Disasters timeline

  • Minoan Eruption of Thera

    The eruption of Santorini in Greece in 1,650 B.C. was one of the largest (VEI=6) in the last 10,000 years. About 7 cubic miles (30 cubic km) of... Read more

  • Rhodes Earthquake

    The Colossus only stood for 56 years before it was levelled by an earthquake in 226 BC. The force of the earthquake was such the statue snapped off... Read more

  • Eruption of Mount Vesuvius

    Mount Vesuvius is best known for its eruption in AD 79 that led to the destruction of the Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum. They were never... Read more

  • Crete Earthquake of 365 AD

    The 365 AD Crete earthquake was an undersea earthquake that occurred at about sunrise on 21 July 365 AD in the Eastern Mediterranean, with an... Read more

  • Damghan Earthquake

    The Damghan Earthquake was an earthquake of magnitude 8.0, that struck a 200-mile (320 km) stretch of Iran on 22 December, 856 A.D. The... Read more

  • Syria Earthquake of 1202

    The 1202 Syria earthquake struck at about dawn on 20 May 1202 (598 AH) with an epicenter in southwestern Syria. Up to 1,100,000 deaths have been... Read more

  • St. Lucia's Flood

    St. Lucia's flood (Sint-Luciavloed) was a storm tide that affected the Netherlands and Northern Germany on December 14, 1287 (the day after St.... Read more

  • The Black Death First Appears in Europe

    Coming out of the East, the Black Death reached the shores of Italy in the spring of 1348 unleashing a rampage of death across Europe unprecedented... Read more

  • Black Monday Hail Storm

    On so-called "Black Monday" in 1360, a hail storm kills an estimated 1,000 English soldiers in Chartres, France. The storm and the devastation it... Read more

  • Grote Mandrenke Storm

    The storm Grote Mandrenke (Great Drowning of Men) strikes the Netherlands in January 1362. Hurricane-force winds with enormous waves and a... Read more

  • St. Elizabeth's Flood of 1421

    The St. Elizabeth's flood of 1421 was a flooding of an area in what is now the Netherlands. It takes its name from the feast day of Saint Elisabeth... Read more

  • Wreck of the Mary Rose

    The Mary Rose was one of the earliest ships to carry heavy guns. She was a favourite of King Henry VIII and sank off Portsmouth in 1545 during an... Read more

  • Shaanxi Earthquake

    The 1556 Shaanxi earthquake or Jiajing earthquake was a catastrophic earthquake and is also the deadliest earthquake on record, killing... Read more

  • Delft Explosion

    The catastrophe is know as "The Delft Thunderclap" from the town where it happened, and took place at 11 in the forenoon of 12th October, 1654. At... Read more

  • The Great Plague of London

    Plague was not a new disease for London in 1665. In that year it just happened that conditions meant that all was in place for an epidemic: a mild... Read more

  • Great Fire of London

    The Great Fire of London was a major conflagration that swept through the central parts of the English city of London, from Sunday, 2 September to... Read more

  • Eruption of Mount Etna

    When Etna began to rumble and belch gas on March 8, the residents nearby ignored the warning signs of a larger eruption. Three days later, the... Read more

  • Sicily Earthquake of 1693

    On the 11th of January 1693 a huge earthquake destroyed at least 45 cities, affecting an area of 5600 square kilometres and causing the death of... Read more

  • Great Storm of 1703

    The Great Storm of 1703 was the most severe storm or natural disaster ever recorded in the southern part of Great Britain. It affected southern... Read more

  • Scilly Naval Disaster of 1707

    On the 22nd October 1707 the Isles of Scilly bore witness to the second worst disaster in the history of the Royal Navy. The British naval... Read more

  • Great Lisbon Earthquake

    On November 1st 1755, at about 9:40 a.m., an enormous earthquake, followed by a tidal wave and a succession of fires, devastated the city of... Read more

  • Newfoundland Hurricane of 1775

    A storm struck the eastern coast of Newfoundland on September 9, 1775. It is uncertain if this storm was the remnants of the hurricane that had... Read more

  • Great Hurricane of 1780

    The Great Hurricane of 1780, also known as the Hurricane San Calixto II, is the deadliest Atlantic hurricane on record. Over 27,500 people died... Read more

  • Sinking of HMS Royal George

    The first-rate ship HMS Royal George was laid down as the Royal Anne but renamed in honour of the reigning monarch George II before her launch in... Read more

  • Calabrian Earthquake of 1783

    February 5 This earthquake, with an estimated magnitude of 7.0, affected a large area including most of the southern Italian peninsula and shook... Read more

  • Loss of HMS Minotaur

    MINOTAUR was wrecked on the Haak Sand near the Texel on 22 December 1810. The 2nd lieutenant and eight midshipmen with 100 men were saved and... Read more

  • New Madrid Earthquake of 1812

    In the past three centuries, major earthquakes outside of California and Alaska generally occurred in sparsely-settled areas, and damage and... Read more

  • Caracas Earthquake of 1812

    The 1812 Caracas earthquake took place in Venezuela on March 26, 1812 (on Maundy Thursday) at 4:37 p.m. It measured 7.7 on the Richter magnitude... Read more

  • Felling Mine Disaster

    On the 25th of May, 1812, an explosion occurred at Brandling Main, of Felling Colliery, near Gateshead-on-Tyne, which was attended with a more... Read more

  • London Beer Flood

    The London Beer Flood occurred on October 17, 1814 in the parish of St. Giles, London, England. At the Meux and Company Brewery on Tottenham Court... Read more

  • Eruption of Mount Tambora

    The 1815 eruption is rated 7 on the Volcanic Explosivity Index, the only such eruption since the Lake Taupo eruption in about 180 AD. With an... Read more

  • Brunton's Mechanical Traveler Explosion

    The historical record is scanty but it seems that the Steam Horse operated successfully for an unknown period. So much so, that another, larger,... Read more

  • Méduse Disaster

    In 1816, the French naval ship The Medusa set out to repossess the colony of Senegal. Commanded by an incompetent captain, she ran aground off the... Read more

  • Willey Family Catastrophe

    During the fall of 1825, Samuel Willey, Jr. of Bartlett moved into a small house in the heart of Crawford Notch with his wife, five children, and... Read more

  • Loss of the SS Home

    While making its third voyage from New York to Charleston, the Home struck a sandbar off the Jersey coast. Unaware of the extent of the damage,... Read more

  • The Indian Cyclone of 1839

    On November 25, 1839 a huge cyclone hit Coringa, India with a 40ft storm surge and killed 300,000 people. The entire city was destroyed by this... Read more

  • Great Natchez Tornado

    The Great Natchez Tornado hit Natchez, Mississippi on May 7, 1840. It is the second deadliest single tornado in United States history, killing 317... Read more

  • Versailles Rail Accident

    The Versailles rail disaster is the first railway accident in France and one of the first in the world. The Versailles rail accident, occurred on... Read more

  • Sinking of the Cataraqui

    The vessel was commanded by C. Finlay and carried a crew of 44. By early August the Cataraqui was approaching Bass Strait and on the night of the... Read more

  • Fire Aboard the Steamship Phoenix

    This terrible accident occurred about four o'clock on the morning of the 21st of November, 1847, on Lake Michigan, within seventeen miles of... Read more

  • The St. Louis Great Fire

    The St. Louis Fire of 1849 was a devastating fire that occurred on May 17, 1849 and destroyed a significant part of St. Louis, Missouri and many of... Read more

  • Angers Bridge Collapse

    In 1850, in the midst of a thunderstorm, part of the Batallion of the 11th light infantry regiment totalling 500 men was crossing the suspension... Read more

  • Wreck of HMS Birkenhead

    In December of 1851, the Birkenhead sailed from Cork in Ireland, under the command of Captain Robert Salmond. She left Simon's Town on the... Read more

  • Norwalk Rail Accident

    At 08:00 that morning the Boston express left New York with 200 passengers under the charge of a substitute driver for whom this was the third trip... Read more

  • Sinking of the RMS Tayleur

    This elegant sailing ship was the largest merchant vessel of her day but she was wrecked on her maiden voyage with the loss of 372 lives. Built... Read more

  • Sinking of the SS Arctic

    Sudden and heavy fog causes two ships to collide, killing 322 people off the coast of Newfoundland on this day in 1854. The Arctic was a luxury... Read more

  • Great Fire of Newcastle and Gateshead

    On the morning of Friday, the 6th inst., between twelve and one o’clock, a fire broke out in the worsted manufactory of Messrs. Wilson and Sons, in... Read more

  • Jeannette's Creek Train Wreck

    The scene presented after the collision was a horrible one. Intermixed with the fragments of the broken cars, dead bodies lay in profusion, many of... Read more

  • Gasconade Bridge Train Disaster

    The Gasconade Bridge Train Disaster occurred on November 1st, 1855. With more than 600 passengers aboard the Pacific Railroad excursion train... Read more