The US has a long history of large-scale terror attacks, dating back to the foundation of the country. Thousands of lives have been lost in these acts of terrorism. This article takes a closer look at the deadliest of these events.
10. Orlando nightclub shooting
The deadliest terror attack since the September 11 attacks happened on June 12, 2016, when a solitary gunman opened fire on the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida. A total of 50 people were killed - 49 nightclub attendants and the perpetrator. This incident is considered the deadliest attack against the LGBT population in the US and the deadliest mass shooting in the history of the country. Before being killed by the police, the shooter pledged his loyalty to the leader of ISIL.
9. Hillabee massacre
The Hillabee Massacre took place on November 18, 1813 in Hillabee, Alabama. At this time, the people of the Creek tribe were divided into two groups: 1 which supported the US efforts in the War of 1812 and 1 which fought against the US. Those against the US, known as Red Sticks, engaged unsuccessfully in battle against Andrew Jackson on November 17. Fighting ended when the Red Sticks (also known as Hillabees) surrendered, requesting peace negotiations. The following day, General John Cocke arrived and directed the leader of the local militia, James White, to attack the Hillabees. Both were unaware of the peace negotiations. The attack ended in 64 deaths and 29 injuries.
8. Wiyot massacre
The Wiyot Massacre occurred on February 26, 1860, when between 80 and 250 Native Americans from the Wiyot tribe were killed by white settlers on Indian Island in the Humboldt Bay of California. The disagreement between these two groups began when people from the tribe killed cattle that had wandered onto their land. Seeking revenge, the settlers made their way to the island, armed with knives, guns, and axes. The majority of the people killed were women, children, and seniors as the younger men were away collecting supplies.
7. Gnadenhutten massacre
During the American Revolutionary War, the Lenape Native American tribe divided themselves between the American and British interests. In September of 1781, British allies forced American allies from their homes at the Moravian village in Gnadenhutten, Ohio. They were forced further north to a city called Captive Town, where they did not receive sufficient food rations. Around 5 months later, a group of 100 American allies returned to Moravian village to recuperate the food supplies that had been left behind. On March 7, 1782, an American militia from Pennsylvania stumbled upon these individuals, accused them of leading violent attacks against Pennsylvania, and voted to kill them. The next day, the militia killed 98 of the Lenape. Only 2 survived.
6. Colfax massacre
The Colfax Massacre, also known as the Colfax Riot, is another instance of racial violence. This terror attack occurred in Colfax, Louisiana on April 13, 1873. Recent elections had given power to Republicans who believed in civil rights for African Americans. White Southern Democrats denied the election results and plotted an attack. In an attempt to protect the recent election results, an African American militia began guarding the local courthouse. A white militia, which included members of the Ku Klux Klan, attacked the courthouse. Approximately 108 individuals were killed in this event (some records indicate higher numbers).
5. Mountain Meadows massacre
The Mountain Meadows Massacre took place between September 7 and September 11 in 1857, when a wagon train of families was moving west to California. The group passed through the Utah Territory during the Utah War, a violent dispute between the US government and members of the Mormon Church. A Mormon-led militia attacked the wagons and the westbound settlers fought back. Over the course of 5 days, over 120 people were killed and more than 17 were injured.
4. Tulsa race riot
The Tulsa Race Riots of Tulsa, Oklahoma point to the violent history of racism in this country. This event occurred for 2 days: May 31 and June 1 of 1921. The riots were instigated by the arrest of an African American man who was accused of raping a white woman. A group of African Americans joined a group of white spectators at the local police station in an attempt to prevent a possible lynching of the suspect. Fighting between the 2 groups began, guns were drawn, and people from both groups were killed. In response, the white community broke out in violent mobs, attacking the black-owned homes and businesses of the Greenwood neighborhood. The riots caused $1.5 million in real estate damages, destroyed 35 city blocks, and left approximately 10,000 African-Americans without homes. Over 800 people were sent to hospitals and between 150 and 300 individuals were killed (records differ).
3. Oklahoma City bombing
On April 19, 1995, a bomb exploded at the Alfred P. Murrah federal building in Oklahoma City. The explosion was so strong that it broke the windows in 258 surrounding buildings, damaged 86 nearby cars, and destroyed roughly 33% of the federal building. In addition to causing $652 million in damages, 168 lives were lost and over 680 people were injured. According to the 2 responsible terrorists, this attack was in response to the FBI raids against the Branch Davidians in Waco, Texas.
2. Lawrence massacre
The 2nd deadliest terror attack in US history occurred on August 21, 1863, during the American Civil War. The state of Kansas, despite being part of the northern Union, was the site of significant fighting between pro-slavery and anti-slavery forces. The city of Lawrence had a long history of supporting abolition. It also served as the headquarters of the Jayhawkers, a militant group in favor of abolition. This group was responsible for an attack against Osceola, Missouri, a confederate supporter. In response, the Quantrill’s Raiders vigilante group planned an attack against Lawrence. Approximately 450 individuals raided the city, burned several of its buildings, and attacked its residents. The attacks resulted in 204 fatalities.
1. September 11 attacks
The deadliest, and perhaps most well-known, terror attack in the US occurred on September 11, 2001 at the World Trade Center in New York, New York. On this day, 19 al-Qaeda terrorists seized control of 4 airplanes. The 1st flight crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center, followed by the 2nd flight into the South Tower. Both buildings were completely destroyed in less than 2 hours. Additionally, the incident caused all other buildings in the complex to be either damaged or destroyed. The 3rd flight was flown into the west side of the Pentagon building in Washington, DC. The 4th plane unexpectedly plunged into a field in Pennsylvania after passengers tried to take control of the situation. In total, 2,996 lives were lost (including the 19 attackers) and more than 6,000 individuals were injured.