Most people killed in the deadliest wars of all time are innocent civilians, as is the case in most wars. Warfare has been a part of human history since the beginning of time. However, there are numerous causes of war: poverty, poor governmental leadership, civil unrest, religion, territorial disputes, resources, and a variety of other factors that have all contributed to the majority of wars throughout human history. But did you know most of the deadliest wars happened in China?
Civil wars in China were six of the ten deadliest wars in human history.
The Qing Dynasty versus the Ming Dynasty
The Qing dynasty’s conquest of the Ming dynasty occurred during a period of extreme political turmoil in China. The conquest began with a revolt against Chinese imperial authority in Manchuria, located in far northeastern China. As the rebellion gained momentum and approached Beijing, a slew of smaller peasant uprisings erupted across the rest of China.
By 1644, the Qing were in control of Beijing. Southern China and Taiwan, on the other hand, rebelled against Qing rule and sided with Ming loyalists. It took the Qing nearly 40 years, until 1683, to establish their authority throughout China. During this time, nearly 25 million people were killed in battle. (Source: Business Insider)
The Taiping War
The Taiping Rebellion was a millenarian Christian movement that sought to depose the Qing Dynasty. The rebellion, led by Hong Xiuquan, made Nanjing, a major Chinese city, it’s capital. Hong and his Taiping Heavenly Kingdom ruled over 30 million people at the height of the rebellion.
The rebellion claimed the lives of an estimated 20 million people, and the French and British were eventually forced to intervene to assist the Qing in restoring order. (Source: Business Insider)
An Lushan War
The An Lushan Rebellion began when General An Lushan declared himself Emperor of Northern China, directly opposing the ruling Tang Dynasty. This conflict lasted three Tang emperors’ reigns before ending in 763 with the fall of An Lushan’s Yan Dynasty.
The war had a long-term impact on the economic and social systems, and a million people died due to the conflict’s mass starvation and diseases. (Source: Business Insider)
The Dungan War
The Dungan Revolt, also known as the Hui Minorities’ War and the Muslim Rebellion, was a religious uprising that occurred two years after the Taiping Rebellion.
The main goal of this war was to establish a Muslim country near the Yellow River’s western bank. When the revolt failed, many Dungans fled to Imperial Russia. (Source: Business Insider)
The Chinese Civil War
There is some debate about whether the Chinese Civil War between the Republic of China and the Communist Party of China ended legally because nationalist forces fled to Taiwan and established a competing government without a signed peace treaty.
The conflict lasted more than 20 years and resulted in the formation of Taiwan and the People’s Republic of China, claiming to be China’s sole legitimate government. (Source: Business Insider)
Image from HistoryExtra