Historians Weigh in on 2020 Being Worst Year Ever (Dreamstime)
By Theodore Bunker | Thursday, 31 December 2020 03:02 PM
The self-therapy app Bloom asked over two dozen historians from major universities across the country whether 2020 has been the worst, or more stressful to be specific, year in history.
British historian Philip Parker assembled a list of the worst, or most stressful, years in global, British, and American history, which was then compared to the lists made by 28 historians from various institutions, including Yale, Oxford and Stanford universities.
They determined that in world history, the worst year was likely 1348, when the Black Death was at its peak and as many as 200 million people died. The next-worst year was 1944, due to the Holocaust and World War II, and then 1816, when a volcanic eruption in Asia that blocked out the sun caused millions to die of starvation. They placed 2020 in sixth place.
When it comes to U.S. history, they placed 2020 at number eight, behind 2001 and the Sept. 11 terror attacks, 1962 with the Cuban missile crisis, 1968 and its various high-profile assassinations and riots, 1918’s flu pandemic, 1838’s Trail of Tears, then 1929 and the stock market crash that began the Great Depression. The historians determined that 1862 was the worst year in U.S. history, being the darkest period of the Civil War.
''It’s a symbol of a time when the nation almost broke apart,'' Parker told The Washington Post, ''and that, really, goes to the essence of what it is to be a country and a society. It’s almost like a dagger to the heart of the country.''
He added that when it comes to 2020, ''As Chairman Mao is reputed to have said about the French Revolution, it’s a little too early to say.''