Rich Fleetwood on Survival & Preparedness - Founded/Established 1997

Man-made Disasters

List of wars and disasters by death toll

Thanks to Wikipedia

List of wars and disasters by death toll. (2009, June 25). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 01:27, June 25, 2009, from

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 EstimateHighest EstimateEventLocationFromToSee also
&0000000040000000.00000040,000,000[1]72,000,000[2]World War IIWorldwide19391945World War II casualties and Sino-Japanese War[3]
&0000000033000000.00000033,000,000[4]&0000000036000000.00000036,000,000[5]An Shi RebellionChina756763Medieval warfare
&0000000030000000.00000030,000,000[6]60,000,000[7]Mongol ConquestsAsia, Europe, Middle East12071472Mongol invasions and Tatar invasions
&0000000025000000.00000025,000,000[8]&0000000025000000.00000025,000,000Manchu conquest of the Ming DynastyChina16161662Qing Dynasty
&0000000020000000.00000020,000,000[9]&0000000030000000.00000030,000,000+[10]Taiping RebellionChina18511864Dungan revolt
&0000000015000000.00000015,000,000&0000000025000000.00000025,000,000World War I (High estimate includes Spanish flu deaths)[11]Worldwide19141918World War I casualties
&0000000010000000.00000010,000,000[12]&0000000020000000.00000020,000,000[12]Conquests of TimurMiddle East, India, Asia, Russia13691405List of wars in the Muslim world[13]
&0000000008000000.0000008,000,000&0000000012000000.00000012,000,000Muslim RebellionChina18551877Panthay Rebellion
&0000000005000000.0000005,000,000&0000000009000000.0000009,000,000[14]Russian Civil WarRussia19171921List of civil wars
&0000000003800000.0000003,800,000[15]&0000000005400000.0000005,400,000[16]Second Congo WarDemocratic Republic of the Congo19982003First Congo War
&0000000003500000.0000003,500,000&0000000006500000.0000006,500,000Napoleonic WarsEurope, Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Ocean18041815Napoleonic Wars casualties
&0000000003000000.0000003,000,000&0000000011500000.00000011,500,000[17]Thirty Years’ WarHoly Roman Empire16181648
&0000000003000000.0000003,000,000&0000000007000000.0000007,000,000Yellow Turban RebellionChina184205Part of Three Kingdoms War
&0000000002500000.0000002,500,000&0000000003500000.0000003,500,000[18]Korean WarKorean Peninsula19501953Cold War
&0000000002495000.0000002,495,000&0000000005020000.0000005,020,000Vietnam WarSouth East Asia19591975Indochina War
&0000000002000000.0000002,000,000&0000000004000000.0000004,000,000[19]French Wars of ReligionFrance15621598Religious war
&0000000002000000.0000002,000,000[20]&0000000002000000.0000002,000,000Shaka‘s conquestsAfrica18161828
&0000000001500000.0000001,500,000[21]&0000000002000000.0000002,000,000[22]Afghan Civil WarAfghanistan1979present

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 EstimateHighest EstimateCasePerpetratorsDate of crime ?LocationNotes
~8,000~8,000ICTY, Prosecutor, Vidoje Blagojevic & Dragan JokicDragan Jokic1995BosniaDragan Jokic was found guilty, of extermination as a crime against humanity, for his part in supporting the Srebenica massacre, and on appeal was found to have been “integrally involved in the murder operation, spanning multiple mass killing sites”[23][24]

Genocides and alleged genocides

Main article: Genocides in history

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 EstimateHighest EstimateEventLocationFromToNotes
10,000,000[20,000,000European colonization of the AmericasThe Americas14921900From when Christopher Columbus set foot onto American land, to the various colonization from empires abroad, to the Battle at Wounded Knee, it is estimated between 10 and 20 million native Americans were killed. Early on, the most common amount of deaths came from disease that carried from Europe hitting the less immune natives, this weakness was even used as a method of biological warfare. As colonization continued starvation and disease caused by displacement became prevalent. Towards the end, native Americans faced heavily armed soldiers in battle over land disputes and suffered terrible losses. However, even with all this killing, it was justified by the Manifest Destiny.[citation needed]
5,830,000[25]11,000,000[26]Genocides of Nazi GermanyEurope19411945With 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 because, like the European Jewry, the Roma were also targeted for total annihilation due to their race. 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
2,500,00010,000,000[27]Holodomor, famine, political repressionUkrainian SSR19321933Famine 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.
1,700,0003,000,000Famine, political repressionCambodia19751979As of September 2007[update], 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.[28]
26,000 [29]3,000,000[29]1971 Bangladesh atrocitiesEast Pakistan (now Bangladesh)19711971Atrocities 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.
800,0003,000,000Rwandan genocideRwanda19941994Hutu killed unarmed men, women and children. Some perpetrators of the genocide have been found guilty by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, but most have not been charged due to no witness accounts.
400,000 [30]655,000[31]Ustashe massacres of Serbs, Jews, RomaBalkans19411945No academic consensus if this was persecution or genocide during period of Independent State of Croatia
100,000300,000Nanking MassacreNanking19371938The 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.
225,000650,000Depopulation of Australian aborigines[32][33]Australia17881888No academic consensus that this was a genocide, see Australian genocide debate
200,000400,000[34]Darfur conflictSudanEarly 2003presentSee International response to the Darfur conflict
130,000]200,000Massacres of Mayan IndiansGuatemala19621996Genocide according to the Historical Clarification Commission.[35][36]
117,000[37]500,000[37]Revolt in the VendéeFrance17931796Described as genocide by some historians. See also French Revolution
150,000300,000Political repression of East TimoreseEast Timor19751990sCommonly referred to as genocide by media, scholars.
100,000400,000Political repression of West PapuansIndonesia1961presentGenocide according to some sources, see Genocide in West Papua
100,000[38]200,000[39]Al-Anfal CampaignIraq19861989Ba’athist Iraq destroys over 2,000 villages and commits genocide on their Kurdish population.
50,000[40]100,000[40]Massacres of HutusBurundi19721972Tutsi government massacres of Hutu, see Burundi genocide
50,00050,000Massacres of TutsisBurundi19931993Hutu government massacres of Tutsi, see Burundi genocide
40,000100,000Herero and Namaqua genocideNamibia19041908Generally accepted. See also Imperial Germany
~8,000~8,000[41]Srebenica massacreSrebenica19951995A genocidal massacre according to the ICTY. 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 EstimateHighest EstimateEventLocationFromToNotes
20,000,000[49]43,000,000[49]Great Leap Forward famine under the Chinese Communist Party led by Mao ZedongPeople’s Republic of China19591962
6,000,00010,000,000[50]Famine in the Soviet Union, under the leadership of Joseph Stalin, including HolodomorSoviet Union19321933As of November 2006[update], the Ukraine 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.[50]
4,000,0004,000,000Bengal famine in British-ruled IndiaIndia19431943
1,000,0003,000,000Iraqi famine in Iraq, UN economic sanctionsIraq19902003
500,0002,000,000Great Irish FamineUnited Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland18461849[51]

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 EstimateHighest EstimateDescriptionGroupLocationFromToNotes
300,000unknownHuman sacrificeAztecsMexico14th century1521Human sacrifice in Aztec culture
13,000[52]13,000Human sacrificeShang dynastyChinaBC1300BC1050Last 250 years of rule
3,9123,912Kamikaze suicide pilots, see note [53]Imperial Japanese air forcesPacific theatre19441945
7,941[54]7,941Ritual suicidesSatiBengal, India18151828
913913Jonestown Revolutionary SuicideFollowers of The Peoples Temple cultJonestownNovember 18 1978November 19 1978The Event was the largest loss of American civilian life until the September 11th 2001 attacks.

See also

Other lists organized by death toll

Other lists with similar topics

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. ^ “Death toll figures of recorded wars in human history”.
  6. ^ Mongol Conquests
  7. ^ The world’s worst massacres Whole Earth Review
  8. ^ McFarlane, Alan: The Savage Wars of Peace: England, Japan and the Malthusian Trap, Blackwell 2003, ISBN 0631181172, ISBN 978-0631181170 – cited by White
  9. ^ Taiping Rebellion – Britannica Concise
  10. ^ “Emergence Of Modern China: II. The Taiping Rebellion, 1851-64”.
  11. ^ 1918 Influenza: the Mother of All Pandemics, CDC
  12. ^ a b Timur Lenk (1369-1405)
  13. ^ Matthew’s White’s website (a compilation of scholarly estimates) –Miscellaneous Oriental Atrocities
  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 Aghanistan’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. ^ The Holocaust
  26. ^ [1],[2]
  27. ^ Ukraine remembers famine horror. BBC News. November 24, 2007.
  28. ^ Staff, Senior Khmer Rouge leader charged, BBC 19 September 2007
  29. ^ a b 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
  30. ^ Jasenovac
  31. ^ Twentieth Century Atlas – Death Tolls
  32. ^ The Statistics of Frontier Conflict
  33. ^ Smallpox Through History
  34. ^ Debate over Darfur death toll intensifies
  35. ^ Press conference by members of the Guatemala Historical Clarification Commission, United Nations website, 1 March 1999
  36. ^ Staff. Guatemala ‘genocide’ probe blames state. BBC. 25 February 1999. Retrieved from
  37. ^ a b
    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 University, H-France Review Vol. 4 (March 2004), No. 26
  38. ^ David McDowall, A Modern History of the Kurds, 504 pp., I.B. Tauris, 2004, ISBN 1850434166, pp. 359
  39. ^ William Ochsenwald & Sydney N. Fisher, The Middle East: A History, 768 pp., McGraw Hill, 2004, ISBN 0072442336, pg 659
  40. ^ a b Power, Samantha,A Problem From Hell: America and the Age of Genocide ISBN 0-06-054164-4 pp.82-4
  41. ^ 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 Srebenica massacre: Serbia found guilty of failure to prevent and punish genocide, Sense Agency 26 Feb 2007, accessed 29 August 2007
  42. ^ Brian Harmon, John Drobnicki, Historical sources and the Auschwitz death toll estimates
  43. ^ Encyclopedia Americana
  44. ^ Jewish virtual library
  45. ^ Vladimir Dedijer – The Yugoslav Auschwitz and the Vatican Buffalo (NY) 1992 ISBN 978-0-87975-752-6
  46. ^ 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
  47. ^ Raul Hilberg, The Destruction of the European Jews, Yale University Press, 2003, revised hardcover edition, ISBN 0-300-09557-0
  48. ^ Yitzhak Arad, Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka. The Operation Reinhard Death Camps, Indiana University Press, Bloomington and Indianapolis, 1987, NCR 0-253-34293-7
  49. ^ a b Stéphane Courtois (ed.), 1999: The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression, Harvard University Press, ISBN 0-674-07608-7
  50. ^ a b Helen Fawkes Legacy of famine divides Ukraine BBC News 24 November 2006
  51. ^ 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.
  52. ^ National Geographic, July 2003, cited by White
  53. ^ 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).
  54. ^ 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).

External links

Updated: December 11, 2012 — 2:46 pm

The Author

Rich Fleetwood

Rich is the founder of SurvivalRing, now in it's 20th year, author of multimedia CDs and DVDs, loves the outdoors, his family, his geeky skill-set, and lives in rural Missouri, just a few miles from the Big Muddy. Always ready to help others, he shares what he learns on multiple blogs, social sites, and more. With a background in preparedness and survival skills, training with county, state, and national organizations, and skills in all areas of media and on air experience in live radio and television, Rich is always thinking about the "big picture", when it comes to helping individuals and families prepare for life's little surprises. Since 1997, he has provided guidance, authentic government survival history, and commentary on why we all need to get ready for that fateful day in the future, when we have to get our hands dirty and step in to save the day. He is an award winning videographer (2005 Telly Award), has received state and national scholarly recognition (2006 New Century Scholar and All USA Academic Team), and is a natural with computers, technology, gadgets, small furry mammals, and anything on wheels. Rich likes making friends, solving problems, and creating solutions to everyday issues. He doesn't mind mixing things up, when there is a teaching moment ready to happen. As a constitutional conservative, he's staying quite busy these days. The SurvivalRing Radio Show at will be coming back SOON!

Leave a Reply

Connect With Us at
Twitter Twitter | FaceBook Facebook | LinkedInLinkedIn | Quora Quora | Instagram Instagram | Pinterest Pinterest | Youtube Youtube | Tumblr Tumblr
SurvivalRing © 2018
Contact Us | Advertise | Terms of Use | GDPR | TradeMarks | Privacy | Fair Use | Sitemap | F.T.C
Social Media Disclosure | Earnings Disclaimer | Anti Spam Policy | D.M.C.A.
Site Design by Richard Fleetwood - Founder / Director of
Copyright © 1997-2018 Media - All Rights Reserved. -
SurvivalRing is the Trademark (TM) & Service Mark (SM) of all SurvivalRing Media Projects