2000 Years of History

version française

Initial Objectives


Based on observation covering five centuries (1430: first documented spate of wolf attacks on humans -1930: extermination of the last native wolves in France) and the whole French territory (95 departments), while simultaneously allowing for comparisons with other European species, this program, which began in 2002, had four sets of objectives:

  1. To identify the conflict factors caused by the presence of wolves in agro-ecosystems over the last five centuries: the impact on the rural economy, the threat to humans, the interactions between species, etc. This first focus brings us to another aspect of the issue: the extent to which the predator can indicate or reveal weaknesses in the management of territories by societies.
  2. To analyse the wolf threat according to social and environmental contexts, by analysing various and often biased sources. Scattered and heterogeneous, the archives often only record situations of conflict between and wolves and humans. In order to use them, it is necessary to combine chronological reflection with a historical geography on various scales.
  3. To contextualise the management models applied to the animal over time and in different areas, from relative tolerance to eradication, and from fierce battle to protection. To do this, we will pay particular attention to the cultural origins and to the effects of man’s multi-secular battle against wolves, as well as the conditions for the change in attitudes.
  4. To contribute to increased interplay between scientific disciplines both within the humanities and social sciences (particularly geography, literature, linguistics and law), and between the humanities and the life and engineering sciences (biology, ecology, agronomy, veterinary sciences), based on a long-term historical investigation which cements a European network of research on wolves (particularly in Spain, Italy, Switzerland, and Romania).

We consequently created a serial database. It focuses on wolf attacks on humans in all French departments. However, it is also designed to develop (with possible expansion during the investigation), and to integrate the international context (by including foreign datasets and offering fields of analysis targeting an international audience). This corpus currently includes two major datasets: one on rabid wolves, and another on predatory wolves. These are complemented by other datasets, including data on hunting rewards, regulation, and iconography.