Before reading below, what event, war, etc. do you think caused the most deaths in a few short years or less?
While researching catastrophic events of our world I did find many of which I was unaware. Let's start with number 9.
500,000 people perished when the Bhola Cyclone plowed into East Pakistan and India's West Bengal in 1970.
Number 8 is the 1556 earthquake in Shaanxi, China where over 800,000 people were killed.
In 1887 the Yellow River in China spilled over its banks causing massive flooding and killed an estimated 900,000 to 2 million people making it number 7 on my list.
|Picture by Leruswing|
Jumping up a century to 1931, China once again is hit by monumental flooding. This time the Yangtze River overflowed in highly populated areas as well as rice fields. Many of those that weren't killed by the high waters starved to death raising the death toll to 3.7 million people.
The Holocaust comes in at 5 which included people of Jewish descent, Soviet prisoners, Polish civilians, and people with mental and physical handicaps. The Nazi slaughter took the lives of 6 million people although estimates go as high as 17 million.
(The pictures I found for the Holocaust were so disturbing so I chose not to show them on the blog.)
Number 4 is World War I where the world lost 17 million people.
Between 1850 and 1864 a deadly uprising in Taiping took the lives of another 40 million people in China. This estimate has been lower and much higher.
We lost 60 million people during WWII which put this war into the number 2 slot.
So were any of those your guesses?
The number 1 record for worldwide deaths was the Black Plague, also known as the Bubonic Plague, The Plague, and The Black Death. The largest epidemic of it ran from 1346-1353, leaving approximately up to 200 million people dead. That was about 60% or 3/5th the world population.
By Flappiefh - Own work from:Natural Earth ;The origin and early spread of the Black Death in Italy: first evidence of plague victims from 14th-century Liguria (northern Italy) maps by O.J. Benedictow., CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=66468361
So how did all this get started? We know that the Asian rat flea was the culprit using the rat as an accomplice to spread the disease. The Asian climate had gotten dry, driving the rats out of the parched fields and into populated areas. On those rats were the fleas carrying the bubonic plague. The Black Death is believed to have traveled up the Silk Road with the Mongol armies.
Fearing for their lives, the Genoese traders made their way to the port and boarded ships. Little did they know in doing so they would take the plague to Sicily and to their home country of Italy. From there it spread northward into Europe.
The plague ravaged the population. Once a person was exposed their symptoms could show up as early as one day and as late as seven, but few would survive its onslaught. Fearing for their lives, people would abandon family members and homes, which left streets covered with dead bodies.
By S. Tzortzis - http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/13/2/06-0197-f1.htm, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=17536945
There were 3 types of the plague caused by the Yersini Pestis Bacteria. The Bubonic Plague which was spread from the flea bite itself. The Septicemic Plague which could be spread by the bite of the flea or by fluids of an infected person. This type went into their bloodstream. And lastly, the Pneumonic Plague which was spread from the infected victims and was an airborne bacterium. So people in a house with someone with the Plague could contact it through the air. The bacteria would enter their lungs where death was quick.
So many bodies needing removal and those removing the bodies were sure to contact the disease created its own problem. Many houses were burned with the bodies, sometimes still alive, inside. Outside mass graves were dug to try to bury the bodies.
The ugly head of The Black Plague would show its head many more times over the next several hundred years but never to the same extreme.
So what was your guess? Did you guess the Bubonic Plague? Had you heard about any of these disasters? Did any of them surprise you?
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Debbie Lynne Costello is the author of Sword of Forgiveness, Amazon's #1 seller for Historical Christian Romance. She has enjoyed writing stories since she was eight years old. She raised her family and then embarked on her own career of writing the stories that had been begging to be told. She and her husband have four children and live in upstate South Carolina with their 5 horses, 3 dogs, cat and a miniature donkey.
I have read and loved all of your books! I'm reading this as I just woke up so my brain couldn't register enough to think. The numbers of deaths in any of the events you cited are astounding and devastating to think about. Praying for you as you face remnants of the current hurricane in your area.ReplyDelete
The numbers are unbelievable, and there were so many other huge catastrophes that I didn't even mention. Thank you so much for your prayers.Delete
They were 7 or 8 families that survived the outbreak of the different plagues because they carry an extra gene that saved there lives many of us are descendants of those families. I only know this because scientist for centuries have wonder why some survived oh they did suffer but survived and it come down to one gene. Thanks for sharing the different types that were out there way back when.ReplyDelete
Thanks for sharing that, Kim. Very interesting. I wonder how much research if any, continues to be done.Delete
There might still be research being done because scientist want to know how many of us have the extra gene. I haven't read anything lately but really have search I stumble upon an article about the research about 10 years ago and found it fascinating.Delete
It was amazing what a flea could do. I thought maybe a flu of some sort. Good health is precious.ReplyDelete
I did not think about the flu epidemic of 1918! My great-grandmother died in that epidemic when my grandmother was only a year ago. How did I forget that! There was between 50 Million and 100 Million people died in a few years.Delete
The numbers of lives lost and numbers of tragedies is astounding. So often we tend to forget the past and move on with the future. There are times when great lessons can be learned from past mistakes.ReplyDelete
Well said, Melissa. Thanks for sharing.Delete
Mind blowing how many people died in some of these! If China were not such a large country, they would have been wiped away by so many catastrophies there. Is God trying to tell them something? jarning67(at)hotmail(dot)comReplyDelete
Hey Joan, it is hard to believe the loss of life world wide when you add all these up. And as I mentioned to Melanie I had forgot to put in the 1918 Flu epidemic which took the lives of another 50-100 million people.Delete
Every once in a while someone in the south west comes down with bubonic plague because fleas on the rodents in the desert can still carry it. Also, the hanta virus. Scary stuff!ReplyDelete
Kathy, we used to have a Praire Dog for a pet, but they won't sell them for pets here in the east anymore due to the fact that they can be carriers of the bubonic plague.Delete
Very interesting post, Debbie. I was thinking a little further back in world history to the Great Flood. Amazing how a little flea could cause so much devestation around the world. Thanks for the history lesson. :)ReplyDelete
Good thought, Angi. Unfortunately we don't know how many people were alive at that time. But that would have been a big one, I am sure!Delete
Except for the Holocaust, I wasn't familiar with these. I guess I tend to think of things closer to home, not having been to these places. I can't imagine that many people dying at one time.ReplyDelete
Linda - email@example.com
It is very hard to wrap one's mind around the total loss of life. Thanks for stopping by.Delete
Houses burned with bodies, some of them alive?! So many disasters. ☹ Great post, even though it caused me to cringe a few times. 😏ReplyDelete
Hey Chappy, Thanks for coming by. Yes, as I was researching this it was so sad. I couldn't help but think that the whole world was mourning for someone in many of these tragedies.Delete
I had no idea that the Bubonic plague was so deadly. It makes you wonder how anybody survived in those times.ReplyDelete
That is for sure! It's a lot of lives when one starts adding up all those numbers.Delete
I guessed WW1 and WW2. Informative post. So lives for each one.ReplyDelete
Your books are amazing, Debbie, with all the history interwoven with the fictional characters. Blessings and prayers that you will not have damage from Hurricane Florence. I saw where you braided the horses mane with information. Great job. God's protection.
Thank you, Marilyn! I'm so glad you enjoy my books. :) This storm is moving so slowly that we are still waiting for the rain. The winds have been down graded. We are now just facing the rain which we are hoping will not be as bad as they keep saying.Delete
I did guess The Black Plague. I was fascinated by the history of it that you shared. I didn’t know about the cyclone or the 2 floods in China.Thank you for the chance to win one of your books.ReplyDelete
That's great! And so glad you enjoyed the post. There is so much in history as I research I just keep finding more and more interesting things. thanks for coming by. Good luck!Delete
The Bubonic Plague did come to mind, but didn't realize how extensive the victims! Surprised at how many of the disasters involved the Chinese people! janet(at)blybooks(dot)comReplyDelete
Janet, I was surprised, too. the Chinese have seen their fair share of tragedies. Thanks for coming by!Delete
Thanks for this post, Debbie. Some of these I had never heard of. I was guessing WWII was the most catastrophic for deaths. I didn't realize the Black Plague killed that many people! Wretched fleas!! Ugh! It sure is a reminder how precious life is and that we don't take things or people for granted, but live each day to the fullest for God's glory! ~Alison BossReplyDelete
Isn't that the truth, Alison? We never know. There were so many more tragedies. As I said in a comment above, I had forgotten to mention the flu epidemic of 1918 that would have been in the top 5 for loss of life. My great-grandmother and her sister both died in that flu. Basha was only 21.Delete
Chappy Debbie, You won choice of my books! Congratulations!ReplyDelete