Displaced residents of Pezielietsie in Kohima salvage properties from homes damaged during a period observed as the worst monsoon disasters to hit the state. Despite the unprecedented disasters which hit the world in 2018, scientists have noted that the year 536 CE was the worst time to be alive for humans. (Morung File Photo)
Morung Express News
Dimapur | November 21
Scientists and historians looking to pinpoint the worst year to be alive in human history would have had a hard time to top 2018.
Scientists seem to disagree though.
In Nagaland, the state was witness to, in the state Chief Secretary’s words: natural disasters “unprecedented in the state’s history;” while hurricanes, wildfires and earthquakes wreaked tremendous havoc on a global scale.
The state disaster management authority had assessed that 12 lives were lost, 532 villages and 48821 families affected and 2,61,115 people, which is 13.19 percent of the Nagaland’s population bore the brunt of this year’s monsoon fury.
However, a new study by researchers at the University of Maine and University of Nottingham has determined that the worst year to be a human isn’t 2018. It was the year the year 536 CE.
A pair of studies published in the journal Antiquity, paint a dire picture of life for humans starting in AD 536. It was then that a combination of events began to shape some of mankind’s darkest days, starting with what is known as the “dust veil event” – a cataclysmic volcanic eruption in Iceland which blanketed much of the Northern Hemisphere.
Temperatures plummeted, crops rapidly died off, and human progress hit a brick wall. As if this weren’t enough, Europe was then hit with an outbreak of bubonic plague which wiped out one-quarter of the entire human population of Earth.
These dire events, combined with readings of ice samples that show the smelting of precious metals took a century-long dip during this time period, led the researchers to conclude that mankind was essentially in a standstill while it tried to recover.
Michael McCormick, who chairs the Harvard University Initiative for the Science of the Human Past, stated that the year 536 CE “was the beginning of one of the worst periods to be alive, if not the worst year.”
Historians have long known that the middle of the sixth century was a dark hour in what used to be called the Dark Ages, but the source of the mysterious clouds has long been a puzzle, sciencemag.org reported.
The repeated blows lasted until 640, when another signal in the ice—a spike in airborne lead—marked a resurgence of silver mining, it added, citing Antiquity.
The scientific studies point to a veiled message of hope thought—that while climate change looms, wars abound and new diseases are posing new threats; a look at history provides humanity’s testament to make it through incredible hardships.