What's the greatest disaster in European history?

Oct 2016
On a magic carpet
The collapse of the Mycenean civilisation around 1200BC. This was part of the broader Bronze Age catastrophe in which every major civilisation went down, including others such as the Hittites and the Minoans (Europe's first advanced civilisation). A Dark Age ensued which lasted until the 7th century BC.


Ad Honorem
Aug 2016
The Black Death led to the end of serfdom and started people thinking about how to do the same work with fewer people. Eventually this would become the Industrial Revolution.

The Justinian Plague of the sixth century was perhaps more deadly and certainly contributed to Europe falling into the Dark Ages. The Black Death is only more famous because it is better documented. The Black Death was a dark cloud with a big silver lining. It's hard to see a silver lining to the Justinian Plague.
Aug 2012
Why is this a disaster?
In moral terms it was catastrophic. Financially, the conquest of such huge swathes of land was very rewarding - but that cannot be the only consideration. The enslavement and butchery of so many native peoples was a great evil, and one wholly avoidable. Indeed, there was a time when peaceful coexistence was sought after via treaties, and the good treatment of Aztec royalty by the Spaniards, but in the end it degenerated into something one could reasonably call a genocide.
It planted the seeds for many future evils European nations would commit in other lands at other times.
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