Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Weather of 1788

The harsh weather triggered the bread shortages in France, making the inflation worse. To quote:
The year 1788 is a notably bad one considering weather in France.  The country was first struck in July as an incredible hailstorm swept through the countryside.  The storm was wide and strong, and the stones destroyed crops across many provinces.  The following harvest was poor, suffering greatly from the loss.

The disappointment of the autumn was followed by an unusually bitter winter at the end of the year.  The severity of the weather took a toll on many areas of the country.

In Provence and Languedoc a third of valuable olive trees were lost.  Of the surviving trees many were thought to be useless until they could repair themselves enough to grow fruit again, a process that had the potential to last two years if ever correcting itself.

Southern France also saw a great number of crops and grain destroyed from what has been described as, severe frost. (make of it what you will!)  And to add to the misfortune many chestnut trees also died.

I consulted The Weather Almanac and Meteorological and Rural Hand-book for 1865 just for fun, and learned the severity of the winter of 1788-9 did not reoccur for forty one years, the winter of 1829!
Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette responded to the crisis by increasing their charities. Share

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