The Year 1815 was a year of rejoicing for England as it marked the defeat of Napoleon in the battle of Waterloo by allied forces and the English were towards the winning side. Peace and prosperity was expected to shower in the coming days. But the reverse happened the next year...... a disaster came.....and the year 1816 was historically symbolized as “The Year without a summer”.
It was the consequence of largest ever volcanic eruption that has taken place perhaps since the last ice age. During April 1815, with large explosion, tons and tons of ash were ejected into the upper atmosphere from Mount Tambora volcano located on the Sumbawa Island, Indonesia. At that time the region was known as Dutch East Indies. This event coincided with the period of unusually low solar activity resulting in serious consequences in form of climatic abnormality all around the world particularly in the Northern hemisphere. Subsequently, the huge amount of circulating dust and ash in the atmosphere restricted the sunlight reaching the earth’s surface thus resulting in significant drop in average global temperatures. The Year 1816 witnessed perhaps the coldest, wettest and most miserable summers of all times and is remembered as “The Year without a summer”.
During this year, England faced one of the coldest summers as per the available records. In China, monsoon season was disrupted, resulting in overwhelming floods in the rivers. In India, the delayed summer monsoon caused late torrential rains resulting in floods and crop failure. In eastern Switzerland, the summers of 1816 and 1817 were so cool that an ice dam was formed below the tongue of the Giétro Glacier. Subsequently, the ice dam collapsed catastrophically in June 1818.
During May 1816, Mary Godwin, an English writer along with Percy Shelley, the romantic poet , philosopher and Mary’s would be husband had travelled to Geneva along with her stepsister Claire Clairmont. They planned to spend the summer with the poet Lord Byron along with his physician friend, John Polidori. The incessant rainfall that continued that year during the famous wet, unpleasant summer forced all the friends to stay indoors for much of their Swiss holiday. Sometimes they use to boat around the lake during daytime but most of the nights were spent gossiping and narrating ghost stories to each other. One day Byron suggested them to write a supernatural story of their own and then they all decided to have a contest among themselves to see who could write the scariest story. As a outcome of this contest, Shelley wrote Frankenstein and Byron wrote "A Fragment," which later on Polidori stole and rewrote as The Vampire -- a precursor to Dracula.
Ms Mary Shelley wrote what she assumed would be a short story. However, with Percy Shelley's encouragement, she later on expanded it into her first novel, Frankenstein: or, The Modern Prometheus, published in 1818. So this is how a volcanic eruption leads to the birth of character known as “Frankenstein”- which many believe was the monster but as per the novel Mr. Victor Frankenstein was infact the creator of the monster.