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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Olivia Macqueen wakes in a makeshift hospital, recovering from a head injury. With amnesia stealing a year of her memories, she has trouble discerning between lies and truth. When her memories start returning in bits and pieces, she must keep up the charade of amnesia until she can find out the truth behind the embezzlement of her family’s business while evading the danger lurking around her.
Doctor Andrew Warwick frantically searches through the rubble left by the Charleston earthquake for the lady who owns his heart. He finds her injured and lifeless. When she regains consciousness, the doctor’s hopes are dashed as he realizes she doesn’t remember him. But things only get worse after he discovers she believes she’s still engaged to the abusive scoundrel, Lloyd Pratt. Now Drew is on a race with the wedding clock to either help her remember or win her heart again before she marries the wrong man.
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.