This book examines the climatic and economic origins of the last national famine to occur in Scotland, the nature and extent of the crisis which ensued, and what the impact of the famine was upon the population in demographic, economic and social terms. The 'Ill Years', during the nadir of the Little Ice Age, were ones of widespread famine across Europe and economic disaster in Scotland. However, current published knowledge about the causes, extent and impact of the famine in Scotland is limited and many conclusions have been speculative in the absence of extensive research.
This is the first full study of the famine, providing a unique scholarly examination of the causes, course, characteristics and consequences of the crisis. Using detailed examination of agricultural, climatic and demographic issues, this book seeks to establish answers to the fundamental question concerning the event. How serious was it? Using detailed statistical and qualitative analysis, Karen Cullen discusses the regional factors that defined the famine, the impact on the population, and the interconnected causes of this traumatic event.
About the Author
Karen Cullen is Lecturer in Scottish History at the UHI Centre for History, UHI Millenium Institute
Table of Contents
Tables and Figures vi
Glossary of Terms x
County Map of Scotland xiii
1 Scotland's Seven Ill Years: Contexts and Debates 10
2 Climate, Weather and Agriculture: The Making of a Famine 31
3 There Arose a Dearth: The Grain Market in Crisis 54
4 Providing for the Destitute 93
5 Famine: The Demographic Disaster 123
6 Fleeing the Famine: Migration and Emigration 157
Appendix: Poor Assessment 192