By building on the interdisciplinary research methods of environmental history, the paper explores the possibilities of understanding the long-term impacts of the Ottoman conquest on the landscapes of the Carpathian Basin. It has long been argued that the Ottomans’ arrival has put an end to the most prosperous period of Hungarian history, which was followed by a lasting devastation of its lands partly due to the wars themselves, partly due to a lack of sustainability in the farming on both sides of the frontier. By looking at changes in the waterscapes and forest cover of the Western frontier area between the Ottoman Empire and the Kingdom of Hungary, the paper argues that this view needs reconsideration. In pointing to the shortcoming of previous interpretations of the landscape changes in the 16th–17th-century Carpathian Basin, the paper demonstrates how climate history, historical hydrology, archaeology and landscape and economic history helps understanding Early Modern environmental change.
András Vadas is assistant professor at the Department of Medieval History at Eo tvo s Lora nd University in Budapest (ELTE) and visiting professor at Central European University, Vienna.