Volcanoes, plague, famine and endless winter: Welcome to 536, what historians and scientists believe was the ‘worst year to be alive’
Reading time: 5 minutes
536 is the current consensus candidate for worst year in human history. A volcanic eruption, or possibly more than one, somewhere in the northern hemisphere would seem to have been the trigger. Wherever it was, the eruption precipitated a decade-long “volcanic winter”, in which China suffered summer snows and average temperatures in Europe dropped by 2.5℃. Crops failed. People starved. Then they took up arms against each other.