There are countless records about famine in the world history, but due to the inconsistency of historical data recorded in various countries, it is difficult to clearly say which famine has the largest number of deaths.
However, in the modern history of the world, there have been many documented famines. Let me try to answer the questions I know:
1. 1845-1852 Irish Famine
In the autumn of 1845, an unprecedented potato mildew hit Ireland. This mildew was caused by fungi. Infected potatoes first appeared black spots on their leaves, and then the whole plant died. Even the tubers that were close to maturity would turn into a package of mud.
This mildew reduced the national potato production of Ireland by 1/3 in 1845, and it was close to the end of the harvest in 846. Although the mildew eased in 1847, it occurred again and again in the following years and lasted until 1852.
According to historical records, in Ireland at that time, potato was the most important food crop, which was widely planted and eaten. In the 1840s, the average daily consumption of potatoes per person in Ireland reached about 5 pounds, while the average daily consumption of the bottom people, who accounted for one third of the national population in Ireland, was as high as 10-12 pounds. Compared with that, the average daily consumption of potatoes in France was only 6 ounces, and that in Norway in northern Europe was only 28.5 ounces. It can be seen that the food structure of Ireland was quite single at that time, which meant that the attack of potato mildew was almost fatal to the Irish people.
Due to the long duration and repeated occurrence of this potato mildew, as well as the ineffective relief policies adopted by the British government, from 1845 to 1852, more than one million Irish died of hunger, and 2.1 million people fled their hometown and immigrated to the United States, Britain, Australia and other countries. When the famine ended, Ireland's total population fell by about 40 percent.
2. 1932-1933 great famine in Ukraine
From the 1920s, the Soviet Union began the process of large-scale industrialization. During this period, in order to solve the problems of food and raw materials shortage caused by large-scale industrialization, the Soviet Union forcibly carried out the agricultural collectivization movement in the vast crop producing areas.
However, the rapid implementation of the agricultural collectivization movement led to the dissatisfaction of a large number of farmers. These farmers, led by the rich farmers, protested in the form of slack work. By 1931, the grain output of the Soviet Union began to decrease. By early 1932, famine began to occur in the Urals and Western Siberia, and then spread to Ukraine, the main grain producing region.
The great famine in Ukraine began in early 1932. It once improved in the summer, but worsened again in the autumn, and lasted until the end of 1933.
As the task of grain purchase assigned by the Soviet Union to Ukrainian collective farms was extremely heavy, in order to complete the task of purchase, collective farms even purchased all the reserved grain in the hands of farmers, which led to a large number of farmers having no resistance in the face of famine. In addition, the Soviet government took a cover up attitude towards the fact of famine and prohibited farmers from going out to flee from famine and beg for food, further amplifying the damage of the famine.
Due to the lack of original data, scholars from all over the world have different opinions on the death toll of the famine, and even exaggerated data of nearly 40million people died. In recent years, with the declassification of a large number of old Soviet archives, many researchers estimated the death toll of the Ukrainian famine at 3-3.5 million.
3. 1941-1944 Central Plains famine
Since 1941, China's Henan region has suffered years of floods, droughts, winds, hail, locusts and other disasters. "From spring to autumn, drought raged in Henan, leaving a thousand miles of bare land. After autumn, floods, droughts, locusts, winds, hail and other disasters attacked each other, and nearly every county suffered no disaster and no serious disaster" (continuation of the modern China famine era (1919-1949))
Among them, drought is the worst disaster. According to the records at that time, from 1941 to 1942, more than 60 counties in Henan province suffered from drought and nearly lost their crops. In 1943 and 44, the range of locust disasters caused by drought reached more than 40 counties, causing huge losses to the people of Henan at that time.
The famine was caused by both natural and man-made disasters. According to the meteorological data at that time, since 1940, the precipitation in Henan Province has been far lower than the average level in previous years. Especially in 1942, the precipitation was less than 60% of the normal year, which is an important reason for the occurrence of drought.
When the "great famine in the Central Plains" began, it was in the anxious period of the Anti Japanese war. At that time, the Japanese invaders had occupied about one-third of the area of Henan Province. The people of Henan were faced with three heavy pressures: famine, invaders' plundering and the supply of supplies to the national government army. The degree of misery can be imagined.
At the same time, when the famine occurred, a group of local officials led by Li Peiji, chairman of Henan Province, not only turned a blind eye to the disaster and did not report it, but also increased the number of grain requisitions, which further increased the damage caused by the famine, and made the lives of the victims worse and fell into a Jedi.
It was not until 1943 that the Kuomintang government began to take effective disaster relief measures when the American journalist Bai Xiude published his own experience in the disaster area in time magazine and met Chiang Kai Shek to report the situation in the disaster area. But at this time, the number of people affected by the disaster in Henan Province has reached 30million, and the number of people who died of hunger has reached 2million-3million.
I am writing history with a pen in my mouth. Welcome to pay attention to me~