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A Study on Climate Change Adaptation in Early Modern England with a Focus on the Elizabethan Act for the Relief of the Poor in 1598

  • 중앙사론
  • 2019, (50), pp.211-250
  • Publisher : Institute for Historical Studies at Chung-Ang University
  • Research Area : Humanities > History
  • Received : November 7, 2019
  • Accepted : December 17, 2019
  • Published : December 31, 2019

Cha Yong Ku 1 Koh Ban Suk 1

1중앙대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

In this article, we will look at evidence about how climate change creates conflict between different social strata and how cooperation and solidarity between different groups of people can help them to reconcile and overcome crisis The late 16th century was perceived as a time of crisis due to cold weather, poor harvests, famines, and revolts. In particular, the abnormal weather at that time impacted England with severe cold and unusual temperatures. This change in climate caused grain prices to rise, leading several farmers toward impoverishment. Death rates also increased due to famine and the spread of epidemic disease. With these difficulties, people moved into cities, and the number of poor people increased with the rise of public health problems. Scholars have long emphasized the political crisis like regime changes and the social confusion that resulted from the abnormal climate of the Little Ice Age. However, recent studies have paid specific attention to human efforts to deal with climate change and their resiliency. Famine from the extreme cold of the 1590s bolstered a communal responsibility to join forces in the fight against famine and disease, and local cooperation was promoted and initiated. Public prayers were held for community members who were afflicted by disease, pastors preached the values of restraint and abstinence, charity was repeatedly emphasized, and parishes collected funds and offered refuge for the poor. While climate change created class conflicts between the rich and the poor, it also unexpectedly led to social solidarity, when in 1598, the Elizabethan Act for the Relief of the Poor was legislated. In conclusion, institutional responses and philanthropy led to the prevention and reduction of social conflict and strengthened the cause of coexistence.

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