When humanity was inches from destruction
These are the major instances of humanity pushing towards the brink of disaster.
Super Ice Age
70,000 years ago, after a supervolcano eruption in Sumatra, a volcanic winter plunged the world into an Ice Age — dropping the average temperature by 20 degrees in some places. After an initial drop to likely 40 breeding pairs of homo sapiens, the population only rose to a few thousand according to Oxford University. Thousands of years later, in the early Stone Age, temperatures stabilized, and mankind recovered.
The Black Death
From 1347 to 1351, the Bubonic Plague was one of the most devastating pandemics in human history. It was carried across Europe from Central Asia by diseased fleas that lived on stowaway rats on merchant caravans. The bacterial plague was estimated to have killed over 125 million people, or 60% of Europe’s population based on data from TIME magazine. It would take 200 years for the global population to truly recover.
In 1952, the U.S. tested the first hydrogen bomb — 500 times the yield of the atomic bomb used during WWII. The Soviet Union followed suit the next year. The Doomsday Clock moved to 11:58 PM — signifying a step towards global catastrophe.
Cuban Missile Crisis
Despite the Doomsday Clock staying at a “7 minutes” from midnight during the entire Cuban Missile Crisis, it is now considered the closest the world has come to nuclear war. In October 1962, a confrontation involving the staging of Soviet nuclear missiles in Cuba led to high tension and a blockade of the island nation. Though the Doomsday Clock remained at 7 minutes from midnight during the crisis, it's now considered the closest the world has come to nuclear war. To ensure the U.S. and Soviet Union would never again get this close to nuclear war, the “red telephone” nuclear hotline between both governments was established.