Man’s cruelty had been manifested many times in history through indiscriminate killings of human beings.
This horrible act of men is called massacre. Here are 12 of the most tragic incidents of slaughter of people in history.
1. The Nanking Massacre
The massacre of Nanking according to reliable sources had estimated 200,000 – 300,000 victims, mostly civilians.
This infamous tragedy is one of the most tragic in Chinese history. This incident is popularly called the Rape of Nanking,
an act of violence committed by soldiers of the Japanese Imperial Army upon its occupation of China in December, 1937
and lasted until early February 1938. The Japanese army committed numerous atrocities, such as rape, looting, arson and
the execution of prisoners of war and civilians. Hundreds of women and children were also killed.
2. The Babi Yar Massacre
Babi Yar is a ravine in Kiev, the capital of Ukraine. On September 29 and 30, 1941, a special team of German SS troops
supported by other German units, local collaborators and Ukranian police murdered 33,771 Jewish civilians. The Babi Yar
massacre is considered to be “the largest single massacre in the history of the Holocaust”. In the months that followed,
thousands more were seized and taken to Babi Yar where they were shot. It is estimated that more than 100,000 people,
mostly civilians, of whom a significant number were Jews, were murdered by the Nazis there during World War
3. The Massacre of Prisoners
A tragic massacre committed by the Russians is the Massacre of Prisoners. The overall death toll in the Massacre of
Prisoners is estimated at around 100,000, including more than 10,000 in Western Ukraine. It was a series of mass
executions committed by the Soviet NKVD against prisoners in Poland, the Baltic States, and parts of the Soviet Union
from which the Red Army was withdrawing after the German invasion in 1941.
4. The Katyn Massacre
The Katyn Massacre is an incident that occurred in Russia with a number of victims estimated at about 22,000. The
victims were murdered in the Katyn forest, the Kalinin and Kharkiv prisons and elsewhere. This massacre is also known
as the Katyn Forest massacre. It was a mass execution of Polish military officers, policemen and civilian prisoners of
war ordered by Soviet authorities on March 5, 1940.
5. The Massacre of Elphinstone’s Army
The total incompetence of a commanding officer led to the massacre of Elphinstone’s Army in January 1842. This
incident was named after Major-General William Elphinstone. It was a victory of Afghan forces, led by Akbar Khan
against a combined British and Indian force led by Ephinstone. After the British and Indian troops captured Kabul in
1839, an Afghan uprising forced the occupying garrison out of the city. The British army, consisting of 4,500 troops
and 12,000 working personnel left Kabul on January 6, 1842. They attempted to reach the British garrison at Jalalabad,
90 miles away, but were immediately harassed by Afghan forces. The remaining forces were killed near Gandamak
on the 13th of January. Only William Brydon, the assistant surgeon, survived and managed to reach Jalalabad.
6. The Batak Massacre
Batak massacre occurred on April 30, 1876. It is referred to the massacre of Bulgarians in Batak by 8,000 Ottoman
troops at the beginning of the April Uprising. There were an estimated 3,000 to 5,000 number of victims according to
different sources. According to other sources, 5,000 people were massacred in Batak alone. The number of victims in
the district of Philippopolis estimated at 15,000. Most of the victims were beheaded.
7. The Massacre of Thessaloniki
One of the earliest recorded incidents of large scale massacre in history is the Massacre of Thessaloniki. It occurred in
390 CE when Gothic troops allegedly massacred 7,000 people. It was a retaliatory action by the Roman Emperor Theodosius I against the people Thessaloniki in Greece who had risen in revolt. The cause of the uprising had been Butherich or Botheric,
a Gothic magister militum in the Emperor’s army, ordered to arrest a popular charioteer for trying to seduce and have sex with
a servant of the emperor or even the magister militum himself. The charioteer was locked up in prison, but the citizens of
Thessaloniki demanded his release. Butherich was murdered in the following turmoil, and so the Emperor intervened and
8. St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre
The St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre was the worst of the 16th century’s religious massacres. It has been estimated
that over 5,000 Huguenots were killed in Paris and in the French provinces. This was a wave of Roman Catholic mob
violence against the Calvinist Protestants popularly knows as Huguenots, during the French Wars of Religion. It had
been traditionally believed to be instigated by Catherine de’ Medici, the mother of King Charles IX. The massacre
happened 6 days after the wedding of the king’s sister to the Protestant Henry III of Navarre, who later became Henry IV.
This was an occasion for which many of the most wealthy and prominent Huguenots had gathered in largely Catholic
Paris. Events began two days after the attempted assassination of Admiral Gaspard de Coligny, a Huguenot military
leader. Starting on 24 August 1572 (the feast of Bartholomew the Apostle) with the murder of Coligny, the massacres
spread throughout Paris, and later to other cities and the countryside, lasting for several months.
9. The Granada Massacre
On this tragic incident, about 4,000 persons died in one day of the more than 1,500 Jewish families. This incident
occurred on December 30, 1066 when a Muslim mob stormed the royal palace in Granada in Spain, assassinated
Jewish vizier Joseph ibn Naghrela and massacred most of the Jewish population of the city.
10. The Sabra and Shatila Massacre
One of the more recent incidents of massacre that gained worldwide attention took place on September 15 and 16, 1982,
the Sabra and Shatila Massacre. The number of victims of the massacre varies according to source: the lowest estimate is
328; the highest is placed at 3,500. It was a massacre carried out by the Lebanese Forces militia group. It is alleged that
Israeli Defense Forces allowed Lebanese Christian Phalangist militiamen to enter two Palestinian refugee camps, and
that the militia massacred civilians inside. It was argued that the Israelis should have known that a massacre could occur,
considering the assassination of Phalangist leader and prospective president Bachir Gemayel the day before, and given
the long history of bad blood between the Palestinians and the Phalangists.
11. The Bolton Massacre
The Bolton Massacre happened on May 28, 1644 when 1,600 of Bolton’s defenders and citizens were slaughtered during
and after its storm and capture by Royalist forces. This incident is sometimes recorded as the Storming of Bolton, an
episode in the English Civil War.
12. September Massacres
Another infamous massacre that occurred in France specifically in the city of Paris is the September Massacres. The
incidents took place in late summer of 1792 during the French Revolution. By the time it had subsided, half the prison
population of Paris had been executed: some 1,200 trapped prisoners, including many women and young boys. There
were almost 1.400 prisoners who were condemned and executed; more than 200 of them were priests. Sporadic violence
against the Roman Catholic Church continued throughout France for nearly a decade to come.