10 October 1780

The Great Hurricane of 1780 in the Caribbean kills 20 000 to 30000 people.

The Great Hurricane of 1780 was a devastating tropical cyclone that struck the Caribbean region in late October 1780. It is considered one of the deadliest hurricanes in recorded history and remains the deadliest Atlantic hurricane on record. The hurricane’s exact path is not well-documented, but it is believed to have passed over the Lesser Antilles, Puerto Rico, and possibly Hispaniola.

Date and Impact: The hurricane occurred from October 10 to October 16, 1780. It is estimated to have reached Category 5 intensity, with sustained winds that likely exceeded 200 mph (322 km/h).

Casualties: The storm caused immense destruction and resulted in the deaths of an estimated 22,000 to 27,500 people. The majority of the casualties occurred in the Lesser Antilles, where entire fleets of ships were destroyed.

Naval Losses: The hurricane had a profound impact on naval history. The British Royal Navy suffered significant losses, with many warships and merchant vessels destroyed. The disaster played a role in the British defeat in the American Revolutionary War, as it weakened British naval power in the Caribbean.

Barbados and Martinique: Barbados and Martinique were among the islands hardest hit. In Barbados, the hurricane destroyed the capital, Bridgetown, and caused widespread devastation. In Martinique, the storm inflicted severe damage, including the destruction of the town of Saint-Pierre.

Unprecedented Intensity: The intensity of the Great Hurricane of 1780 is believed to have been unparalleled in Atlantic hurricane history. The storm’s high winds and storm surge caused widespread destruction, and the devastation was exacerbated by the fact that many structures at the time were not built to withstand such a powerful storm.

Limited Meteorological Understanding: In the 18th century, meteorological understanding and communication were limited, and there was no formal system for naming hurricanes. Consequently, the Great Hurricane of 1780 was not well-documented compared to modern storms.