Introduction
 
The Little Ice Age
 
    The Little Ice Age was a period of extreme cooling during the period from 1560-1890 AD.  This period of cooling came after a period known as the Medieval Climatic Optimum.  During the Little Ice Age, the average worldwide temperature dropped somewhere between 1-2 °C.  This period of cooling was marked by widespread glacial expansion across the Northern Hemisphere as well as the Southern Hemisphere.  Historical documentation is more readily available from the European continent, but evidence of climatic change is present in southern locations such as Peru.  
    
    The Little Ice Age followed a time of great prosperity on the European continent.  Climatic conditions were favorable for farming, so populations across Europe were expanding.  With the arrival of the Little Ice Age, many people across Europe died due to starvation related to crop destruction.  There are examples of farms that were simply consumed by the expansion of glaciers in Europe.
    
    The painting above is by Pieter Bruegel the Elder (1525–1569).  The painting was completed in 1565.  He became famous for painting scenes like this because snow covers like this were so common during the 1500’s.  
 
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