Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Halifax Explosion

As an American and a Vermonter that lives less than an hour's drive from the Canadian border, I am a little embarrassed as to how little I know of Canadian history.  What I learned today was about the Halifax Explosion.  On December 7th, American commemorate Pearl Habor Day, but on December 6th, Canadians do so for the Halifax Explosion.

On December 6th, 1917, amidst World War I, two ships collided in Halifax harbor causing the largest unintentional explosion in the history of the world.  2,000 people died and 12,000 buildings were damaged or destroyed when 500 acres of the city were obliterated.   The explosion caused a tsunami, the gust of wind from the blast knocked over trees and shot a fireball into the air.  The very next day, during rescue operations, 16 inches of snow fell on the town.

The Norwegian ship the SS Imo, carrying relief supplies for war victims, collided with the French supply ship the SS Mont-Blanc.  The French ship was carrying munitions including TNT, picric acid, benzol and guncotton.   The harbor was particularly crowded during the war due to a U-boat net that surrounded the harbor and increased traffic due to the war.

I know I am ignorant of Canadian history and my ears perk up whenever I hear something interesting about our neighbors to the north.  Regardless of how ignorant I am not, watching this video makes me feel knowledgeable:

Asking Americans about Canada      

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