Two hundred years ago this autumn a devastating hurricane ripped through the Caribbean. Thousands lost their lives as the winds destroyed hundreds of homes, ships and sugar plantations.
An account in Luke Howard’s The Climate of London reports the loss of 1,800 lives in Martinique alone during the storm that was the most destructive in at least 37 years.
One extract from a ship’s officer on November 30th, 1817, reports on the devastation seen on St Lucia: “We were struck with astonishment at the total change in the whole face of the country.
“We left it the day before the hurricane a beautiful rich green and every thing in a most flourishing state. It has now the appearance of a severe European winter. We went on shore of the 7th of November the scene of destruction which then presented itself is far beyond my power of description.
“On Pigeon Island three houses only are left standing out of nearly 259 the rest with the church are almost totally demolished.”