1775 Newfoundland hurricane

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1775 Newfoundland hurricane
Formed August 29, 1775
Dissipated September 9, 1775
Fatalities 4,000-4,163 +
(8th Deadliest Atlantic hurricane of all-time)
Areas affected North Carolina, Virginia, Newfoundland
Part of the 1775 Atlantic hurricane season

The 1775 Newfoundland hurricane, also known as the Independence Hurricane, was a hurricane that hit the Colony of Newfoundland in September 1775. It is believed to have killed at least 4,000 people, making it one of the deadliest Atlantic hurricanes of all time.


North Carolina and Virginia[edit]

On August 29, 1775, a hurricane hit the Outer Banks of North Carolina. It turned northeastward and left the state on September 2, bringing heavy wind and rain to southeastern Virginia. A letter from New Bern, North Carolina, recounted, "We had a violent hurricane...which has done a vast deal of damage here, at the Bar, and at Matamuskeet, near 150 lives being lost at the Bar, and 15 in one neighborhood at Matamuskeet."

The September 9, 1775, edition of The Virginia Gazette reported: "The shocking accounts of damage done by the rains last week are numerous: Most of the mill-dams are broke, the corn laid almost level with the ground, and fodder destroyed; many ships and other vessels drove ashore and damaged, at Norfolk, Hampton, and York. In the heavy storm of wind and rain, which came on last Saturday, and continued most part of the night, the Mercury man of war as drove from her station abreast of the town of Norfolk, and stuck flat aground in shoal water."

At least 163 people were killed.[1]


Deadliest Atlantic hurricanes
Rank Hurricane Season Fatalities
1 "Great Hurricane" 1780 22,000+
2 Mitch 1998 19,325+
3 "Galveston" 1900 8,000 – 12,000
4 Fifi 1974 8,000 – 10,000
5 "Dominican Republic" 1930 2,000 – 8,000
6 Flora 1963 7,186 – 8,000
7 "Pointe-à-Pitre" 1776 6,000+
8 "Newfoundland" 1775 4,000 – 4,163
9 "Okeechobee" 1928 4,075+
10 "Monterrey" 1909 4,000
See also: List of deadliest Atlantic hurricanes

A storm struck the eastern coast of Newfoundland on September 9, 1775. It is uncertain if this storm was the remnants of the hurricane that had crossed the Outer Banks over a week earlier.

Newfoundland’s fisheries "received a very severe stroke from the violence of a storm of wind, which almost swept everything before it," Commodore Governor Robert Duff wrote shortly after it struck. "A considerable number of boats, with their crews, have been totally lost, several vessels wrecked on the shores," he said. Ocean levels rose to heights "scarcely ever known before" and caused great devastation, Duff reported.

A total of 4,000 sailors, mostly from England and Ireland, were reported to have been drowned.[1] A localized storm surge is reported to have reached heights of between 20 and 30 feet. Losses from the hurricane include two armed schooners of the Royal Navy, which were on the Grand Banks of Newfoundland to enforce Britain's fishing rights.

The hurricane is Atlantic Canada’s first recorded hurricane and Canada's deadliest natural disaster (and by far the deadliest hurricane to ever hit Canada), as well as the eighth-deadliest Atlantic hurricane in history.

See also[edit]


Further reading[edit]

  • Hairr, John (2008). The Great Hurricanes of North Carolina. Charleston, SC: History Press. pp. 21–30. ISBN 978-1-59629-391-5.