The extremes with which Mother Nature confronts people and their institutions force them to react immediately and decisively. Such was the case with the Atlantic hurricane of mid-August 1750, which swept up the east coast of the British North American colonies from Georgia to Delaware and flattened the men, ships, cities, and crops in its path. Sailing directly into this angry swirl of wind, waves, and rain went a modest-sized Spanish flota (convoy) of seven ships. There exists no good time to encounter a hurricane, but the navigation of this fleet and the path of this hurricane intersected at just the point where the hurricane would have been at its strongest. It is a testament to technological advancement in building seaworthy ships and to sheer will to live that most of the 1750 fleet survived, but barely.
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