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June 2013


Issue No. 4

Most famous assassinations Deadliest earthquakes







a. b. c.

The Assassination of President Abraham Lincoln Morte di Giulio Cesare (“Death of Julius Caesar�). By Vincenzo Camuccini, 1798 Austria's Archduke Francis Ferdinand and his wife, Sophie, sit in an open carriage in Sarajevo shortly before their assassination on June 28, 1914.

Alexander Litvinenko was a Russian KGB agent, turned dissident and possible MI6 agent. On November 1st 2006, Litvinenko fell ill after eating at the London sushi restaurant Itsu. On November 3rd, Litvinenko condition deteriorated and he was rushed to Barnet General Hospital in London. He died three weeks after his hospitalisation suffering from acute radiation syndrome spawned from exposure to the radioactive polonium-210. The incident gained huge worldwide media coverage, probably due to the similarities in the case to Hollywood spy movies. It is now accepted that Litvinenko was poisoned by a cup of tea in his hotel room. No one has been convicted of the murder; however, there are suspicions of Russian government involvement.

John Lennon was one of the founding members of The Beatles, who had gone on to have worldwide success as a member of the band, and also as a peace activist. On December 8th 1980, Lennon was in New York City. As he was returning to his hotel that evening a man shouted his name. As Lennon turned around, the man shot Lennon four times. Lennon then stumbled into the hotel and collapsed. While this was taking place, the assassin Mark David Chapman dropped his weapon and sat on the street, waiting to be arrested. He was charged with murder and remains in prison to this day. His motivation for the murder is unclear.

Mahatma Gandhi was a political activist and spiritual leader of India while British rule. He broadens the voice for non-violence, civil rights and freedom. His leadership left the mark on politics and his acts of Hindu-Muslim while partition caused him death. Many people didn’t appreciate his way of working. On 30th January 1948 he was gunned down on the road in Delhi when he was coming back from prayer meeting by a university student turned activist.

Martin Luther was one of the main leaders behind American civil right moment. His fight for racism was remarkable. He was the youngest person who archived Nobel peace award. His acts for making his nation unite, without any war or racism rewarded with him great appreciation. He was shot by a white man who was against civil movement who later sentenced for 99 years of prison. Considered the voice of reason and moderation in a time of increasing strife, his death opened the door for more militant leaders to rise to the forefront of the movement, often resulting in the radicalization of the black community and creating deeper divisions than was already evident. Had he lived, it’s possible the late sixties and early seventies would have had a much less militant air about it. Benazir Bhutto was former Prime Minister of Pakistan, 2007. While no longer a sitting head of state, Bhuto’s influence on Pakistani politics was considerable. A moderate voice in a country fraught with extremism, her death at the hands of Islamic militants may have single-handedly destroyed any chance the nation might have had for political stability and likely contributed to the general downward spiral the nation has experienced ever since. While it’s unknown whether she might have made a major difference in slowing or arresting Pakistan’s increasingly militant tendencies, her death left a void that no opposition leader has been able to fill, leaving nuclear-capable Pakistan an increasingly unstable and dangerous nation. John Fitzgerald Kennedy was the 35th President of the United States. His Presidency was one of the most event-filled of the 20th century. The space race, American Civil Rights Movement, Cuban Missile Crisis, the building of the Berlin Wall, and the beginning of the Vietnam War all took place during his Presidency. Just before 12:30pm, Kennedy was traveling through Dallas on a political trip in his open-top limousine. Three shots were fired from a high-powered rifle, which all entered the president. Alexander II was the Tsar of Russia, 1881. While not many people are likely to know much about Tsar Alexander II of Russia, his death at the hands of terrorists in March of 1881. It changed the course of Russia for the bad. Something of an enlightened monarch and a reformer, he was on the verge of creating a parliament in Russia at the time of his death, which likely would have led to the countries’ eventual democratization (much as was seen in England and other European countries around this time). Instead, his successors decided to take a more heavy handed approach, resulting in thirty more years of oppressive and corrupt leadership and sowing the seeds for the 1917 revolution that would introduce Communism to the world, the effects of which we are still feeling today.

Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States, and held tenure from 1861 until his death in 1865. John Wilkes Booth, a Confederate spy, who had become angry at the President because of his support for the freedoms of African Americans assassinated Lincoln. On April 14th 1865, Lincoln was going to the theatre. With the presence of only one bodyguard wandering through the theatre, Booth seized his opportunity. He waited until laughter filled the theatre and shot the President in the head. Booth escaped, but was caught and fatally shot twelve days later. Lincoln was aged 56 at the time of his death. Julius Caesar was a Roman political and military figure in the 1st century B.C. He was a successful military leader and following considerable success after he started a civil war in the Roman Republic. Following this, he was proclaimed dictator. However, some senators in Rome were disillusioned by what Caesar had done, and so planned an assassination. While walking past the Theatre of Pompey, Caesar was stopped by a group of Senators to read a fake bill. As Caesar did this, he was stabbed. According to historical evidence, there were as many as 60 Senators present. After Caesar was stabbed he tried to run away, but fell and was stabbed repeatedly on the floor. He had 23 stab wounds. His death marked the end of the Roman Republic, and out of the bloody aftermath emerged the Roman Empire. Archduke of Austria Franz Ferdinand, and the heir to the Austrian throne is largely considered to be the catalyst for the beginning of World War I. On June 28th 1914 he was on a visit to Sarajevo, which was at that time a territory of Austria Hungary. While riding in an open-top car, he and his wife Sophie were shot by members of The Black Hand which was a Serbian group attempting to gain independence for all the states annexed by Austria-Hungary. World War I began two months after the assassination, with Austria-Hungary declaring war on Serbia. This declaration of war started a domino effect across Europe and marked the beginning of WWI.



March 11, 2011

Magnitude Depth of focus Epicentre Casualties Why deadliest?

9.0 on the Richter scale 30 km 70 km east of the Oshika Peninsula of Tohoku 15,883 The undersea megathrust earthquake triggered tsunami waves as high as 40.5 m and travelled up to 10 km inland. The quake and the tsunami damaged the roads and railways and led to fire in many areas. A dam also collapsed. 4.4 million households were left without electricity. Moreover, the tsunami led to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, which is the largest nuclear disaster since the Chernobyl disaster in 1986. The overheating of the reactors caused leakage of radioactive substances, threatening the lives of many.

Date Magnitude Depth of focus Epicentre Casualties Why deadliest?

October 8, 2005 5.8 on Richter scale 10 km Muzaffarabad, Azad Jammu & Kashmir 100,000 Kashmir is located in an area with prolonged and violent border dispute between India and Pakistan. The earthquake only brought even more turmoil to the people in Kashmir, leaving millions homeless. Rescue work was hard to carry out due to the remote, mountainous terrain.

Date Magnitude Depth of focus Epicentre Casualties

May 31, 1970 7.8 on Richter scale 30 km near Chimbote in Ancash Region 100,000

Why deadliest?

An undersea earthquake triggered landslides with debris travelling at speeds of up to 200 mph down the sides in the Navado Huascaran Mountain destroyed many villages. There is also a large amount of ice and snow include in the landslide, therefore it is also considered as an avalanche.


October 5, 1948

Magnitude Depth of focus Epicentre Casualties Why deadliest?

7.3 on the Richter scale Unknown 25 km southwest of Ashgabat, Turkmen Soviet Socialist Republic 110,000 The Scholars in Turkmen tend to agree to ban publicity on the earthquake, and did not allow the Soviet government to allocate financial resources. It was rumoured that the cause of the earthquake was the first Soviet atomic bomb test.

Date Magnitude Depth of focus Epicentre Casualties Why deadliest?

December 28, 1908 7.5 on Richter scale Unknown Messina, Sicily, southern Italy 100,000 to 200,000 A 12-metre tsunami was triggered and struck nearby coasts. Buildings in Messina was not built with any earthquake proof designs, therefore Messina is particularly vulnerable to disasters.

Date Magnitude Depth of focus Epicentre Casualties Why deadliest?

December 16, 1920 7.8 on the Richter scale Unknown Haiyuan, Ningxia, China 273,400 Rivers changed their courses and triggered landslides. The destruction covered seven Chinese provinces; Sujiahe, a town in Xiji County was completely buried.

Date Magnitude Depth of focus Epicentre Casualties Why deadliest?

December 26, 2004 9.1-9.3 on the Richter scale 30 km off the west coast of Sumatra, Indonesia 280,000 A submarine crust movement released energy equivalent to that of 23,000 atomic bombs, launching a tsunami across the Indian Ocean, affecting 11 countries. Most people are swept away by the wave and drown to death.


January 12, 2010

Magnitude Depth of focus Epicentre Casualties Why deadliest?

7.0 on the Richter scale 13 km near the town of LÊogâne, Haiti 316,000 Residences and commercial buildings collapsed. In Port-au-Prince, the capital of Haiti, many landmark buildings were damaged and destroyed. Even important political, religious leaders were killed in the catastrophe. Communication systems, infrastructures and electrical networks were damaged, hindering the rescuing work and humanitarian aid.

Date Magnitude Depth of focus Epicentre Casualties Why deadliest?

July 28, 1976 early morning 7.8 on the Richter scale 7.5 km Tangshan, Hebei, China 655,000 (or 255,000, claimed by the then Chinese government) The earthquake hit early morning, with equally destructive aftershocks (recorded 7.1 magnitude). The quality and nature of buildings in China is also a contributing factor. Tangshan is thought to be within an area with low risk of having earthquakes, therefore the city does not have earthquake proof designs. The Chinese government also accepted no international aid in the aftermath.

Date Magnitude Depth of focus Epicentre Casualties Why deadliest?

1556, Ming dynasty 8.0 on the Richter scale Unknown Shaanxi approximately 830,300 The pre-modern structure with no any earthquake proof design cannot withstand an earthquake of such force. Their collapse and the landslides triggered by the movement of the crust killed many people, as most of the population that time lived in yaodongs (artificial caves in loess cliffs). An area around 500 miles wide was wiped out.

THROWBACK OCTOBER Recruitment of Members NOVEMBER Volcano Making Workshop NOVEMBER Talk by Dr Kumar DECEMBER F1 Geog-Hist Challenge FEBRUARY History Outing APRIL Geography Outing

APRIL Talk by Mr Silvain Gilbert

MAY Geography-History Days


References: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.

Listverse: The 10 Most Famous Successful Assassinations TopTenz: Top 10 Most Important Assassinations In History WondersList: 10 Famous Political Leaders who were Assassinated Top Ten of City: Top 10 Most Famous Successful Assassinations Top 10 Deadliest Earthquakes, Time Lists,28804,1953425_1953424_1953496,00.html Largest and Deadliest Earthquakes by Year (1990 – 2011), U.S. Geological Survey List of Earthquakes, Wikipedia

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Newsletter Issue No. 4  

SPCC 2012-13 Geography-history Society