Influenza arrives in AK. “While Spanish Influenza will not come to Alaska as quickly as it spread across the continent, it will be here in time,” said Dr. L.O. Sloane, public health officer, this morning. -The Alaska Daily Empire, Oct. 5, 1918. The Empire’s Readers did not have to wait long. By Oct. 14, the paper reported 4 cases in Juneau. On Oct. 20, 36 people arrived in Nome on the steamship Victoria. Though mail bags were fumigated, the sickness was carried across western & northern Alaska, likely following postal & mining trails. The impact was immediate. This was especially true for Indigenous communities.
When Taal erupted in January of 1911 the Philippines were the largest overseas colony of the United States. Residents on what was then called Bulkan ng Isla—Volcano Island—awoke to a strong earthquake on January 27… Bulkan ng Isla, wrote an observer, “was devastated, not a blade of grass escaping,” and an estimated 1200-2000 people lost their lives. As Taal quieted, a new storm over the American response brewed.