The Great Calamity is an event from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. This event serves as the main historical context of the game. It corresponds to the disaster caused by Calamity Ganon throughout Hyrule that occurred one hundred years ago before Link's awakening from his long sleep inside the Shrine of Resurrection. After he awakens and leaves the Shrine, Link discovers a ruined Hyrule, in which are several ruined locations such as the Temple of Time and Hyrule Castle, which is now controlled by Calamity Ganon.
One century before Link's awakening inside the Shrine of Resurrection on the Great Plateau, Hylians discovered the ancient relics of the Sheikah constructed ten thousands years prior, including the Guardians and the four Divine Beasts, used to watch over the kingdom of Hyrule. This discovery coincided with the prophecy about Ganon's return, so King Rhoam and the people of Hyrule decided to create a group of warriors to protect them, the Champions.
Commanded by Princess Zelda, their ranks included Link, her knight and personal bodyguard, and a representative of each major race of Hyrule: Revali of the Rito, Daruk of the Gorons, Mipha of the Zora, and Urbosa of the Gerudo. While the other Champions piloted their race's respective Divine Beast, Zelda was sent on a pilgrimage under Link's protection, praying to statues of the goddess Hylia for the power to defeat Calamity Ganon.
With the help of the Sheikah's Guardians and the Divine Beasts, the people of Hyrule prepared for the return of Calamity Ganon. During this time, the Champions bonded with each other, with Zelda growing especially fond of Link once she realized their similarities as people burdened with tremendous legacies to live up to. However, Zelda was unable to unlock her power in time, and Calamity Ganon proved to have learned from its previous defeat; using its near limitless dark power, it killed the pilot Champions, took control of the Guardians and Divine Beasts, and nearly killed Link.
However, Zelda saved Link from the fatal blow, finally unlocking her power. Link was then sent to the Shrine of Resurrection on the Great Plateau, where he would recover in a deep sleep for the next one hundred years. Zelda returned the battle-damaged Master Sword to its pedestal in front of the Great Deku Tree, then used her power to seal Ganon and herself within Hyrule Castle.
It is possible, although not clear, that this may be what caused Link's death in the possible "Hero Dies and Fall" branch of the timeline split in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time; however, this may also be a new installation that splits either much earlier or much later in one of the other timelines.
Events in The Legend of Zelda series
|Age of Burning Fields · Creation of Hyrule · Great Calamity · Great Cataclysm · Great Flood · Peace Agreement · Shipwreck · Slumber of Restoration|
|Great War of Ikana · Hyrulean Civil War · Imprisoning War · War of the Bound Chest|
|Carnival of Time · Champion Festival · Hyrule Festival · Korok Ceremony · Picori Festival · Picori Festival Tournament · Wing Ceremony|
|Autumn · Spring · Summer · Winter|
|Blood Moon · Endless Day · Endless Night · Graduation Ceremony · Horde Battle · Jam Session · Lunar Phases · Oasis Flight · Restoration Ceremony|
|Bad Uncle Rupee's Ashen Rupeeland · Destruction of Termina · Game Over|