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Five Apocalyptic Events the Human Race Managed to Survive


Despite having the will and desire to survive horrific disasters, preppers are often accused of being pessimistic and cynical by their friends and family. They treat it as if recognizing and preparing for a disaster is akin to wanting it to happen. Meanwhile, you’ll hear these same people saying “why bother preparing for (nuclear war, global pandemic, etc) if it’s just going to kill us all anyway?” Some will even go so far as to say they’d rather off themselves than survive a disaster.

It makes me wonder, who’s the real pessimist here?

This careless and self-defeating attitude is pretty sad, especially when you consider some of the disasters our ancestors have endured. Looking back through history, there have been so many cataclysmic events that were responsible for killing millions of people, some of which almost brought us to extinction.

And yet, we’ve always recovered. Even the twentieth century, which most of us remember as an incredibly violent period that was responsible for hundreds of millions of unnecessary deaths, had very little effect on human growth. No matter what happens to us in terms of global catastrophes, whether they be natural or man-made, we just keep coming back with better technology and in greater numbers.

And as you’re about to see, even so-called “apocalyptic” scenarios are no match for us. Here are five of the most devastating global events that our ancestors managed to survive.

The Spanish Flu

It’s widely believed that World War One was itself responsible for one of the most devastating viruses in recorded history. With millions of soldiers living in cold, damp, and crowded quarters, it proved to be the perfect breeding ground for the flu. As they returned home they took the virus with them. Modern analysis of the pathogen has suggested that it may have caused a cytokine storm in the bodies of the afflicted, which causes the immune system to flail out of control, and damage internal organs.

Its effects made World War One look like a picnic. The Spanish Flu arrived on the scene in 1918, during the closing days of the war. For the next 2 years it would infect a third of the world’s population, and kill 50-100 million people, and further batter a world that was already in shambles.

The Mongol Invasion

To people living in the 13th century, the armies of Genghis Khan were a mysterious and deadly force that no one could stand up to. Not only did they carve out the largest empire in human history, but they stood as one of the few historical examples of a nomadic culture that managed to destroy the highly advanced civilizations they neighbored. In modern terms, this would be like a shattered third world country using brute force to conquer a superpower.

But that’s exactly what they did. Over the course of 60 years they conquered and assimilated over 30 nations, some of which had stood for hundreds of years and consisted of sprawling empires. Everything that stood in their path crumbled to dust, and their brutal methods were responsible for 40-60 million deaths. At most, they may have killed as much as 11 percent of the world’s population. For anyone living in Eurasia during 13th century, the arrival of the Mongol horde was an apocalyptic event.

The Black Death

After the Mongolian Empire reached its peak, they began the process of rebuilding their captured nations. One of the results of this effort was a nearly global system of communications and trade that helped connect every corner of the known world. But this same system would also help spread a disease so devastating that it dwarfed the lethality of the Mongols themselves.

Known as the bubonic plague in modern terms, the Black Death didn’t just kill a lot of people. It utterly destroyed the social fabric of every civilization that came into contact with it. The elites fled the cities to hide in their rural estates, as millions perished, and commerce was ground to a halt. In some cities the disease eliminated anywhere between 50 and 80 percent of the population, and it took Europe over 150 years to recover. The world’s population reached its lowest point before it began to climb to the levels we see today.

After the disease had passed, the feudal system had been turned on its head. Without a large surplus of labor, the serfs could demand higher wages and more land. It basically helped create the first middle class in Europe, and changed the balance of power between the rulers and the people. But the nature of economics and politics weren’t the only fields to be affected. The plague had also left its mark on religion, art, architecture, and medicine, and completely changed the world we live in today.


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