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10 of the Lesser-Known Devastating Events in History

6. Pol Pot, the cold-blooded dictator, killed 25% of the population of Cambodia and tried to establish Middle Ages societal norms by abolishing money and other modern means.

Pol Pot
Cambodian Prime Minister Pol Pot (Image to the left), View of Toul Sleng Genocide Museum. Image credits: fototeca.iiccr.ro via Wikimedia, Thanachet Maviang via Shutterstock

The cruelties of cold-blooded dictators are not unknown to humanity. People have paid the price of such headless monsters and their misrepresentation of philosophical ideas. Such a dictator was Pol Pot.

The rule of Khmer Rouge and their preposterous idea of turning Cambodia, or as they named it “Kampuchea,| into a Middle Age society with no connection to the outside civilized world whatsoever brought down hell upon the country. The persecution of the minority and virtual abolishment of intellectualism by killing educated people went on for four long years from 1975-1979.

The dictator destroyed cities and sent people to work and live in villages in communal strongholds, declaring the eradication of money, modern society, religion, culture, and every existential necessity. Due to the region’s practical disconnection to the outside world, no one could figure out that the so-called communist leader, Pol Pot, had killed 25% of the whole population of seven million people. (source)

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7. Hong Xiuquan led a civil war around 1850-1864 to establish Christianity in China. The rebellion took 20 million lives and became the bloodiest civil war in human history. At last, he was defeated by the Qing Dynasty.

Hong Xiuquan
Hong Xiuquan (Image to the left), Taiping Rebellion. Image credits: Wikimedia

Religion is another reason for unending conflict between humans. From the very beginning, it has led people to invade, conquer, and kill each other without even blinking for a second. And this trait has given birth to a series of devastating incidents in history.

Something similar happened in 1850, when Hong Xiuquan, a common man living under the rule of the Qing Dynasty, thought himself to be the younger brother of Jesus Christ. So, he sought to establish a purified version of Christianity in China by overthrowing the ruling dynasty and setting up his own rule. Consequently, he waged the bloodiest civil war in the history of mankind in China.

Having established a firm grip on a vast region, Hong built a large army and fought for nearly 14 years before being defeated by the empire. Although the Qing won and managed to destroy the rebellion, they had taken too big a role to call it a victory.

More than 20 million people died, miles after miles of the area was destroyed, and disease and starvation made people flee their homes and seek shelter in other countries. (source)

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8. The Andijan Massacre of 2005 in Uzbekistan dwarfed the mass shooting in Tiananmen Square by killing at least a few hundred protestors. Some say the exact number of deaths was 1,500.

Andijan Massacre
Uzbek activists commemorating the Andijan massacre in front of the UN in New York. Image credit: hrw

The Andijan Massacre of 2005 is one of the more devastating incidents and notorious public shootings by government forces. It dwarfed the mass shooting in  Tiananmen Square by killing several hundred protestors.

The Uzbek government made plenty of effort to cover the event and succeeded to some extent. Loads of dead bodies were hidden in mass graves to avoid any further uprising in the area. The government body responsible for this barbaric event was the National Security Service or SNB. One of their defecting officials said the death rate was around 1500.

The Uzbek government said that it was an operation to kill the members of the Islamic extremist group Hizb Ut-Tahrir. But the Uzbek people blame the government completely as it was a protest organized in resentment of the government. (1, 2)

9. The astronomical event that had taken place more than 160 years ago could have completely disrupted life on Earth for a few hours had it happened today.

Coronal mass ejection
A Coronal Mass Ejection with the surrounding cloud visible. Image credit: NASA via sciencedaily/Wikimedia

The Carrington Event was a portrayal of the Earth’s absolute brilliance. Happening in 1859, it was a massive geomagnetic storm that was caused by a coronal mass ejection hitting the Earth’s magnetosphere.

The effect of the storm was quite phenomenal as the aurora of the North and South Poles were visible almost all over the world for a short period of time. Various reports say that the last week of August had brought certain changes in the sky. On September 1, the first solar flare was recorded.

Had the storm happened today, it would have completely devastated the communication services all over the world and disrupted electric service virtually making the whole world stop for a few hours. At that time, only telegraph poles were subject to malfunction.

There was a prediction of such a storm in 2012. Thankfully it missed the Earth’s orbit by nine days and we’re all still here. (source)

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10. The 20th U.S. president, James Garfield, was shot dead by Charles J. Guiteau on July 02, 1881, because he wasn’t given a position in the administration that he thought he deserved.

James Garfield
James A. Garfield (Image to the left), Charles J Guiteau. Image credits: Brady-Handy Photograph Collection/Library of congress prints via Wikimedia, Findagrave via Wikimedia

The 20th U.S. president, James Garfield, was assassinated by Charles J. Guiteau. To understand the cause of the incident, one must have knowledge about the political situation of that time. Before the election, Garfield wasn’t the prominent candidate that political bodies promoted.

On the contrary, he was a wild card entry that defeated the former president Grant at the nomination level. At this point, the assassin Guiteau was supporting Grant. But because of Garfield’s nomination, he quickly changed his allegiance and wrote a speech that was actually for Grant but published it by dedicating it to James Garfield.

Once Garfield won, Guiteau tried to gain a political position by claiming his speech had a significant impact on the result. However, he was turned down by everyone he approached so decided to assassinate the president.

On July 02, 1881, Charles J. Guiteau shot President James Garfield near the Baltimore and Potomac Railroad Station. After 79 days of struggle, the 20th U.S. president passed away on September 19, 1881. (1, 2)

Also read: 10 Historical Events That Sound Too Strange to Be True

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