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longue durée

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A term that literally means ‘long duration’ introduced by the French historian Fernand Braudel. It is a standard term of reference in the work of the Annales School, which Braudel helped to establish. It is used to indicate a perspective on history that extends further into the past than both human memory and the archaeological record so as to incorporate climatology, demography, geology, and oceanology, and chart the effects of events that occur so slowly as to be imperceptible to those who experience them, such as the changing nature of the planet or the steady increase in population in a particular area.

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