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Under Osman's TreeThe Ottoman Empire, Egypt, and Environmental History$
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Alan Mikhail

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780226427171

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226427201.001.0001

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Egypt, Iceland, SO2

Egypt, Iceland, SO2

(p.184) 10 Egypt, Iceland, SO2
Under Osman's Tree

Alan Mikhail

University of Chicago Press

In June 1783, the Laki volcanic fissure began erupting in Iceland. It would continue to do so for the next eight months. One of the largest volcanic discharges in recorded history, the ash it produced lead to cold summers across Europe, the Mediterranean, the Americas, and parts of Central Asia. This chapter examines the impacts of the explosions on Ottoman Egypt and uses this climate history of Iceland and Egypt to analyze ways of doing global environmental history. By focusing on the directly linked climate history of Iceland’s environmental and political impacts on Ottoman Egypt, the chapter shows the utility of analyzing small-scale instances of global climate change. It moreover argues for the importance of the history of Laki for Middle Eastern history and also shows how considering the history of the Middle East adds to our understanding of the global history of Laki.

Keywords:   Iceland, Laki, Egypt, Ottoman Empire, volcano, climate, Nile, monsoon, drought, Jón Steingrímsson

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