The 1883 eruption of Krakatoa in Indonesia (then the Dutch East Indies) occurred today in 1883. The volcano had become active in May but this was the climax of the eruption, one of the most devastating of all time. Ash was propelled nearly 50 miles in the air, causing total darkness in the surrounding area and huge tidal waves struck the nearby islands of Java and Sumatra, killing over 36,000 people in coastal towns there.
On August 27, two thirds of Krakatoa collapsed in a chain of titanic explosions, destroying most of the island and its surrounding archipelago. Additional alleged seismic activity continued to be reported until February 1884, though reports of those after October 1883 were later dismissed after investigation.
In 1968, the disaster became the subject of a feature film, which became memorable for the inaccuracy of its title – Krakatoa, East of Java. It actually lies west of the island of Java – oops!