The atrocitologist and the world’s hundred deadliest multicides

Matthew White a federal courthouse librarian from Richmond, Virginia is an amateur atrocitologist. He begins with the Second Persian War (480–479 BCE) and closes with the Second Congo War, which took place between 1998 and 2002. He has a simple technique; he takes the highest and lowest estimates available in the research and averages them. Some academics are sceptical of this, while for others it’s a reasonable way to go about what is an inherently complex task. What nobody can deny is that Mr. White has invested staggering amounts of his time in producing his list of the 100 worst atrocities in world history. And his selection is most definitely not Eurocentric. What do we learn from this list? One point White makes is that Dictatorships are harmful to the health of their subjects, but chaos is also a great killer. Another one is that anyone with the Great after the name may well be a psycho. The other interesting thing is the surprises in the list. I had no idea that the Gladiatorial Games (264 BCE–435 CE) were so bloody – they cost 3.5 million lives. Chinggis Khan’s (1206–27) feat of forty million is pretty impressive, especially considering the time in which he did it. We hear a lot about the Atlantic Slave Trade but the Mideast Slave Trade (7th–19th centuries) responsible for 18.5 million lives is never mentioned. How many of you were aware of An Lushan Rebellion (755–63) which saw 13 million deaths. The shameful famines in British India (18th–20th centuries) killed a staggering 27 million. Here is White’s list:

1 Second World War (1939–45) 66,000,000

2=Chinggis Khan (1206–27) 40,000,000

2=Mao Zedong (1949–76) 40,000,000

4 Famines in British India(18th–20th centuries) 27,000,000

5 Fall of the Ming Dynasty (1635–62) 25,000,000

6=Taiping Rebellion (1850–64) 20,000,000

6=Joseph Stalin (1928–53) 20,000,000

8 Mideast Slave Trade (7th–19th centuries) 18,500,000

9 Timur (1370–1405) 17,000,000

10 Atlantic Slave Trade (1452–1807) 16,000,000

11= Conquest of the Americas (after 1492) 15,000,000

11=First World War (1914–18) 15,000,000

13 An Lushan Rebellion (755–63) 13,000,000

14=Xin Dynasty (9–24) 10,000,000

14=Congo Free State(1885–1908) 10,000,000

16 Russian Civil War (1918–20) 9,000,000

17= Thirty Years War (1618–48) 7,500,000

17= Fall of the Yuan Dynasty (ca 1340–70) 7,500,000

19= Fall of the Western Roman Empire(395–455) 7,000,000

19=Chinese Civil War (1927–37, 1945–49) 7,000,000

21 Mahdi Revolt (1881–98) 5,500,000

22 The Time of Troubles (1598–1613) 5,000,000

23 Aurangzeb (1658–1707) 4,600,000

24 Vietnam War (1959–75) 4,200,000

25 The Three Kingdoms of China(189–280) 4,100,000

26 Napoleonic Wars (1792–1815) 4,000,000

27 Second Congo War (1998–2002) 3,800,000

28 Gladiatorial Games (264 BCE–435 CE) 3,500,000

28= Hundred Years War (1337–1453)3,500,000

30 Crusades (1095–1291) 3,000,000

30= French Wars of Religion (1562–98) 3,000,000

30= Peter the Great (1682–1725) 3,000,000

30= Korean War (1950–53) 3,000,000

30=North Korea(after 1948) 3,000,000

35 War in the Sudan(1955–2003) 2,600,000

36 Expulsion of Germans from Eastern Europe(1945–47) 2,100,000

37 Fang La Rebellion (1120–22) 2,000,000

37=Mengistu Haile (1974–91) 2,000,000

39 Democratic Kampuchea(1975–79) 1,670,000

40 Age of Warring States (ca 475–221 BCE) 1,500,000

40= Seven Years War (1756–63) 1,500,000

40= Shaka (1818–28) 1,500,000

40= Bengali Genocide (1971) 1,500,000

40= Soviet-Afghan War (1979–92) 1,500,000

45   Aztec Human Sacrifice (1440–1521) 1,200,000

46 Qin Shi Huang Di (221–210 BCE) 1,000,000

46= Roman Slave Wars (134–71 BCE) 1,000,000

46= Mayan Collapse (790–909) 1,000,000

46= Albigensian Crusade (1208–29) 1,000,000

46= Panthay Rebellion (1855–73) 1,000,000

46= Mexican Revolution (1910–20) 1,000,000

46= Biafran War (1966–70) 1,000,000

53 Rwandan Genocide (1994) 937,000

54 Burma-Siam Wars (1550–1605) 900,000

55= Hulagu’s Invasion (1255–60) 800,000

55= Mozambican Civil War (1975–92) 800,000

57 French Conquest of Algeria(1830–47) 775,000

58 Second Punic War (218–202 BCE) 770,000

59 Justinian (527–65) 750,000

59= Italo-Ethiopian War (1935–41) 750,000

61 Gallic War (58–51 BCE) 700,000

61= Chinese Conquest of Vietnam(1407–28) 700,000

61= War of the Spanish Succession (1701–13) 700,000

61= Iran-Iraq War (1980–88) 700,000

65 American Civil War (1861–65) 695,00066

66 Hui Rebellion (1862–73) 640,000

67 Goguryeo-Sui Wars (598 and 612) 600,000

67= Sino-Dzungar War (1755–57) 600,000

69 Algerian War of Independence(1954–62) 525,000

70 Alexander the Great (336–325 BCE) 500,000

70= Bahmani-Vijayanagara War (1366) 500,000

70=Russo-Tatar War (1570–72) 500,000

70=War of the Austrian Succession (1740–48) 500,000

70=Russo-Turkish War (1877–78) 500,000

70=Partition ofIndia(1947) 500,000

70=Angolan Civil War (1975–94) 500,000

70=Ugandan Bush War (1979–86)  500,000

70=Somalian Chaos (since 1991) 500,000

79 War of the Triple Alliance(1864–70) 480,000

80 Franco-Prussian War (1870–71) 435,000

81 First Punic War (264–241 BCE) 400,000

81= Third Mithridatic War (73–63 BCE) 400,000

81= Cromwell’s Invasion of Ireland (1649–52) 400,000

81= Mexican War of Independence(1810–21) 400,000

81= Haitian Slave Revolt (1791–1803) 400,000

81= Greco-Turkish War (1919–22) 400,000

81= Indonesian Purge (1965–66) 400,000

88 French Indochina War (1945–54) 393,000

89 Great Turkish War (1682–99) 384,000

90 Great Northern War (1700–21) 370,000

91 Spanish Civil War (1936–39) 365,000

91= Postwar Vietnam(1975–92) 365,000

93 Cuban Revolution (1895–98) 360,000

94 Sanctions against Iraq(1990–2003) 350,000

94= Roman-Jewish Wars (66–74, 132–135) 350,000

96 Second Persian War (480–479 BCE) 300,000

96= War of the Allies (91–88 BCE) 300,000

96= Crimean War (1854–56) 300,000

96= Idi Amin (1971–79) 300,000

96= Saddam Hussein (1979–2003) 300,000

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