death toll

List of wars and disasters by death toll

This is a list of wars and human-made disasters by death toll. 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 massacre 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 The fighting took place in Asia, Europe, Africa, Pacific Ocean, Atlantic Ocean, Middle East, Arctic, Oceania, and Indian Ocean 1939 1945 World War II casualties and Sino-Japanese War
An Shi Rebellion China 756 763 Medieval warfare
60,000,000 Mongol Conquests Asia, Europe, Middle East 1207 1472 Mongol invasions and Tatar invasions
Manchu conquest of the Ming Dynasty China 1616 1662 Qing Dynasty
+ Taiping Rebellion China 1851 1864 Dungan revolt
World War I. (High estimate incl. Spanish flu deaths)

Europe, Middle East, Asia, Pacific, Atlantic, and Africa 1914 1918 World War I casualties
Conquests of Timur Middle East, India, Asia, Russia 1369 1405 List of wars in the Muslim world
Russian Civil War Russia 1917 1921 List of civil wars
Second Congo War Democratic Republic of the Congo 1998 2003 First Congo War
Napoleonic Wars Europe, Atlantic, and Indian Ocean 1804 1815 Napoleonic Wars casualties
Thirty Years' War Germany 1618 1648
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 France 1562 1598 Religious war
Shaka's conquests Africa 1816 1828
Afghan Civil War Afghanistan 1979 present Soviet invasion


This section lists campaigns either aimed at or resulting in significant mortality of noncombatants, excluding victims of collateral damage from war.

Lowest Estimate Highest Estimate Event Location From To Notes
27,000,000 72,000,000 Cultural Revolution, Political repression & Great Leap Forward famine, see note Peoples Republic of China 1949 1975 Mao Zedong, Communist Party of China
15,450,000 21,000,000 Democides of Nazi Germany under Hitler, including the Holocaust Europe 1933 1945 See Holocaust and Consequences of German Nazism
13,778,000 20,000,000 Democide of Native Americans by Europeans through various diseases Americas 16th century 1900 Amerindian history and European colonization
6,000,000 30,000,000 Imperial Japan's occupation of Asia Asia 1930s 1945 Japanese war crimes
4,000,000 60,000,000 Atlantic slave trade (including African tribal warfare promoted by the trade and more than 1 million who died during the trans-Atlantic crossings). Africa, Americas 17th century 19th century
4,000,000 50,000,000 Political repression, including (in larger figure) Holodomor famine Soviet Union 1932 1953 Number of Stalin's victims
3,600,000 3,600,000 Arab slave trade Africa, Asia, Europe 9th century 21st century Islam and slavery and Slavery in modern Africa
3,000,000 22,000,000 Depopulation (from forced labour & consequent spread of disease, massacres) Congo Free State 1877 1908 Leopold II of Belgium
~1,500,000 ~1,500,000 Great Potato Famine (An Gorta Mór) Ireland 1845 1849 (1852 in some regions)
1,000,000 5,000,000 Democide of Chinese Muslims China 1856 1873 Panthay Rebellion Muslim Rebellion
26,000 3,000,000 1971 Bangladesh atrocities East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) 1971 1971 Atrocities against Bengalis and other ethnicities in East Pakistan by the Pakistani military, leading to the Bangladesh Liberation War and Indo-Pakistani War of 1971
800,000 1,000,000 Partition of India India 1947 1948
750,000 800,000 Blockade of Germany, World War I Germany 1914 1919
500,000+ 1,000,000+ Anticommunist purge Indonesia 1965 1965
50,000 400,000 Nanking Massacre Nanking, China 1937 1938 See Nanking Massacre
300,000 500,000 Democide Uganda 1971 1979 Idi Amin
300,000 300,000 Ethnic cleansing of Circassians Caucasus 1763 1864 Russian-Circassian War
150,000 500,000 Mass killings, Genocide Ethiopia 1974 1991 Marxist regime of Mengistu Haile Mariam
150,000 150,000 Harrying of the North England 1069 1070 William the Conqueror
100,000 1,200,000 Democide of Tibetans (included in totals for People's Republic of China above) Tibet 1950 present The Great Leap Forward and political repressions
80,000 230,000 Mass executions during and after the Spanish Civil War Spain 1936 1940s Francisco Franco
80,000 80,000 Mass killings Equatorial Guinea 1968 1979 Francisco Macías Nguema
72,000+ 252,000 Russian pogroms Russia 1881 1922 Revolution/Civil War
50,000 100,000 Taiwan under Japanese rule Taiwan 1895 1945
72,000 72,000 Executions England 1509 1547 Henry VIII
40,000 100,000 Massacres Wallachia 1448 1462 Vlad III the Impaler
18,000 60,000 Reign of Terror France 1793 1794 Jacobin Club
30,000 30,000 Political repression Haiti 1964 1971 "Papa Doc" Duvalier
10,000 30,000 The Dirty War Argentina 1976 1983
27,927 27,927 Boer women and children in British concentration camps Primarily in The Transvaal and the Orange Free State, to a lesser extent the Colony of Natal and Cape Colony (all today's South Africa) 1899 1902 Second Boer War
15,000 23,000 Political repression Cuba 1959 2007 Fidel Castro
12,000 24,000 The 228 Incident Taiwan 1947 1947 Kwo Mintang (KMT)
3,000 3,000 Political repression Chile 1973 1990 Augusto Pinochet
885 885 Political repression Philippines 2001 Date Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo


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 clearcut 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
<3,000,000 30,000,000+

Japanese war crimes Asia 1937 1945 Also known as the Asian Holocaust, occurring at around the same as when Nazi Germany was in power during World War II.
11,000,000 16,300,000

Genocides of Nazi Germany Europe 1933 1945 Well established, in spite of Holocaust denial. See Holocaust, Consequences of German Nazism
2,500,000 5,000,000 Holodomor, famine, political repression Soviet Ukraine 1932 1933 A highly disputed genocide of the Ukrainian nation by the government of Joseph Stalin. The goal was forced collectivisation of farmers, destruction of the Ukrainian national spirit and cultural elite that emerged in the beginning of the 20th century.
1,700,000 3,000,000 Famine, political repression Cambodia 1975 1979 As of September 2007, 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 3,000,000 1971 Bangladesh atrocities East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) 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.
200,000 2,100,000 Armenian genocide Turkey 1895 1923 By 2003, fifteen national assemblies had voted to recognise that this was a genocide, but the Turkish government while accepting that many died does not recognize the episode as a genocide.
500,000 3,000,000 Rwandan genocide Rwanda 1994 1994 Hutu 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.
400,000 655,000 Ustashe massacres of Serbs, Jews, Roma Balkans 1941 1945 No academic consensus if this was persecution or genocide during period of Independent State of Croatia
100,000 300,000 Nanking Massacre Nanking 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.
225,000 225,000 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 Sudan 2003 present See International response to the Darfur conflict
130,000 200,000 Massacres of Mayan Indians Guatemala 1962 1996 Genocide according to the Historical Clarification Commission.
117,000 500,000 Revolt in the Vendée France 1793 1796 Described as genocide by some historians. See also French Revolution
150,000 300,000 Political repression of East Timorese East Timor 1975 1990s Commonly referred to as genocide by media, scholars.
100,000 400,000 Political repression of West Papuans Indonesia 1961 present Genocide according to some sources, see Genocide in West Papua
100,000 200,000 Al-Anfal Campaign Iraq 1986 1989 Ba'athist Iraq destroys over 2,000 villages and commits genocide on their Kurdish population.
50,000 100,000 Massacres of Hutus Burundi 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
40,000 100,000 Herero and Namaqua genocide Namibia 1904 1908 Generally accepted. See also Imperial Germany
2,000 8,000 Srebenica massacre Srebenica 1995 1995 A genocidal massacre according to the ICTY. See also Bosnia war.
4,000 8,000 Genocide of Abkhaz by Georgians Georgia 1992 present See also Georgian-Abkhaz armed conflict

Individual extermination camps

Man-made famines

This section includes famines where most scholars agree that it was 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 China 1959 1962
6,000,000 10,000,000 Famine in the Soviet Union, under the leadership of Joseph Stalin, including Holodomor Soviet Union 1932 1933 As of November 2006, 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.
500,000 2,000,000 Great Irish Famine in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland United Kingdom 1846 1849

Human sacrifice and ritual suicide

This section lists tolls 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 6,000,000 Human sacrifice Aztecs Mexico 14th century 1521 Human sacrifice in Aztec culture
62,400 62,400 Ritual suicides Sati India 18th century 1988?
13,000 13,000 Human sacrifice Shang dynasty China BC1300 BC1050 Last 250 years of rule
3,912 3,912 Kamikaze suicide pilots, see note Imperial Japanese air forces Pacific theatre 1944 1945

See also

Other lists organized by death toll

Other lists with similar topics

Topics dealing with similar themes


External links

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