A historian identifies the worst year in human history

A Harvard professor's study discovers the worst year to be alive.

Credit: Pieter Bruegel the Elder. (Museo del Prado).
  • Harvard professor Michael McCormick argues the worst year to be alive was 536 AD.
  • The year was terrible due to cataclysmic eruptions that blocked out the sun and the spread of the plague.
  • 536 ushered in the coldest decade in thousands of years and started a century of economic devastation.
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What ended the Black Death, history's worst pandemic

The bubonic plague ravaged the world for centuries, killing up to 200 million people.

Credit: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images
  • The Plague was the worst pandemic in history, killing up to 200 million people.
  • The disease spread through air, rats, and fleas, and decimated Europe for several centuries.
  • The pandemic eased with better sanitation, hygiene, and medical advancements but never completely disappeared.
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