Today in eco-history: 1906 San Francisco earthquake

On this day in 1906 a severe earthquake struck San Francisco. The tremor and fires resulting from it destroyed 80 percent of the city. One observer described the initial upheavals as waves, “‘The whole street was undulating. It was as if the waves of the ocean were coming towards me, billowing as they came.'”

Over 3000 people died, though the actual number remains unknown due to official ignoring of Chinatown causalities. Firefighters were unable to cope with raging fires due to broken water mains. Soldiers were ordered to shoot on sight anyone engaged in looting. 

One quarter million people were made homeless by the quake. It is considered along with Hurricane Katrina one of the worst disasters in U.S. history. The catastrophe was caused by a rupture of the San Andreas fault. 

Photo: Wikimedia (CC)



Special to People’s World
Special to People’s World

People’s World is a voice for progressive change and socialism in the United States. It provides news and analysis of, by, and for the labor and democratic movements to our readers across the country and around the world. People’s World traces its lineage to the Daily Worker newspaper, founded by communists, socialists, union members, and other activists in Chicago in 1924.