What to do if you do not have freedom to move and are imprisoned near a library? The answer, or at least one possible answer, pioneer environmental history. That was the case with Fernand Braudel, a French historian/ French army officer. He was captured during World War II and spent most of the war held with other French officers at a camp where he had access to the library near Lubeck, Germany. There, with access to the library and his own memory he started writing a history of the Mediterranean during the reign of Phillip II. However, in Braudel’s view and as part of the so-called Annales school of French history, one cannot simply write a history of the Mediterranean during the reign of Phillip II in simply his lifetime. You have to start with the geology of the Mediterranean. To understand a place or an event over any length of time you have to go back to the basics, the geology and the geography of a place, to understand how events played out.