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World's Worst Historical Disasters examines some of the most significant natural and man-made disasters in world history, from those almost lost in the mists of time, such as the plague in Athens which killed 75 per cent of the population and the earthquake in Corinth that left 45,000 people dead to modern day catastrophes such as the New Delhi air collision and the Samastipur train disaster which both cost hundreds of lives. All kinds of horrendous disasters are covered including plagues, earthquakes, volcanoes, genocides, floods, train crashes and aeroplane crashes.
Each fascinating account gives a full and detailed analysis of the events leading up to the disaster, the actual disaster itself and then the extent of the damage and the dreadful aftermath. Learn about the massacre at Milan, the great fire of London and the historic San Francisco earthquake. Each story is highly illustrated bringing every disaster to life, plus key facts outline the most important information and allows the reader the see facts at a glance.
Whether the result of mankind or an inevitable and uncontrollable act of nature, World's Worst Historical Disasters will provide an educational and riveting read.
World's Worst Historical Disasters: Natural and Man-made Catastrophes from the Ancient World to the Present Day
Ancient Disasters: 3000BC - 0
Sodom and Gomorrah (2nd millennium BC)
Modern science throws light on what could have caused the violent event recounted in the Bible.
Indus Valley (1750 BC)
The soil turns saline in the Indus Valley, the crops fail, and two great cities (Harappa and Mohenjo- Daro) fall into ruin.
Thera (1628 BC)
A massive volcanic eruption destroys the city of Akrotiri in Greece and turns the sky yellow over China.
A tsunami 150m (500ft) high devastates the coastline of Crete.
Athens (429 BC)
Seventy-five per cent of Athens is wiped out by plague.
Imperial Disasters: 0 - 1000 AD
Fire beginning in the Circus Maximus destroys half the city.
Pompeii is destroyed in a massive volcanic eruption from Mount Vesuvius.
Plague kills 2000 people every day in Rome.
Over 200,000 people are killed in a massive earthquake
The population of Milan, 300,000 people, are massacred by the Ostrogoths.
Plague reduces the population of Constantinople by around 50 per cent.
An earthquake destroys the great city, leaving 45,000 dead.
Medieval Disasters: 1000 - 1500
The Crusaders kill 40,000 people in Jerusalem, although they themselves have suffered 240,000 dead from disease and starvation.
Northern Hemisphere (c.1200)
The onset of the 'Little Ice Age' results in starvation, crop failure and epidemics across the northern hemisphere.
Kublai Khan's invasion fleet is destroyed off the coast of Japan by a typhoon, sending 200 ships and 13,000 men to the bottom of the sea.
The Black Death plague kills 75 million people - one third of the population of Europe.
The Spanish begin colonizing the Americas, beginning the destruction of entire American civilisations and the deaths of 24 million from war and disease.
Portugal establishes its first colonies in Africa, and begins the transatlantic slave trade which will cost over 10 million African lives.
Early Modern Disasters: 1500 - 1700
An earthquake wrecks the historic city.
The Portuguese ship Sao Joao runs aground on the Natal coast, drowning 100 and costing the lives of a further 500 during their walk to the nearest Portuguese outpost.
Shansi province (1556)
An earthquake kills 830,000 people, the greatest seismic disaster in history.
New England (1617)
Smallpox decimates the North American Indians of New England.
North Atlantic (1622)
The Spanish galleon Atocha sinks in a storm with 200 people and 200 million pesos on board.
Famine kills four million people in India following a severe drought.
The Great Fire of London turns large parts of central London to ashes.
10,000 Turks drown in the River Zenta when attacked by the army of Eugene of Savoy.
Industrial Age Disasters: 1700 - 1900
The city of Edo is wiped out by earthquake, with 200,000 dead.
A huge underwater earthquake destroys Lisbon through tremors, fire and tsunamis.
Ten million people die in the Great Famine of Bengal.
The eruption of Mount Asama wipes out Japanese crop yields, resulting in massive famine and infanticide.
Moscow is burnt to the ground by Russian saboteurs.
Sumbawa Island (1815)
An enormous volcanic eruption in Indonesia ejects 50 cubic kilometres of magma into the air.
A cholera epidemic kills one million people.
The potato crop fails and Europe-wide starvation takes hold.
Mississippi River (1865)
The paddle steamer Sultana, chronically overloaded with Civil War veterans, blows up and kills 1700 soldiers.
Mobile, Alabama (1865)
An ammunition magazine explodes, wrecking the town of Mobile and killing 300 persons.
The UK's first major rail disaster kills 33 passengers
A city-wide fire leaves 100,000 people homeless.
Measles is introduced into Fiji accidentally by the king, and kills a third of the population.
The worst drought ever recorded, in which nine million people lose their lives.
The island of Krakatoa is destroyed by the biggest volcanic eruption in history.
Disasters of a New Century: 1900-45
Mont Pelee erupts, killing the entire population of the nearby town of St Pierre.
New York (1904)
Fire aboard the steamboat General Slocum kills over 1000 people on the East River.
San Francisco (1906)
The San Francisco earthquake destroys two thirds of the city.
West Virginia (1907)
An explosion at the Fairmont coal mine kills 362 men and boys.
New York (1911)
Nearly 150 sweatshop employees of the Triangle Shirtwaist Company die in a factory fire.
The cruise ship Titanic hits an iceberg and sinks on her maiden voyage.
The liner Lusitania is sunk by a German U-boat off the Irish coastline, costing 1198 lives.
A worldwide influenza pandemic kills over 21 million people.
A three-state tornado kills nearly 700 people in Missouri, Illinois and Indiana.
The British airship the R101 crashes north of Paris.
A dam across the Yangtze bursts, flooding 104,000 square kilometres of land and precipitating a famine.
Soviet Union (1936-38)
Stalin's Great Purge extends over two years and costs the lives of around 10 million Soviet citizens.
Japanese soldiers commit a month-long massacre of the citizens of Nanking.
The four-year siege of Leningrad causes the deaths of nearly 800,000 people.
The tent of the Barnham & Bailey circus catches fire, and 162 audience members of killed.
The German refugee ship Wilhelm Gustloff is sunk by a Russian submarine, resulting in history's worst maritime disaster.
Modern Disasters 1945-Present Day
China Famine (1959-61)
Around 40 million people die of famine, a famine caused mostly by the political tamperings of the communist government.
Baikonur Space Centre explosion (1960)
The world's worst space exploration accident - 91 people are killed when an R-16 rocket explodes at the Baikonur Space Centre in Kazakhstan.
Over 100 children are killed in their school by a coal waste tip landslide.
Bangladesh Cyclone (1970)
One million people die when a massive cyclone hits the Ganges Delta Islands, Bangladesh.
Tenerife air crash (1977)
In the world's worst civil aviation disaster, two Boeing 747s collide on the runway at Los Rodeos, Tenerife, resulting in 582 dead.
Samastipur Train Disaster (1981)
A train plunges off a bridge into the Bagmati River in Bihar, India, killing 800 people in the world's worst train disaster.
Thousands die at Bhopal, India, after poisonous gas leaks out from the Union Carbide Factory.
An explosion at the Chernobyl nuclea power station leads to over 2000 deaths from the effects of radiation poisoning.
A crowd surge at the Hillsborough stadium, Sheffield, leads to 96 fans being crushed to death against perimeter railings.
New Delhi air collision (1996)
Two passenger aircraft collide over New Delhi, killing 351 people.
World Trade Center (2001)
The worst terrorist attack in history is unleashed against the World Trade Center, New York.
Space Shuttle Columbia (2003)
The Space Shuttle Columbia breaks up over Texas 16 minutes before landing.
Iranian Earthquake (2003)
An earthquake in Bam, Iran, results in huge urban destruction and a death toll approaching 40,000.
Asian Tsunami (2004)
The worst tsunami incident in history kills over 120,000 people in territories bordering the Indian Ocean.
Hurricane Katrina (2005)
South-eastern America's coast is left devastated by flooding.
Haiti Earthquake (2010)
One of the world's poorest countries suffers widespread damage and approximately 250,000 people killed.