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Explaining an Unstable Landscape: Claiming the Islands of the Early-Modern Rhone

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The powerful floods of the early-modern river Rhone, in south-eastern France, frequently reshaped shorelines, unpredictably destroying and creating hundreds of islands of all sizes. The claims occasioned by these transformations triggered countless and often complex disputes that, in turn, generated reflections on the origins of these 'new' lands. These interpretations, intended to advance complex legal arguments, varied along the river. A clear north-south contrast emerges from surviving documents that show that explanations of the emergence of alluvial lands were suited to the socio-economic structures of the northern and southern sections of the Rhone and, more particularly, the relative balance of private/common property.
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Keywords: Early-modern Rhone; alluvial lands; map-making; socio-economic structures

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: February 1, 2013

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  • Environment and History is an interdisciplinary journal which aims to bring scholars in the humanities and biological sciences closer together, with the deliberate intention of constructing long and well-founded perspectives on present day environmental problems.

    Environment and History has a Journal Impact Factor (2018) of 0.800. 5 Year Impact Factor: 0.918.
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