List of famines in China
This is a list of famines in China. Between 108 BC and 1911 AD, there were no fewer than 1828 recorded famines in China, or once nearly every year in one province or another. The famines varied in severity.
Famines in China
|Name||Time||Region||Context||Estimated number of dead|
|875-884||Peasant rebellion in China inspired by famine; Huang Chao captured capital|
|1333-1337||Famine in China|
|1630-1631||Northwestern China||Eventually causing the Ming Dynasty to collapse in 1644|
|1810, 1811, 1846, 1849||Nearly 45 million|
|1850-1873||Taiping Rebellion and drought||20-30 million mostly famine and plague |
|Great North China Famine||1876-1879||Northern China||Drought||9.5-13 million|
|1896-1897||Northern China||Leading in part to the Boxer Rebellion|
|1907, 1911||East-central China||25 million|
|1920-1921 North China famine||1920-1921||Henan, Shandong, Shanxi, Shaanxi, southern Zhili (Hebei)||0.5 million|
|Chinese famine of 1928–1930||1928-1930||Northern China||Drought||3 million|
|1936-1937 famine||1936-1937||Sichuan, Gansu||5 million|
|1942–1943 famine||1942–1943||Mainly Henan||Second Sino-Japanese War||2-3 million|
|Great Chinese Famine||1959-61||Entire country||Great Leap Forward and Drought||15 to 45 million|
Famines in Ancient China
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In China famines have been an ongoing problem for thousands of years. From the Shang dynasty (16th-11th century BC) until the founding of modern China, chroniclers have regularly described recurring disasters. There have always been times and places where rains have failed, especially in the northwest of China, and this has led to famine.
It was the task of the Emperor of China to provide assistance, as necessary, to famine areas and transport foods from other areas and to distribute them. The reputation of an emperor depended on how he succeeded. National famines occurred even when the drought areas were too large, especially when simultaneously larger areas of flooded rivers were over their banks and thus additionally crop failures occurred, or when the central government did not have sufficient reserves. If an emperor could not prevent a famine, he lost prestige and legitimacy. It was said that he had lost the Mandate of Heaven.
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- Cormac Ó Gráda (March 16, 2009). Famine: A Short History. Princeton University Press.
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- Dikötter, Frank. Mao's Great Famine: The History of China's Most Devastating Catastrophe, 1958-62. Walker & Company, 2010 pp.32, 67, xxiii. Becker, Jasper (1998). Hungry Ghosts: Mao's Secret Famine. Holt Paperbacks p.xi. Yang, Jisheng (2008). Tombstone (Mu Bei - Zhong Guo Liu Shi Nian Dai Da Ji Huang Ji Shi). Cosmos Books (Tian Di Tu Shu), Hong Kong pp.12, 429.
- Yang (2008) pp.396, 411
- Peng Xizhe (1987). Demographic Consequences of the Great Leap Forward in China's Provinces. Population and Development Review Vol.13 No.4 (Dec. 1987) pp.646-648.