Mount Tambora

In 1815, the Tambora culture in modern-day Indonesia was completely destroyed by which event?

And the answer: volcanic eruption.

Iwan Setiyawan/KOMPAS, via Associated Press

Located on an island in Indonesia, the village of Tambora had about 10,000 residents when the volcano, Mount Tambora, erupted. Much like the ancient city of Pompeii, Tambora and its people were immediately buried by volcanic ash. It remains as the most powerful volcanic eruption in recorded history.

The aftermath of this massive explosion could be felt to nearly no end. The explosion reached some 25 miles into the atmosphere, depositing ash and debris hundreds of miles away from the original volcanic site. In China and Tibet, unseasonable cold killed crops and trees. In northeastern United States, the weather turned "backward" in mid-May of 1816 – it became so cold that frost and snow rained down to kill crops. Farmers were pushed farther westward in search of more hospitable climates, ultimately leading to the migration that founded Indiana and Illinois. The extent of the volcanic effects were so intense that 1816 soon became known as the "year without a summer". Dark skies and colder temperatures across Europe inspired ominous, dark imagery in art in literature. It is even said that Mary Shelley's Frankenstein was devised in this moody atmosphere.

John Constable's "Weymouth Bay" (1816). 

Interestingly, though, this major eruption receives relatively little acknowledgement for its extensive impact. Later, smaller eruptions such as Krakatoa occurred during the time of the telegram and received far more widespread coverage, but news about Mount Tambora travelled by ship.

However, the immense and widespread effects of Mount Tambora remain significant even today. The global hardship brought on in the year without a summer remains a testament to how, and in which curious ways, the life on our earth connects to one another, and what it takes to survive disaster.

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