The Actual Worst Year to Be Alive

by Drishti Ranjan

The Actual Worst Year to Be Alive

April 9, 2021

You think 2020 is bad?

There was a year that puts 2020 to shame and that year was ‘the worst year to be alive’ in the true-est essence of the phrase.

Even though 2020 had it all: a pandemic, wildfires, threat of a world war, global recession, locust swarms, cyclones etc. With so many things happening around you, we all have wanted to cancel the year. But guess what? This wasn’t even the worst year in the history!

And by history, we mean all of it.

Yes, the bubonic plague, the most fatal pandemic in human history, killed around 200 million people, and this year was worse than that.

Yes, even all human invasions added up together, in terms of death and destruction caused, get outshined by everything that happened in the course of this particular year.

Which is why, no matter how bad 2020 gets (Just a rhetoric. We are not tempting fate. promise) historians believe that the worst year for humanity has already happened way back. As a matter of fact, that it was so long ago, that none of us were even born back then. So which year is it?

The worst year in History is *drumrolls* 536 AD!

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But What Makes This Year THAT Bad?

During a recent study, researchers studying the tree rings in Ireland traced back a change in the pattern to 536 AD. This year was the whole package. A fiasco that was probably started by a volcanic eruption, which was big enough to change climatic patterns and dictate cultivation habits for years to come. This only served as a butterfly effect for the doom that was to follow.

For starters, the Justinian Plague wiped out half of the population of the Roman Empire, which accounts to the killing of almost 100 million people. Coronavirus doesn’t seem bad after hearing this, does it?

This was not it actually. A mysterious fog engulfed around three-fourths of the world and caused the temperatures to drop to 1.5 Degree Celsius in the peak summer. So much so, that summers in Asia and Europe became almost 35 – 37 degree Fahrenheit colder and China even reported snow!

This eruption was known as the Late Antique Little Ice Age, which was the reason behind the volcanic ash blocking out the sun and affecting the global climatic pattern severely. What’s even more bizarre is that even the Sahara Desert experienced snowfall (!)

This catalyst became the reason why a majority of the northern hemisphere literally did not see light of the day. By the omission of light, we don’t mean that it was out for a small time and restored once things were settled; but actually, there was no sunlight for 24 hours each day, extending over 2 whole years. This happened due to the sulphur release by the explosion also caused acid rains for the majority of the year, which also proved fatal, as that resulted in skin cancer and claimed a lot more lives.

The dark age, as this came be to called, was not over yet. To add as a cherry on top, owing to this unpredictable weather pattern and lack of sunlight, most countries faced massive crop failure which led to millions starving to death and also affected the economic activities in place. This economic stagnation continued, and got accelerated in 541 AD when the bubonic plague broke out in Europe.

While the events of 2020 might have after effects for the next 2-3 years, but the aftermath of the events of 536 AD affected the entire world (literally.) for the next century. When comparing the two, 2020 doesn’t seem so bad now, does it?


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