This article explores human responses to the climatic conditions of the late Little Ice Age (1850–1880s) in the Mediterranean world. Around the globe, the nineteenth century heralded the retreat of the Little Ice Age (LIA) and the arrival of the Anthropocene. Although the concept of the LIA has seen nearly half a century of research, scholars have paid little attention to the environmental and social consequences of its retreat in the mid- to late nineteenth century. This study maintains that the end of the Little Ice Age was significant, nuanced, and complex. It brought warmer and dryer conditions as well as periodic extreme weather to the Mediterranean zone, and these characteristics contributed to the rise of commercial agriculture and the decline of mobile pastoralism. The combination of climatic pressures with local social, political, and economic factors, however, led to very different outcomes among mobile pastoralists. This article uses extensive archival research as well as paleoclimatological data to map nineteenth-century climate change and to illuminate its impact around the Mediterranean, through case studies in Provence, northern Algeria, and southern Anatolia.

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