Mt Vesuvius is one of the world’s most famous volcanos.It has erupted over 50 times throughout history, but it’s most notorious eruption took place in 79 AD, which destroyed the nearby towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum, leaving them buried under ash and volcanic matter for centuries.
Prior to the eruption, Pompeii was a bustling city was a population of around 20,000 people, quite large for the time. Located in the Bay of Naples, it was also a large trading port. The town covered an area of 160 acres, filled with villas, taverns, artisans shops, cafes, brothels, and bath houses. Pompeii is located 8km from the mountain, and only 500m from the sea, but after the eruption, the distance increased to 2km.
Pompeii’s farms flourished all year round, with the minerals and fertile soil from the volcano, the land was ideal for farming. Olives, citrus, and vegetables were common products of the area, as they were a major part of Pompeiian diets, along with bread, which was eating with almost every single meal.
Pompeii was a sea trading port and people would come from far and wide to trade with the city. Many affluent people from all around the world would come and visit the city.
In ancient Italy, the slave trade was popular among many of the wealthier citizens. Slaves were captured in battle and bought and sold in markets. In those times their race didn’t really matter
Leading up to the big eruption, Pompeii experienced frequent tremors. By the time things started to get serious, the water system had failed meaning that the city’s water supply was cut.
But on the 24th of August 79AD, a number of small eruption rocked the city. By midday an ash cloud had risen around 20km into the air, and the wind blows the cloud around, leaving the city in total darkness
(Photo credit: https://www.britishmuseum.org/)
By evening the ash cloud was at its full peak and ash, pumice and volcanic gases rained down on the surrounding towns, causing roofs to cave in, houses to collapse and people to be buried under the pressure of the volcanic matter and the ash in the air caused people to suffocate. Although Herculaneum was closer to the mountain, Pompeii suffered more devastation
Although Herculaneum was closer to the mountain, Pompeii suffered more devastation because the wind was blowing toward Pompeii,bringing volcanic debris with it. At nightfall a pyroclastic flow surged down the mountain, covering everyone and everything in its path.
The next day, the eruption had come to a halt leaving over 2000 people dead and about 18000 more homeless.
Pompeii was left untouched until 1749 when a group of explorers arrived looking for the remains of the city. They found the city intact and almost the same as it would have looked prior to the eruption. Skeletons had been preserved along with everyday items such as utensils, jars of preserved fruit and loaves of burnt bread.