10 Of The Largest Massacres In History

By Antonia Čirjak on February 16 2020 in Society

We often use the terms “war crime” or “crime against humanity” as synonyms for a massacre. 
We often use the terms “war crime” or “crime against humanity” as synonyms for a massacre. 
  • Although a massacre is hard to define, we mostly use the term to describe a killing of a large number of victims, along with terms as “war crime” or “crime against humanity”.
  • The Ottoman Empire is responsible for a large number of horrible massacres throughout history.
  • The final death tolls of some larger massacres are not considered to be 100% accurate, so it is entirely possible that they were much larger.

Throughout history, humans have proven that they are capable of doing awful things to each other. Massacres can easily be placed very closely near the top of that list. Although there is no correct definition of a massacre, we can try to define it as a killing of multiple victims. 

Massacres are often caused by political reasons and are performed by people in positions of power against victims that are not able to defend themselves. We often use the terms “war crime” or “crime against humanity” as synonyms for a massacre. 

Still, we often have a hard time trying to figure out what makes certain events massacres and other genocides. Despite that being the case, there are certain events in human history that everyone can agree were genocides, notable for its horrific impact on humanity. These events should serve as a lesson to never repeat mistakes like these and to try and strive to become better humans.

1. The Sichuan Massacre

View of Anshun bridge on daytime and city and river panorama in Chengdu Sichuan China.
View of Anshun bridge on daytime and city and river panorama in Chengdu Sichuan China.

Finally, we conclude this article, and what we consider to be the largest massacre in human history, the Sichuan massacre of 1945 and 1946. It is said that millions of people were killed in the city of Sichuan during this time. Although there are not many records of this event, we know it was perpetrated by Zhang Xianzhong, who became a ruler of the province after leading a peasant rebellion.

2. The Yangzhou Massacre Of 1645

Ancient city, Dongguan old street, Yangzhou, China
Ancient city, Dongguan old street, Yangzhou, China

The Yangzhou massacre of 1645 is another massacre that took place in China. Chinese general Dodo perpetrated it, and historians claim that 800,000 people were killed in ten days. After that, the remains of the city of Yangzhou were burned to the ground. The reason for this massacre was the resistance attempts by the residents of the city. 

3. The Hamidian Massacres

ISTANBUL, TURKEY. The Topkapi palace, the center and the "heart" of the Ottoman empire for almost 400 years.
ISTANBUL, TURKEY. The Topkapi palace, the center and the "heart" of the Ottoman empire for almost 400 years.

Returning to the Ottoman Empire, they are responsible for another famous massacre; a series of killings to be exact. We are referring to the Hamidian Massacres in 1894. It was all an attempt of the Ottoman empire to try to keep its power and influence alive, and they killed what is believed to be anywhere from 80,000 to 400,000 Armenian Christians in the process.

4. The Asiatic Vespers

King Rock Tombs from the Pontus Kingdom.
King Rock Tombs from the Pontus Kingdom.

A massacre that happened far into human history, all the way in 88 BC, is the attack known as the Asiatic Vespers. This massacre was conducted by the king of Pontus, mithridates, and it was an all-out attack to slaughter all Romans that lived in Anatolia (Turkey). It is believed that this resulted in the deaths of almost 150,000 people. 

5. Massacre Of The Latins

In 1182, Roman Catholics in Constantinople were driven out of the city, sold into slavery, or killed in the tens of thousands.
In 1182, Roman Catholics in Constantinople were driven out of the city, sold into slavery, or killed in the tens of thousands.

In 1182, Roman Catholics in Constantinople were driven out of the city, sold into slavery, or killed in the tens of thousands. The massacre is believed to have happened because of the class differences between the wealthy Roman Catholics (also known as the Latins) and the poor non-Roman Catholics.

6. The Massacre Of The Rhineland Jews

The massacre of the Rhineland Jews is considered by historians to be the event that planted the seed to what would eventually culminate in the Holocaust.
The massacre of the Rhineland Jews is considered by historians to be the event that planted the seed to what would eventually culminate in the Holocaust.

Going further back into the past, the massacre of the Rhineland Jews is considered by historians to be the event that planted the seed to what would eventually culminate in the Holocaust. This event happened in 1096, however, and was a series of massacres that were exerted by Germans throughout the country. German Christians committed mass murders of Jewish people under the guise of a crusade. 

7. The Chios Massacre

Volissos, Chios, on the northeast part of the island.
Volissos, Chios, on the northeast part of the island.

The Ottoman Empire was the cause of another famous massacre, this one much larger in scale. In 1822, 52,000 Greeks were massacred on the island of Chios. This happened during the Greek War of Independence. This massacre was used by the rest of Europe to isolate the Ottoman empire from European diplomacy. 

8. The Cyprus Massacre Of 1570

After surrendering, the city of Nicosia was laid to waste, and a large number of its inhabitants were massacred. 
After surrendering, the city of Nicosia was laid to waste, and a large number of its inhabitants were massacred. 

The Cyprus massacre that happened in 1570 was another event with a large number of casualties, from 16,000 to 20,000. This massacre was the aftermath of the siege of the Ottoman Empire, which lasted for four months. After surrendering, the city of Nicosia was laid to waste, and a large number of its inhabitants were massacred. 

9. The Massacre Of Praga

The Massacre Of Praga - a suburb of Warsaw, the capital of Poland.
The Massacre Of Praga - a suburb of Warsaw, the capital of Poland.

The next massacre we should talk about is the massacre of Praga. Praga is a suburb of Warsaw, the capital of Poland. In 1794, 20,000 people were killed there by Russian troops that conquered the city. 

10. The Chinese Massacre Of 1639

This event happened in the Philippines, and it is estimated that the Filipinos and the Spaniards slaughtered anywhere from 17,000 to 22,000 Chinese people.
This event happened in the Philippines, and it is estimated that the Filipinos and the Spaniards slaughtered anywhere from 17,000 to 22,000 Chinese people.

We can start the list of the most horrific massacres in history with the Chinese massacre of 1639. This event happened in the Philippines, and it is estimated that the Filipinos and the Spaniards slaughtered anywhere from 17,000 to 22,000 Chinese people. The reason for this massacre is tied to the fact that there were Chinese communities throughout Southeast Asia, and they were mostly working as merchants or scholars. Often they would end up being wealthier than the locals, which was the cause of riots, and ultimately this massacre. 

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