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 when the storm passed through the Lesser Antilles in the Caribbean between October 10 and October 16. Specifics on the hurricane's track and strength are unknown since the official Atlantic hurricane database only goes back to 1851.
The hurricane struck Barbados with winds possibly exceeding 320 km/h (200 mph), before moving past Martinique, Saint Lucia, and Saint Eustatius; thousands of deaths were reported on each island. Coming in the midst of the American Revolution, the storm caused heavy losses to British and French fleets contesting for control of the area. The hurricane later passed near Puerto Rico and over the eastern portion of Hispaniola (then Santo Domingo, now the Dominican Republic). There, it caused heavy damage near the coastlines; it ultimately turned to the northeast before being last observed on October 20 southeast of Cape Race, Newfoundland.
The strongest buildings and the whole of the houses, most of which were stone, and remarkable for their solidity, gave way to the fury of the wind, and were torn up to their foundations; all the forts destroyed, and many of the heavy cannon carried upwards of a hundred feet from the forts. Had I not been an eyewitness, nothing could have induced me to have believed it. More than six thousand persons perished, and all the inhabitants are entirely ruined.”— Sir George Rodney
The Great Hurricane of 1780 is considered the deadliest Atlantic tropical cyclone of all time.
About 22,000 people died when the storm pounded Barbados, Martinique, and Sint Eustatius in the Lesser Antilles between October 10 and October 16.
Thousands of deaths also occurred offshore.
The hurricane struck the Caribbean in the midst of the American Revolution and took a heavy toll on the British and French fleets contesting for control of the area..
The hurricane season of 1780 is one of the worst in recorded history. At least eight destructive storms struck American and Caribbean shores that year. In October, three storms in three successive weeks caused unparalleled economic and military destruction. The first, named the Savanna-La-Mer hurricane for the tiny settlement on the island of Jamaica which was completely destroyed by the storm’s tides and winds, struck on October 3rd. The storm would cross Cuba and the Bahamas before encountering the British fleet east of Daytona Beach. Another fleet of British ships would be seriously damaged off the Virginia Coast. Over 1,000 deaths were attributed to the storm.