Year
1870
Month Day
June 05

Constantinople burns, killing hundreds

A huge section of the city of Constantinople, Turkey, is set ablaze on June 5, 1870. When the smoke finally cleared, 3,000 homes were destroyed and 900 people were dead.

A young girl was carrying a hot piece of charcoal to her family’s kitchen in an iron pan when she tripped, sending the charcoal out the window and onto the roof of an adjacent home. A fire quickly spread down Feridje Street, one of Constantinople’s main thoroughfares.

The Christian area of the city was quickly engulfed. There was a high degree of cooperation among the various ethnic groups who called the city home, but even this was no match for the high winds that drove the rapidly spreading fire. An entire square mile of the city near the Bosporus Strait was devastated. Only stone structures, mostly churches and hospitals, survived the conflagration.

In 1887, Edmondo de Amicis published perhaps the best account of this disaster in a book called Constantinople.

Tags
terms:
Disasters

FACT CHECK: We strive for accuracy and fairness. But if you see something that doesn't look right, click here to contact us! HISTORY reviews and updates its content regularly to ensure it is complete and accurate.

ALSO ON THIS DAY

Six-Day War begins

Israel responds to an ominous build-up of Arab forces along its borders by launching simultaneous attacks against Egypt and Syria. Jordan subsequently entered the fray, but the Arab coalition was no match for Israel’s proficient armed forces. In six days of fighting, Israel ...read more

This Day In History: RFK is Shot, Senator Robert Kennedy pictured at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, California, on June 5, 1968 before he died

Robert F. Kennedy is fatally shot

Senator Robert Kennedy is shot at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles after winning the California presidential primary. Immediately after he announced to his cheering supporters that the country was ready to end its fractious divisions, Kennedy was shot several times by ...read more

Allies prepare for D-Day

On June 5, 1944, more than 1,000 British bombers drop 5,000 tons of bombs on German gun batteries placed at the Normandy assault area, while 3,000 Allied ships cross the English Channel in preparation for the invasion of Normandy—D-Day. READ MORE: How D-Day Changed the Course of ...read more