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Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Wednesday Regency: How an Eruption Changed the World

If you've ever heard about the Year without a Summer, the eruption of Mount Tambora on April 15, 1815 was the cause. The eruption killed nearly 100,000 people (initial blast, tsunamis, and starvation from the destruction) and cause massive weather disruptions for the next 2 years, though it wasn't understood why that happened until much later. The later eruption of Krakota is more widely known because of the advances in world-wide media coverage.
The weather in 1816 was bizarre. Spring came but then everything seemed to turn backward, as cold temperatures returned. The sky seemed permanently overcast. The lack of sunlight became so severe that farmers lost their crops and food shortages were reported in Ireland, France, England, and the United States.

One day I'm going to write a story about the year without a summer just so I can put in the frost fairs.
The frost fair of 1814 began on 1 February, and lasted four days. An elephant was led across the river below Blackfriars Bridge. A printer named "Davis" published a book, Frostiana; or a History of the River Thames in a Frozen State. This was to be the last frost fair. The climate was growing milder; also, old London Bridge was demolished in 1831 and replaced with a new bridge with wider arches, allowing the tide to flow more freely; additionally, the river was embanked in stages during the 19th century, which also made the river less likely to freeze.

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