The 1960 Valdivia earthquake or Great Chilean Earthquake (Span: Terremoto de Valdivia/Gran terremoto de Chile) was a 9.5 mms earthquake that occurred on Sunday, May 22, 1960. It is, to date, the strongest earthquake in recorded history. The earthquake wreaked enormous damage upon Chile and produced tsunamis that affected areas as far away as Oceania, Hawai'i (in particular the city of Hilo), Japan, Alaska, and the United States.
The death toll worldwide, although in particular in Chile, is uncertain but estimated at between 3,000 and 6,000, and the cost of the earthquake well over 6 billion USD (2011). The earthquake was a major historical event in Chile, which was already struggling economically after the 1958 South American financial crisis, and was driven into an economic depression after its recovery was stymied by the quake, a series of events many believe led to the Chilean communist takeover in 1965.