The story of Rijnland, a small strip of coastal lowland in the western Netherlands, is part of the legendary Dutch struggle against encroaching water. Rijnland was for centuries a stretch of uninhabited peat bogs and sand dunes. The reclamation and colonization processes that eventually transformed these remote marshes into a commercialized agricultural center form the heart of this book, which chronicles events from A.D. 950 to 1350. Unlike most studies of the European Middle Ages, this work focuses on how people of earlier times dealt with their physical environment. Combining historical and archaeological research techniques, William TeBrake reconstructs the world of tenth-century Rijnland, at that time one of the most underpopulated and underdeveloped parts of Europe. The author shows how, by reclaiming and colonizing the bogs, its residents gradually turned a frontier wilderness along the North Sea into a highly productive agrarian landscape. With its new approach to understanding medieval subsistence strategy, this book will be particularly useful to historical geographers and environmental historians. Its themes of land reclamation, colonization, and the continuing struggle between man and nature will provide fresh insights into life in medieval Europe.