The year 2020 started with bad news in national security, accidents, killings, forest fires, and the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many would have thought that this could be the worst year to be alive in human history because the pandemic has turned the whole world upside down.
Also, other events in history could be considered as the worst year to be alive, like the Black Death in 1347 CE, the years between 1941 to 1945, and the 1918 flu pandemic.
But none of these years are actually the worst year ever. ScienceAlert reported that the worst year to be alive goes way back to the 536 CE.
536 CE: The Beginning of the Worst Periods to be Alive
Harvard University archaeologist and medieval historian Michael McCormick told Science Magazine that 536 CE was the beginning of the worst periods to be alive. His paper showed that it was not until 640 CE when they saw signs of economic recovery.
Based on history, 536 CE was the tenth year of the Byzantine emperor Justinian the Great when everything was peaceful, and there were still no plagues.
However, something bizarre is happening in the sky. There was a mysterious, dusty fog that blocked the Sun and caused the temperature to drop. That year was the beginning of the worldwide chaos, such as drought, crop failures, snow during summer in China, and famine in many areas worldwide.
Byzantine historian Procopius wrote that the 536 CE was the year when a most dread portent happened. "For the sun gave forth its light without brightness, like the moon, during this whole year, and it seemed exceedingly like the sun in eclipse, for the beams it shed were not clear nor such as it is accustomed to shed."
Some evidence suggests that volcanic eruptions may have caused these phenomena and just the ice core in Antarctica and tree rings in Greenland.
The ice core analysis of the Colle Gnifetti glacier yielded information about the century when the worst periods began. They found that volcanic ash and debris, known as tephra, was mixed with an ice layer that indicates volcanic activity during that time.
The misery was prolonged to 540 CE, then a year later, the Justinian Plague began, and everything went downhill from there.
However, around 640 CE, the team noticed a sign of renewed ice that contains lead. Although lead pollution is not something to celebrate, the team noted that this could mean humans have started mining and smelting silver from lead ore. Then in 660 CCE, they found indications of silver mining.
The team published their study "Alpine ice-core evidence for the transformation of the European monetary system, AD 640-670," in the journal Antiquity.
Black Death, Flu Pandemic, and Holocaust
The Black Death, 1918 flu pandemic, and the holocaust may not be the worst year to be alive in human history, these years or periods have still brought catastrophe to humankind.
The Black Death was a global epidemic of bubonic plague during the 1300s that affected Europe and Asia. History reported that the plague originated in Asia and was transmitted to Europe through trading ships. Analysis of the bacteria revealed that it already existed even in 3,000 BC.
Centuries later, the 1918 flu pandemic happened caused by the H1N1 virus with genes of avian origins. According to the CDC, it infected one-third of the world's population.
Then holocaust happened in the years between 1941 and 1945 during World War II. History reported that around six million people were killed in systematic state-sponsored killings of Jewish men, women, and children.
RELATED ARTICLE: The Black Death: Bubonic Plague Pandemics Throughout History
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