On November 18, 1978, 918 Americans died in a mass murder/suicide at the Jonestown People’s Temple in Guyana. It is believed by many that the men, women and children were forced at gunpoint to drink Kool-Aid containing cyanide poison.
All but two of the dead died from apparent cyanide poisoning, in an event termed “revolutionary suicide” by Jones and some members on an audio tape of the event. The poisonings in Jonestown followed the murder of five others by Temple members at a nearby Port Kaituma airstrip. The victims included United States Congressman Leo Ryan. Four other Temple members died in Georgetown at Jones’ command.
It was the largest such event in modern history and resulted in the largest single loss of American civilian life in a deliberate act until the events of September 11, 2001.
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