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1886 Charleston Earthquake

Grover Cleveland

1886 Charleston Earthquake: Grover Cleveland was the 22nd and 24th American President who served in office from March 4, 1885 to March 4, 1889 and from March 4, 1893 - March 4,1897. One of the important events during his presidency was the Charleston Earthquake.

Definition and Summary of the 1886 Charleston Earthquake
Summary and definition:
The powerful Charleston Earthquake hit Charleston, South Carolina, and the East Coast of the United States in 1886. The Charleston earthquake occurred at approximately 9:50 p.m. on August 31, 1886.

The terrifying shaking of the main shock lasted lasted for just under one minute but its trail of destruction caused over $5 million dollars of damage. There were ten shocks in all, each less violent than its predecessor, but equally horrifying in their impact on the inhabitants of Charleston.

The Charleston Earthquake for kids: The Richter Scale
The Charleston Earthquake is estimated to have been between 6.6 and 7.3 on the Richter scale. The Richter scale assigns a quantity the amount of energy an earthquake releases to measure the magnitude of an earthquake. No earthquake has ever registered above 9.0 on the Richter Scale, so the one in Charleston was significant. It was classed as a major earthquake that caused serious damage over large areas and loss of life.

The Charleston Earthquake: Loss of Life
The loss of life due to the Charleston Earthquake is believed to be 100 people. In 1886 the population of Charleston was 40,000. Charlestonians were crushed to death and some were burnt in the numerous fires that broke out. A few  of the deaths of older inhabitants were the result of heart attacks caused by the terrifying event. Two thirds of the town's population were left homeless after the quake. It was a great  tragedy for a town that was also suffering during a period of economic decline.

Facts about the Charleston Earthquake for kids
History and interesting Facts about the Charleston Earthquake for kids are detailed below.

It occurred at about 9:50 p.m. on August 31, 1886 and measured between 6.6 and 7.3 on the Richter scale

During the event the telegraph system destroyed and railroad tracks destroyed leaving Charleston was cut off from the rest of the country

Fires started in several quarters and the limited number of fire fighters had difficulty gaining control

Many people were in bed and awoken by a deep, subterraneous rumbling noise. The earth then shook and quivered and the frightened Charlestonians ran into the streets.

Within minutes approximately 50,000 people, men, women, and children, ran into the streets, not daring to return to their houses when the shaking stopped

People ran in panic from the streets to the open squares of the city to avoid being crushed by the falling buildings.

Over 2000 buildings were damaged or destroyed leaving over 25,000 people homeless and destitute. They were forced to live in tents.

Many people believed the day of judgment had come and it was the end of the world. They couldn't seek comfort in the churches as these had been destroyed.

The effects of the shocks threw the covers off wells and great geysers of mud and water burst across the city.

At the end of the quake two-thirds of the city required rebuilding. The nation responded to the plight of the Charlestonians and contributions were sent to the city by way of money and provisions

The news of the disaster reached the rest of the world and Queen Victoria telegraphed her sympathy to President Grover Cleveland.

US American History
1881-1913: Maturation Era

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