San Francisco Earthquake (311 words)

Historical Context Note

  • Editors


The earthquake which shook San Francisco at 5.12am on April 18th 1906 precipitated one of the most calamitous urban fires which the historical world had seen until that point. Seven hundred people were killed as the city burned for four days, and 3,000 acres of buildings were destroyed making 250,000 people homeless. The citizens were reduced to living for months in campsites around the city, but, in sharp contrast to the disaster caused by Hurricane Katrina on 29th August 2005, the response of local and national officials was rapid and exemplary. A local army commander, General Funston, took it upon himself to deploy troops in the city and achieved a state of martial law by 8.00am. The city mayor, Eugene Schmitz, w…

Editors. "San Francisco Earthquake". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 01 January 2001; last revised 11 September 2005.
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