A CHART OF ATROCITIES. In connection with my posts on Steven Pinker’s theory that human violence has declined over time, Dick Weisfelder sent me a hard copy of a graphical display of the 100 greatest atrocities in history. This link is from the New York Times, but the Times gives credit to Matthew White’s THE GREAT BIG BOOK OF HORRIBLE THINGS. World War II still accounts for the most deaths (66 million). The Atlantic slave trade is 10th with 16 million deaths and the Mideast slave trade is 8th with 18.5 million deaths. Despite Mary Beard’s suggestion that gladiatorial contests were rigged, deaths of gladiators rank 26th with 3.5 million deaths, and these deaths occurred one at a time. There are surprises because we don’t know about a lot of horrors. The Bengali genocide ranked 5th in deaths per year with 1.5 million deaths in the single year of 1971. In 1971! I remember no mention of it in the news. Six of the ten events with the largest percentage of the world population that was killed took place in China. I know nothing about them. It’s a fascinating and appalling timeline.

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