So is it just me or have you wondered what was the worst year to be alive (btw it’s not 2020):
Was it 1349, when the Black Death wiped out half of Europe? Nope!
Was it 1918, when the flu colloquially known as Spanish flu infected 500 million people and killed 50 million to 100 million people, mostly young adults? Nope!
Was it any of the years of the Holocaust, between 1941 and 1945? Nope!
It was 536!!!
“It was the beginning of one of the worst periods to be alive, if not the worst year.”
~ Michael McCormick, Medieval Historian
A mysterious fog plunged Europe, the Middle East, and parts of Asia into darkness, day and night—for 18 months.
“For the sun gave forth its light without brightness, like the moon, during the whole year.”
~ Procopius (500-554 AD), Byzantine Historian
Temperatures in the summer of 536 fell 1.5°C to 2.5°C, initiating the coldest decade in the past 2300 years. Snow fell that summer in China; crops failed; people starved. The Irish chronicles record a failure of bread from the years 536–539. Then, in 541, bubonic plague struck the Roman port of Pelusium, in Egypt. What came to be called the Plague of Justinian spread rapidly, wiping out one-third to one-half of the population of the eastern Roman Empire and hastening its collapse.
The cause…a cataclysmic volcanic eruption in Iceland spewed ash across the Northern Hemisphere early in 536. Two other massive eruptions followed, in 540 and 547. The repeated blows, followed by plague, plunged Europe into economic stagnation that lasted until 640.