Disasters timeline

  • 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