The Dutch have always been in constant war with the sea. Most people know about the 1953 flood but there have been floods throughout the centuries with higher casualties.
I specified the year in the title because today is the 596th of the St Elizabeth’s flood, but technically this is the 2nd flood with that name,because nearly to the date 17 years earlier on the 19th of November 1407, there had been another Elizabeth’s flood.
The St. Elizabeth’s flood of 1421 was a flooding of 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 19. It ranks 20th in the list of worst floods in history. During the night of November 18 to November 19, 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.
It is thought that the flood was caused by an extremely heavy north-western storm, followed by an extremely high storm tide. A spring tide was not responsible, as in 1953, but instead, wet weather led to the increase in river water levels. Gaps in the coastal line of the ‘Grote Waard’ (the southern side of the present-day province of South-Holland), resulting from previous floods, increased the severity of the flood. As a result, the flood reached a large sea arm between South-Holland and Zeeland, destroying the Grote Waard. The Grote Waard would never return to its original shape and form again.
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 today.
At the lowest point in-land where the flood waters reached, which was passed the city of Dordrecht, the water still remains today.
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