The summer of 1816 was different than any summer has ever been and will ever be. In fact, “summer” was not the word most people would have used. “The Year Without a Summer” spread across North America and Europe. Of course, there must have been a reason that this happened. Scientists discovered that the cause of this awful season was a volcano on the other side of the world in Indonesia. This presented many problems all over the world and for many people.
Mount Tambora began erupting on April 5, 1815 and continued to spread for the next four months. If you might be wondering, this is the biggest volcanic eruption that has been recorded. This eruption was so powerful that it turned the world into a different place; the sky became dark, filled with ash. The ash continued down to the surface of the Earth causing collapsed homes. The world’s temperate dropped three degrees Celsius, which was only temporary. Eventually the ash cleared, and the sun shined again. Many people were affected in different ways: farmers lost crops and transportation was affected along with the appetite of many people. Crops died because the sun was covered, and ash was piling on top. During this time period horses were the main form of transportation. Because the crops were dying, the horses were not getting fed causing them to die. Like the horses, people were not getting the food they needed so they too were dying. The small number of crops that did grow, despite the ash's best efforts, were extremely pricy and many people could not afford to purchase them.
There were a few positive outcomes of this eruption. The weather inspired Mary Shelley to write the novel Frankenstein known for the dreary, gloomy weather. The poet Lord Byron wrote a poem called Darkness that starts with the line “I had a dream, which was not all a dream. The bright sun was extinguish’d.” This terrible event that killed many people sparked a light inside many creative minds. A life changing invention came out of this as well. Because of the horses dying many people did not have a form of transportation, it is suspected that Karl Drais invented the bicycle for this reason. (UCAR pg. 1)
Mount Tambora and the Year Without a Summer. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://scied.ucar.edu/shortcontent/mount-tambora-and-year-without-summer.
Gillen D'Arcy Wood, "1816, The Year without a Summer". (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.branchcollective.org/?ps_articles=gillen-darcy-wood-1816-the-year-without-a-summer.
Above is a drawing of citizens fleeing from Mount Tambora.
blast from the past (2002, July 1).
Pictured above is Mary Shelley's book Frankenstein
"Frankenstein; or, The modern Prometheus / by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley. Boston: Sever, Francis, & Co., 1869. in 2019: Frankenstein book, Frankenstein, Book cover design. (2019, October 16)."