“Jonestown,” a cult led by Jim Jones, was intentional community in northwestern Guyana formed by the Peoples Temple. It became internationally notorious when, on November 18, 1978, 918 people died in the settlement as well as in a nearby airstrip and in Georgetown, Guyana’s capital.
To the extent the actions in Jonestown were viewed as a mass suicide, it is the largest such event in modern history and resulted in the largest single loss of American civilian life in a non-natural disaster until the events of September 11, 2001.
The poisonings in Jonestown followed the murder of five others by Temple members at a nearby Port Kaituma airstrip. The victims included Congressman Leo Ryan, the first member of Congress assassinated in the line of duty in the history of the United States. Four other Temple members died in Georgetown at Jones’s command.