List of famines

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This is a list of famines that dates from 2100 BCE to the present, by definition "famines are sustained, extreme shortages of food among discrete populations sufficient to cause high rates of mortality."[1]

Depiction of victims of the Irish Great Famine, 1845–1849


Date Event Location Death toll (where known; estimated)
2200–2100 BCE The 4.2-kiloyear event caused famines and civilizational collapse worldwide global
441 BCE The first famine recorded in ancient Rome. Ancient Rome[2]
26 BCE Famine recorded throughout Near East and Levant, as recorded by Josephus Judea 20,000+
103-89 BCE Beminitiya Seya, was a period of over a decade in which ancient Sri Lanka's irrigation systems failed as a result of invasion, corruption and neglect[3] Sri Lanka
370 CE Famine in Phrygia Phrygia
372–373 Famine in Edessa Edessa
400–800 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.[citation needed] Western Europe
470 Famine Gaul
535–536 Volcanic winter of 536 Global
585 Famine Gaul
639 Famine in Arabia during the Caliphate of Umar[4] Arabia
750s Islamic Spain (Al-Andalus)[5]
779 Famine Francia
792–793 Famine Francia
800–1000 Severe drought killed millions of Maya people due to famine and thirst and initiated a cascade of internal collapses that destroyed their civilization[6] Mayan areas of Mesoamerica 1,000,000+
805–806 Famine Francia
875–884 Peasant rebellion in China inspired by famine;[7][8] Huang Chao captured capital China
927–928 Caused by four months of frost[9][10] Byzantine Empire
963–969 Famine Egypt
1005–1006 Europe[11]
1016 Famine throughout Europe[12] Europe
1025 Famine Egypt
1051 Famine forced the Toltecs to migrate from a stricken region in what is now central Mexico[13] Mexico (present day)
1055–1056 Famine Egypt
1064–1072 Seven years' famine in Egypt [14][15] Egypt 40,000[14]
1069–1070 Harrying of the North England 100,000
1097 Famine and plague [16] France 100,000
1124–1126 Famine Europe
1143–1147 Famine Europe
1150–1151 Famine Europe
1161–1162 Famine Aquitaine
1181 Yōwa famine Japan 42,300
1196–1197 Famine Europe
1199–1202 Famine Egypt 100,000
1224–1226 Famine Europe
1230 Famine in the Novgorod Republic[citation needed] Russia
1230–1231 The Kanki famine, possibly the worst famine in Japan's history.[17] Caused by volcanic eruptions.[18] Japan 2,000,000
1235 Famine in England[19] England 20,000 in London
1256–1258 Famine in Italy, Spain, Portugal and England[20] Europe
1264 Famine Egypt
1275–1277 Famine[21] Italy
1275–1299 Collapse of the Anasazi civilization, widespread famine occurred[22] United States (present day)
1285–1286 Famine[21] Italy
1294 Famine Egypt
1302–1303 Famine in Spain and Italy[21] Europe
1304 Famine France
1305 Famine France
1310 Famine France
1315–1317 Great Famine of 1315–1317 Europe[23] 7,500,000
1321 Famine England
1328–1330 Famine in Italy, Spain and Ireland[21] Europe
1330–1333 Famine France
1333–1337 Chinese famine of 1333–1337 China[24] 6,000,000
1339–1340 Famine in Italy, Spain and Ireland[21] Europe
1344–1345 Famine in India, under the regime of Muhammad bin Tughluq[citation needed] India
1346–1347 Famine in France, Italy and Spain[21] Europe
1349–1351 Famine France
1351 Famine England
1358–1360 Famine France
1369 Famine England
1371 Famine France
1374–1375 Famine in France, Italy and Spain[21] Europe
1374–1375 Famine Egypt
1387 After Timur the Lame left Asia Minor, severe famine ensued[citation needed] Anatolia
1390–1391 Famine France
1394–1396 Famine Egypt
1396–1407 The Durga Devi famine India[25][12]
1403–1404 Famine Egypt
1432–1434 The Hungry Years Czech Republic (present-day)
1437–1438 Famine in France, Holy Roman Empire, and Britain Europe
1441 Famine in Mayapan Mexico[26]
1450–1454 Famine in the Aztec Empire,[27] interpreted as the gods' need for sacrifices.[28] Mexico (present day)
1460–1461 Kanshō famine in Japan[citation needed] Japan 82,000
1472–1474 Famine[29] Italy
1476 Famine[29] Italy
1482–1484 Famine[29] Italy
1493 Famine[29] Italy
1502–1505 Famine[29] Italy
1504 Spain[30]
1518 Venice[citation needed] Italy (present day)
1521–1523 Famine in the Low Countries, Ireland and the Nordic Countries Europe
1527–1530 Famine[29] Italy
1528 Famine in Languedoc France[31]
1533–1534 Famine[29] Italy
1535 Famine in Ethiopia Ethiopia
1539–1540 Famine[29] Italy
1540 Tenbun famine [ja] Japan
1544–1545 Famine[29] Italy
1550–1552 Famine[29] Italy
1558–1560 Famine[29] Italy
1567–1570 Famine in Harar, combined with plague[citation needed]. Emir of Harar died. Ethiopia
1569–1574 Pan-European famine, including Italy, France, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Low Countries, Nordic Countries, Russia and mostly east of Ukraine[29] Europe
1585–1587 Pan-European famine, including Italy, France, Low Countries, Britain and Ireland[29] Europe
1590–1598 Pan-European famine, including Italy, Spain, France, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Britain and the Nordic countries[29] Europe
1600–1601 Famine in Emilia and southern Lombardy[32] Italy
1601–1603 One of the worst famines in all of Russian history, with as many as 100,000 in Moscow and up to one-third of Tsar Godunov's subjects killed; see Russian famine of 1601–1603.[33][34] The same famine killed about half of the Estonian population. Russia 2,000,000
1607–1608 Famine[29] Italy
1618–1648 Famines in Europe caused by Thirty Years' War Europe
1618–1622 Famine[29] Italy
1619 Famine in Japan. During the Tokugawa period, there were 154 famines, of which 21 were widespread and serious.[35] Japan
1628–1632 Famine[29] Italy
1630–1632 Deccan famine of 1630–1632 India 7,400,000
1630–1631 Famine in north-west China China
1640–1643 Kan'ei Great Famine Japan 50,000-100,000
1648–1649 Famine[29] Italy
1648–1660 Poland lost an estimated 1/3 of its population due to wars, famine, and plague[citation needed] Poland
1649 Famine in northern England [36] England
1650–1652 Famine in the east of France [37] France
1651–1653 Famine throughout much of Ireland during the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland[38] Ireland
1661 Famine in India, due to lack of any rainfall for two years[39][12] India
1670s – 1680s Plague and famines in Spain[citation needed] Spain
1670–1671 Kyungshin Famine Korea 1,000,000 - 1,500,000
1672 Famine in southern Italy[32] Italy
1678–1679 Famine[29] Italy
1680 Famine in Sardinia[40] Italy (present day) 80,000[41]
1680s Famine in Sahel[37] West Africa
1690s Famine throughout Scotland which killed 5–15% of the population [42] Scotland 60,000180,000
1693–1694 Between 1.3 and 1.5 million French died in the Great Famine of 1693-1694 France 1,300,000[43][44]
1693–1695 Famine[29] Italy
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 150,000175,000[citation needed]
1696–1697 Great Famine of Finland wiped out almost a third of the population[45] Finland, then part of Sweden proper 150,000
1702–1704 Famine in Deccan[46] India 2,000,000[46]
1708–1711 Famine in East Prussia killed 250,000 people or 41% of its population.[47] According to other sources the great mortality was due to plague (disease), which between 1709 and 1711 killed about 200,000 – 250,000 out of 600,000 inhabitants of East Prussia.[48] The Great Northern War plague outbreak of 1708-1712 also affected East Prussia. East Prussia 250,000
1709 Famine[29] Italy
1709–1710 The fr:Grande famine de 1709 France[49] 600,000
1716 Famine[29] Italy
1722 Arabia[50]
1724 Famine[29] Italy
1727–1728 Famine in the English Midlands[51] England
1732–1733 Kyōhō famine Japan 12,172169,000[52]
1738–1756 Famine in West Africa, half the population of Timbuktu died of starvation[53] West Africa
1740–1741 Irish Famine (1740–1741) Ireland 300,000480,000
1750–1756 Famine in the Senegambia region [54] Senegal, Gambia (present day)
1764 Famine in Naples[55][29] Italy (present day)
1767 Famine[29] Italy
1769–1773 Great Bengal famine of 1770,[12] 10 million dead (one third of population) India, Bangladesh (present day) 10,000,000
1770–1771 Famines in Czech lands killed hundreds of thousands people Czech Republic (present day) 100,000+
1771–1772 Famine in Saxony and southern Germany[citation needed] Germany
1773 Famine in Sweden[56] Sweden
1779 Famine in Rabat Morocco[57]
1780s Great Tenmei famine Japan 20,000920,000
1783 Famine in Iceland caused by Laki eruption killed one-fifth of Iceland's population[58] Iceland
1783–1784 Chalisa famine India 11,000,000[59]
1784 Widespread famine throughout Egypt[60] Egypt
1784–1785 Famine in Tunisia[citation needed] Tunisia
1788 The two years previous to the French Revolution saw bad harvests and harsh winters, possibly because of a strong El Niño cycle[61] or caused by the 1783 Laki eruption in Iceland.[62][63] France
1789 Famine in Ethiopia afflicted "amhara/tigray north" Ethiopia
1789–1793 Doji bara famine or Skull famine India 11,000,000
1801 Famine[29] Italy
1804–1872, 1913 A series of 14 famines in Austrian Galicia Poland, Ukraine (present day) 400,000-550,000
1810, 1811, 1846, and 1849 Four famines in China China 45,000,000[64]
1811–1812 Famine devastated Madrid[65] Spain 20,000[66]
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[67]
1832–1833 Guntur famine of 1832 India 150,000
1833–1837 Tenpō famine Japan
1837–1838 Agra famine of 1837–1838 India 800,000
1845–1857 Highland Potato Famine Scotland
1845–1849 Great Famine in Ireland killed more than 1 million people. Between 1.5–2 million people forced to emigrate[68] Ireland 1,000,000+
1846 Famine led to the peasant revolt known as "Maria da Fonte" in the north of Portugal[citation needed] Portugal
1846-1848 The Newfoundland Potato Famine, related to the Irish Potato Famine. Newfoundland, present-day Canada
1849–1850 Demak and Grobogan in Central Java, caused by four successive crop failures due to drought. Indonesia 83,000[69]
1850–1873 As a result of the Taiping Rebellion, drought, and famine, the population of China dropped by more than 60 million[70] China 60,000,000
1860–1861 Upper Doab famine of 1860–1861 India 2,000,000
1863–1867 Famine in Cape Verde Cape Verde 30,000[71]
1866 Orissa famine of 1866 India 1,000,000[72]
1866–1868 Finnish famine of 1866–1868. About 15% of the entire population died Finland 150,000+
1866–1868 Famine in French Algeria French Algeria 820,000
1867–1869 Swedish famine of 1867–1869. Sweden
1869 Rajputana famine of 1869 India 1,500,000[72]
1870–1872 Persian famine of 1870–1872 Iran 200,000-3,000,000 Estimates vary [73]
1873–1874 Famine in Anatolia caused by drought and floods[74][75] Turkey (present day)
1873–1874 Bihar famine of 1873–1874 India
1876–1879 Famine in India, China, Brazil, Northern Africa (and other countries). Famine in northern China killed 9–13 million people.[76] 5.5 million died in the Great Famine of 1876–1878 in India. 500,000 died in Brazil. British policies and drought were responsible for the deaths in India.[77][78] The famine in China was a result of drought influenced by the El Niño–Southern Oscillation.[79] In Brazil, Grande Seca killed probably more than 400.000 people. India, China, Brazil, Northern Africa (and other countries). 15,000,00019,000,000 in Northern China, India and Brazil.
1878–1880 St. Lawrence Island famine, Alaska[80] United States 1,000
1879 1879 Famine in Ireland. Unlike previous famines, this famine mainly caused hunger and food shortages but little mortality. Ireland
1888–1889 Famine in Orrisa, Ganjam and Northern Bihar India 150,000
1888–1892 Ethiopian Great famine. About one-third of the population died.[81][82] Conditions worsen with cholera outbreaks (1889–92), a typhus epidemic, and a major smallpox epidemic (1889–90). Ethiopia 1,000,000
1891–1892 Russian famine of 1891–1892. Beginning along the Volga River and spreading to the Urals and the Black Sea. Russia 375,000500,000[83][84]
1895–1898 Famine during the Cuban War of Independence Cuba 200,000300,000
1896–1897 Famine in northern China leading in part to the Boxer Rebellion China
1896–1902 Indian famine of 1896–1897 and Indian famine of 1899–1900 due to drought and British policies.[78][85][86] India 2,000,000 (British territories), mortality unknown in princely states
1900–1903 Famine in Cape Verde Cape Verde 11,00020,000[71]
1904–1906 Famine in Spain[87][88][89] Spain
1907, 1911 Famines in east-central China China 20,000,000-25,000,000[90]
1914–1918 Mount Lebanon famine during World War I which was caused by the Entente and Ottoman blockade of food and to a swarm of locusts which killed up to 200,000 people, estimated to be half of the Mount Lebanon population[91] Lebanon 200,000
1914–1919 Famine caused by the Allied blockade of Germany during World War I until Germany signed the Treaty of Versailles.[92] Germany 763,000
1917 Famine in German East Africa German East Africa 300,000
1917–1919 Persian famine of 1917–1919 Iran 2,000,000,[93] but estimates range as high as 10,000,000[94]
1918–1919 Rumanura famine in Ruanda-Burundi, causing large migrations to the Congo Rwanda and Burundi (present day)[citation needed]
1919–1922 Kazakh famine of 1919–1922. A series of famines in Turkestan at the time of the Bolshevik revolution killed about a sixth of the population Turkestan [95]
1920–1921 Famine in northern China China 500,000
1920–1922 Famine in Cape Verde Cape Verde 24,00025,000[71]
1921 Russian famine of 1921–1922 Russia 5,000,000[96]
1921–1922 1921–1922 famine in Tatarstan Russia 500,0002,000,000[97]
1921–1923 1921–1923 famine in Ukraine Ukraine 250,0001,000,000[98]
1924–1925 Famine in Volga German colonies in Russia. One-third of the entire population perished[99][unreliable source?] Russia
1924–1925 Minor famine in Ireland due to heavy rain Irish Free State[citation needed]
1928–1929 Famine in Ruanda-Burundi, causing large migrations to the Congo Rwanda and Burundi (present day)
1928–1930 Chinese famine of 1928–1930 in northern China. The drought resulted in million of deaths China 3,000,000-10,000,000
1930–1931 Famine Madagascar 32,000
1932–1933 Soviet famine of 1932–1933, including famine in Ukraine, and famine in Kazakhstan, caused by Soviet collectivization policy, abnormal cold period,[100] and bad harvests in the years of 1931-1932.[101] Russian SFSR, Ukrainian SSR, and Kazakh ASSR 5,000,000[101]-7,000,000[102]
1936 Famine in China China 5,000,000[103]
1940–1943 Famine in Cape Verde Cape Verde 20,000[71]
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).[104] Occupied Poland
1940–1948 Famine in Morocco between 1940 and 1948, because of refueling system installed by France.[105] Morocco 200,000
1941–1944 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).[106] According to other estimates about 800,000 out of an immediate pre-siege population of about 2.5 million perished.[107] Soviet Union 800,0001,000,000
1941–1944 Famine in Greece caused by the Axis occupation.[108][109] Greece 300,000
1941–1942 Famine in Kharkiv (Kharkov). In a city with a population of about 450,000 while under German occupation, there was a famine starting in the winter of 1941–42 that lasted until the end of September 1942. The local administration recorded 19,284 deaths between the second half of December 1941 and the second half of September 1942, thereof 11,918 (59.6%) from hunger.[110] The Foreign Office representative at Army High Command 6 noted on 25.03.1942 that according to reports reaching municipal authorities at least 50 people were dying of hunger every day, and that the true number might be much higher as in many cases the cause of death was stated as "unknown" and besides many deaths were not reported.[111] According to Soviet sources about 70–80,000 people died of starvation in Kharkov during the occupation by Nazi Germany.[112] Soviet Union 11,91880,000
1941-1943 Famine in Kyiv (Kiev). On April 1, 1942, well after the first winter of famine, Kiev officially had about 352,000 inhabitants. In the middle of 1943—more than four months before the end of German rule—the city officially had about 295,600. Death by starvation was not the only reason for the rapid decline in population: deportation to Germany and Nazi shootings also played their part. Nevertheless, starvation was an important factor.[113] Soviet Union
1942–1943 Chinese famine of 1942–1943 Henan, China 2,000,0003,000,000
1942–1943 Iranian famine of 1942–1943 Iran 3,000,000[114][better source needed]
1943 Bengal famine of 1943 Bengal, India, Bangladesh 2,100,000
1943–1944 Ruzagayura famine in Ruanda-Urundi, causing emigrations to Congo Rwanda and Burundi (present day) 36,00050,000
1943–1945 Famine in Hadhramaut Yemen (present day) 10,000[115][116]
1944–1945 Java under Japanese occupation Java, Indonesia 2,400,000[117]
1944 Dutch famine of 1944–1945 during World War II Netherlands 20,000
1945 Vietnamese famine of 1945 Vietnam 600,0002,000,000[118]
1945-1947 Famine in Königsberg (Kaliningrad) Soviet Union 57,00076,500[119]
1946-1947 German "Hungerwinter" Germany >100,000[120]
1946–1947 Soviet famine of 1946–1947 Soviet Union 1,000,0001,500,000[121][122]
1946–1948 Famine in Cape Verde Cape Verde 30,000[71]
1949 Nyasaland famine of 1949 Malawi 200
1950 1950 Canadian caribou famine Canada 60
1958 Famine in Tigray Ethiopia 100,000
1959–1961 The Great Chinese Famine[123][124][125] Some researchers also include the year 1958 or 1962. China (mainland) 15,000,00055,000,000[124][126][127]
1966–1967 Lombok, drought and malnutrition, exacerbated by restrictions on regional rice trade Indonesia 50,000[128]
1967–1970 Biafran famine caused by Nigerian blockade Nigeria 2,000,000
1968–1972 Sahel drought created a famine that killed a million people[129] Mauritania, Mali, Chad, Niger and Burkina Faso 1,000,000[citation needed]
1971–1973 Afghanistan drought Afghanistan 1,000
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[130]
1973 Darfur drought Darfur, Sudan 1,000
1974 Bangladesh famine of 1974 Bangladesh 27,000-1,500,000[citation needed]
1975–1979 Khmer Rouge. A maximum estimate of 500,000 Cambodians lost their lives to famine Cambodia 500,000[131]
1980–1981 Caused by drought and conflict[130] Uganda 30,000[130]
1982–1985 Famine caused by the Mozambican Civil War Mozambique 100,000
1983–1985 1983–1985 famine in Ethiopia Ethiopia 400,000600,000[132]
1984–1985 Famine caused by drought, economic crisis and the Second Sudanese Civil War Sudan 240,000
1988 Famine caused by the Second Sudanese Civil War Sudan 100,000
1990-2003 Famine caused by sanctions Iraq 500,000
1991–1992 Famine in Somalia caused by drought and civil war[130] Somalia 300,000[130]
1992–1997 Cuban "Special Period" caused by the Fall of Communism in Eastern Europe Cuba
1993 1993 Sudan famine Sudan
1994–1998 North Korean famine.[133][134] Scholars estimate 600,000 died of starvation (other estimates range from 200,000 to 3.5 million).[135] North Korea 200,0003,500,000
1998 1998 Sudan famine caused by war and drought Sudan 70,000[130]
1998 1998 Afghanistan famine Afghanistan 1,000
1998–2000 Famine in Ethiopia. The situation worsened by Eritrean–Ethiopian War Ethiopia
1998–2004 Second Congo War. 2.7 million people died, mostly from starvation and disease Democratic Republic of the Congo 2,700,000
2003–2005 Famine during the War in Darfur Sudan 200,000
2005–2006 2005–2006 Niger food crisis. At least three million were affected in Niger and 10 million throughout West Africa[citation needed] Niger and West Africa
2011–2012 Famine in Somalia, brought on by the 2011 East Africa drought[136] Somalia 285,000
2012 Famine in West Africa, brought on by the 2012 Sahel drought[137] Senegal, Gambia, Niger, Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso
2016–present Famine in Yemen, arising from the Yemeni Civil War and the subsequent blockade of Yemen by Saudi Arabia Yemen 85,000 children[138] Unknown number of adults.
2017 Famine in South Sudan[139] Famine in Somalia, due to 2017 Somali drought. Famine in Nigeria South Sudan, Unity State, Somalia, and Nigeria.
2020–present Famine in the Tigray War Tigray, Ethiopia
2021–present 2021–2022 Madagascar famine Madagascar

Global famines history

See also

Main article lists

Other articles


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