Natural Disasters in History

The horrifying news from Japan makes us realize the awesome power of nature.  Many times, the course of history has been changed by natural occurrences.

It’s hard to come up with a definitive list of the worst natural disasters in history, but here are some various sites that put forth their candidates.

This site explains the difference between natural disaster and natural hazards, and then lists the worst of the disasters.  This site’s choice for #1?  The Yellow River Flood of 1931 in China.


Survivors of the 1931 Yellow River Flood


This site doesn’t rank the natural disasters; it lists them in reverse chronological order. This list includes the Black Death, which is probably a contender for the deadliest natural disaster in history.











This site ranks disasters by death tolls; it ranks the 1920 Haiyuan earthquake as the worst.



Newsweek put together a list of natural disasters you never heard about.









Finally, from a website appropriately named Epic Disasters, here is a list of epic disasters, broken down by category.


List Love!

List-lover: that’s me.  When I was a kid, I used to read the Guiness Book of World Records and the World Almanac to learn about the “World’s Biggest” this or the “World’s Oldest” that.

Fortunately, in this digital age, I can satisfy my passion for lists with great websites like Listverse.  Where else could you find a list of 15 Frightful Food Facts, 10 Great U.S. Marines, and Top 10 Celebrities Who Have Killed Someone?

And I can combine my love of history and lists when they come up with great ones like this:  The Top 10 Reasons the Dark Ages Were Not Dark.  Just a click away I can find The Top 10 Reasons We Should Revive the Dark Ages.  I may not always agree with what’s on the list or the facts used to explain it, but it still makes for great reading.

As further evidence of Listverse’s fabulousness, I present  10 Curious Tales and Oddities from History.  For a complete list of the historical lists at Listverse, you can go here.  If you find any particularly, um, enlightening, let us know.

Of course, the bizarre lists are fun too.

Disclaimer #1:  Note that some of the lists may “lack suitability” for young gentlemen and ladies!  Ones that require “parental discretion” or “disturbing content” are usually noted.  These are not appropriate for school, so do not have some naughty lists open on your computer and use me as an excuse if you are caught.  Because then you’ll be on my list, if you know what I mean.

Disclaimer #2:  List love is addictive.  When you start checking out lists, you’ll find it hard to stop.  You’ve been warned!

Weird and fascinating cat tales!

Strange jobs from History!

10 Greatest Works of Christian Fiction! (Dazzle two teachers with your knowledge of their subject!)

10 Questions to Make You Think!


History is boring and irrelevant. Right?


One of Europe’s most powerful monarchs changed the course of history because the woman he loved wouldn’t have sex with him.

One of the last kings of France died from child abuse and neglect.

One of the greatest scientific minds in history was put on trial because he dared to suggest that the sun, not the earth, was the center of the universe.

A man who went down in history as one of the greatest explorers ever actually was a complete failure.

The world’s most fearsome warriors (recently featured in a blockbuster summer movie) spent their formative years training to become killing machines … and becoming so attached to other men that when they married, they kidnapped their brides (who shaved their heads and wore boys’ clothing to make themselves more attractive to their mates).

History is definitely not boring.

If you follow headlines, you’ve recently heard a lot about:

  • the Arizona law about illegal immigration
  • a judge’s decision about gay marriage in California
  • building a mosque at Ground Zero
  • ending combat operations in Iraq
  • Middle East peace talks (yet again)

To understand these issues, it helps if you know about

  • the fall of Ancient Rome (what happened when Rome didn’t protect its borders?)
  • marriage from the earliest societies until today (is there a common thread through all civilizations regarding the institution of marriage, and does that matter?)
  • the history of Islam (what kind of a leader was Muhammad, and exactly what does the Qu’ran say about relations with other religions?)
  • the history of Israel, the Jewish Diaspora, and the creation of modern Israel in 1945 (who can rightfully lay claim to that land on the east coast of the Mediterranean Sea?)

History boring and irrelevant?  I say no, but I will defer to an expert:  “Professor” Andy Taylor: