Ask medieval historian Michael McCormick what year was the worst to be alive, and he’s got an answer: “536.” Not 1349, when the Black Death wiped out half of Europe. Not 1918, when the flu killed 50 million to 100 million people, mostly young adults. But 536. In Europe, “It was the beginning of one of the worst periods to be alive, if not the worst year,” says McCormick, a historian and archaeologist who chairs the Harvard University Initiative for the Science of the Human Past.
The potatoes, tomatoes, corn, peppers, cassava and other plants native to the Americas did more than enliven the cook pots of Europe, Africa and Asia. They transformed cultures, reshuffled politics and spawned new economic systems […]
American Action Forum President Doug Holtz-Eakin and The Weekly Standard deputy managing editor Kelly Jane Torrance discuss the protests in France and the economic problems facing Europe.