Inundations of the province of Groningen
In the ancient history many times the North of the Netherlands were harassed by inundations and great floods by lack of strong and high sea dykes. The oldest transcription was that from the 13-th century from the hand "Emo and Menko", writing about the Groningen inundations of 1249 and 1287. In the last case the flood was about 5 feet high, inundating the eastern part of the province Groningen. They also told about a curious case of surviving: "a man, a wolf, a dog and a hare were drifting safely together on a piece of wood to the [*higher] 'Wolden'".
One of the worst floods was the "Saint Martinus Flood" of 1686, about November 11 of that year, by a severe storm, enduring for four days, together with "hail, thunder and lightning, which blew the salt waters a man's high over the (Groningen) dykes". Almost the whole area east of the line Groningen-Appingedam-Delfzijl was inundated by the sea: 1558 human beings, 1387 horses, 7861 cattle, 2590 sheep and 171 pigs drowned in that eastern part of Groningen; 631 houses were destroyed. Most of the victims died in the lower lands around the higher situated villages and towns, like Meedhuizen. In 1787, more than 100 years later, this disaster was described in the historical book "Het Schrickelijcke Oordeel Godts" - litarily translated as "The Terrible Judgement of God". I'll try to find this book in the Groningen Archives.
That disaster could have been the cause of a lot of historical documents, like church and tax books being destroyed by the flood, like the land taxes in the year 1731 from the villages Meedhuizen and Slochteren and the church books before 1700.
Graphics by Lynn Waterman, ©2004