Famines in History

  • 400

    Famine in Western Europe

    Famine in Western Europe
    Famine and plague struck Western Europe from 400 - 800, intensified by the fall of Rome. Not much is known about this period.
  • Jan 1, 1315

    The Great Famine

    The Great Famine
    The Great Famine 1315-1317
    Changing climate from a warm period to one of cold, wet weather caused The Great Famine in 1315. It lasted until 1317. Europe experienced many crop failures, reducing food supplies and inflating food prices by as much as 300%. Many starved to death, as much as 25% of the population.
  • Massive Volcanic Eruption

    Massive Volcanic Eruption
    1600 Eruption Caused Global Disruption
    Eruption of Huaynaputina in Peru evidentally caused climate problems the following year. In 1601 to 1603, Russia experienced its worst famine ever. Other countries reported exceptionally cold conditions leading to late harvests.
  • The Great Frost

    The Great Frost
    The Great Frost Or Forgotten Famine Of 1740
    Abnormally cold weather fell upon Ireland. Many bodies of water froze over, killing fish. Grains could not be processed in the mills because they froze as well. One main food source, the potato crop, was also destroyed by this rapid freezing. All of these lead to food shortages causing starvation.
  • The Year Without Summer

    The Year Without Summer
    The Year Without Summer
    North America experienced extreme weather conditions during the summer of 1816. Snow as high as two feet was reported in the month and many mornings of frost. Many crops including corn, beans, cucumbers and squash were ruined in certain areas. In July even more crops were damaged. In the end although many crops were destroyed, enough grains and wheat were produced to prevent a famine, although it came close.
  • Great (Potato) Famine of 1845

    Great (Potato) Famine of 1845
    The Great Famine of 1845
    Ireland suffered another, much worse famine in 1845. Depending mainly on the potato crops, When a severe case of "potato blight" ,a kind of fungus, struck these crops in 1845, as much as 50% of the crops were lost. The following two years were even worse. As a result, many fled Ireland and by 1850 as much as 25% of Ireland's population was gone, either by emigration or death.
  • The Great Russian Famine of 1921

    The Great Russian Famine of 1921
    The Great Russian Famine of 1921: When America Heard the Pleas of the Sick and Starving
    Russia suffered a devistating drought in 1921, causing a particular Russian writer, Maxim Gorky sent a personal letter to the president of the U.S.A. asking for help. Following World War I, Russia was overtaken by communist forces and then this drought hit. Food supplies dwindled. Responding to the plea for help, the U.S.A. did end up sending support. Estimated 5 million deaths.
  • Stalin's Forced Famine

    Stalin's Forced Famine
    Genocide in the 20th Century: Stalin's Forced Famine 1932-33
    From 1932 - 1933, Stalin, leader of the then USSR set out to starve the Ukranian people who were trying to become independent of the state. Stalin seized up most of the Ukranian farm land. Most of the food harvested in the Ukraine in 1932 was sent back to the Soviet Union to finance Stalin's army. When the people appealed to Stalin, he sent soldiers to confiscate and remaining food from the people there. The final result? A massive famine starving about 7 millian Ukranians.
  • The Great Chinese Famine

    The Great Chinese Famine
    The Great Chinese Famine, 1958-1962
    Under the rule of Chairman Mao, many poor farmers starved to death due to policies put in place by Mao. These farmers were required to give almost all of their produced grain over to the state. The result? A staggering estimated death toll of 36 million people, which is more than the total deaths of World War I. The famine lasted until 1962.
  • Famine in Somalia

    Famine in Somalia
    BBC News - Somalia's famine: One year on
    Somalia was officially declared to be under a famine by the UN at this time. Drought had previously affected the country but had not been sufficient to declare famine; the UN has very specific conditions under which famine is declared. After Somalia's famine was recognized they received aid from the UN and other sources. As of today Somalia is no longer concidered to be in famine but is still in a critical state.