Dagomar Degroot offers the first detailed analysis of how a society thrived amid the Little Ice Age, a period of climatic cooling that reached its chilliest point between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries. The precocious economy, unusual environment, and dynamic intellectual culture of the Dutch Republic in its seventeenth-century Golden Age allowed it to thrive as neighboring societies unraveled in the face of extremes in temperature and precipitation. By tracing the occasionally counterintuitive manifestations of climate change from global to local scales, Degroot finds that the Little Ice Age presented not only challenges for Dutch citizens but also opportunities that they aggressively exploited in conducting commerce, waging war, and creating culture. The overall success of their Republic in coping with climate change offers lessons that we would be wise to heed today, as we confront the growing crisis of global warming.
Introduction: Crisis and Opportunity in a Changing Climate
1. The Little Ice Age
PART I. COMMERCE AND CLIMATE CHANGE
Part I. Preface
2. Reaching Asia in a Stormy, Chilly Climate
3. Sailing, Floating, Riding, and Skating Through a Cooler Europe
PART II.CONFLICT AND CLIMATE CHANGE
Part II Preface
4: Cooling, Warming, and the Wars of Independence, 1564-1648
5: Gales, Winds, and Anglo-Dutch Antagonism, 1652-1688
PART III. CULTURE AND CLIMATE CHANGE
Part III Preface
6. Tracing and Painting the Little Ice Age
7. Texts, Technologies, and Climate Change
Conclusion: Lessons from Ice and Gold
Dagomar Degroot is an Assistant Professor of environmental history at Georgetown University. He is the co-founder of the Climate History Network, an organization of more than 200 academics in the sciences and humanities.
"Degroot offers surprising insights into links between weather variations during the chilliest phase of the Little Ice Age and the Dutch Golden Age by exploring how merchants, soldiers and investors exploited new opportunities resulting from to climate change. The book is well-researched and exciting to read."
– Christian Pfister, Universität Bern, Switzerland
"In The Frigid Golden Age Dagomar Degroot, a leading climate historian, presents a highly original perspective on an unusually cold era when Europe was immersed in a series of devastating wars on land and the Dutch were becoming the greatest maritime capitalist power from the Atlantic to the East Indies. In compelling prose, he expands our understanding of how climate cycles, economic and political rivalries, and environmental history interact."
– Richard Tucker, University of Michigan
"Dagomar Degroot has written a powerful addition to the emerging literature on the wider human impacts of the Little Ice Age, in a book that will have a major impact on the field. His argument that the Dutch of the Golden Age responded creatively and successfully to the challenge of cold climate will have an important place in our evolved discussion of climate change in the twenty-first century."
– John Brooke, Ohio State University
"Skillfully wielding diverse interdisciplinary tools, Dagomar Degroot breaks with clichés of the Little Ice Age as unrelenting social catastrophe to reveal Dutch communities mitigating negative effects of climate change while exploiting new possibilities available to the perceptive and adaptive. The Frigid Golden Age establishes a new benchmark in the environmental history of early modern Europe."
Richard C. Hoffmann, FRSC, Professor Emeritus and Senior Scholar, Department of History, York University, Toronto