Countries with Volcano Deaths

Since 141 B.C., which countries have had the most deaths due to volcanic eruptions?
Source: Our World in Data. Based on the modern-day territory of the country, even if it wasn't a country at the time.
We also give you the mountain and year of the deadliest incident
Overseas regions marked in blue
Quiz by Quizmaster
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Last updated: November 16, 2019
First submittedNovember 13, 2019
Times taken22,756
Average score73.3%
Rating4.76
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Deaths
Deadliest incident
Country
143,000
Mt. Tambora (1815)
Indonesia
30,000
Ilopango (536)
El Salvador
29,500
Mt. Pelée (1902)
France (Martinique)
25,500
Nevado del Ruiz (1985)
Colombia
22,200
Mt. Unzen (1792)
Japan
10,200
Santa María (1902)
Guatemala
10,200
Laki (1784)
Iceland
7,900
Mt. Hibok-Hibok (1875)
Philippines
7,100
Mt. Vesuvius (1631)
Italy
5,600
Keanakakoi (1790)
United States
5,500
Mt. Lamington (1951)
Papua New Guinea
5,400
Tungurahua (1640)
Ecuador
2,000
San Cristóbal (1998)
Nicaragua
2,200
El Chichón (1982)
Mexico
1,900
Mt. Ararat (1840)
Turkey
+3
Level 73
Nov 16, 2019
I looked into Mt. Etna being the most deadly eruption, because I was always under the impression that it was a fairly safe volcano as far as volcanoes go. The event in 1169 was deadly because of an earthquake/tsunami. Only a few sources refer to an eruption from Etna, and it seems as though no eruption at all actually took place. I'm not sure which eruption actually was the deadliest though.
+4
Level ∞
Nov 16, 2019
It was in the source data so I included it. But I feel like you are right so I removed that incident.
+6
Level 84
Nov 16, 2019
Martinique is as much an overseas territory for France as Hawaii is for the USA. Be consistent please...
+4
Level ∞
Nov 16, 2019
Changed to overseas region.
+4
Level 84
Nov 16, 2019
Well, I still don't see why you need to specify that. "Pelée" is clearly a French word ;).
+8
Level 46
Feb 5, 2020
Hm, @Arp2600, France isn't the only french-speaking country.
+2
Level 50
Feb 5, 2020
I think it's good to have it specified. For consistency, Hawaii could also be classed as an overseas region, but.....no one would get France if it wasn't clear.
+3
Level 81
Feb 3, 2020
Add New Zealand in light of the White Island tragedy?
+3
Level 33
Feb 4, 2020
New Zealand needs to be added, Tarawera, Tangawi, and both white island eruptions could all be good examples.
+8
Level 78
Feb 4, 2020
The quiz is the countries with the most volcano-related deaths. Not countries with notably volcanic activity.
+5
Level 65
Feb 4, 2020
Have 1900 people been killed by volcanoes in New Zealand since 141 BC? I doubt it. Also, does this count deaths by falling into volcanic hot springs, boiling mud, and fumaroles?
+1
Level 46
Feb 5, 2020
I think that would be counted as accidents independent of volcanic activity.
+6
Level 67
Feb 4, 2020
Not their biggest fan (often used without good reason, when there is no way you can accidentally guess one of the other answers), but this quiz could benefit from a yellow box. I got 15/15 by guessing and if I am honest, I could have only answered you 2 with 100% certainty (vesuvius and ararat). The rest I got by looking at the languages, and by naming countries known for volcanic activity (so usually without a specific question in mind)
+3
Level 72
Dec 3, 2020
Maybe take off a minute or so of time to prevent over-guessing, but I think yellow-box would be a bit drastic.
+3
Level 55
Mar 22, 2022
yellow box would make it very impossible
+2
Level 76
Feb 4, 2020
Got all but Iceland!
+1
Level 73
Mar 22, 2022
That's a lot of people relative to population.
+5
Level 84
Feb 5, 2020
Do these stats include virgin sacrifices?
+4
Level 69
Jun 11, 2020
Missed three Central American countries because I thought I had already guessed them. But that was on the previous quiz I took, about floods. *facepalm*
+5
Level 69
Oct 6, 2020
I'm surprised not to see any of the East African Rift countries in here. According to Polish Wikipedia article, Nyiragongo's 1977 eruption alone killed around 2000 people, although the English one doesn't mention such high numbers.
+1
Level 51
Nov 12, 2021
I just guessed that there just wasnt much African population to be killed for most of history
+2
Level 69
Mar 22, 2022
Iceland makes the list despite being far less populated than Africa.

I guess it's about keeping the written record, the actual number of casualties must have been big enough for a few African countries to make the list IMO but there isn't sufficient evidence or something. That's the only way I can explain it.

+4
Level 70
Mar 22, 2022
Just wondering, how did people estimate the number of people who died from Ilopango? I can't imagine there are very good population records of El Salvador (or anywhere really) from that time.
+1
Level 66
Mar 22, 2022
Based on the time period, I would guess some early Mayan era records, probably in stone.
+1
Level 69
Mar 23, 2022
I live near Nevado del Ruiz and you can drive by the remains of the town that dissapeared with the eruption. It's chilling.