The Erzincan earthquake of 1939 was a major natural disaster that hit the province of Erzincan in eastern Turkey at 1:57 am (GMT 11:57 pm) on December 27, 1939. The earthquake of seven violent shocks, the biggest one measuring 8.2 on the Richter scale, was the most powerful one to strike Turkey in recent history.
The first stage of the earthquake killed about 8,000 people. The next day, it was reported that the death toll had risen to 20,000. An emergency relief operation began. By the end of the year, 32,962 had died due to more earthquakes and several floods. So extensive was the damage to Erzincan city that its old site was entirely abandoned and a new town was founded a little further to the north.