Can it snow in June? Freeze in July? Frost over in August?
Yes.. And it did when in 1816, the atmosphere filled with debris when Mount Tambora in Indonesia exploded in April 1815. The ash and sulfur dioxide in the air chilled most of North America and Europe to the point that crops failed, animals died and people starved.
How cold had it gotten?
Only 3 degrees colder on average was what most experienced but it was enough to cause wide-spread devastation and hunger. In Ireland, thousands migrated to find food, shelter and new homes. In America, snow and ice meant many starved. In Europe, people rioted for bread.
For months, no one knew or understood the cause. Indeed the first indications I found of any idea of the cause was this entry in London Morning Post, May 4, 1816. (Do enlarge to read more easily!)
While I chose this time of year to coincide with the theme of this fabulous box set written by talented authors, I also chose it because it was May 1, 1816 that the Princess of Wales, the only direct heir to the throne of United Kingdom, married one of the great heroes of the Napoleonic Wars. Who was that?
Prince Leopold of Saxe-Cobourg. Yes, this is the same one you've seen portrayed as King Leopold, King of the Belgians, as uncle to Queen Victoria and to his nephew and her husband, Prince Albert of Saxe-Cobourg.
Leopold was a catch...and a hunk. Here he is in 1815. Yummy, yes?