March 11, 1669
An eruption at Mount Etna decimates villages near its base, killing somewhere between 0 to 20,000 people
The eruption was the worst in recorded history since 122 BC, and destroyed the many villages at its base. Even though the villagers knew the volcano was active, the frequent, small eruptions created very fertile soil making it an ideal location for farming.
Widespread reports claim as many as 15,000-20,000 human lives were lost due to the eruption, including approximately 3,000 deaths from asphyxiation by those closest to the volcano before the lava began to flow. However, some historians dispute this claim. Their beliefs rely upon English and Italian accounts which make no mention of any loss of human life, but give detailed reports on the damage to houses, land, property, and local economics.