Tag - history

Top 10 Worst Floods of all Time

Over the centuries, natural disasters have largely been unavoidable. They are hard to predict, almost impossible to withstand, and the after-effects are devastating. Earthquakes, famines, volcanic eruptions – humans across the world have witnessed enough of these. Moreover, floods have also been a great cause of disaster. While we consider water to be a fundamental element that enables crops to grow and helps sustain livelihoods, it can also leave a drastic impact in excess. Too much of anything can be harmful. The following is a list of some of the worst floods that have wreaked havoc on the lives of people and caused immeasurable damage:

10. Saint Marcellus’ Flood

One of the oldest recorded floods to have had a severe impact, the Saint Marcellus’ flood took place as long ago as 1362, over six hundred years ago. Also known as ‘Grote Mandrenke’, which means the great drowning of men, the disastrous event hit Holland, the British Isles, and Denmark. It is believed the flood originated from a massive gale from the Atlantic Ocean, and then found its way to the aforementioned areas. The disastrous event destroyed a plethora of towns across the countries. In fact, as many as 25,000 people are known to have lost their lives in the calamity. The flood made inhabitants in those areas aware of how damaging and unpredictable the weather can be.

9. Yangtze River Flood

The Yangtze River floods were a series of deadly floods that impacted the Hubei province of People’s Republic of China. They hit the region for a period of three months – from June to September in 1954, and caused extensive damage. Although the Yangtze River is the largest Asian river and is of great importance to China, it has also been catastrophic in nature. The river is so violent that when the floods struck, all efforts to stop them went into vain. Three floodgates were open to stop the water level from rising, and yet the flood ended up taking as many as 33,000 lives.

8. Bangladesh Famine

Bangladesh went through a dark phase in 1974, characterized by poverty and the deaths of many people. The Brahmaputra river, one of the largest in the world, that flows through India, China, and Bangladesh was responsible for the famine. Because of massive floods along the river, the famine took place in Bangladesh, resulting in a pathetic situation where people starved to death. While official estimates say that there were approximately 27,000 casualties, unofficial figures place the number at close to 1.5 million. The floods led to a situation of calamity and disaster throughout the country for a long period of time.

7. Eastern Guatemala Flood

Guatemala is a country in Central America that is bordered by Mexico on one side and the Pacific Ocean on the other. The Pacific Ocean has been infamous for the number of storms and hurricanes that originate in it and end up affecting nearby coastlines. In 1949, one such hurricane hit Guatemala and caused one of the worst flooding disasters the country has ever witnessed. Not only did the flood kill as many as 40,000 people, but it also left countless number of people without homes to live in. The flood caused great losses to the country, in terms of human life, as well as money.

6. The Hanoi Delta Flood

During the Vietnam War, things were difficult and tense in Vietnam. However, the bad situation was made increasingly worse with one of the worst floods in the region. The Red River, flowing through Vietnam’s capital city of Hanoi, flooded the region known as the Hanoi delta. Heavy downpours of rain that wouldn’t seem to stop destroyed the delta region, ending in widespread loss of life. A whopping 1,00,000 people lost their lives in the vicious flood. The fact that the flood took place during the time of war made things even worse as most of the region’s crops were also destroyed.

5. St. Felix Flood

Another deadly flood that struck the Netherlands, the St. Felix flood took place hundreds of years ago in 1530. Since the flood took place on the name day of St. Felix, it came to be named after him. The flood was so huge in size that a major portion of the Netherlands was washed away in it. Only a few small towns were able to survive its fury. It is estimated that the flood killed over 120,000 people, making it one of the worst Dutch floods of all time.

4. Yangtze River Flood of 1935

The Yangtze River has a tumultuous history of flooding. In 1935, a disastrous flood hit the Southeastern Region of China. This flood was much more dangerous and catastrophic than its successor which took place in 1954. The flood not only killed over 150,000 people, but also caused far-reaching damage and destruction in the entire region, preventing economic growth and sustenance. The flood also brought with it various water-borne diseases like malaria and typhoid that further worsened the situation. Those who were able to survive drowning, contracted life-threatening diseases.

3. The Banqiao Dam Failure

Situated in the River Ru in the Henan province of China, the Banqiao Dam is known as a structure and symbol that is associated with a major disaster. A typhoon by the name of Nina struck the region in 1975, and various dams were damaged or destroyed during the ordeal. It was assumed that the Banqiao damn would be able to withstand the heavy rainfall. However, the rainfall was twice the threshold amount and the dam collapsed. The typhoon along with the overflowing river caused massive floods in the region. More than 160,000 people lost their lives and millions of people were left without homes. The flood also cost China hundreds of millions of dollars in damages.

2. Yellow River Flood

The second longest river in Asia, the Yellow River, is as infamous as the Yangtze when it comes to natural disasters. In 1887, the Yellow River flood took place. It was one of the worst natural disasters in history. Due to overflowing, the river submerged surrounding areas, leading to as many as 900,000 people losing their lives. Besides the myriad deaths, the floods also left people without homes and destroyed their means of sustenance, that is, their crops and agriculture.

1. The China Floods

China has withstood various flooding disasters over the centuries. However, none have been as devastating as the China floods of 1931. The ordeal began in 1930, when a drought struck the entire country. Soon after, abnormal weather conditions such as heavy snowstorms and rains brought up water levels to an unimaginably high level. The situation was exacerbated with deadly cyclones in 1931 which made rivers overflow throughout the country. It is estimated that the death toll from this flood was one of the highest ever, with as many as four to five million dead.

Top 10 History’s Worst Torture Methods

Death by any means is always remorseful. Death by means of punishment is even worse. History is evident of so many pathetic and scary torture methods that would really convince you that death is far better than this sort of painful survival.

The ones who have invented such methods have been extremely creative in their approach. They made sure to treat their victims as harshly as possible. The torture before the execution took many forms in the past era. All the efforts were oriented to slow down death and fill each second of the target person with great agony. This not only served as a punishment to the offender but also inculcated enough fear so that no one else could dare the same.

Below are listed 10 such horrible torture methods which would really plunge you into grief.

 

10. Bamboo Torture

 

This was a  method prevalent amongst Japanese to execute American prisoners. It included shards of bamboos to pierce through the fingernails of the victim. Bamboo is considered to be the fastest growing plant in the world. In 24 hours it can achieve a growth of 3 feet. The bamboo inserted once kept growing. This caused enormous pain to the person which can be compared to slowly dropping him on a bed of sharp stakes.

 

9. Rat Torture

Being chawed by rats to death is one of the most painful measures to die. In this method, various rats would be placed on the stomach and chest area of the victim. The victim was tied in a way in which any sort of movement was impossible. After this with the help of a barrel rats would be trapped in the specific area. The barrel then would be set on fire. Rats crazy with fear in order to save their lives would gnaw their way into the abdomen. With the help of their sharp incisors, they used to penetrate through all the vital organs. Sometimes starving rats were employed in place of flames who as a result of hunger would chew victim’s flesh. To make conditions worse, the bodies were slit beforehand.

8. Sitting in the Tub

Sounds lenient? No, it wasn’t. This barbarous method of punishment would once again force that sigh of yours. Here the victim was made to sit in the tub with only is head sticking out. Thereafter his face was painted with milk and honey to welcome flies for some delicious stuff. It doesn’t end here. The victim was fed regularly so as to keep him alive for a long time. Consequently, he was compelled to swim in his own excrement. After some days worms were introduced in the tub which would devour his body resulting into an alive decomposition. Alas! What could be worse?

7. The Breast Ripper

You would be amazed to know that there were various deadly tools used in the past to ease the work of the torturer. Breast Ripper was one of these. This device consisted of two big sharp prongs that were capable enough to tear off the women’s breasts. This method was specifically employed on women who were accused of adultery or self-performed abortion. Another form included either heating or freezing the tool first to rip off the breasts.

6. Lingchi

One of the most brutal methods of torture- Lingchi- also known as a ‘slow slicing’ or ‘death by a thousand cuts’ involved removal of the flesh of the victim’s body slowly with the help of a sharp knife. For a prolonged death it was made sure that the victim doesn’t bleed too much. According to Sir Henry Norman in his book The People and Politics of the Far East, the executioner sliced off pieces by “grasping handfuls from the fleshy parts of the body, such as the thighs and the breasts…then the limbs are cut off piecemeal at the wrists and the ankles, the elbows, and knees, the shoulders and hip. Finally, the victim was stabbed in the heart and his head is cut off. It was applied to those who committed unethical crimes like revealing secrets to the enemy or killing a V.I.P.

5.  The Chair of Torture

Also called as Juda’s chair, this method of torture was used in Middle ages until late 1800 in Europe. A chair full of spikes was used as the main instrument. To avoid movement victim’s arms and limbs were tied. The spikes would eventually penetrate the body. The wound was closed by the spike itself which delayed blood loss. In some versions, certain holes were made in the bottom of the chair where the savage placed coal to cause severe burns. The victim was usually naked causing further humiliation. The chair was never washed leading to serious infections and eventually death.

4.  Sawing

This was an incredibly cruel method used in medieval Europe. The criminal was hanged upside down and then a large saw was passed through his body to slice it in half. The way they were hanged made their brain receive massive blood flow which kept them alive, only to endure more and more. The agony was deepened when the abdomen became a barrier in the saw’s path and the victim was left in that pathetic condition to his fate.

3.  Impalement

Vlad Dracula- under whose reign this method was prevalent in the 15th century, Romania- used to enjoy his meal with this terrific sight. In this ruthless act of punishment, the victim was compelled to sit on a sharp pole. The pole would eventually rise. The person would then move down slowly owing to his own weight. It is indeed terrifying to imagine the pole emerging through different parts of the body of the victim. This punishment was particularly used in response to ‘crime against the state’.

2. Boiling

Even a single drop of boiling water causes so much of pain, right? Just imagine what being boiled alive would mean? The criminal was thrown naked into boiling liquid or cold liquid which was then heated to the boiling point. The liquid could be anything- water, oil, tar or molten liquid. Boiling gradually destroyed skin, fatty tissues and exposed the muscles. The victim went through every stage of being cooked alive. The torturer controlled the position of the victim to cause more pain. Sometimes the temperature was not taken to boiling point but kept unbearably hot to torture the victim even more.

1. The Rack

The rack was used throughout Europe for centuries. The victim was attached to ropes that would be wound with a leaver. The mechanical device tightened the victim’s body dislocating his joints and eventually tearing off the limbs right away. This was also sometimes accompanied by another form of tortures. Fire would be laid down the rack which would extinguish with the downpour of the blood of the victim.

 

 

Top 10 Famous Noble Prize Winners

Over the centuries, mankind’s achievements and developments in a plethora of fields ranging from technology and medicine to economics and peace, have found their place in history as reminders of how the human race has gradually advanced. In the nineteenth century, as per the will of a Swedish scientist, Alfred Nobel, the Nobel Prize was officially established to recognize groundbreaking achievements in such fields. Ever since, the Nobel Prize has been awarded annually to pioneers, innovators, and leaders who have contributed towards the betterment of the world. A handful of such individuals have stood out due to the impact their discoveries and efforts have left behind. In no particular order, the following are famous Nobel Prize winners whom the world remembers even today for their contributions:

Nobel Prize Medal

10. Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein was better known as the ‘Father of Modern Physics’. His unmatched work in the field of theoretical, modern physics and his development of the theory of relativity made him one of the most brilliant physicists to have lived. What’s fascinating about his life is that he mastered the concepts of calculus at a very young age and was one of the brightest kids in his class. There is no wonder in the fact that he went on to become one of the most intelligent and insightful scientists the world had ever seen.

9. Marie Curie

A role model for women in the nineteenth century who aspired to make their mark in the field of science, Marie Curie was the first woman to win the Nobel Prize. She won it not once but twice in two different sciences – physics and chemistry. She was a true pioneer whose findings greatly propelled the quality of medical research. Her dedication to her research and work was so unwavering that she met her demise due to prolonged exposure to radiation, in the course of doing what she loved.

8. Martin Luther King Jr. 

He believed in equality for people of all colors, and at a time when racial inequality was widespread, he braved all odds and led the fight for the civil rights of people in America. Martin Luther King Jr. received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964, four years before he was assassinated. He left behind a legacy like none other. He was inspired by none other than Mahatma Gandhi and believed in his policies of nonviolence and civil disobedience to carry out his protests, which ultimately enabled him to succeed in his endeavor.

7. Ernest Hemingway 

A masterful writer whose words and stories left a lasting impact on Literature, Ernest Hemingway won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1954. His unique writing style and meticulous technique of narration are revered by both, veteran as well as aspiring writers all around the world. Known best for his works – The Old Man and the Sea and For Whom the Bell Tolls, Hemingway’s economical writing style, lucid descriptions, and attention to details made him connect with his readers in ways more than one, and popularized him as one of the best writers of his time.

6. Mother Teresa

Mother Teresa, born as a Catholic girl in Albania, came to Calcutta, India, as a teacher and ended up helping myriad poor people in her act of service to God. She founded a sisterhood called the Missionaries of Charity that took in the poor, the ailing, and orphans on the streets of Calcutta, and provided them with food, care, and shelter. She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 for her generous efforts towards the betterment of the underprivileged. Even today, decades after her death, the Missionaries of Charity is continuing the noble work she started and providing help to those who need it.

5. CV Raman

An Indian physicist who won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1930, CV Raman made his mark through his notable discovery in the area of light scattering. His discovery was soon thereafter named after him and was known as the Raman Effect. Hailing from a humble background, his contributions in academics were manifold and he was awarded India’s highest civilian honour, the Bharat Ratna, in 1954.

4. Malala Yousafzai

Few people survive bullets in the head. There are fewer who do so and use the ordeal as an impetus to fight for a deeper cause. The youngest Nobel laureate, Malala Yousafzai, was shot by a Taliban gunman when she was only fifteen years old. She miraculously survived and became an activist for the right to education, especially in the case of young girls who were often banned from attending schools in the region where she lived in Pakistan. Despite the multiple threats and criticisms she continued to receive, she never held back her ideals and advocated for what she believed in. Her story is nothing short of inspiring and she continues to fight for human rights, while she pursues her education at Oxford University.

3. Bob Dylan

In 2016, when the Nobel Prize in Literature was awarded to American singer-songwriter and author, Bob Dylan, the world was unsure how to react. While one side of the debate argued about his extensive contribution to American culture and literature, the other side pushed forward the point of there being more deserving candidates. Nevertheless, Dylan’s hits like Blowing in the Wind and The Times They Are a-Changin, among others, have transcended cultural barriers and borders, and are recognized all around the world. Particularly his lyrics on multiple themes like love, religion, and political protest garnered him fame and critical acclaim as one of the most influential figures in popular culture during his time.

2. Kofi Annan

As the seventh Secretary-General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan managed to achieve multiple goals for the betterment of the world – be it through his sustained efforts to promote peace among nations, or his determination to prevent the spreading of the HIV virus in Africa. He received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2001, at a time when the geopolitical scenario was briefly stable – a consequence of his commitment to ensure international harmony. He personified good leadership and diplomacy which led him to hold two terms as Secretary-General, post which he started the Kofi Annan Foundation, which works towards international development.

1. Barack Obama

A luminary known for his political correctness, leadership, and insightful speeches, the 44th President of the United States of America, Barack Obama, needs no introduction. Various policies and decisions undertaken by him as President during his double tenure were often the center of controversy. However, is no question about the fact that his involvement in geopolitics and efforts towards mitigating international conflicts are thorough and brilliant. His reverence for the values of democracy and the essence of human rights, besides his other contributions, led to him being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009.