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total eclipses that changed the world


How can natural eclipses of the Sun and Moon have changed the world? Quite easy really. Here are three examples.


The Chinese Dragon

There is a Chinese story about two astronomers, Hsi and Hso. One day a giant dragon took a bite out of the Sun, then another bite, leaving only half the Sun. Then it ate the whole lot, leaving only a strange circle of light.









The Emperor and his people were terrified. They tried to scare the dragon by banging drums and letting off firecrackers. This worked, and slowly the Sun reappeared out of the dragon's mouth.


But the Emperor was so very angry with Hsi and Hso because they had not warned him that this would happen that he had their heads chopped off! This probably happened around 2130 BC.



Christopher Columbus

When Christopher Columbus made his fourth voyage to the 'New World' between 1502 and 1504, he got stranded in Jamaica. He and his crew managed to trade with the islanders for food, but eventually they ran out of things to swap. Looking at his star charts, Columbus noticed that a lunar eclipse was about to happen. He gathered the islanders together and said that God was angry and would cover the Moon. When this actually happened, the islanders were so impressed and frightened they continued feeding the crew!

The eclipse that stopped a war

In 585 BC there was a great battle being fought between the Lydian people from what is now Turkey, and the Medes from further east. They had been fighting for 5 years when a total eclipse of the Sun occurred. Both armies were so frightened and shocked that they agreed to peace at once! Here’s a short summary of what happened:





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