The European Drought of 1540

Europe is currently undergoing a drought that has left rivers running dry and reservoirs reduced to mud puddles. It’s been said to be the worst drought in Europe in 500 years. So what happened 500 years ago?

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The year 1540 began with Italy going almost 200 days without rain. The River Thames went so low that the sea flowed in and reversed its course. The Rhine, Elbe, and Seine also dried to the point where people could wade across. Without water, sewage could not be swept away and diseases broke out. Crops failed and wildfires thrived. Martin Luther thought it was a sign of the End Times. People all over looked for a scapegoat, such as witches and refugees. The upside to the drought was that vintage 1540 wine was strangely good, made from dried-up grapes with a high sugar content. That was a good thing, as what water they had to drink was pretty nasty. Read about the drought of 1540 and what makes the European drought of 2022 different at Smithsonian. -via Damn Interesting

Source: neatorama

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