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This is a list of wars and human-made disasters by death toll. It covers the Lowest Estimate of death as well as the Highest Estimate, the name of the event, the location, and the start and end of each war. Some events overlap categories.

Wars and armed conflicts

These figures of one million or more deaths include the deaths of civilians from diseases, famine, etc., as well as deaths of soldiers in battle and possible massacres and genocide.

Where only one estimate is available, it appears in both the low and high estimates. This is a sortable table. Click on the column sort buttons to sort results numerically or alphabetically.

Lowest Estimate Highest Estimate Event Location From To See also
72,000,000 World War II Worldwide 1939 1945 World War II casualties and Sino-Japanese War
An Shi Rebellion China 756 763 Medieval warfare
100,000,000 Mongol Conquests Asia, Europe, Middle East 1207 1472 Mongol invasions and Tatar invasions
Qing dynastymarker conquest of the Ming Dynastymarker Chinamarker 1616 1662 Qing Dynastymarker
+ Taiping Rebellion China 1851 1864 Dungan revolt
World War I (High estimate includes Spanish flu deaths) Worldwide
||1914||1918|| World War I casualties
Conquests of Timur Middle East, Indiamarker, Asia, Russiamarker 1369 1405
Dungan revolt Chinamarker 1855 1877 Panthay Rebellion
Russian Civil War Russiamarker 1917 1921 List of civil wars
Second Congo War Democratic Republic of the Congomarker 1998 2003 First Congo War
Napoleonic Wars Europe, Atlanticmarker, Pacific and Indian Oceanmarker 1804 1815 Napoleonic Wars casualties
Thirty Years' War Holy Roman Empire 1618 1648 Religious war
Yellow Turban Rebellion China 184 205 Part of Three Kingdoms War
Korean War Korean Peninsula 1950 1953 Cold War
Vietnam War South East Asia 1959 1975 Indochina War
French Wars of Religion Francemarker 1562 1598 Religious war
Shaka's conquests Africa 1816 1828 Ndwandwe–Zulu War
Afghan Civil War Afghanistanmarker 1979 present Saur Revolution

Crimes against humanity

A list of court cases where persons known or unknown have been found guilty of one or more crimes against humanity which caused a substantial loss of life.

Lowest Estimate Highest Estimate Case Perpetrators Date of crime Location Notes
~8,000 ~8,000 ICTYmarker, Prosecutor, Vidoje Blagojevic & Dragan Jokic Dragan Jokic 1995 Bosnia Dragan Jokic was found guilty, of extermination as a crime against humanity, for his part in supporting the Srebrenica massacre, and on appeal was found to have been "integrally involved in the murder operation, spanning multiple mass killing sites"

Genocides and alleged genocides

The CPPCG defines genocide in part as "acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group".

Determining what historical events constitute a genocide and which are merely criminal or inhuman behavior is not a clear-cut matter. In nearly every case where accusations of genocide have circulated, partisans of various sides have fiercely disputed the interpretation and details of the event, often to the point of promoting wildly different versions of the facts. An accusation of genocide, therefore, will almost always be controversial.

The following list of genocides and alleged genocides should be understood in this context and not necessarily regarded as the final word on the events in question.

Lowest Estimate Highest Estimate Event Location From To Notes
10,000,000 100,000,000 European colonization of the Americas The Americas 1492 1900 Deaths caused by military conquests, spread of disease and displacement of Native American populations during European settlement of North and South America. The genocidal aspects of this event are entwined with loss of life caused by the lack of immunity of Native Americans to diseases carried by European settlers and their livestock (see Population history of American indigenous peoples).
5,830,000 11,000,000 Genocides of Nazi Germany Europe 1941 1945 With around 6 million Jews murdered, many scholars define the Holocaust as a genocide of European Jewry alone. Broader definitions include up to 1,500,000 Romani. A broader definition includes political and religious dissenters, 200,000 handicapped, 2 to 3 million Soviet POWs, 5,000 Jehovah's Witnesses, and 15,000 homosexuals, bringing the death toll to around 9 million. The number rises to 11 million if the deaths of 2 million ethnic Poles are included. See Holocaust, Consequences of German Nazism
2,500,000 10,000,000 Holodomor, famine, political repression Ukrainian SSR 1932 1933 Famine in Ukraine caused by the government of Joseph Stalin, a part of Soviet famine of 1932-1933. Holodomor is claimed by contemporary Ukrainian government to be a genocide of the Ukrainian nation.
1,700,000 3,000,000 Famine, political repression Cambodiamarker 1975 1979 , no one has been found guilty of participating in this genocide, but on 19 September 2007 Nuon Chea, second in command of the Khmer Rouge and its most senior surviving member, was charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity. He will face Cambodian and United Nations appointed foreign judges at the special genocide tribunal.
26,000 While the official Pakistani government report estimated that the Pakistani army was responsible for 26,000 killings in total, other sources have proposed various estimates ranging between 200,000 and 3 million. Indian Professor Sarmila Bose recently expressed the view that a truly impartial study has never been done, while Bangladeshi ambassador Shamsher M. Chowdhury has suggested that a joint Pakistan-Bangladeshi commission be formed to properly investigate the event.

Chowdury, Bose comments - Dawn Newspapers Online.

Hamoodur Rahman Commission Report, chapter 2, paragraph 33 (official 1974 Pakistani report).

Death Tolls for the Major Wars and Atrocities of the 20th Century: Bangladesh - Matthew White's website

Virtual Bangladesh: History: The Bangali Genocide, 1971
3,000,000 1971 Bangladesh atrocities East Pakistan (now Bangladeshmarker) 1971 1971 Atrocities in East Pakistan by the Pakistani military, leading to the Bangladesh Liberation War and Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, are widely regarded as a genocide against Bengali people, but to date no one has yet been indicted for such a crime.
775,000 1,500,000 Great Irish Famine United Kingdom of Great Britain and Irelandmarker 1846 1849 Although blight ravaged potato crops throughout Europe during the 1840s, the impact and human cost in Ireland—where a third of the population was entirely dependent on the potato for food—was exacerbated by a host of political, social and economic factors which remain the subject of historical debate.
500,000 1,000,000 Rwandan genocide Rwandamarker 1994 1994 Hutu killed unarmed men, women and children. Some perpetrators of the genocide have been found guilty by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwandamarker, but most have not been charged due to no witness accounts.
500,000 3,000,000 Expulsion of Germans after World War II Europe 1945 1950 With at least 12 million Germans directly involved, possibly 14 million or more, it was the largest movement or transfer of any single ethnic population in modern history and largest among the, post-war expulsions in Central and Eastern Europe (which displaced more than twenty million people in total). The events have been usually classified as population transfer, or as ethnic cleansing. Some go as far as calling it a genocide.: for example, R. J. Rummel has classified these events as both democide and genocide.
400,000 1,500,000 Armenian Genocide Ottoman Empire, early Turkeymarker 1914 1918 Usually called the earliest genocide of the 20th century between half and one and half million were killed in the genocide. The word genocide has been a controversial title and many countries including Turkeymarker refuse to call the incident a genocide, but a handful of countries have deemed it a genocidal act.
275,000 750,000 Assyrian genocide Ottoman Empire 1915 1918 Disputed, but some consider it a genocide.
270,000 655,000 Ustashe massacres of Serbs, Jews, Roma Balkans 1941 1945 No academic consensus if this was persecution or genocide during period of Independent State of Croatiamarker
200,000 1,000,000 Greek genocide Ottoman Empire 1915 1918 Disputed, but some consider it a genocide.
100,000 300,000 Nanking Massacre Nankingmarker 1937 1938 The Nanking Massacre, commonly known as the Rape of Nanking, was an infamous genocidal war crime committed by the Japanese military in Nanjing, then capital of the Republic of China, after it fell to the Imperial Japanese Army on 13 December 1937.
225,000 650,000 Depopulation of Australian aborigines Australia 1788 1888 No academic consensus that this was a genocide, see Australian genocide debate
200,000 400,000 Darfur conflict Sudanmarker Early 2003 present See International response to the Darfur conflict
130,000 200,000 Massacres of Mayan Indians Guatemalamarker 1962 1996 Genocide according to the Historical Clarification Commission.

Three State and Counterrevolution in France - Charles Tilly.

Vive la Contre-Revolution! - New York Times, 11 October 2007.

A French Genocide: The Vendée - book review by Peter McPhee of Melbourne Universitymarker, H-France Review Vol. 4 (March 2004), No. 26
500,000 Revolt in the Vendée Francemarker 1793 1796 Described as genocide by some historians. See also French Revolution
150,000 300,000 Political repression of East Timorese East Timormarker 1975 1990s Commonly referred to as genocide by media, scholars.
100,000 400,000 Political repression of West Papuansmarker Indonesiamarker 1961 present Genocide according to some sources, see Genocide in West Papua
100,000 200,000 Al-Anfal Campaign Iraqmarker 1986 1989 Ba'athist Iraq destroys over 2,000 villages and commits genocide on their Kurdish population.
50,000 100,000 Massacres of Hutus Burundimarker 1972 1972 Tutsi government massacres of Hutu, see Burundi genocide
50,000 50,000 Massacres of Tutsis Burundi 1993 1993 Hutu government massacres of Tutsi, see Burundi genocide
24,000 75,000 Herero and Namaqua genocide Namibiamarker 1904 1908 Generally accepted. See also Imperial Germanymarker
8,000 8,000 Srebrenica massacre Srebrenicamarker 1995 1995 A genocidal massacre according to the ICTYmarker. See also Bosnia war.

Individual extermination camps


This section includes famines that according to some scholars were caused or exacerbated by the policies of the ruling regime.

See also Famine and List of famines

Lowest Estimate Highest Estimate Event Location From To Notes
20,000,000 43,000,000 Great Leap Forward famine under the Chinese Communist Party led by Mao Zedong People's Republic of Chinamarker 1959 1962
6,000,000 10,000,000 Famine in the Soviet Unionmarker, under the leadership of Joseph Stalin, including Holodomor Soviet Unionmarker 1932 1933 , the Ukrainemarker government was trying to get this mass starvation recognised by the United Nations as an act of genocide, with Russian government and many members of the Ukrainian parliament opposing such a move.Helen Fawkes Legacy of famine divides Ukraine BBC News 24 November 2006
1,250,000 10,000,000 Indian famine of 1899–1900 Indiamarker 1899 1900 famine in India
5,250,000 10,300,000 Great Famine of 1876–78 Indiamarker 1876 1878
4,000,000 4,000,000 Bengal famine in British-ruled India Indiamarker 1943 1943
500,000 2,000,000 Great Irish Famine United Kingdom of Great Britain and Irelandmarker 1846 1849

Human sacrifice and ritual suicide

This section lists deaths from the systematic practice of human sacrifice or suicide. For notable individual episodes, see Human sacrifice and mass suicide.

Lowest Estimate Highest Estimate Description Group Location From To Notes
300,000 unknown Human sacrifice Aztecs Mexicomarker 14th century 1521 Human sacrifice in Aztec culture
13,000 13,000 Human sacrifice Shang dynasty Chinamarker BC1300 BC1050 Last 250 years of rule
3,912 3,912 Kamikaze suicide pilots, see note Imperial Japanesemarker air forces Pacific theatre 1944 1945
7,941 7,941 Ritual suicides Sati Bengalmarker, India 1815 1828
913 913 Jonestownmarker Revolutionary Suicide Followers of The Peoples Temple cult Jonestownmarker November 18 1978 November 19 1978 The Event was the largest loss of American civilian life in a non-natural disaster until the September 11th 2001 attacks.

See also

Other lists organized by death toll

Other lists with similar topics

*Rail accidents pre-1950
*Rail accidents 1950–1999
*Rail accidents 2000–present

Topics dealing with similar themes


  1. Wallinsky, David: David Wallechinsky's Twentieth Century : History With the Boring Parts Left Out, Little Brown & Co., 1996, ISBN 0316920568, ISBN 978-0316920568 - cited by White
  2. Brzezinski, Zbigniew: Out of Control: Global Turmoil on the Eve of the Twenty-first Century, Prentice Hall & IBD, 1994, ASIN B000O8PVJI - cited by White
  3. BBC - History - Nuclear Power: The End of the War Against Japan
  4. Sorokin, Pitirim: The Sociology of Revolution, New York, H. Fertig, 1967, OCLC 325197 - cited by White
  5. Mongol Conquests
  6. The world's worst massacres Whole Earth Review
  7. McFarlane, Alan: The Savage Wars of Peace: England, Japan and the Malthusian Trap, Blackwell 2003, ISBN 0631181172, ISBN 978-0631181170 - cited by White
  8. Taiping Rebellion - Britannica Concise
  9. 1918 Influenza: the Mother of All Pandemics, CDC
  10. Timur Lenk (1369-1405)
  11. Matthew's White's website (a compilation of scholarly estimates) - Miscellaneous Oriental Atrocities
  12. Davis, Mike. Late Victorian Holocausts. 1. Verso, 2000. ISBN 1859847390 pg 113
  13. Gernet, Jacques. A History of Chinese Civilization. 2. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1996.ISBN 0-521-49712-4
  14. Russian Civil War
  15. Inside Congo, An Unspeakable Toll
  16. [ "Congo war-driven crisis kills 45,000 a month-study" - Reuters, 22 Jan 2008.
  17. The Thirty Years War (1618-48)
  18. Cease-fire agreement marks the end of the Korean War on 27 July 1953.
  19. Huguenot Religious Wars, Catholic vs. Huguenot (1562-1598)
  20. Shaka: Zulu Chieftain
  21. Fueling Afghanistan's War
  22. Afghanistan's Endless War
  23. Summary of Appels of Judgement for Vidoje Blagojevic and Dragan Jokic UN Pres report, 9 May 2007
  24. International Justice Tribune - Lettre d'information
  25. David Stannard, American Holocaust
  26. Stacy Goodling, "Effects of European Diseases on the Inhabitants of the New World"
  27. The Holocaust
  28. [1],[2]
  29. Ukraine remembers famine horror. BBC News. November 24, 2007.
  30. Staff, Senior Khmer Rouge leader charged, BBC 19 September 2007
  31. Foster, R.F. 'Modern Ireland 1600–1972'. Penguin Press, 1988. p324. Foster's footnote reads: "Based on hitherto unpublished work by C. Ó Gráda and Phelim Hughes, 'Fertility trends, excess mortality and the Great Irish Famine'...Also see C.Ó Gráda and Joel Mokyr, 'New developments in Irish Population History 1700–1850', Economic History Review, vol. xxxvii, no.4 (November 1984), pp. 473–488."
  32. Joseph Lee, The Modernisation of Irish Society p. 1. Lee says 'at least 800,000'.
  33. Vaughan, W.E. and Fitzpatrick, A.J.(eds). Irish Historical Statistics, Population, 1821/1971. Royal Irish Academy, 1978
  34. Cecil Woodham-Smith, The Great Hunger, Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1991, p. 19. ISBN 978-0-14-014515-1
  35. Christine Kinealy, This Great Calamity, Gill & Macmillan, 1994, pp. xvi–ii, 2–3. ISBN 0-7171-4011-3
  36. See, e.g., Rwanda: How the genocide happened, BBC, April 1, 2004, which gives an estimate of 800,000, and OAU sets inquiry into Rwanda genocide, Africa Recovery, Vol. 12 1#1 (August 1998), page 4, which estimates the number at between 500,000 and 1,000,000. 7 out of 10 Tutsis were killed.
  37. Christoph Bergner, Secretary of State in Germany's Bureau for Inner Affairs, Deutschlandfunk, November 29, 2006,[3]
  38. Jürgen Weber, Germany, 1945-1990: A Parallel History, Central European University Press, 2004, p.2, ISBN 9639241709
  39. Peter H. Schuck, Rainer Münz, Paths to Inclusion: The Integration of Migrants in the United States and Germany, Berghahn Books, 1997, p.156, ISBN 1571810927
  40. Arie Marcelo Kacowicz, Pawel Lutomski, Population resettlement in international conflicts: a comparative study, Lexington Books, 2007, p.100, ISBN 073911607: "...largest movement of European people in modern history" [4]
  41. *Expelling the Germans: British Opinion and Post-1945 Population Transfer in Context, Matthew Frank Oxford University Press, 2008 *Europe and German unification, Renata Fritsch-Bournazel page 77, Berg Publishers 1992
  42. * * * * * * * * * *
  43. * * * *
  44. French in Armenia 'genocide' rowBBC
  45. Assyrian Genocide
  46. Death Tolls:Yugoslavia"Lowest estimate for Serbs killed by Ustasha: 215,000. For Jews: 26,000. For Gypsies: 20,000. For Croats killed by Ustasha: 10,000. A total of 270,000"
  47. Twentieth Century Atlas - Death Tolls
  48. Henry Morgenthau, Ambassador Morgenthau's Story, Doubleday, Page & Company, Garden City, New York, 1919.
  49. Henry Morgenthau, Ambassador Morgenthau's Story, Doubleday, Page & Company, Garden City, New York, 1919.
  50. The Statistics of Frontier Conflict
  51. Debate over Darfur death toll intensifies
  52. Press conference by members of the Guatemala Historical Clarification Commission, United Nations website, 1 March 1999
  53. Staff. Guatemala 'genocide' probe blames state. BBC. 25 February 1999. Retrieved from
  54. David McDowall, A Modern History of the Kurds, 504 pp., I.B. Tauris, 2004, ISBN 1850434166, pp. 359
  55. William Ochsenwald & Sydney N. Fisher, The Middle East: A History, 768 pp., McGraw Hill, 2004, ISBN 0072442336, pg 659
  56. Power, Samantha,A Problem From Hell: America and the Age of Genocide ISBN 0-06-054164-4 pp.82-4
  57. Walter Nuhn: Sturm über Südwest. Der Hereroaufstand von 1904. Bernhard & Graefe-Verlag, Koblenz 1989. ISBN 3-76375-852-6.
  58. According to the 1985 United Nations’ Whitaker Report, some 65,000 Herero (80 percent of the total Herero population), and 10,000 Nama (50% of the total Nama population) were killed between 1904 and 1907
  59. While the ICJ found that "genocidal acts" had been carried out throughout the war, the court was able to definitely establish genocidal intent in only one case, the Srebrenica massacre: Serbia found guilty of failure to prevent and punish genocide, Sense Agency 26 Feb 2007, accessed 29 August 2007
  60. Brian Harmon, John Drobnicki, Historical sources and the Auschwitz death toll estimates
  61. Encyclopedia Americana
  62. Jewish virtual library
  63. Vladimir Dedijer - The Yugoslav Auschwitz and the Vatican Buffalo (NY) 1992 ISBN 978-0-87975-752-6
  64. Peter Witte and Stephen Tyas, A New Document on the Deportation and Murder of Jews during "Einsatz Reinhardt" 1942, Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Vol. 15, No. 3, Winter 2001, ISBN 0-19-922506-0
  65. Raul Hilberg, The Destruction of the European Jews, Yale University Press, 2003, revised hardcover edition, ISBN 0-300-09557-0
  66. Yitzhak Arad, Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka. The Operation Reinhard Death Camps, Indiana University Press, Bloomington and Indianapolis, 1987, NCR 0-253-34293-7
  67. Stéphane Courtois (ed.), 1999: The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression, Harvard University Press, ISBN 0-674-07608-7
  68. Davis, Mike. Late Victorian Holocausts. 1. Verso, 2000. ISBN 1859847390 pg 173
  69. Davis, Mike. Late Victorian Holocausts. 1. Verso, 2000. ISBN 1859847390 pg 7
  70. The Great Irish Famine Approved by the New Jersey Commission on Holocaust Education on 10 September 1996, for inclusion in the Holocaust and Genocide Curriculum at the secondary level. Revision submitted 11/26/98.
  71. National Geographic, July 2003, cited by White
  72. This toll is only for the number of Japanese pilots killed in Kamikaze suicide missions. It does not include the number of enemy combatants killed by such missions, which is estimated to be around 4,000. Kamikaze pilots are estimated to have sunk or damaged beyond repair some 70 to 80 allied ships, representing about 80% of allied shipping losses in the final phase of the war in the Pacific (see Kamikaze).
  73. Sakuntala Narasimhan, Sati: widow burning in India, quoted by Matthew White, "Selected Death Tolls for Wars, Massacres and Atrocities Before the 20th Century", p.2 (July 2005), Historical Atlas of the 20th Century (self-published, 1998-2005).

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