Was the Year 536 The Worst in All of Recorded History?

If you think the last few years have been a dumpster fire, think again. History has many lessons and tales about some truly, truly bad years.

For one of the worst in recorded history, we have to go a full 1500 years back, to the year 536.

Indeed, several historians and scientists can attest to this year being a really bad one to be alive. ย One of the reasons seems to be a major Icelandic volcano that erupted, causing massive ash that caused “theย most severe and protracted episode of climatic cooling” in the past 2,000 years.

This volcano set off a period of intense global cooling, but also extensive crop damage, prolonged frost, drought, and more. This lasted for several years, leading to global starvation and chaos, all stemmed from the year 536.

The period around the year 536 is known the world over as The Dark Ages, many think stemming from the fall of the Roman Empire, but also accelerated by global disasters.

Shortly after this extremely rotten year, the first global plague entered the picture and swept the world, killing an estimated 100 million people.

It’s wild to think about this period of extreme human and animal suffering, which makes current conflicts and events pale in comparison.


Via The Conversation:

“536 is the current consensus candidate for worst year in human history. A volcanic eruption, or possibly more than one, somewhere in the northern hemisphere would seem to have been the trigger.

Wherever it was, the eruption precipitated a decade-long โ€œvolcanic winterโ€, in which China suffered summer snows and average temperatures in Europe dropped by 2.5โ„ƒ. Crops failed. People starved. Then they took up arms against each other.

In 541 bubonic plague arrived in Egypt and went on to kill around a third of the population of the Byzantine empire.”