Ruins of the 17th century Balquhidder Church | © Neil Ritchie, editor

Famine in Scotland – the ‘Ill Years’ of the 1690s

Famine in Scotland – the ‘Ill Years’ of the 1690s

Author: Karen J. Cullen | Published: February 2010 | Publisher: Edinburgh University PressBuy from Amazon


Famine and economic disaster in late 17th century Scotland

Book Description:

This book examines the climatic and economic origins of the last national famine to occur in Scotland, the nature and extent of the crisis which ensued, and what the impact of the famine was upon the population in demographic, economic and social terms. The ‘Ill Years’, during the nadir of the Little Ice Age, were ones of widespread famine across Europe and economic disaster in Scotland. However, current published knowledge about the causes, extent and impact of the famine in Scotland is limited and many conclusions have been speculative in the absence of extensive research.

This is the first full study of the famine, providing a unique scholarly examination of the causes, course, characteristics and consequences of the crisis. Using detailed examination of agricultural, climatic and demographic issues, the book seeks to establish answers to the fundamental question concerning the event. How serious was it? Using detailed statistical and qualitative analysis, Karen J. Cullen discusses the regional factors that defined the famine, the impact on the population, and the interconnected causes of this traumatic event.



Karen J. Cullen is Lecturer in Scottish History at the Centre for History, UHI Millennium Institute, the future University of the Highlands and Islands. She is author of a number of chapters and articles on the subject of famine in Scotland in the 1690s. Her current research interests lie in seventeenth and eighteenth century Scottish social, economic and demographic history.


Source: Edinburgh University Press

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