The El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is a pacemaker of global climate, and the accurate prediction of future climate change requires an understanding of the ENSO variability. Recently, much-debated aspects of the ENSO have included its long-term past and future changes and its associations with the North Atlantic and European sectors, potentially in interaction with the North Atlantic Oscillation and the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation. Here we present the first European dendroclimatic precipitation reconstruction that extends through the alternating climate phases of the Medieval Climate Anomaly and the Little Ice Age. We show that northern Europe underwent a severe precipitation deficit during the Medieval Climate Anomaly, which was synchronous with droughts in various ENSO-sensitive regions worldwide, while the subsequent centuries during the Little Ice Age were markedly wetter. We attribute this drought primarily to an interaction between the ENSO and the North Atlantic Oscillation, and to a lesser (or negligible) degree to an interaction between the ENSO and the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation.