Historical massacres that shocked the world

History has recorded some truly dreadful massacres. Indeed, examples of the indiscriminate and brutal slaughter of people can be traced back to antiquity.

Asiatic Vespers, 88 BCE

Forces loyal to Mithridates VI (132–63 BCE), ruler of the Kingdom of Pontus, massacred an estimated 80,000 Roman and other Latin-speaking peoples living in parts of western Anatolia in 88 BCE.

Massacre of the Rhineland Jews, 1096

The Rhineland massacres were a series of mass murders perpetrated by mobs of German Christians during the People's Crusade, the early phase of the First Crusade, from April to October 1096.

Massacre of the Latins, 1182

A brutal killing spree known as the Massacre of the Latins took place in 1182 when the Eastern Orthodox population of Constantinople turned on their Roman Catholic neighbors. Around 60,000 were slain,

Lisbon massacre, 1506

On April 19, 1506, the carnage that became known as the Lisbon massacre began when roving mobs of Catholics persecuted, tortured, killed, and burnt at the stake hundreds of people who were accused of being Jews. Nearly 2,000 died.

Cholula massacre, 1519

In one of the most ruthless actions of Hernán Cortés (1485–1547) in his campaign to conquer Mexico, hundreds of unarmed Aztec noblemen were slaughtered by Spanish conquistadors, assisted by Cortes' Tlaxcalan allies as the Cholulans were their traditional enemies.

St. Bartholomew's Day massacre, 1572

Plotted by Catherine de' Medici (1519–1589) and carried out by Roman Catholic nobles and other citizens, the St. Bartholomew's Day massacre resulted in the deaths of thousands of Huguenots (French Calvinist Protestants).

Yangzhou massacre, 1645

The events that took place at Yangzhou are regarded by most scholars as the greatest single incident massacre in history. On May 10, 1645, Qing dynasty forces under the command of Dodo, Prince Yu attacked the city of Yangzhou and killed 800,000 innocent civilians over the next 10 days.

Praga massacre, 1794

Known also as the Second Battle of Warsaw, the Praga massacre was an assault by Russian forces on Praga, a suburb of Warsaw, during the Kościuszko Uprising in 1794. Anywhere between 7,000 and 20,000 civilians were murdered.

Boston massacre, 1770

The Boston massacre was a deadly riot that occurred on March 5, 1770 when a large gathering of unarmed colonists were fired upon by British soldiers. While only five demonstrators lost their lives,

Peterloo massacre, 1819

The Peterloo massacre took place at St Peter's Field in Manchester, England, on August 16, 1819. Around 60,000 peaceful pro-democracy and anti-poverty protesters were charged at by cavalry ordered to disperse the crowds. Eighteen people died in the attack.

Chios massacre, 1822

One of history's most tragic and comprehensive acts of genocide took place on the Greek island of Chios in 1822 when tens of thousands of Greeks were massacred by Ottoman troops during the Greek War of Independence (1821–1829).

Wounded Knee massacre, 1890

The Wounded Knee massacre is named for the slaughter of approximately 150–300 Lakota Indians by United States Army troops in the area of Wounded Knee in South Dakota on December 29, 1890.

Hamidian massacres, 1894–97

The Hamidian massacres relate to the genocide inflicted upon the Armenians between 1894 and 1897 by Ottoman forces that resulted in the deaths of up to 300,000 people. The massacres are named after Sultan Abdul Hamid II (1842–1918), who signed off on the carnage.

Wilmington massacre, 1898

On November 10, 1898 an armed mob of white supremacists burned down the offices of the Daily Record, a black-owned newspaper operating out of Wilmington in North Carolina. The insurgents then moved into the streets and opened fire as African-American citizens fled for their lives.

Ludlow massacre, 1914

The Ludlow massacre was an attack on striking coal miners and their families by the Colorado National Guard and private Colorado Fuel and Iron Company guards at Ludlow, Colorado, on April 20, 1914. Twenty-one people died in the violence, including women and children, which was orchestrated by billionaire industrialist John D. Rockefeller Jr., a part owner of the company operating the coalfields.

Jallianwala Bagh massacre, 1919

The killing of hundreds of unarmed Indians shot by British troops while attending a public meeting at the Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar, Punjab, to protest against the arrest of pro-Indian independence leaders stunned the entire nation.

Tulsa race massacre, 1921

The Greenwood district of Tulsa, Oklahoma, was the scene of what was later described as one of the single worst incidents of racial violence in US history after mobs of white residents attacked their black neighbors and destroyed homes and businesses on May 31, 1921. An estimated 200 people of color lost their lives, as did around 50 white residents. A further 10,000 African Americans were left homeless.

"Saint Valentine's Day Massacre," 1929

Surely one of the most over-reported and glamorized killings of the 20th century, the "Saint Valentine's Day Massacre," as it was labeled, was a hit ordered by Chicago mobster Al Capone on seven members of a rival gang during the Prohibition era.

Munich massacre, 1972

This is one of the defining images of the Munich Olympics in 1972, snapped after members of the Palestinian terrorist group Black September took 11 members of the Israeli Olympic team hostage. The athletes were later killed by their captors at Fürstenfeldbruck Air Base.