What Is the Little Ice Age AP World History?

The Little Ice Age is a period that occurred between the 16th and 19th centuries, where the Earth experienced a significant cooling trend. This climatic event was marked by an overall drop in temperatures, which led to numerous environmental changes across the globe. In this article, we will take an in-depth look at what the Little Ice Age AP World History was and its impact on human civilization.

The Causes of the Little Ice Age

There is no single cause for the Little Ice Age; instead, it was likely a combination of several factors. One major contributor was a decrease in solar activity during this period.

Scientists believe that there were fewer sunspots during this time, which led to less solar radiation reaching the Earth’s surface. Additionally, volcanic activity may have played a role. Large-scale volcanic eruptions can release particles into the atmosphere that block sunlight and lower temperatures.

Impact on Human Civilization

The Little Ice Age had a significant impact on human civilization during its occurrence. In Europe, it led to crop failures and famine, as crops struggled to grow in the colder conditions.

This resulted in widespread food shortages and increased mortality rates. The colder weather also made transportation more difficult, making it harder for people to move goods across long distances.

In North America, Native American populations were particularly affected by the Little Ice Age. The cooler climate disrupted traditional hunting and fishing practices and led to food shortages for many tribes.

Environmental Changes

The Little Ice Age also caused significant environmental changes across the globe. Glaciers advanced in many areas, covering farmland and changing river patterns. Sea levels dropped as water froze into ice sheets and glaciers, exposing new land bridges between continents.

In some regions, forests expanded as temperatures dropped and precipitation increased. However, other areas experienced droughts as rainfall patterns shifted due to changing weather patterns.


In conclusion, the Little Ice Age was a significant climatic event that had far-reaching impacts on human civilization and the environment. While its causes are not entirely clear, it is evident that this period of cooling had a profound effect on life on Earth. By studying the Little Ice Age AP World History, we can gain a better understanding of how climate change can impact our world and how we can adapt to these changes in the future.