Bold State Effort Fails to Control Floods in Fourteenth-century Roussillon



In 1362, after a generation of unprecedented floods King-Count Peter IV ordered a study of diverting the beds of the Têt and Agly rivers, in order to develop a river management program which was to control floods and preserve good land in the county of Roussillon. His order and subsequent measures to manage the counties rivers reveal environmental awareness and responsibility in an emerging state. However, local resistance and rising costs ended these measures in the early fifteenth century, after which only local measures were taken to control floods.

Author Biography

Richard Hoffmann, York University, Toronto, Canada

Now semi-retired as Professor Emeritus, Richard Hoffmann realized in the 1980s that his research on medieval land use and rural society pertained to the then-new field of environmental history. Since then he has explored various aspects of resource use, human impacts, and natural forces in European terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems during the millennium before the turn to fossil fuels. His one-volume environmental history of medieval Europe will soon appear from Cambridge University Press.