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On This Day… The Blast That Shook Beijing

Written by: George Chittenden : 24 May 2019

It was on this day, 30th May back in 1626 when an explosion in Beijing destroyed half of the city and killed twenty-thousand people. It’s believed that the source of the blast was the Wanggongchang Armory, and that it was an industrial accident, however several other theories exist including that the blast was a meteorite crash or a natural gas explosion. Regardless of the cause of the explosion, nobody doubts the devastation it caused.

The blast was so powerful it destroyed everything within two square kilometres of the source and launched debris thirty kilometres away. According to reports victims were stripped of their clothing by the force of the explosion. In other areas of the country people believed that an earthquake had struck the capital. Interestingly, reports exist of a mushroom cloud rising into the sky following the explosion which as you can imagine have fuelled conspiracy theorists’ imaginations. Experts have calculated that the blast was the equivalent of nearly 20,000 tons of TNT, an explosion roughly the same in power as the atomic bomb which destroyed Hiroshima in 1945. So folks, what are your thoughts? Was it a simple industrial accident or something more?

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