Historic Disasters, Events, and Tragic Accidents
GenDisasters. A genealogy site, compiling information on the historic disasters, events, and tragic accidents our ancestors endured, as well as, information about their life and death. Database and records searchable by surname.
Influenza Epidemic of 1918.
World War I claimed an estimated 16 million lives.
The influenza epidemic that swept the world in 1918
killed an estimated 50 million people. One fifth of the
world's population was attacked by this deadly virus.
Within months, it had killed more people than any other
illness in recorded history.
The plague emerged in two phases. In late spring of
1918, the first phase, known as the "three-day fever,"
appeared without warning. Few deaths were reported.
Victims recovered after a few days. When the disease
surfaced again that fall, it was far more severe.
Scientists, doctors, and health officials could not
identify this disease which was striking so fast and so
viciously, eluding treatment and defying control. Some
victims died within hours of their first symptoms.
Others succumbed after a few days; their lungs filled
with fluid and they suffocated to death.
The plague did not discriminate. It was rampant in
urban and rural areas, from the densely populated East
coast to the remotest parts of Alaska. Young adults,
usually unaffected by these types of infectious
diseases, were among the hardest hit groups along with
the elderly and young children. The flu afflicted over
25 percent of the U.S. population. In one year, the
average life expectancy in the United States dropped by
Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire. The fire at the Triangle Waist Company in New York City, which claimed the lives of 146 young immigrant workers, is one of the worst disasters since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. This incident has had great significance to this day because it highlights the inhumane working conditions to which industrial workers can be subjected. To many, its horrors epitomize the extremes of industrialism. The tragedy still dwells in the collective memory of the nation and of the international labor movement. The victims of the tragedy are still celebrated as martyrs at the hands of industrial greed. The names of the dead and wounded were taken mostly from issues of the New York Times (NYT), published in the few days following the tragedy, and from Leon Stein’s book Triangle Fire.