Weather affects people’s lives every day, sometimes it changes our travel plans, other times extreme weather events can change the course of a war or lead to the downfall of a civilization. It’s hard to blame nature for ruining people’s lives, but the world we know today might look different without its intervention.
1. Mongol Empire vs. Typhoons
In the 13th century, Khan Kublai, the leader of the Mongol Empire, came very close to conquering Japan, but two typhoons ruined his plans. Shinto priests believed that these winds were the embodiment of everyone’s prayers and called them kamikaze (divine winds).
2. Spanish Armada vs. Storm
The destruction of the Spanish Armada in 1588 was one of the greatest battles of Western civilization. During the attempt to conquer England, the Armada suffered considerable losses due to severe weather. Only 65 of the 130 ships returned to Spain; 24 ships were destroyed by the storm off the coast of Ireland.
3 King Charles XII v. Russian Winter
In 1709, Charles XII became the first European monarch to lead his forces against Russia in winter. The long journey and harsh sub-zero conditions played a significant role in the defeat of the Swedish troops. The funny thing is, Charles XIII wasn’t the last general to make this mistake.
4. British Army vs. Thick Fog
The American army under George Washington was filled with untrained recruits and volunteers, while the British forces were all exemplary soldiers. Who knows how history would have turned had it not been for the thick fog that saved Washington’s army at the Battle of Long Island on August 22, 1776.
5. France vs. Flood and Hail
France, already suffering from an economic crisis due to America’s support in the war against England, received an unexpected victory from nature – spring floods, which led to a dramatic increase in food prices. But soon, a terrible hailstorm destroyed most of the crops and caused irreparable damage to countless farms. This was the birth of the French Revolution.
6. Storm Against Slave Rebellion
August 30, 1800, may go down in history as one of America’s largest slave uprisings. Thousands of slaves in Richmond, Virginia were about to follow their leader, Gabriel Prosser, and revolt. They planned to seize the armory and abolish slavery. But a violent storm prevented the rebels from assembling long enough to reveal the plot.
7. Napoleon vs. Russian Winter
In 1812, Napoleon Bonaparte was about to invade Russia with the largest army in Europe. His confidence was strengthened only after the successful capture of Moscow, but then the frosts rolled in. In one day, about 50,000 army horses died due to the weather. This great loss marked the beginning of the end of Napoleon’s empire.
8. Hiroshima vs. Clouds
It was a beautiful summer day in Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. At 07:09, a plane flew over the city and reported to base: “Cloud cover is less than 30%.” These were almost ideal conditions for dropping the first atomic bomb. The absence of clouds that day destroyed Hiroshima and saved the backup target – Gokura. On August 8, a second atomic bomb was loaded onto a B-29, but the skies over Kokura were overcast, which might have confused the strike, and the bomb was directed toward the alternate target, Nagasaki.