25 November 1839
On 25 November 1839, a deadly cyclone hit the port town of Coringa in Andhra Pradesh. The term ‘cyclone’ was coined by a British official after observing cyclones especially the ones at Coringa. Read more about this event for the UPSC exam.
Coringa Cyclone of 1839
- The 1839 cyclone at Coringa was devastating and the death toll of humans was 300000.
- The cyclone was violent and though the wind speed was not measured, it was accompanied by a 40-feet high storm surge. (A storm surge can be defined as an abnormal rise of water generated by a storm, well above the predicted astronomical tides.)
- Coringa was a bustling port-town up until then. There was a cyclone 50 years back in 1789 that hit Coringa. That was also severe with a loss of 20000 lives. But the inhabitants of the place rebuilt the town and the port was recovered.
- But after the even more horrifying 1839 cyclone, the port was never rebuilt. Coringa is today just a simple village. It never recovered economically from the devastation that occurred in 1839.
- Apart from the huge loss of lives, about 20000 vessels were lost in the natural disaster.
- The town was also completely wrecked. After the disaster, people did not build their homes right along the coast, but they were built inland where they would be less affected by any such incident.
- Henry Piddington, an East India Company official was the President of the Marine Courts of Inquiry at Calcutta then. He studied several tropical cyclones, especially the two in Coringa, and presented his findings to the Asiatic Society of Bengal in 1840. He conducted many studies in this field and published a phenomenal book ‘The Horn-Book for the Law of Storms for the Indian and China Seas’ in 1844. It was in the book’s second edition in 1848 that he coined the term ‘cyclone’. It was derived from Greek and referred to the coiling circulation of the winds.
- The 1839 Coringa cyclone is the third most devastating tropical cyclone in terms of the number of deaths.
Also on This Day
1984: The first Chief Minister of Maharashtra and the fifth Deputy PM of India Yashwantrao Chavan passed away.
See previous ‘This Day in History’ here.