the Netherlands. ‘The Zuiderzee was completely frozen; 16 March we crossed it on foot, on horseback and sleigh on the ice between Stavoren and Enkhuizen.’
The winter was very cold in Poland.
In England, it snowed for 11 continuous days.In England, on 7-8 May 1674, there was a great flood on the rivers Trent and Tame.
An epidemic of smallpox was very violent in London, England. It destroyed 1/8th of the people. In 1674, a great storm (with lightning, thunder, large hail and tornadoes struck the Netherlands, France and Belgium causing extensive damage.
The Camargue [river delta] in France was covered by the floodwaters of the Rhône River in 1674. In 1675, much of the northern hemisphere experienced a ‘year without a summer’. In November 1675, a great storm struck the Netherlands.
The storm was so violent that it caused several breaches in the great dikes near Enchousen and others between Amsterdam and Haarlem. Forty-six vessels were cast away at Texel and almost all the men drowned. These breaches caused a great inundation, which caused much damage. Many people, cattle and houses were lost.
The winter of 1676-77 was extremely cold in northern France. The Seine River at Paris was frozen for 35 consecutive days. The river Meuse [Maas] was frozen from Christmas till 15 January and heavily laden wagons crossed over on the ice.
Around July 1678, there were great floods in France. The River Garonne in one night swelled all at once so mightily, that all the bridges and mills above Toulouse were carried away. In the plains which were below the town, the inhabitants who built in places which by long experience they had found safe enough from any former inundation, were by this surprised, some were drowned, together with their cattle, others only saved themselves by climbing trees or getting to the tops of houses. Others who were looking after their cattle in the field were warned by the horrible noise and furious torrents of water and fled but could not escape without being overtaken. At the exact same time the two rivers of Adour and Cave, which fall from the Pyrénées Mountains, as well as some other little rivers of Gascoygne overflowed in a similar manner and cause the same devastation. New river channels formed in the mountains by the furious torrents, which tore up the trees, earth, and great rocks.
In 1679', drought struck many regions of China. The drought caused a scarcity in the vicinity of Shanghai,China.In 1679, another drought struck Sicily. Grain prices again reached famine level.
In England in 1680 the summer was extremely hot and dry.
In Wrocław, Poland, there was great heat during the summer.
There was a great hailstorm in Europe where the hail was 1 foot deep.
There was a great flood in Londonderry, Ireland.
In the beginning of August, a hurricane struck Martinique and the Dominican Republic.
Twenty-five large French ships were lost, two English ships and several Spanish ships producing a great loss of life.
There was a great drought in the vicinity of Shanghai, China.
In Sahel in Africa, drought in the 1680’s became so severe and so widespread that Lake Chad fell to its lowest level ever recorded.
The winter of 1680-81 was intensely cold in Europe including southern France and Italy. The Little and Great Belts in Denmark were frozen, and many people perished.
In England, the winter was long, severe and intensely cold. This year the cold was so severe as to split whole forests of oak trees.
The cold was so severe Provence, France that it killed the olive trees. The spring and summer of 1681 in England was extremely hot and dry.
The herbs and grasses were burned, and in the air, no trace of moisture could be detected.
An epidemic of smallpox was violent in London, England killing 1/8th of the inhabitants.
On 6 June 1682 a great storm struck Tortorici in the Valley of Dimana in Sicily and continued for 36 hours. Great torrents of water fell from the neighboring mountains with so great rapidity, that they carried down trees of extraordinary bulk, which demolished the walls
1624 butchers, barbers, coffee-men, and others, who were so frequented by the innumerable concourse of all degrees and qualities, that, by their own confession, they never met elsewhere the same advantages, every one being willing to say they did lay out such and such money on the river of Thames.
Almost daily about 40hackney coaches drove back and forth across the ice as if they were on dry land. A bullfight and a foxhunt were organized on the frozen river.
A great many shows and tricks to be seen. Large fires were made on the ice.
On 2 February, an ox was roasted whole and King Charles and the Queen ate part of it.
Nearly all the birds perished.
Many trees, plants and herbs were destroyed by the extreme cold.
Many oak trees split apart with a loud bang, like a musket shot.
Solid ice was reported extending for miles off the coasts of the southern North Sea (England, France and the Low Countries), causing severe problems for shipping and preventing the use of many harbors. Ice formed for a time between Dover (England) & Calais (France), with the two sides joined together.
All the French ports were closed for three or four weeks, the harbors being frozen over. Ice extended nearly 24 miles off the coast of the Netherlands.
The cold was very severe in northern Europe. The ice was 27 inches thick in the harbor of Copenhagen, Denmark. Almost all the rivers in Belgium and the Netherlands were cross-able with loaded wagons. An extraordinary amount of snow fell in southern France.
In 1684, the drought in France was excessively severe. Jean-Dominique Cassini ranked the year 1684 among the warmest in an array spanning 82 years of great heat in Paris, France.
It was also equally hot and dry in England. In 1685, there was an epidemic of smallpox in London, England, where 1/9th of the population died. In 1685-87, a catastrophic monsoon failure produced a widespread famine in India, especially in Gujarat whose population relied heavily on imported food.
In Madras, parents gave away their children and adults sold themselves into slavery in order to avoid starvation. During the years 1686-89, there was a great drought in Italy. In 1686, a military engineer on campaign in Romania complained ‘for three years now, I haven’t seen a single drop of rain’.
Lakes and rivers dried up, and ‘in the swampy soil, cracks were so deep that a standing man could not be seen ... I doubt if there is another example of such a terrible and lasting drought.’ A strong hailstorm with hailstones weighting up to 1 pound each struck Lille, Belgium on 24 May 1686 causing great destruction.
In June, a flood came down from the mountains and nearly destroyed the towns of Kettlewell and Starbottom in England.
The water was the height of a church steeple.In 1687, there was a great flood in Dublin, Ireland. The lower part of the city was underwater up to the first floor and boats plied in the streets.
There was also a great estuary flood in the River Severn in England. In the summer many of the rivers in England were flooded and many people drowned.
When the fruit ripened on the trees, great swarms of gnats and insects appeared. In 1688, an epidemic fever struck Ireland and England.
A great typhoon struck Shanghai, China. The storm extended over 370 miles and caused great destruction of life and property in every direction.
The winter of 1688-89 was very severe in England and the river Thames was frozen. A frost fair was held on the river in London.
In Germany, the winter was severely cold with great falls of snow. In 1689, there was a famine in Northern Ireland. ‘The inhabitants glad to eat rats, tallow and hides.’
France experienced their driest years in 30 years.
Heavy rainfall caused a great flood in Norwich, England.
The long drought broke in Italy, when the country experienced great rains, which rendered the whole spring frightful and good for nothing.
A great hurricane struck the island of Nevis in the West Indies killing one half of the inhabitant.
Droughts struck many regions of China and as a result many wells, springs and rivers dried up.
Climatologists regard the extreme climate events and disastrous harvests during the 1690’s, with average temperatures 1.5° C below those of today, as the ‘climax of the Little Ice Age’.
Sea temperatures around the Orkney Islands and Scandinavia in the 1690’s were 5º C colder than today. In 1690, an awful snowstorm struck Scotland, which lasted thirteen days and nights. During that time nine-tenths of the sheep were frozen to death, and many shepherds lost their lives. In 1690 in Ireland, there was famine and disease. In Italy in 1690, there was a famine from excessive rains.
Around the end of March, the heavens seemed to open their bosom and pour out their whole great reservoir of water. By one night’s rain, all the country about Modena, Finlan, Ferrara, Mirandola [in Northern Italy] were laid under water, deluged like a Sea. These cities standing up like little islands. This rainy weather continued the whole spring and summer, scarce one fair day. In the beginning of June, mildew appeared on the grain leading to its total destruction.
Nuts alone escaped the plague. In 1690, there was a famine in Shanghai, China from the drought.
There was no harvest that season. In the autumn of 1690 Ottoman troops in the Balkans endured from ‘snow, rain and frost. The snow being as high as the horses’ chest, barred the roads, and the infantry could no longer move on; many animals dying, the officers were left to go on foot.’
Everyone experienced great ‘shortage of provisions’ and ‘the hardships and sufferings they endured had never been seen before.’ In 1691, Italy, and the Netherlands experienced excessively hot and dry summers.
Jamaica experienced excessive heat and a severe drought. In 1691-92, and extensive drought in China produced a widespread famine. In 1691-92 in New Spain [colony comprising Spain's possessions in the New World north of the Isthmus of Panama], hailstorms, a plague of locusts and torrential rains followed by drought and early frosts destroyed two maize harvests in a row and initiated a prolonged drought that lasted until 1697. The winter of 1691-92 was awfully severe in Russia and Germany, and many people froze to death, and many cattle perished in their stalls.
Wolves came into Vienna, Austria and attacked men and women, owing to the intense cold and hunger.
All the canals of Venice, Italy were frozen, and the principal mouth of the Nile River in Egypt was blocked with frozen ice for a week.
There was snow for four or five days in the vicinity of Shanghai, China. Men, horses, and animals froze to death. For half a month it was so cold that no one went abroad. In 1692 in Northern France and England, there were heavy rains and great floods. In 1693 there was excessive scorching heat and a great drought in Italy.
In England, the heat was intense in September.
There was a scarcity of all sorts of grains in England.
Many poor people in Essex resorted to making bread from turnips.
In France, there was an awful famine.
It was excessively hot during the spring and summer in Germany.
A plague of locusts struck Wales.
A severe cold spell struck England in October, which lasted for 4 or 5 weeks.
This cold spell also struck Ireland, France, the Netherlands and Belgium.
In Virginia in the U.S. there was a great storm, which stopped the course of ancient [river] channels.
Some rivers were stopped up and channels opened for others that were so large as to allow them to be navigated[by ships]. During the winter of 1693-94, the winter was severe in Europe with great snowfalls and cold.
In Germany and Italy, the frost was severe in November and December.
Italy experienced much snow. In Italy, there was burning hot droughty summer in 1694, in which five months passed without one shower of rain.
In Paris, France, it was the second driest year in 30 years.
From 1694-1699 in Scotland, there was a famine. In England, there was a great dearth from rains, colds, frosts, snows; all bad weather. On 27 September 1694, a hurricane struck offshore Barbados in the Lesser Antilles causing more than 1,000 deaths. The severe sandstorm struck Scotland on 2 November 1694. The village Culbin was covered over and lost for 230 years. In 1694, there was a great drought in the vicinity of Shanghai, China. This resulted in a bad harvest and a scarce year. In 1694 a drought in the African interior meant that the Nile River scarcely rose and receded quickly, leading to a famine in Egypt.
Conditions worsened in 1695, with both continued drought and plague. During the winter of 1694-95, England experienced frost for 7 weeks. There was continuous snow for 5 weeks. The cold was so intense that forest trees and oaks were split by the cold.
The cold in northern France and southern Germany was reported to be intense.
Sea ice completely surrounded the whole island of Iceland.
In China, there was ice on the Huangpu River.
In western Czech Republic during June, the summer was very cold and 3 intense frosts occurred leading to famine. At Poznań, Poland, the summer and harvest of 1695 was one continuous winter of cold rain, raw frosts, and mildew.
In the years 1694 to early 1697, cold winters and cool and wet springs and autumns led to extreme famine in northern Europe, particularly in Finland, Estonia, and Livonia. It is estimated that in Finland about 25–33% of the population perished, and in Estonia-Livonia about 20%. The famines to a lesser extent also affected Sweden (especially in the northern region), Norway, and northwestern Russia. The famine decimated the population of Finland and Estonia-Livonia either through prolonged starvation, epidemics and other diseases promoted by undernourishment, or the reliance on unwholesome or indigestible foods, and the contamination of water supplies. In Estonia in 1696, landlords could no longer feed their farmhands and servants and began dismissing them. Many of these recently unemployed along with destitute, hungry peasants turned to begging. Even some members of the nobility were reduced to this state. In the autumn of 1696, the famine became terrible. There was a pronounced rise in the death rates. ‘The peasants died like flies.’ Bodies of the dead were lying everywhere.
The winter of 1696-97 was extremely harsh.The snow was very high so corpses were left unburied until springtime and then placed in mass graves. Cases of cannibalism were reported in Estonia. In Finland in 1697, the famines, death and epidemics closely followed. This famine was so horrific that it brought on cases of cannibalism. In Ostrobothnia, Finland, ‘parents ate the corpses of their children, and children of their parents, brothers and sisters.’ In northern Karelia, Finland, court documents describe cases of cannibalism. In one township in Karelia, there were so many funerals that the church bell cracked. Storehouses and manor houses were plundered. In Finland, some 500,000 people perished during the famine years of 1694, 1695 and 1696. In the upland regions of Scotland, cold and wet weather caused the harvest to fail every year between 1688 and 1698. In the cold-wet hunger years of 1695-99,
Scotland lost between 5% and 15% of its people. The upland region of Scotland lost up to 1/3 of its population due to a 7 year famine.
Rivers over a great part of Europe were in heavy floods in 1695-1697. Many of the rivers and lakes remained frozen for comparatively longer periods of time and didn’t thaw until the late spring. In Italy, there were profound deluges in 1695.
The Po River in northern Italy overran meadows, fields, and destroyed crops, leading to a severe famine in the area.
Lake Zurich, Lake Constance and Lake Neuchâtel froze completely and one could walk over them as one would travel over a bridge. There were ice flows in the River Thames in England. During the summer in June 1695, it snowed as far south as Lviv in the Ukraine. In October 1695, a hurricane struck offshore the Caribbean Island of Martinique causing greater than 600 deaths.
During the winter of 1695-96, the cold in England, the Netherlands and northern Germany was extreme. At Poznań, Poland, after 10 December 1695, there came a great snow and a strong frost, which had no thaw or remission till 10 March 1696. All corn and herbs died and rotted under the snow. In 1696 in England, 200 sail of colliers and some coasters were lost, with all their crews in a great storm, in the bay of Cromer, in Norfolk.
It was a very bad year for crops in England and food was very scarce. The winter of 1696 was colder than had been known in New England in the United States, since the first arrival of the English. During a great part of the winter, sleighs and loaded sleds passed on the ice from Boston as far as Hull, Massachusetts. So great a scarcity of food, afterwards during the next year, had not been known; nor any grain ever been at a higher price. The area around Poznań, Poland went without rain in 1696; hence a great scarcity in 1697. The cold in England during the winter of 1696-97 was very severe.
In central Germany, it was intensely cold during January and February.
In the United States, the winter was intensely cold in the American northeast. Boston harbor was frozen as far down as Nantucket. The Delaware River was closed with thick ice for more than three months so that sleighs and sleds passed from Trenton to Philadelphia, and from Philadelphia to Chester on the ice.
On 29 April 1697, a great hailstorm struck Wales and England. The hailstones killed many sea fowl, land fowl, lambs, and calves including a large mastiff. Several persons had their head broken. It knocked down horses and men. The storm was 2 miles wide and had a track of 60 miles. Some of the hailstones ranged in size up to the size of a man’s fist and some weighed ¾ of a pound. The hailstones broke many windows, destroyed crops. Trees were broken and shattered to pieces.
On 4 May, another hailstorm struck England with hailstones 14 inches in circumference. This storm also caused excessive damage, killing people and splitting some oak trees in two.
Another hailstorm struck Wales and England on 6 June, destroying poultry, gardens, crops and windows. In 1697, it was a bad year for the crops and food was very scarce in England.
In the same year there was a great drought in the regions around Shanghai, China.The winter of 1697-98 was severe in England.
On 25 November, the ice was 3 inches think in London.
But in December it was so warm that people could not bear their bedclothes.
Then there was a snowfall 12 inches deep.
In January, there were great snowfalls and deep drifts.
Towards the end of January, the ice on the water was 8 inches thick.
On 14 February, there was a great snowstorm that blocked up the roads with snow several yards deep.
On 3 May, there was a great deep snow over all of England. On 15 May, the woods were like winter.
The year 1698 was a very wet year in England. Most of the grains harvested were wet and almost useless. In the north it was not harvested until almost Christmas. And in Scotland, they were reaping in January and beating the deep snow off it, as they reaped the poor green empty crop. Bread made from what was harvested would not stick together, but fell in pieces, and tasted sweet as if made of malt.
The winter of 1698-99 in England produced the coldest year between 1695 and 1742. The River Thames was full of ice.
In Germany, there were frequent snowfalls. Towards the end of March there was a great snowfall and the cold continued until May.
Poland experienced similar weather. There was a famine in Poland at the time and many people were consuming unwholesome foods. In 1699, a powerful cyclone struck Sundarbans coast, Bangladesh causing 50,000 deaths.
The weather of 1699 in Germany produced a crop of wheat with black spots. The wheat was unwholesome and caused nausea both in man and beast.
There was a great scarcity and dearth. In 1700, there was a famine in England from the rain and cold of the previous year. On 14 September 1700, a hurricane struck Charleston, South Carolina in the United States and threatened its total destruction. On the Feast of Candlemas [2 February] 1701, there arose in Paris, France, a furious hurricane. No one remembered having seen anything like it. The top of Saint Louis Church sank in on the assistants. This hurricane destroyed the kingdom.
The summer of 1701 in France was the most remarkable since the year 1682 because of its long duration of the heat and its high temperatures. In Italy, it produced intolerable heat. There was an excessively warm summer in England.
Russia suffered from a major famine in 1701. Many of the famines in Russia were accompanied by such horrors as eating of bark, grass, and dung, and cannibalism. In 1701 in Moscow, pies were made of human meat and sold openly in the streets.
In 1702, England suffered a drought. The summer was excessively hot. A great gale struck England from 26 November to 1 December 1703. Thirteen British men-of-war were lost, and their 1,519 officers and seamen perished. On the River Thames near London, almost 700 ships were smashed together in one great heap. The number of persons drowned in the floods of the Severn and Thames rivers in England, and lost on the coast of the Netherlands, and in ships blown from their anchors and never heard of afterwards, is thought to have been 8,000. Around 123 people were killed on land in England during this storm. The loss sustained in London alone was calculated at well over £2 million. [In present currency, that would be equivalent to over £300 million using the retail price inflation index.] The city of London was devastated. The houses looked like skeletons and there was a universal air of horror on the people who emerged from their homes after the storm. The city streets were rubble heaps of roof tiles and slates that fell from the top of houses. About 2,000 chimneys were blown down. Over most parts of south Britain and Wales, the tallest and stoutest timber trees were uprooted or snapped in the middle. It was estimated that 25 parks in several counties each lost a thousand trees and those of New Forest, Hants above four thousand.
Many cattle and sheep perished. In one place 15,000 sheep were drowned. It was called the Great Storm, and probably the most terrible that ever occurred in England. Defoe says, ‘Horror and confusion seized upon all, no pen can describe it, no tongue can express it, no thought conceive it, unless some of those who were in the extremity of it.’ The Great Storm reached beyond England. In Dunkirk, France, the 23-27 vessels in the road [road-stead] were dashed to pieces at Peer Heads. The effects of the storm were felt in Dieppe and in Paris and in the northeast countries such as the Netherlands. Her Majesty’s ship Association, a second rate of 96 guns was anchored off Long Sand Head [in the Thames Estuary] during the hurricane. She was driven from her anchor and almost floundered taking in vast quantities of water. She was then driven north to the bank of Belgium, then the coast of the Netherlands to the entrance of the Elbe River where the storm was almost as violent as it was when they broke anchor in England. She was then driven to the coast of Norway. In 1703, there was a famine in southwestern Pakistan. In 1704 in England, the weather was the hottest and driest summer known in the previous 20 years.
By October, there was a scarcity of water for cattle.
The summer produced remarkable lightning and thunder storms.
In Venice, Italy, the drought was so considerable that water had to be fetched five leagues [15miles].
The winter of 1704-05 was intensely cold and stormy in the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in the U.S. In December, snow fell to the depth of three feet on the level. The Delaware River was fast with ice two feet (0.6 meters) thick, from the 10 December 1704 to the 10 March 1705. People brought loads over the ice. All the roads were shut and there were no post for 6 weeks. In 1705, there were great rains and floods over the continent of Europe.
On 11 August in England, there was a dreadful storm or hurricane. There were 800 sailors lost. The news was fill of losses by sea and by land. Another storm struck Ireland. Half of Limerick was drowned. The ships came onto the keys. Such a flood was never was seen before. On the 29 December, a dreadful storm struck France. Tides rose up in the Loire River, 25-feet beyond normal and 118 ships, 6 of them Men-of-War were driven ashore. The summer of 1705 produced extreme heat in southern France. In Montpellier, France, the fearsome heat appeared July 17 and lasted until August 30, almost without interruption. ‘In my memory,’ Francois de Plantade, an assistant of Cassini wrote, ‘is not to find similar to this day, the air almost as hot as hell, as that which emanates from the furnace of a glass factory, and found no’ other refuge than the basement. Everyone was choking and took refuge in the cellars. At several places, eggs were boiled in the sun. In Hubin’s thermometer, the liquid broke through the top. Amonton’s thermometer, although it was attached to a place where the air had no free access, rose almost to the degree in which it melts the tallow. A famous academician measured the temperature at 107.6° F (42° C) degrees in the shade and 212° F (100° C) in direct sunlight, the temperature of boiling water. The greater part of the grape vines burned on that single day, a phenomenon that had not happened in living memory in this country.
Paris and Lyon suffered from a drought. In 1705 in Shanghai, China there was a great drought. During the summer of 1706, there was extreme heat and drought in England and northern Europe.
In Germany, the great drought affected the cow’s milk.
The year also produced some great floods.
On 16 July a great rainstorm struck Denbigh, Whales where it rained for 30 hours continuously.
All the rivers in Denbighshire, Flintshire, and Merionethshire overflowed, and destroyed the crops, and a dozen large bridges. Great oaks were uprooted and swept away.On 7 October, there was a prodigious flood in the north of Ireland, which broke down several bridges.In 1706 during the summer, there was a drought in the vicinity of Shanghai, China. Then in the autumn, there were continuous rains and floods and a dearth and famine.In England on 7 and 8 July 1707 was the greatest heat that had been observed in 46 years.Many horses on the road died.
In Paris, France the heat was very great and on 21 August was measured at 98.4° F (36.9° C).Many of Prince Eugene’s Army died of heat in their march from Italy these two days.May through August was all very dry in Italy.On 3 and 26 July, there were great floods in Ireland.In 1707 in London, England, there was an extraordinary fall of flies. These insects covered the clothes of persons and lay so thick that the impressions of the people’s feet were visible on the pavement, as they are in a thick fall of snow.In England, the summer, spring and harvest of 1708, was the coldest of any summer since 1647 (except for the year 1698).
This weather preceded one of the coldest winters in the past 58 years.The winter of 1708-09 produced a severe frost throughout Europe. In France, Italy, Spain, Germany and all the northern countries there was a very severe cold.In England, the winter became known as the Great Frost, while it in France entered the legend as Le Grand Hiver. In France, even the king and his courtiers at the Palace of Versailles struggled to keep warm.On 9 January 1709 in England, it was extremely cold. The frost was so intense that in less than 24 hours rivers froze, so as to bear loaded wagons. Urine froze under the bed [in bed pans], though there was a good fire in theroom. Bread and meal were all ice. Bottled beer in deep cellars froze. Horses’ feet were frozen to the ground. Cattle, sheep and birds perished.
Coaches were driven over the ice on the River Thames.
Large booths were built upon the ice and large fires were made on it.
Great quantities of snow fell, and the storm continued for three months.In Edinburgh, Scotland, the frost lasted from early in October until the end of April. In Italy, the cold was greater than for the past 20 years, and most of the oranges and lemons perished. The Sea was frozen both on the Coast of Genoa and Livorno, Italy.The Adriatic Sea, and the Mediterranean Sea from Genoa, Italy, by Marseilles, France to Sète, France, frozen. All the rivers in France, except perhaps the Seine in Paris and the Rhone to Viviers, were completely frozen. The large lakes and pond in the Languedoc and Provence also froze. The freezing up of the Thau Lake, very deep, very stormy, and was so complete and so solid that it opened an unknown road connected up with the Sea from Balaruc and from Bouzigues to Sète on the ice. Finally, even the sea froze off the coast of Sète, of Marseille and in the English Channel. People drove across the ice of Lake Constance and Lake Zurich with loaded wagons/coaches.Frosts and snows of 1709 ruined the majority of crops. All the olive trees diedfrom Perpignan to Nice in France.There were many deaths in Venice, Italy.Venetians were able to skidacross the frozen lagoon in Italy.On the Italian coast, several mariners on board a British man-of-war died of the cold, and several lost part of their fingers and toes.Eighty French soldiers were killed on the road by the cold near Namur, Belgium.At Paris, France, 60 men and many cattle were frozen to death.Roads and rivers were blocked by snow and ice, and transport of supplies to the cities became difficult. Paris waited three months for fresh supplies.
The Ebro River was frozen over in Spain.Portugal also felt the severity of cold.
Ink froze in a writer’s pen, even though there was a good fire in the room.
In Scandinavia, the Baltic Sea froze so thoroughly that people could walk across the sea as late as April.
In Switzerland, hungry wolves became a problem in villages.At Copenhagen, Denmark on 4 May 1709, the ice in Copenhagen harbor was 27 inches thick. On 9 April, people crossed the ice from Denmark to Schonen. The winter was very severe in Northern Germany.
In Germany many cows were frozen to death in their stalls. And many travelers on the road were frozen to death, or lost their hands, feet, noses, or ears, and others fainted, and were in great danger of life or limb, when brought to soon near the fire.During the ‘Great Winter’, the temperature in Paris, France, fell to -9º C on the night of 5-6 January 1709 and stayed well below freezing for almost three weeks.
Saintes on France’s Atlantic coast received 24 inches of snow.
The temperature on France’s Mediterranean coast plunged to -11º C.
January 1709 was the coldest month recorded in the past 500 years.
Although temperatures rose in February, they fell again just as the winter cereal crops began to sprout, killing them all.
The price of grain reached it highest level of the entire ancien regime.
600,000 French men and women died during the Great Winter.2In 1709 in France, fortunately, some prudent farmers had plowed their fields and sown them with winter cereal fields and barley. These were the bread grains in times of scarcity. People ate aronswurzeln, couch grass and asphodel. The famine was so great that a regulation was issued in April, which directed kitchens under penalty, even capital punishment to all citizens without distinction and the communities in to state their stores of grain and food. Equally significant were the result of an unprecedented thaw floods. The Loire River broke through its embankments, rose to a height not seen in two centuries, burying everything in its course.In 1709, there was a famine in Scotland from the rains and cold.
There was a scarcity of food in England because of a late spring, the cold weather continued until June or July.In the vicinity of Shanghai, China, there was continuous rain and floods in autumn.
Rice was very dear, owing to flood, which caused a famine.In May 1710 in England, the ground was exceedingly dry and cracked. Barley and peas were burnt. Vermin devoured all the fruits and the leaves of trees, so they were as naked as in winter.
There was an epidemic of smallpox in London, England that killed 1/8thof the population.During the winter of 1710-11 in England, the frost was severe from18 January until March.
Ice formed 3 inches thick on the coast.
It froze indoors in the bedchambers.In the region of Carniola, Austria [now Slovenia] in 1711, there was a famine from rain and mildew.This famine continued for several years.On 11-13 September 1711, the city of Mobile, Alabama in the U.S. was almost destroyed by ahurricane from a storm surge in Mobile Bay that overflowed the town.
This hurricane also destroyed churches and building in New Orleans, Louisiana.
In 1712, there was excessive heat in low-Hungary [parts of Hungary, Slovakia and Croatia].
The summer was very hot in southern France.
It caused the springs, creeks, small rivers and lakes to dry up and destroyed the crops.
In southern France, there was a severe drought.On 28 August 1712, a terrible hurricane struck the island of Jamaica. It destroyed several ships belonging to London and Bristol and fourteen ships belonging to the island. In the harbor of Port Royal and Kingston, four hundred sailors were drowned. Many people were killed by destruction of houses and the sugar works.In England, the years between 1713-1719 produced a moderate drought. There were few rains but there were rich dews. The years 1714, 1717, 1718, and 1719 produced very hot summers.In 1714 in London, England, there was an epidemic of smallpox. One-ninth of the population died.In the year 1715 more than one third of the population of France (6 million people) perished from hunger and destitution. The cause of this famine and those that followed was due to taille (land tax). France is a land of good soil and fine weather, almost like a Garden of Eden. But for over a hundred years leading up to the French Revolution in 1789, it became a land of dire want and famines. Taille robbed the peasants of even their meager existence.On 30 July 1715, a hurricane struck the southern Bahamas and the Straits of Florida in the United States. The storm caused between 1,000 and 2,500 deaths.In 1715 during the summer, there was a great drought in the vicinity of Shanghai, China.The winter of 1715-16 was recorded as being intensely cold throughout Europe.On 22 January 1716, the temperature in Paris, France was -4° F (-20° C).
The Seine River froze over in Paris.
Frost fair was held on the River Thames in London, England.
Streets of booths were erected on the ice and an ox roasted on it, coaches driven, and many diversions exercised above the bridge.
So strong was the ice below the bridge, that people walked and ice-skated.Dawkes' News Letter of the 14th of January says, ‘The Thames seems now a solid rock of ice; and booths for sale of brandy, wine, ale, and other exhilarating liquors, have been for some time fixed thereon; but now it is in a manner like a town; thousands of people cross it, and with wonder view the mountainous heaps of water that now lie congealed into ice. On Thursday a great cook's-shop was erected, and gentlemen went as frequently to dine there as at any ordinary. Over against Westminster, Whitehall, and Whitefriars, printing presses are kept on the ice.’