1816, the Year Without a Summer

21 Apr, 2016 900 History

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the impact of the eruption of Mt Tambora, in 1815, on the Indonesian island of Sambawa. This was the largest volcanic eruption in recorded history and it had the highest death toll, devastating people living in the immediate area. Tambora has been linked with drastic weather changes in North America and Europe the following year, with frosts in June and heavy rains throughout the summer in many areas. This led to food shortages, which may have prompted westward migration in America and, in a Europe barely recovered from the Napoleonic Wars, led to widespread famine.

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  • Clive Oppenheimer No other episodes
    Professor of Volcanology at the University of Cambridge
  • Jane Stabler 2 episodes
    Professor in Romantic Literature at the University of St Andrews
  • Lawrence Goldman 10 episodes
    Director of the Institute of Historical Research at the University of London

Reading list

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    C. A. Bayly (Wiley-Blackwell, 2004) Google Books →
  • Volcanoes in Human History: The Far-Reaching Effects of Major Eruptions
    Jelle Zeilinga de Boer and Donald Theodore Sanders (Princeton University Press, 2004) Google Books →
  • The Age of Improvement 1783-1867
    Asa Briggs (Routledge, 1999) Google Books →
  • The Burned-Over District: The Social and Intellectual History of Enthusiastic Religion in Western New York, 1800-1850
    Whitney R. Cross (Cornell University Press, 1981) Google Books →
  • Tambora: The Eruption that Changed the World
    Gillen D'Arcy Wood (Princeton University Press, 2014) Google Books →
  • The Landscapes of the Sublime 1700-1830: Classic Ground
    Cian Duffy (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013) Google Books →
  • Byron in Geneva: That Summer of 1816
    David Ellis (Liverpool University Press, 2011) Google Books →
  • Volcanoes
    Peter Francis and Clive Oppenheimer (Oxford University Press, 2003) Google Books →
  • The Liberal Awakening 1815-1830
    Elie Halevy (Nabu Press, 2011) Google Books →
  • The Year Without Summer: 1816 and the Volcano that Darkened the World and Changed History
    William K. Klingaman and Nicholas P. Klingaman (St Martin's Griffin, 2013) Google Books →
  • The Vampyre family: Passion, Envy and the Curse of Byron
    Andrew McConnell Stott (Canongate Books, 2013) Google Books →
  • Eruptions that Shook the World
    Clive Oppenheimer (Cambridge University Press, 2011) Google Books →
  • The Last Great Subsistence Crisis in the Western World
    John Post (The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1977) Google Books →
  • The Original Frankenstein
    Mary Shelley with Percy Shelley (ed. Charles E. Robinson) (Vintage, 2009) Google Books →
  • Waterloo to Peterloo
    R. J. White (Heinemann, 1957) Google Books →

Related episodes

Programme ID: b077j4yv

Episode page: bbc.co.uk/programmes/b077j4yv

Auto-category: 900 (History)

Hello (First sentence from this episode) Hello. In April 1815, the volcano Mount Tambora erupted on the island of Sambawa in what we now call Indonesia.