In April 1815 the volcano Mount Tambora (then known as Tomboro) in eastern Indonesia erupted, causing the deaths of around 100,000 people as a result of lava flows, damage to agriculture, and disease. The explosions were supposedly heard 1400 km away. The volcano lost at least one third of its height, and the total amount of ash fall is calculated at around 58 trillion metric tons. A large part of this ash lay in the stratosphere as a mist which, in many areas, prevented sun rays from reaching earth. The following year, the ash cloud drifted over North America and Europe, causing 1816 to be known as the ‘year without a summer’.
Who was Stamford Raffles?These documents were created by British statesman and military leader Stamford Raffles, who asked people living about 400 km from the volcano to provide accounts of the eruption. The documents show that the eruption lasted for over a week, with the major eruptions taking place on 5 and 10/11 April.
- Article by:
- Greg Buzwell
- The novel 1780–1832, Romanticism, The Gothic
Greg Buzwell describes the bizarre circumstances that gave rise to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, and the other works that emerged from the ‘ghost story challenge’ at the Villa Diodati in the summer of 1816.