All Saints' Flood (1304)

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The All Saints Day flood (German: Allerheiligenflut) of 1304[1] was a storm surge that hit the southwestern Baltic Sea coast on 1 November (All Saints' Day) that year. The region of Western Pomerania was particularly badly affected by the flooding. 271 lives were lost as a result of the flood.

Like most similar storm floods, it was created when water accumulated in the middle and northern Baltic as a result of several days of strong westerly winds, and then surged abruptly onto the Pomeranian coast when the wind suddenly shifted to the northeast. The All Saints Day flood resulted in substantial losses of land between the islands of Rügen and Usedom. This is based on the fact that in 1304 there had been a land bridge between the peninsula of Mönchgut on Rügen and the island of Ruden off Usedom. The Bay of Greifswald was probably still an inland lake and the present-day branch of the River Oder, the Peenestrom, flowed on through the Strelasund and did not discharge into the Baltic until the western end of the sound. In the 1304 storm flood, the southern part of the Mönchgut and most of Ruden was flooded. Whether further storm flooding was needed to finally turn drown the land under the water, is not known. The only losses recorded are those of two villages on Ruden that were drowned. The Bay of Greifswald was henceforth known as the "low country" (Landtief) or the "New Deep" (Neue Tief). 300 years later, only the ever-shrinking island of Ruden remained, along with the small island of North Ruden, which presumably sank beneath the waves in the 17th century. The remaining island is still less than 2 metres above the water for long stretches; the channel for the eastern approach to Stralsund has to be dredged to be kept free.

Other consequences of the All Saints Day flood have not been handed down, but it is also possible that it led to breaches to the Baltic Sea at Damerow on Usedom, at the Swine estuary and on the shores of the Prorer Wiek. These areas were almost uninhabited at the end of Middle Ages because of their infertility.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Schreiber, Hermann and Georg (1962). Vanished Cities, pp. 18, 21, 23.

Literature[edit]

  • Friedrich-Wilhelm Dwars: Der angebliche Landzusammenhang zwischen Rügen und dem Ruden in historischer Zeit und die Entstehung der Einfahrten am Ostrand des Greifswalder Boddens. In: Gesellschaft für pommersche Geschichte und Altertumskunde (Hrsg): Baltische Studien. Neue Folge Bd. 45, von der Ropp, Hamburg 1958, S. 9–26(urn:nbn:de:gbv:9-g-283795)