Ripple Effects of Indonesia's Geological Events ; Earlier Natural Disasters in the 'Ring of Fire' Had Global Repercussions - and Altered Course of History

By Dan Murphy writer of The Christian Science Monitor | The Christian Science Monitor, December 3, 2004 | Go to article overview

Ripple Effects of Indonesia's Geological Events ; Earlier Natural Disasters in the 'Ring of Fire' Had Global Repercussions - and Altered Course of History


Dan Murphy writer of The Christian Science Monitor, The Christian Science Monitor


Sunday's megaquake was not the first time, or even the second, that a major geological event in Indonesia has killed tens of thousands.

From the 1815 eruption of Mt. Tambora to the 1883 explosion of Krakatoa, Indonesia's seismic tragedies of the past two centuries have altered human history well beyond the Pacific's so-called Ring of Fire, sending geopolitical, economic, and even artistic repercussions across the planet.

The havoc wrought by the tsunami that swamped southern Asia Sunday is a stark reminder that humanity is bound together as much by geological forces - often unseen and occasionally devastating - as by the tides of commerce and culture.

This latest natural disaster will have profound effects on the politics and economies of the Indian Ocean. Separatist movements in Sri Lanka and in Indonesia's Aceh province suffered thousands of casualties, and India's pummeled Nicobar and Andaman islands have often been used by rebels from both movements.

How well governments respond to the tragedy, say historians, could shape those conflicts and their nations for years to come. "Some people think natural calamities are a signal from god," says Taufik Abdullah, an Indonesian historian trained at Cornell University. Historically "quite often natural rebellions have triggered social rebellions," he says.

Indonesian quakes have touched off global political aftershocks before.

The 1883 eruption of Krakatoa off southern Sumatra is considered by some historians to be the world's first global media event. The invention of the telegraph and creation of news services like Reuters allowed Americans "to read of the devastation over breakfast the next day," says Simon Winchester, a trained geologist and author of the 2003 book "Krakatoa: The Day the World Exploded."

Tsunamis generated by that eruption killed 40,000 on Java and Sumatra. The explosion was heard as far away as Australia and India, and threw millions of tons of ash into the atmosphere that affected global weather for years. Krakatoa's ash helped cool temperatures around the world and led to stunning sunsets in Europe and the US that captivated artists.

Late Hudson River School painters were drawn to the gaudy evening skies, and some art historians now believe the blood-red heavens in Edvard Munch's iconic painting of alienation and fear, "The Scream," were inspired by those sunsets.

In Europe, Mary Shelley penned her grim tale of Frankenstein while huddled inside that year, and her literary friend Lord Byron wrote, "the bright sun was extinguish'd..., and the icy earth swung blind and blackening in the moonless air."

The 1883 explosion also helped generate one of the largest early challenges to Dutch colonial rule in the archipelago, and also planted the first seeds of modern Islamist political activity in Indonesia.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Ripple Effects of Indonesia's Geological Events ; Earlier Natural Disasters in the 'Ring of Fire' Had Global Repercussions - and Altered Course of History
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.