1400 — 1850

During the Little Ice Age (ca. 1400–1850), dramatic global climate change occurred, with temperatures declining precipitously. The date for the onset of this shift was once thought to be 1550, but new evidence shows that it had already begun as early as 1150 and became severe enough in northern latitudes to cause significant population shifts as early as the mid-fourteenth century. At its height, growing seasons in the northern regions of North America and Europe were shortened by as much as 20 percent, leading to frequent crop failures and forcing both human migration and increased hunting/gathering activities in affected regions. Estimates differ as to when this phenomenon ended, but most experts agree that it lasted until about 1850.

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