Wednesday, January 13, 2010

An Early Caribbean Earthquake

When this blog was started the stated goal was to inform the public about the history of the New Madrid earthquakes.  However sometimes other events preclude that  stated goal such as the earthquake that occurred in Haiti on January 12, 2010.  During the New Madrid time period a similar earthquake occurred at Caracas, Venezuela on March 26, 1812 with destruction and chaos similar to what is now occurring there.  News of the quake was not received in the United States until American merchant ships which had been in the vicinity of the quake returned with stories of death and destruction.  This is one of them.
“By captain Betts, arrived yesterday from Laguira, we learn, that on the 26th of March, at 4 o'clock P. M. there was a very severe shock of an earthquake, which destroyed nearly the whole of Caraccas, and all the town of Laguira, with all the neighbouring villages. About 10,000 people were buried in the ruins; 2500 in Laguira; 1 American alone perished, a Mr. Comwell, of N. York.-Four shocks were heard and felt on the night following, not heavy enough to do any damage. On the 27th all the people that were living were employed in digging the dead from the ruins, putting them in large lighters, carrying them outside the shipping and burying them in the sea. On the 28th, the sea was so rough as to prevent them taking the dead off--they then built a large fire near the wharf, and commenced burning them, and burnt about 40 at a time in one fire.
On the 29th, the stench had become so bad, they quit digging any more dead from under the ruins. All the inhabitants that were living, pitched their tents on the plains of Magitere. On the 4th of April, there was a very heavy shock that made the vessels tremble as if they had been on a reef of rocks in a heavy sea, and from on board the Independence we could see the mountains move like a ship in a heavy sea, and large pieces rolling off them. At half past five the Independence sailed, so that we could not ascertain what damage had been done.”
Article form the New Madrid Compendium Far Field reports.  Item number 18120424 NMAD2

1 comment:

  1. How timely. How do you manage to put your hands on exactly the right article so quickly?
    I look foreward to reading more entries.
    Where can a non-history type person find information like this?