You think 2020 sucks? Meet the worst time in human history

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what is the worst year ever, the worst yer ever is not 2020, is 2020 the worst year ever
What is the worst year ever? Picture: Solarseven, Yurli Zymovin/Shutterstock

As far as crap years go, 2020 is probably not as bad as the year an asteroid hit the earth and killed all of the dinosaurs 66 million years ago, but it’s definitely up there. 

As far as the worst year in human history? 2020 still ain’t it. In fact, it doesn’t even medal.

The experts have weighed in and decided that the gold for Worst Year Ever be awarded to 536 AD when God apparently just gave up and said, “Eh, screw it.

According to medieval historian Michael McCormick, “It was the beginning of one of the worst periods to be alive.” Now to make ourselves feel a little bit better about the steaming pile of trash we’re currently living in, let’s learn about an even bigger steaming pile of trash.

The ‘Dark’ Ages Get A Whole New Meaning

Some time in early 536 AD, something funky was going on. A mysterious fog had rolled in through Europe, the Middle East, and parts of Asia, covering the sky and even dimming the sun.

The fog lasted for 18 months, and no one could really tell the difference between night and day. Byzantine Greek scholar Procopius wrote about it (probably in the dark): 

And it came about during this year that a most dread portent took place, 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 that it shed were not clear nor such as it is accustomed to shed.” 

In layman’s terms, the people of 536 AD were straight up not having a good time, and nobody could see shit.

Scientists at the University of Maine studied ice core samples (which act as a backlog of climate records) from a Swiss glacier and ultimately found that this mysterious “fog” was really a plume of ash from a massive volcanic eruption in early 536 AD that the wind pushed from Europe all the way into Asia.

There’s a pretty broad consensus that there were one or two additional massive eruptions around 540 and 547 AD, respectively, but scientists are still arguing about some details, like where in the world they happened.

McCormick believes there were two volcanic eruptions in total, the first occurring sometime in 535 or 536 AD in the Northern Hemisphere, and the second in 539 or 540 AD in the tropics. The first was probably in Iceland, according to McCormick, and the second in Ilopango, El Salvador (now a caldera).

But in the second school of thought, David Keys, a writer on historical climate change, thinks the culprit was probably a 535 AD eruption of Krakatoa in Indonesia, which would’ve been the biggest volcanic eruption in the last 1,500 years. 

Below you will find an interesting science article about the 1883 eruption of this mighty volcano:

The Littlest Ice Age

As if being in the dark for a year and a half straight wasn’t bad enough already, the volcanic particles blocking out the sun led to a 35.6 °F (2 °C) degree drop in temperature, making for the coldest decade in 2,300 years.

This period became known as the “Late Antique Little Ice Age,” which honestly sounds a little too cutesy considering the frigid tea bagging that was to follow.

Snow fell in China in the summer, and there were crop failures across Europe and Asia that led to widespread famine (the Irish Annals, for example, reported an absence of bread from 536 through 539 AD).

Originally, researchers thought that the ice age only lasted a couple of years, but, surprise, its effects were felt for more than a century, leading to even more crap getting flung at humanity, including (spoiler alert): plagues, more famine, political unrest, and total collapse of empires. 

Meanwhile, in the Middle East, the drop in global temperatures may have actually aided in crop fertility, leading to further expansion beyond the Arabian Peninsula during the Arab conquests, so at least someone wasn’t having a horrible time. 

The Pestilence Strikes

The Justinian Plague was aptly named after Justinian I, emperor of Byzantium, who was kind of an asshole and a total failson.

For a minute there, the Byzantine Empire was the greatest superpower of its time, but overall, Justinian’s career is known for drawn-out fighting with the Sasanian Empire, complete incompetence at handling a pandemic, and failed attempts to regain former Roman provinces that had been taken over by invaders. 

Justinian took the throne after his uncle Justin I’s death in 527 AD, as his newly inherited troops fought the Persians on the Euphrates river. The death of King Kavad I led to an agreement in 532 AD between the two empires called the Treaty of Eternal Peace that, in a nutshell, benefited only the Byzantines and completely screwed the Sasanians over.

In a positively shocking turn of events, the Treaty of Eternal Eight Years Peace didn’t last as fighting broke out again in 540 AD. However, this time, Justinian screwed himself over when he completely neglected his armies in the eastern part of his empire, leaving the regions vulnerable to invasion by the Sasanians.

In 541 AD, five or so years after the first volcanic eruption and the beginning of the ice age, the Big Bad Plague came a-knockin’ on Europe’s door, and things got much, much worse for ol’ Justinian.

The Justinian Plague was the first-ever recorded case of bubonic plague and a cousin to the infamous Black Death of the 14th century. It ultimately played a big part in the collapse of Justinian’s empire because all of his subjects were … you know, dead. 

Or maybe two consecutive plagues?

The experts aren’t exactly sure where the plague began, but it’s thought it may have spread via trade routes originating in India or China.

Widespread famine from crop failures gave way to compromised immune systems — the perfect condition for a deadly disease to fester. Additionally, rats carrying plague-ridden fleas started migrating toward warmer climates during the ice age.

The bubonic plague, caused by the bacterium yersinia pestis, created an infection in the body resulting in painful, swollen buboes under the armpits, throat, and groin that would turn black and fill up with fluid, probably Mountain Dew or melted licorice or something, who knows.

It was so fatal that a healthy person could catch it and be dead two to three days later. So many people died that city officials quit counting after they hit a quarter of a million bodies.

In Roman numerals, 250,000 is written as “CCL,” which actually stands for “couldn’t care less.”

Our boy Procopius wrote that nearly 10,000 people were dying every day, but modern research has suggested numbers closer to 5,000 per day, an indication that Procopius may have been a bit of a drama queen and that the whole thing wasn’t really that big of a deal. 

In total, 30 to 50 million people were dead by the end of it, and bad times were had by all. Those who were indeed lucky enough to survive the plague then had to deal with Justinian’s negligent bullshit.

Justinian, who had started a host of grandiose projects when he inherited the throne, was salty about the number of his workers and soldiers who were croaking by the thousands every day. So he did what any caring leader would do in such a dire situation: he raised taxes … even for dead people. 

Procopius was pissed off and wrote about it in his diary:

“When pestilence swept through the whole known world and notably the Roman Empire, wiping out most of the farming community and of necessity leaving a trail of desolation in its wake, Justinian showed no mercy towards the ruined freeholders.

Even then, he did not refrain from demanding the annual tax, not only the amount at which he assessed each individual, but also the amount for which his deceased neighbors were liable.

But in perhaps the greatest show of schadenfreude ever, Justinian himself ended up catching the plague (hence the name). But much to the chagrin of his fed-up subjects, he survived because nothing bad ever happens to bad people.

One can only hope that contracting a deadly disease and having it named after him was enough to make him see the error in his ways, but probably not.

The Aftermath

Unfortunately, humanity just couldn’t catch a break, and the horrors of the year 536 AD lingered on for-freaking-ever, ultimately reshaping human history as we know it.

Not only did the Late Antique Little Ice Age create the perfect conditions for a pandemic, but it also lasted for about a hundred years more, giving way to a crapload of social and political unrest all across Eurasia.

Europe experienced an economic downturn that lasted for a century, and the plague stuck around for another two centuries. Thanks, Justinian. 

Meanwhile, Deutsche bank says there is a 33% chance of at least one of four much bigger risks, including a “globally catastrophic” volcanic eruption taking place over the next 10 years:

Honorable Mentions for Worst Year Ever

536 AD may have been one terrible, horrible, no good, very bad year for literally everyone alive (except the Middle East), but we think the following shitty years deserve some recognition as well.

-In 1992, NBC canceled The Golden Girls

-In 1918, World War I was in full swing, and so was the Spanish Flu that infected 500 million people and killed between 50 and 100 million worldwide by 1919. 

-In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue, and he also helped bring disease and slavery to the New World and facilitated the death of 90% of the Native population of the Americas.

In 1348, the Black Death killed 60% of those infected and one-third of Europe’s entire population.

536 AD was so bad that its repercussions plagued (pun intended) the entire world for centuries after.

So the next time you’re in the mood to gripe about how bad 2020 is, thank your lucky stars that you weren’t around to witness the horrors of the Dark Ages. But hey, 2020 ain’t over yet.

Text by Michelle Ranken @RussianSpyGirl_ for Cracked.com. More apocalyptic news on Strange Sounds and Steve Quayle.

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6 COMMENTS

  1. PTSD, panic attacks, insomnia: 1 in 5 Covid-19 patients develop mental illness within three months, new study finds

    A sizeable portion of Covid-19 patients have been diagnosed with mental disorders months after testing positive for the coronavirus, a large study of health records has found.

    In a study published in The Lancet Psychiatry journal, researchers from the University of Oxford have analyzed electronic medical record of 69 million people living in the US. It included 62,354 individuals who were diagnosed with Covid-19 between January 20 and August 1.

    The scientists found that 20 percent of those infected with the coronavirus were diagnosed for the first time with some sort of mental illness within 90 days after testing positive for Covid-19. The main conditions recorded were different anxiety disorders, including adjustment disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and panic disorder, as well as insomnia and dementia.

    “People have been worried that COVID-19 survivors will be at greater risk of mental health problems, and our findings… show this to be likely,” Paul Harrison, a professor of psychiatry and one of the authors of the study, told Reuters.

    Harrison advised health services to be ready to provide psychiatric care, adding that the study’s results were “likely to be underestimates” of the number of psychiatric patients.
    Also on rt.com Russia says Sputnik V vaccine equally as effective as US pharma giant Pfizer’s newly unveiled Covid-19 formula

    In August, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warned that the ongoing pandemic has been “associated with mental health challenges” related to the deaths caused by Covid-19, as well as by attempts to control the spread of the disease, such as social distancing rules and lockdowns. The CDC said that symptoms of anxiety and depression “increased considerably” across the US from April to June as compared to the same period last year.

    Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!
    Iran is under total Martial Law and total lock down. World is going to go to another halt regarding who is elected in USA?

  2. Terrorist regime of Iran is not from Iranian people and everything is null and void .Hell to Ayatoolahs that want to start worlld war 3!
    Iran’s Chief Justice On Biden Win: We Still Seek To Exact Justice For Soleimani
    Monday, 09 Nov 2020 23:43

    In response to a potential Biden presidency, the Chief of Islamic Republic’s Judiciary, Ebrahim Raeesi said it is unwise governance for national plans to be contingent “on the coming and going of people abroad.”

    In a Judiciary High Council meeting on Monday, Raeesi expressed his satisfaction with President Trump not being reelected but added that the Islamic Republic is still seeking to “exact justice” for the killing of Qasem Soleimani, the former commander of the Qods Force of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps.

    Raeesi, who was hand-picked by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei to head the conservative Judiciary also recently criticized President Hassan Rouhani for the the 2015 nuclear deal.

    Many Islamic Republic officials have expressed different sentiments regarding the US elections. With officials in the Khamenei’s camp mostly expressing apathy and officials aligned with Rouhani’s government expressing hope and laying out demands for the new US president.

    In his first reaction, the leader of the Islamic Republic, Ali Khamenei said: “Regarding the United States, our policy is a calculated and clear one, and this policy does not change with the coming and going of individuals.”

    The Spokesperson for the Foreign Ministry of the Islamic Republic of Iran Saeed Khatibi announced yesterday: “We have prepared a list of commitments to Iran for the new president, and Biden must compensate for [past] damages.” America has no choice but to respect and return to the path of law,” Khatibi pointed out, adding: “The United States must repent and stop its economic war against us.”

    Iranian MP Ali Motahari also stated: “The three years of resistance against the maximum pressure policy by the Iranian people was one of the reasons for Trump’s defeat.”
    Also Iran terrorist regime calls for killing the Trump if he is out of office since less body guards! We say to Ayatollahs go to hell.
    Disclaimer always apply/

  3. Well as i said my prediction global melt down and Martial Law is in full progress due to the gates of hell is opened up for whole planet. Ice age also was different gates of hell for all world.
    and other World War 1 and 2 was also another gates of hell opened up for all world. Education, Awarness, Prevention!
    Joseph Biden & the Four Horsemen; Trump’s Refusal to Leave White House May Result in Civil War

    OpEd By Haider Abbas

    Published 1 hour ago

    on November 10, 2020

    By EurAsian Times Desk

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    The results of the US presidential elections 2020 have been declared, after around five days, as there were clear signs of Democrat Joseph Biden taking an unassailable lead over Republican incumbent president Donald Trump. The victory was nothing short of a ‘landslide’ as Trump had already put that if he loses he would not accept defeat.

    Trump is now set to be sharpening his legal battery to contest the ‘rigging, fraud, and manipulation’ of the elections in the US Supreme Court.
    #2
    Donald Trump Approves The Sale Of F-22 Raptors To Israel As Neighbours Set To Acquire F-35 Jets – Reports

    Published 1 week ago

    on October 31, 2020

    By EurAsian Times Desk

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    Has Donald Trump approved the sale of the world’s best fighter jet – the F-22 Raptors to Israel, as the US plans to sell F-35 jets to the UAE and even Qatar?

    F-35s + Rafales: How A Combination Of US F-35s & French Rafale Jets For HAF Could ‘Wreck Havoc’ On Turkish Defences?

    According to reports in Israeli media, US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper told Israeli officials during a visit to Israel this week that Washington has approved selling F-22 stealth fighter jets to the Middle-East nation.

    US President Donald Trump approved the sale of the F-22 Raptor and precision-guided bombs to Israel, the London-based Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper report was widely cited by the Israeli media.

    Earlier, as EurAsian Times reported, Israel reluctantly gave it approval to the US for selling F-35 jets to the UAE that would diminish its military domination in the region.

    The UAE and some of the other Arab nations have had their sights on the US F-35 stealth fighters long before the peace deal with Israel, with Netanyahu repeatedly obstructing any potential sale of the fighter jets, stating that the supply of arms was not part of the deal.
    World War 3 and everything is mess , after second full moon of OCT 31 2020 , God help us all , we are in it all together.
    Strange sounds Mike Morales used your web site for a minute
    about showed story about red river lol..Peace

  4. I would like to nominate 1973 and 1976 to 1980
    In 1973 the USA came under attack from radical environmentalists and globalists forever changing the industrial capacity of the USA. We had a radical group of Democrats besiege a President who willfully capitulated to all of their demands. The US Dollar was changed from a redeemable currency to a fiat with no intrinsic value. This resulted in the loss of 14 million manufacturing jobs in the USA and the death of 68 million people due to unchallenged socialist regimes. The further insult was the creation of a branch of government with no oversight the EPA. This went on to directly cause the pollution of several US rivers due to ignorant EPA agents closing and damaging mining pools and shutting down active chemical plants causing spillage. The increase in cancer killed an additional 11 million people to date.

    From 1976 to 1980 the world had a general increase in death caused by poverty directly caused by the inflationary policies of James Carter, US energy production was curtailed to prevent “Peek OIL” the belief that oil was Earths blood and humans are parasites draining her essence. JC closed many refineries and oil fired trash incinerators and electrical generators because of a fictional acid rain. The loss of sulfur dioxide in our atmosphere increased the radiation at ground level by 8% causing all of our heritage plants cultivated over teh previous 500 years to fail in our main latitudes. This also opened the need for GMO crops to survive in teh new climate. This tendency to fight oil production has been a hall mark of the democrats ever since. However the worlds supply of fertilizers and therefore food production allowed millions of African and Chinese people to starve to death. It also caused US nuclear reactors to have to produce at 160% of design intent. After the valve failure of Three Mile Island JC signed a moratorium on new nuclear plants in 1979. This was all because of a belief that oil production would peek in 1991. During this period inflation stripped the middle class of 13% per month of buying power. In 1971 the price of a Cadilac was 1700usd the average pay was 250 a week. By 1980 a toyota was 23,000 and the average pay was 250 per week. The USA became a second rate Global power under JC even Iran fell to Radical Islamic extremism and millions have been killed because of it.

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