In October 1780, a powerful storm slammed the islands of the Caribbean, killing more than 20,000 people. Known as the Great Hurricane of 1780, it is among the deadliest storms ever recorded.
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On September 8, 1900, a Category 4 hurricane ripped through Galveston, Texas, killing an estimated 6,000 to 8,000 people.
On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast of the United States. Nearly 2,000 people died in the storm and its aftermath, and hundreds of thousands more were displaced from their homes.
On October 26, 1998, Hurricane Mitch hit Central America. The storm, the most deadly hurricane to hit the Western Hemisphere in more than 200 years, went on to kill thousands of people.
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First occupied by the British in the 1620s, Barbados gained its independence in 1966.
Specifics about the hurricane, such as its exact point of origin and strength, are unknown, as it took place before the advent of modern storm-tracking technology. However, it is believed to have first made landfall in Barbados on October 10 before it swept through much of the rest of the eastern Caribbean over the next week. Barbados, Martinique and St. Lucia were among the locations hardest hit, and there were thousands of casualties on these islands, along with significant property damage.
Great Britain and France, both of whom were fighting in the American Revolutionary War (1775-83), had a number of warships in the Caribbean at the time of the storm. Sailors and naval vessels from both nations were lost in the hurricane.
Although there have been many deadly hurricanes in the years since 1780, only Hurricane Mitch in 1998, which left more than 11,000 people dead in Central America, has approached the Great Hurricane of 1780 in terms of lives lost.
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