List of famines
This is a selective list of known major famines, ordered by date.
Between 108 BC and 1911 AD there were no fewer than 1,828 major famines in China, or one nearly every year in one or another province; however, the famines varied greatly in severity. There were 95 famines in Britain during the Middle Ages.
|Date||Event||Location||Death toll (estimate)|
|441 BC||The first famine recorded.||Ancient Rome|
|400–800 AD||Various famines in Western Europe associated with the Fall of the Western Roman Empire and its sack by Alaric I. Between 400 and 800 AD, the population of the city of Rome fell by over 90%, mainly because of famine and plague.||Western Europe|
|639||Famine in Arabia during the Caliphate of Umar ibn al-Khattab||Arabia|
|800–1000 AD||Severe drought killed millions of Maya people due to famine and thirst and initiated a cascade of internal collapses that destroyed their civilization||Mayan areas of Mesoamerica|
|809||Frankish Empire[unreliable source?]|
|875–884||Peasant rebellion in China inspired by famine; Huang Chao captured capital||China|
|927–928||Caused by four months of frost||Byzantine Empire|
|1016||Famine throughout Europe||Europe|
|1022, 1033, 1052||Great famines in India, in which entire provinces were depopulated||India|
|1051||Famine forced the Toltecs to migrate from a stricken region in what is now central Mexico||Mexico (present day)|
|1064–1072||Seven years' famine in Egypt||Egypt|
|1097||Famine and plague||France||100,000|
|1230||Famine in the Republic of Novgorod||Russia|
|1229–1232||The Kangi famine, possibly the worst famine in Japan's history. Caused by volcanic eruptions.||Japan|
|1235||Famine in England, 20,000 died in London alone||England|
|1275–1299||Collapse of the Anasazi civilization, widespread famine occurred||United States (present day)|
|1315–1317||Great Famine of 1315–1317||Europe|
|1344–1345||Great famine in India||India|
|1387||After Timur the Lame left Asia Minor, severe famine ensued||Anatolia|
|1396–1407||The Durga Devi famine||India|
|1441||Famine in Mayapan||Mexico|
|1450–1454||Famine in the Aztec Empire, interpreted as the gods' need for sacrifices.||Mexico (present day)|
|1460–1461||Kanshō famine in Japan||Japan|
|1518||Venice||Italy (present day)|
|1528||Famine in Languedoc||France|
|1535||Famine in Ethiopia||Ethiopia|
|1567–1570||Famine in Harar, combined with plague. Emir of Harar, died.||Ethiopia|
|1586||Famine in England which gave rise to the Poor Law system||England|
|1601–1603||One of the worst famines in all of Russian history; famine killed as many as 100,000 in Moscow and up to one-third of Tsar Godunov's subjects; see Russian famine of 1601–1603. Same famine killed about half Estonian population.||Russia||2 million|
|1618–1648||Famines in Europe caused by Thirty Years' War||Europe|
|1619||Famine in Japan. During the Tokugawa period, there were 154 famines, of which 21 were widespread and serious.||Japan|
|1630–1631||Deccan Famine of 1630–32 (Note: There was a corresponding famine in northwestern China, eventually causing the Ming dynasty to collapse in 1644)||India||2 million|
|1648–1660||Poland lost an estimated 1/3 of its population due to wars, famine, and plague||Poland|
|1649||Famine in northern England||England|
|1650–1652||Famine in the east of France||France|
|1651–1653||Famine throughout much of Ireland during the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland||Ireland|
|1661||Famine in India, when not a drop of rain fell for two years||India|
|1669||Famine in Bengal||India, Bangladesh (present day)|
|1670s and 1680s||Plague and famines in Spain||Spain|
|1680||Famine in Sardinia||Italy (present day)||80,000|
|1680s||Famine in Sahel|
|1690s||Famine throughout Scotland which killed 15% of the population||Scotland|
|1695–1697||Great Famine of Estonia killed about a fifth of Estonian and Livonian population (70,000–75,000 people). Famine also hit Sweden (80,000–100,000 dead)||The Swedish Empire, of which Swedish Estonia and Swedish Livonia were dominions at that time|
|1696–1697||Great Famine of Finland wiped out almost a third of the population||Finland, then part of Sweden proper|
|1702–1704||Famine in Deccan||India||2 million|
|1708–1711||Famine in East Prussia killed 250,000 people or 41% of its population||East Prussia||250,000|
|1727–1728||Famine in the English Midlands||England|
|1738–1756||Famine in West Africa, half the population of Timbuktu died of starvation||West Africa|
|1740-1741||Great Irish Famine (1740–1741)||Ireland|
|1750–1756||Famine in the Senegambia region |
|1764||Famine in Naples||Italy (present day)|
|1769–1773||Bengal famine of 1770, 10 million dead (one third of population)||India, Bangladesh (present day)||10 million|
|1770–1771||Famines in Czech lands killed hundreds of thousands people||Czech Republic (present day)|
|1771–1772||Famine in Saxony and southern Germany||Germany|
|1773||Famine in Sweden||Sweden|
|1779||Famine in Rabat||Morocco|
|1780s||Great Tenmei famine||Japan||20,000 - 920,000|
|1783||Famine in Iceland caused by Laki eruption killed one-fifth of Iceland's population||Iceland|
|1783–84||Chalisa famine||India||11 million|
|1784||Widespread famine throughout Egypt||Egypt|
|1784–1785||Famine in Tunisia killed up to one-fifth of all Tunisians||Tunisia|
|1788||The two years previous to the French Revolution saw bad harvests and harsh winters, possibly because of a strong El Niño cycle or caused by the 1783 Laki eruption in Iceland.||France|
|1789||Famine in Ethiopia afflicted "amhara/tigray north"|
|1789–92||Doji bara famine or Skull famine||India|
|1810, 1811, 1846, and 1849||Four famines in China||China||45 million.|
|1811–1812||Famine devastated Madrid||Spain||20,000|
|1815||Eruption of Tambora, Indonesia. Tens of thousands died in subsequent famine||Indonesia||10,000|
|1816–1817||Year Without a Summer||Europe||65,000|
|1830–1833||Claimed to have killed 42% of the population||Cape Verde||30,000|
|1837–1838||Agra famine of 1837–38||India|
|1845–1857||Highland Potato Famine||Scotland|
|1845–1849||Great Famine in Ireland killed more than 1 million people and over 1.5–2 million emigrated||Ireland||1.5 million|
|1846||Famine led to the peasant revolt known as "Maria da Fonte" in the north of Portugal||Portugal|
|1849–1850||Demak and Grobogan in Central Java, caused by four successive crop failures due to drought.||Indonesia||83,000|
|1850–1873||As a result of Taiping Rebellion, drought, and famine, the population of China dropped by more than 60 million||China|
|1866||Orissa famine of 1866||India||1 million|
|1866–1868||Finnish famine of 1866–1868. About 15% of the entire population died||Finland, northern Sweden||150,000+|
|1869||Rajputana famine of 1869||India||1.5 million|
|1870–1871||Famine in Persia||Iran (present day)||2 million|
|1873–1874||Famine in Anatolia caused by drought and floods||Turkey (present day)|
|1879||1879 Famine in Ireland. Unlike previous famines, this famine mainly caused hunger and food shortages but little mortality.||Ireland|
|1873–74||Bihar famine of 1873–74. Mortality was avoided in a massive relief campaign||India||Thought to be as low as zero|
|1876–1879||ENSO Famine in India, China, Brazil, Northern Africa (and other countries). Famine in northern China killed 13 million people. 5.25 million died in the Great Famine of 1876–78 in India||India, China, Brazil, Northern Africa (and other countries).||18.25 million in Northern China and India alone|
|1878-1880||Famine in St. Lawrence Island, Alaska||United States|
|1888–1892||Ethiopian Great famine. About one-third of the population died. Conditions worsen with cholera outbreaks (1889–92), a typhus epidemic, and a major smallpox epidemic (1889–90).||Ethiopia|
|1896–1897||ENSO famine in northern China leading in part to the Boxer Rebellion||China|
|1896–1902||ENSO famine in India||India|
|1907, 1911||Famines in east-central China||China|
|1914–1918||Mount Lebanon famine during World War I which killed about a third of the population||Lebanon|
|1916–1917||Famine caused by the British blockade of Germany in WWI||Germany|
|1916–1917||Winter famine in Russia||Russia|
|1917–1919||Famine in Persia. As much as 1/4 of the population living in the north of Iran died in the famine ||Iran (present day)|
|1918–1919||Rumanura famine in Ruanda-Burundi, causing large migrations to the Congo||Rwanda and Burundi (present day)|
|1917–1921||A series of famines in Turkestan at the time of the Bolshevik revolution killed about a sixth of the population||Turkestan|
|1921||Russian famine of 1921||Russia||5 million|
|1921–1922||1921–1922 famine in Tatarstan||Russia|
|1924–1925||Famine in Volga German colonies in Russia. One-third of the entire population perished||Russia|
|1928–1929||Famine in Ruanda-Burundi, causing large migrations to the Congo||Rwanda and Burundi (present day)|
|1928–1930||Famine in northern China. The drought resulted in 3 million deaths||China||3 million|
|1932–1933||Soviet famine of 1932–1933 and Soviet-related famine in Ukraine||Soviet Union and Ukraine||7–10 million in Ukraine, millions in Russia|
|1940–1945||Famine in Warsaw Ghetto, as well as other ghettos and concentration camps (note: this famine was the result of deliberate denial of food to ghetto residents on the part of Nazis).||Occupied Poland|
|1941–44||Leningrad famine caused by a 900-day blockade by German troops. About one million Leningrad residents starved, froze, or were bombed to death in the winter of 1941–42, when supply routes to the city were cut off and temperatures dropped to −40 °C (−40 °F).||Russia||1 million|
|1941–1944||Famine in Greece caused by the Axis occupation.||Greece||300,000|
|1942-43||Chinese famine of 1942–43||Henan, China||2-3 million|
|1943||Bengal famine of 1943||Bengal, India||1.5-7 million|
|1943||Famine in Ruanda-Urundi, causing migrations to the Congo||Rwanda and Burundi (present day)|
|1944-45||Java during World War II||Indonesia||2.4 million|
|1944||Dutch famine of 1944 during World War II||Netherlands||20,000|
|1944||Rwanda famine of 1944||Rwanda|
|1945||Vietnamese Famine of 1945||Vietnam||400,000–2 million|
|1947||Soviet Famine of 1947||Soviet Union||1–1.5 million|
|1958||Famine in Tigray||Ethiopia||100,000|
|1959–1961||The Great Chinese Famine. According to government statistics, there were 15 million excess deaths.||China||15–43 million|
|1966–1967||Lombok, drought and malnutrition, exacerbated by restrictions on regional rice trade||Indonesia||50,000|
|1967–1970||Biafran famine caused by Nigerian blockade||Nigeria|
|1968–1972||Sahel drought created a famine that killed a million people||Mauritania, Mali, Chad, Niger and Burkina Faso|
|1972–1973||Famine in Ethiopia caused by drought and poor governance; failure of the government to handle this crisis led to the fall of Haile Selassie and to Derg rule||Ethiopia||60,000|
|1974||Bangladesh famine of 1974||Bangladesh||1 million|
|1975–1979||Khmer Rouge. An estimated 2 million Cambodians lost their lives to murder, forced labor and famine||Cambodia|
|1980–1981||Caused by drought and conflict||Uganda||30,000|
|1984–1985||1984–1985 famine in Ethiopia||Ethiopia|
|1991–1992||Famine in Somalia caused by drought and civil war||Somalia||300,000|
|1996||North Korean famine. Scholars estimate 600,000 died of starvation (other estimates range from 200,000 to 3.5 million).||North Korea||200,000 to 3.5 million|
|1998||1998 Sudan famine caused by war and drought||Sudan||70,000|
|1998–2000||Famine in Ethiopia. The situation worsened by Eritrean–Ethiopian War||Ethiopia|
|1998–2004||Second Congo War. 3.8 million people died, mostly from starvation and disease||Democratic Republic of the Congo|
|2011-2012||Famine in Somalia, brought on by the 2011 East Africa drought||Somalia|
|2012||Famine in West Africa, brought on by the 2012 Sahel drought||Senegal, Gambia, Niger, Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso|
Main article lists
- Bengal famine
- Droughts and famines in Russia and the Soviet Union
- Famines in Ethiopia
- Famines, epidemics, and public health in the British Raj
- Famines in Czech lands
- Famine in India
- Famines in Russia and USSR
- Irish famines
- List of famines in China
- North Korean famine
- Timeline of major famines in India during British rule
- Collapse (book)
- Extreme weather events of 535–536
- Famine Early Warning Systems Network
- Famine events
- Famine relief
- Famine scales
- Food security
- Great Famine
- Hunger Plan
- Indian Famine Codes
- Late Victorian Holocausts (book on the great ENSO famines of 1876–80, 1896–1900)
- Life expectancy
- List of natural disasters
- List of wars and anthropogenic disasters by death toll
- Live Aid
- Medieval demography
- Agriculture and population limits
- Potato famine
- The Population Bomb
- Theories of famines
- World population
- 2007–2008 world food price crisis
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- Wood, C. A. (1992), "The climatic effects of the 1783 Laki eruption", in Harrington, C. R. (ed.), The Year Without a Summer?, Ottawa: Canadian Museum of Nature, pp. 58–77
- Neumann, J. (1977), "Great Historical Events that were Significantly Affected by the Weather: 2, The Year Leading to the Revolution of 1789 in France", Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 58 (2): 163–168, doi:10.1175/1520-0477(1977)058<0163:GHETWS>2.0.CO;2, ISSN 1520-0477.
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- Reader, John (2005), Cities, Atlantic Monthly Press, p. 243, ISBN 978-0-87113-898-9
- Ó Gráda 2009, p. 22
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- Elson, R.E. (1985) ‘The Famine in Demak and Grobogan in 1849-50: Its Causes and Circumstances’, Review of Indonesian and Malayan Affairs, 19(1)pp.39-85.
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- Imperial Gazetteer of India vol. III (1907), The Indian Empire, Economic (Chapter X: Famine, pp. 475–502, Published under the authority of His Majesty's Secretary of State for India in Council, Oxford at the Clarendon Press. P. 486–487, 1 map, 552.
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- Mitchell, Stephen (1995), Anatolia: land, men, and Gods in Asia Minor (reprint ed.), Oxford University Press, p. 145, ISBN 978-0-19-815029-9
- Ó Gráda, Cormac (2009). Famine: A Short History. Princeton University Press. p. 245. ISBN 9780691122373.
- The St. Lawrence Island Famine and Epidemic, 1878–80, Arctic Anthropology
- Serrill, Michael S. (1987-12-21). "Famine Hunger stalks Ethiopia once again – and aid groups fear the worst". Time.com. Retrieved 2014-08-13.
- El Niño and Drought Early Warning in Ethiopia
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- Late Victorian Holocausts
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- Van der Eng, Pierre (2008). "Food Supply in Java during War and Decolonisation, 1940-1950. (MPRA Paper No. 8852) pp.35-38.". Mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de.
- The 1947 Soviet famine and the entitlement approach to famines, Cambridge Journal of Economics
- Ganson, Nicholas (2009). The Soviet Famine of 1946-47 in Global and Historical Perspective. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 0-230-61333-0.
- Peng Xizhe (彭希哲), "Demographic Consequences of the Great Leap Forward in China's Provinces," Population and Development Review 13, no. 4 (1987), 639-70.
For a summary of other estimates, please refer to this link
- Van der Eng, Pierre (2012) “All Lies? Famines in Indonesia during the 1950s and 1960s?” Asian Historical Economics Conference, Hitotsubashi University, Tokyo (Japan), 13–15 September 2012. https://crawford.anu.edu.au/pdf/events/2012/20120916-Famine-in-Indonesia-1950s-60s.pdf
- Famine Casts Its Grim Global Shadow, TIME
- Ó Gráda 2009, p. 24
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- "United Nations News Centre - UN declares famine in another three areas of Somalia". Un.org. 2011-08-03. Retrieved 2014-08-13.
- "Sahel Famine Crisis". UNICEF. Retrieved 29 August 2013.
- Ó Gráda, Cormac (2009), Famine: a short history, Princeton University Press, ISBN 978-0-691-12237-3.
Media related to famines at Wikimedia Commons