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A Romantic view of extinction

Two catastrophically depopulating events – the horrifying bloodshed of the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars (1792-1815), and the rapid global cooling caused by the massive eruption of Mount Tambora in 1815 – made human extinction seem a horrifyingly imminent possibility. Meditations on ruined empires abounded. Many writers began to imagine (or prophesy) the ruination of their own nations.