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Leiden Gunpowder Disaster Memorial

On the afternoon of January 12th, 1807, a ship moored in the docks of Leiden in the Netherlands exploded with such force that hundreds of the surrounding buildings were destroyed, and it seems as though it may all have been caused by a cooking accident. 

During the French occupation of Leiden, a ship full of gunpowder was sitting in the so-called Steenschuur (Stone Barn) canal in the heart of the city. The ship was heading to the town of Delft, carrying the munitions from the city of Haarlem, holding over 37,000 pounds of explosive powder. No one is sure exactly what set the conflagration off, but 4:15 in the afternoon, the ship exploded. The ensuing blast left 152 people dead, and another 2,000 injured, toppling over 200 buildings in the surrounding neighborhoods.



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