Flashback Friday: St. Elizabeth’s Flood 1421

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St. Elizabeth Painting Wiki Image
Artist: Dutch Painter
Circa 1490 to 1495
Collection: Amsterdam Museum
Source: Museum Site

Six hundred & one year, ago, today…

The St. Elizabeth’s flood of 1421 was a flooding of the Grote Hollandse Waard, an area in what is now the Netherlands. It takes its name from the feast day of Saint Elisabeth of Hungary which was formerly [November 19th]. It ranks 20th on the list of worst floods in history. During the night of [November 18th-19th] 1421, a heavy storm near the North Sea coast caused the dikes to break in a number of places and the lower-lying polder land was flooded. A number of villages were swallowed by the flood and were lost, causing between 2,000 and 10,000 casualties. The dike breaks and floods caused widespread devastation in Zeeland and Holland.

This flood separated the cities of Geertruidenberg and Dordrecht, which had previously fought against each other during the Hook and Cod (civil) wars. Most of the land remains flooded even since that day.

Most of the area remained flooded for several decades. Reclaimed parts are the island of Dordrecht, the Hoeksche Waard island and north-western North Brabant. Most of the Biesbosch area has been flooded since.

The cause of the flood was a powerful extratropical cyclone. Water from the storm in the North Sea surged up the rivers causing the dikes to overflow and break through. The flood reached a large sea arm between south Holland and Zeeland, destroying the Grote Hollandse Waard.


I tried to find a video about this but, all I got was a creepy AI voice reading what I posted, above. As an interesting addendum, there was a St. Elizabeth’s flood of 1404, on or about November 19, also, affecting Holland, Zeeland and Flanders. History Calendar on Twitter posted about it, too. ~Vic

Zuiderzee Floods (Britannica/November 11, 2022)
Elizabeth and the Flood (Codart/May 8, 2022)
Katje the Windmill Cat (Atozmom’s BSF Blog/March 1, 2014)

8 thoughts on “Flashback Friday: St. Elizabeth’s Flood 1421

    KenshoHomestead said:
    November 19, 2022 at 8:45 AM

    Interesting! Of further interest: ‘Flooding of polders has also been used as a military tactic in the past. One example is the flooding of the polders along the Yser River during World War I. Opening the sluices at high tide and closing them at low tide turned the polders into an inaccessible swamp, which allowed the Allied armies to stop the German army.’

      The Hinoeuma responded:
      November 19, 2022 at 10:30 AM

      That is interesting. Where did that come from? If on Wiki, I missed it.

    graham mcquade said:
    November 20, 2022 at 3:34 PM

    I wondered why I put my boots on this morning. We had one in 1607, particularly up the Severn estuary and hinterland, caused by a tsunami.

    doerfpub said:
    November 24, 2022 at 1:13 PM

    That is a lot of casualties. Our main concerns are when the Mississippi or the Illinois breach the banks (and all the levees they keep adding which pushed the problem further south. Fortunately few casualties when that occurs these days.

      The Hinoeuma responded:
      November 24, 2022 at 8:06 PM

      My buddy Ray talks about the Mississippi a lot. Did you see my comment on Sandra’s (or Lynn’s?) post…regarding bridges?

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