On September 21, 1999, an earthquake in Taiwan killed more than 2,400 people, destroyed or damaged thousands of buildings and left an estimated 100,000 people homeless. It was the worst earthquake to hit Taiwan--where quakes are common due to its location in a seismically active zone of the Pacific basin---since a 1935 tremor that killed more than 3,200 people.
More to Explore
On January 17, 1994, an earthquake rocked Los Angeles, California, killing 54 people and causing billions of dollars in damages.
On April 18, 1906, a devastating earthquake shook San Francisco in the early morning hours, leaving the city in shambles.
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.
Did You Know?
Taiwan is home to one of the world’s tallest buildings, the Taipei 101. Opened in 2004, the building has 101 floors plus five underground levels.
At 1:47 a.m. on September 21, 1999, the island of Taiwan, located off the southeastern coast of mainland China, was shaken by a 7.6-magnitude earthquake. Its epicenter was located in Nantou County in central Taiwan, but serious damage occurred across the island. More than 2,400 people were killed, while more than 11,000 others were injured and thousands of buildings were destroyed or damaged. Roads buckled, bridges collapsed and landslides diverted rivers, causing the impromptu formation of lakes. There was not enough freezer capacity in the country's morgues to hold all the bodies.
Buildings all over the island proved to be vulnerable. Several tall buildings in Taiwan’s capital city, Taipei, located 90 miles north of the quake’s epicenter, were toppled. The quake exposed the fact that shoddy construction had occurred during Taiwan's building boom in the 1990s. Tent cities popped up in fields and parks because many people were afraid of being in buildings while aftershocks continued. Overall, the disaster (which became known locally as the 921 earthquake, because it occurred on September 21) caused billions of dollars in economic losses.
In 2001, the 921 Earthquake Museum of Taiwan opened in the city of Taichung, an area affected by the 1999 earthquake.
Fact Check We strive for accuracy and fairness. But if you see something that doesn't look right, contact us!
This Day in History
On this day in 1992, 1,800 United States Marines arrive in Mogadishu, Somalia, to spearhead a multinational force aimed at restoring order in the…
Keep up with the latest History shows, online features, special offers and more.Sign up