Scorched Earth Incidents In History – What They Reveal …
“Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius” (Kill them all, God will know his own) instructed the Abbot of Citeaux to followers at the start of the Albigensian Crusade.
And 200,000 people were killed.
Emerging nations (India is hopefully, re-emerging), at some point, will confront militant and aggressive powers, who have used major massacres to secure their ends. Apart from well documented and known military massacres , there are equally effective massacres – the Bengal Famine of 1943 being a prime example.
Apart from two major incidents of slaughter in Indian history – the Kalinga War and the sacking of the Vijayanagar Kingdom, there is no other recorded incident of massacres initiated by Indian rulers or conquerors.
Megasthenes (the Greek ambassador in Gupta court) writes, “”Whereas among other nations it is usual, in the contests of war, to ravage the soil and thus to reduce it to an uncultivated waste, among the Indians, on the contrary, by whom husbandmen are regarded as a class that is sacred and inviolable, the tillers of the soil, even when battle is raging in their neighborhood, are undisturbed by any sense of danger, for the combatants on either side in waging the conflict make carnage of each other, but allow those engaged in husbandry to remain quite unmolested. Besides, they never ravage an enemy’s land with fire, nor cut down its trees.”
This makes the Mumbai 1993 riots, the 1984 Sikh Pogrom and the Godhra carnage in India a matter of concern and historical discontinuity.
Rome was sucked into the vacuum left behind by Alexander’s death. Roman generals consolidated in Asia Minor and expanded into Europe. One significant territory was Gaul (most of modern France). In 52 BC, the Gaels rebelled. Governor of Gallic provinces – Julius Caesar.
The rebellion was led by Gaellic chieftain, Vercingetorix (pronounced with a k; or in Gaellic possibly Fearcuincedorigh, Chief of a hundred heads, was son of Celtillus, a chieftain executed by his tribesmen, for attempting to unite the tribe). After nearly 2 years of campaigning, Vercingetorix was defeated by Julius Caesar, imprisoned for 5 years and brought in chains to Rome – and strangled to death after a public display.
Rome used massacres freely to quell this rebellion, and to instill fear amongst the tribes. An entire population of Avaricum (Bourges), varying estimates of between 40,000-120,000, was massacred. At the least, 1 million of 3 million Gallic Celtic populations was killed by the time Caesar finished with Gaul. Many Gaels were taken as slaves by soldiers to carry their baggage or sold to slave traders which accompanied these armies.
Kart Hadasht, or Carthage as we know it today, was a city founded by Phoenicians, a sea-faring nation, (based in an area near Tunis and modern Lebanon) – and one of the first rivals that Rome had. Carthage ruled over much of the Mediterranean and North Africa. It expanded into Spain – Barcelona is named after the Barca family, of whom Hannibal is the most famous.
Alexander’s campaign had taken the best of male youth from the Greek population and made it incapable of holding at the centre. Alexander’s vast dominions and revenues were unprotected. Greek political leadership were engaged with Alexander abroad. Its armies were tied up in Asia. No ruler after Alexander’s death in 323 BC was in a position to consolidate the conquests or overcome Greek-Macedonian infighting.
It took Greece another 600 years to recoup and challenge the Western Roman Empire. The split between the Western Roman Empire and the Byzantine Empire was along linguistic lines. The Byzantine Empire used Greek as the official language – and had many Greek Kings. The ‘Greek Miracle’ was rewritten by these Greek historians – 800-to-1000 years later. Much like modern day propaganda by the West, the Greeks used their language to create a myth around the Greek civilization. Alexander, a Macedonian (from modern day Balkans), was usurped by the Greeks (from the Mediterranean region) as their own.
In 306, BC, Rome allied with Carthage against the Greeks. Over the next 150 years, Carthage and Rome battled Greece, conquered Sicily and attacked each other. After three Macedonian wars and the war with Antiochus the Great of Syria, Rome established itself as a prime power.
Rome then turned its attention to other challengers, most notably, Carthage. Scipio’s armies, engaged Carthage in the Second Punic war (218-203) – and Carthage thereafter, was militarily, a spent force. Over the next 50 years, Carthage declined militarily – but prospered economically.
In 150 BC, controlling much of Alexander’s empire, Rome decided that no one must be left to challenge its power. Cato the Elder, influenced the Roman Senate and pushed for Delenda est Carthago(”Carthage must be destroyed”). An army under consuls Manius Manilius and L.Marcius Censorinus was sent to destroy Carthage, militarily, a shell of its former self. Carthage offered to surrender and deposited all its armour and armament. Roman generals refused to accept the surrender.
Carthage re-armed to defend itself. Roman generals could not make much headway. Finally, the Roman senate sent a descendant of Scipio Africanus (of the Second Punic War), Scipio Aemilianus – and in 146BC, Carthage was defeated. Carthage city was destroyed, its fields plowed and salted, so that the city would never come up again. 50,000 residents of Carthage were enslaved. In parallel, in 146BC, Corinth suffered a similar fate. Final tally during the Punic Wars over 200 years – 10 lakhs people (1million).
50 BC. Alexander had passed into mythology. Romans had taken complete hold of the Alexandrian Empire. Millions (men, women and children) were enslaved. Swollen by revenues from the inherited Alexandrian territories of Asia Minor; by loot and conquests from Europe, Roman society was rolling in wealth. Nearly a million slaves toiled to keep Roman population well fed and in luxury.
On the other side of the world, Alexander’s conquests had increased trade manifold. Indo Roman trade flourished. Greco-Roman currency, laws started at Indian borders and led right to the heart of the world’s largest and most prosperous market. A ‘merchant prince’, Chandragupta Maurya and a Brahmin minister, Kautilya Chanakya, with the support of the 16 mahajanapadas (principal ruling Indian federations) had united most of Indian subcontinent. The most famous of this dynasty, Ashoka (The Great) started the spread of Buddhism.
With rapid economic growth, also came rapid change in social differences. In Rome, slacvery was political and economic (slaves and master). In India, many religious teachers started movements against slavery – now commonly popular as ‘ahimsa’. In Rome this sparked the Spartacus revolution. 100,000 slaves mutinied and were led by Spartacus. After many battles between 72BC-71BC, Spartacus and his slave legions were defeated. 6,000 slaves were crucified on the main Roman highway – the Via Appia.
Ustati in slav languages means “to rise”. 1939, Italy, supported and created the Croat Ustashi Army made up Croats. This army reached a size of upto 100,000.
After Hitler’s sweep across the Balkans, a Nazi puppet government of Ante (Anton) Pavelic, headed the “Catholic State of Croatia.” The Pavelic regime supported “Clerical Fascism”-a mix of Catholic religiosity, Anti-Semitism and authoritarian politics. Mussolini’s Italy and Nazi Germany’s “Ausland” department assisted Ante Pavelic and his Catholic terrorists to set up a dictatorship. Ante Pavelic was declared Poglavnik – or what we better know as Fuhrer. Archbishop A. Stepanic established a Croat Separatist Movement and seized power.
They had a simple one point agenda – One third to be converted from Orthodox Christians to Catholic Christianity; one third to be killed and one third to be expelled . Their allies – Before and during the WWW2 – Italy, Germany and The Vatican. More than 10 lakh were put in concentration camps – and most died.
After WW2, Marshal Tito curbed the Ustashi – and the USA embraced these Ustashi to “fight communuism”. After death of Marshal Tito and collapse of the Soviet Empire, these groups were sent back – and the old massacres restarted.
Final tally – More than 20 lakh people killed.
Post WW2, Churchill was the British Prime Minister from 1950. Kenya became the new jewel in the depleted British crown. The crown princess (the current queen) celebrated the end of war, with a well publicised holiday (1952) at a tree top lodge in Kenya. Churchill resisted the “liquidation of Her Majesty’s empire …” and “winds of change” were yet to blow across Africa.
Kenyan de-colonialisation movement was symbolised by a Kikiyu tribesman, Kamau wa Ngengi, who later took the surname, Kenyatta (from the Kikuyu word for a type of beaded belt he wore) and the first name Jomo – Jomo Kenyatta. Meanwhile, inspired by Gandhiji’s success in India, 1950 saw, at a joint meeting of KAU and Kenya Indian Congress at Nairobi, Trade Unionist Makhan Singh’s resolution for freedom for East Africa being passed. In 1952, Jomo Kenyatta was arrested in ‘Operation Jock Scot’ with 182 other African leaders.
The Kikiyu tribe, considered relatively less aggressive (compared to the Masais) and well settled in agriculture, were provoked to revolt by loss of their lands to white settlers. They formed the Land and Freedom Army and what followed was a 11 year guerilla war, which descended very soon into brutality – and reminded some of Nazi ways of Joseph Mengele. The British and the Western press called this the Mau Mau uprising in a derogatory manner.
Final count – as per Caroline Elkins 100,000 dead; 10,00,000 imprisoned and detained without legal cause; a record 1090 people hung to death. British Government numbers – 12,000 dead Kenyans, (certified). 100,000 imprisoned. Another article estimated close to 12.5 lakhs (of a total population of 50 lakhs) were killed or imprisoned.
In 1492, when Columbus landed in the West Indies, the native American population was 3 million (in the what is currently USA) and more than 10 million in the Americas – and they spoke a 600 languages. 300 years later, they had become tourist attractions.
The British and the independent Americans were equally brutal with the Red Indians. During the French and Indian Wars, Britain waged a biological warfare against the Red Indians by distributing small pox infected blankets to Red Indians. 70 years later, Andrew Jackson delayed (some say withheld) small pox medical supplies and vaccines from Red Indians.
During the American War of Independence against the British, George Washington, was clear what to with native Red Indians at least. On May 31, 1779 Washington sent his official Instructions to Major General John Sullivan:
Sir: The expedition you are appointed to command is to be directed against the hostile tribes of the six nations of Indians, with their associates and adherents. The immediate objects are the total destruction and devastation of their settlements and the capture of as many prisoners of every age and sex as possible…whence parties should be detached to lay waste all the settlements around, with instruction to do it in the most effectual manner; that the country may not be merely overrun but destroyed…
Reminiscent of George Bush threatening the world , either you are for us or against us , George Washington, made a similar remark more than 200 years ago. George Washington wrote to the President of the Continental Congress in 1776:
In my opinion it will be impossible to keep them [Indians] in a state of Neutrality, they must, and no doubt soon will take an active part either for, or against us…
Thomas Jefferson view of the native Red Indians was equally dismissive.
He (King George III) has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions… (Thomas Jefferson, Declaration of Independence, 1776).
Treaty after treaty was made with Red Indians – which were broken time and again. The whites coveted everything that the Red Indian had – but mostly, his life. This “land of the free” by all possible (and some impossible) means was soon made land free of the “natives and savages”.
“By persuasion and force they (Red Indians) have been made to retire from river to river and from mountain to mountain, … tribes have become extinct … Surrounded by the whites … which by destroying the resources … doom him to weakness and decay … That this fate surely awaits them if they remain within the limits of the states … Humanity and national honor demand that every effort should be made to avert so great a calamity.” (parts excised for brevity and ellipsis inserted; bold letters mine).
His solution – remove the Red Indians. In 1830, 40 years after George Washington became the President, the “land of the free”, a law was passed to make the land free of the native Cherokee (Red Indian) population. The vast prairie lands were expropriated – and the Cherokee Indians were marched out by the US army. This march, Trail Of Tears, signalled the break of treaty by white Anglo Saxons. Land West of the Mississippi were to belong to the Eastern Indians ‘in perpetuity.’
The Red Indians resisted removal and forcible transfers. Their resistance was brutally crushed.
By December 4, 1832, Andrew Jackson was saying,
“After a harassing warfare, prolonged by the nature of the country and by the difficulty of procuring subsistence, the Indians were entirely defeated, and the disaffected band dispersed or destroyed. The result has been creditable to the troops engaged in the service. Severe as is the lesson to the Indians, it was rendered necessary by their unprovoked aggressions, and it is to be hoped that its impression will be permanent and salutary.” (bold letters mine)
Gen. Winfield Scott was sent in May 1938, (with an army) to deliver the ultimatum to the Cherokees. Move or we will make you. At your cost.
President Woodrow Wilson echoes the ideology behind the alleged “genocide” –
“The experience of Liberia and Haiti show that the African race are devoid of any capacity for political organisation… there is an inherent tendency to revert to savagery and to cast aside the shackles of civilisation which are irksome to their physical nature. Our industries have expanded to such a point that they will burst their jackets… Our domestic markets no longer suffice; we need foreign markets. “In the matter of Chinese and Japanese coolie immigration, I stand for the national policy of exclusion… We cannot allow a homogeneous population of a people who do not blend with the Caucasian race.”
The entire Anglo Saxon race was against the very existence of the native Red Indian. The British Colonialists and the White Anglo Saxon settlers continued a scorched earth policy in their genocidal campaign.
Just like Romani Gypsy and Australian aboriginal children were taken away from their parents, Red Indian children were also removed. In different continents, at different times, similar tactics were used by Europeans and the Anglo Saxons in the colonies.
In 1788, the estimated Aboriginal population was 7,50,000. By 1911, the survivors, were estimated at 31,000. Prior to the Anglo Saxon settlement, “Australia was an ‘empty land‘ because its inhabitants did not count as human“. Today, the Anglo Saxon race prides itself for the building of Australia. Australia was a British colony and till date the Queen (or King) of Britain is the head of State for Australia.
Churchill, the British Prime Minister during WW2, one time Chanecllor Of The Exchequer, had his views on Arabs, Indians, Aborigines, Red Indians –
“I do not agree that the dog in a manger has the final right to the manger even though he may have lain there for a very long time. I do not admit that right. I do not admit for instance, that a great wrong has been done to the Red Indians of America or the black people of Australia. I do not admit that a wrong has been done to these people by the fact that a stronger race, a higher-grade race has come in and taken their place.”
Churchill similarly had highly enlightened views on Arabs – “The Arabs are a backwards people who eat nothing but Camel dung.”
One of the main causes of deaths was public health. In India, in the early 19th century, an estimated 25 million died due the cholera epidemic – as the colonial Government was not bothered (to give them the benefit of any doubt). In Northern Ireland, during the Irish Famine, the then British Prime Minster with held supplies essential aid from starving Irishmen. In USA, the Government delayed allocations to fight small pox, 20 years after similar actions for the whites. Similarly from the Australian aborigines.
Genghis Khan & The Mongol Tribes
Temujin, more famous as Genghis Khan had an empire larger than Alexander and lasted longer than Alexander’s. From remote fastness of Mongolia to borders of Western Europe, from Central Asia to Arabia, his family ruled for nearly 300 years – over an empire larger than Alexander’s. The expansion of the empire continued well after his death – unlike Alexander.
His armies made a habit of slaughtering entire cities – and the final tally is close to 30 lakhs (3 million). In his direct line of conquest along The Silk Route, Eastern /Central Europe had a population of 35 million. European population in medieval times is estimated at 60-80 million. World population at that time is estimated at 50 crores (500 million). Genghis Khan and his hordes slaughtered 20%-30% of humanity in affected territories.
Between 1920-1945, the British manipulated exchange rates and trade to impoverish the Indians. Food grain prices rose sharply on supply disruptions during WW2. Indians had no financial reserves. 40 lakhs Indians died in the resultant Bengal Famine.
India Pakistan Partition
After WW2, Churchill promised that he will not “preside over the liquidation of Her Majesty’s empire …” Clement Atlee promised the British voter a quick exit from India. Post war Britain was tired of rationing, shortages – and subsidising a starving, bankrupted India. The Colonial Office was reporting deficits. Gold transfers from India had reduced to a trickle.
Clement Atlee won. Mountbatten was sent to India. An unprepared India and a leaderless Pakistan were handed over governance.
Many theories apart, it showed another extension of the “scorched earth policy” and a callous disregard for 10 lakh brown lives that were lost to Hindu-Muslim-Sikh riots.
Similarly, after the fall of the Chinese Imperial Dynasty, The Japanese Occupation, WW2, Western powers aided both sides in a conflict. Mao Ze Dong was aided by the Americans against the Japanese, Chiang Kai Shek against Mao Ze Dong and Communist Chinese army built with western aid (during WW2), occupied a pro-India Tibet.
14th August 1791. St Dominque. A black slave overseer killed a pig. And it sparked off the world’s first successful slave uprising.
Boukman Dutty was Voudou N’Gan (oungan, houngan, voodoo priest), killed a pig as a part of an African tribal ritual Bwa Kayiman, to his ancestors and Ogoun, god of fire, iron and war. Ogoun and Erzulie Dantor (Ezili Dantor), a Vodou l’wha (loa) a warrior spirit, responded to this call to protect these slave warriors.
25th August. Night of Fire. 50,000 slaves rose in revolt. More than 1000 sugar and coffee plantations were put to fire. Flames could be seen as far as Bahamas. 31st December 1803, liberation brought about by vengeance, independence was declared.
St. Dominque, now called Haiti, was a French colony with 800 sugar plantations and 4,00,000 slaves from Niger and Dahomey (now Benin) in West Africa. Haiti, the greatest jewel of French colonies, accounting for 40% of French GDP in 1700s, was the largest market for slaves in Atlantic trade. It was the largest producer of sugar in the world and competed with British colonies (like India) for indigo production and had thousands of coffee plantations. Discovered and exploited by Christopher Columbus,
After the fall of Haiti, by 1860, Cuban production grew to 500,00 tons of sugar – 1/3 of the world’s production. Under Spanish rule from 1511, the indigenous population was annihilated and the island was populated by imported African slave labour. Henry Clay, Secretary Of State, in President John Quincy’s administration,”This counry prefers that Cuba and Porto Rico remain dependant on Spain …”
In 1844 Cuban slaves revolted unsuccessfully. 10th, October 1868, Carlos Manuel de Céspesdes released his slaves and El Grito de Yara, a 10 year war against Spain started.
General Valeriano Weyler, “The Butcher,” to stamp out the independence movement. He created modern history’s first concentration camps. Hundreds of thousands of men women and children were put into concentration camps. In Havana city, 52,000 people died. The peasants retaliated by burning down vast Spanish owned sugar plantations. Weyler was recalled to Spain in 1879. October 7th 1886, slavery was finally abolished. Spain continued to rule Cuba – with greater repression.
” Seventy-five percent of Latin America’s exports to the United States came from Cuba and half of the Latin American imports from the United States went to Cuba in 1894. The United States had well entrenched itself in the Cuban economy and did not want to lose a valuable market so close by. Spain clung to its remaining claim. Cuba was caught in the middle in the mid-1890’s when the United States reduced sugar imports with the Wilson-Gorman tariff and Spain restricted United States imports to Cuba. Proponents of annexation and independence divided Cuba’s population.” by Brad Williford in The Cuban Revolution of 1895-98
125 years after Independence, US was developing colonial ambitions. The Monroe doctrine was used to create colonies in the American backyard. “Yellow Journalism” invented. On April 25th 1898, the US Congress declared war. For the next 4 months, the US fought the Spanish American War. On August 12th, 1898, Spain signed the peace treaty. On December 10th 1898, the treaty of Paris was signed. USA annexed Philippines, Guam and Puerto Rico in exchange for US$2,00, 00,000. Cubans became nominally declared free but with many conditions.
Cost – Over 20 years that Cuba fought the Spaniards, 500,000 people died.
The Israel – Palestinian Conflict
Post WW2, USA was the significant power which could project its power across continents. To protect this position, the USA and Europeans created Israel on specious grounds. Less than 1 lakh Jews (original inhabitants) were given preference over 10 lakh Muslims and the state of Israel was formed. Palestinians are today paying for Europeans genocide of Jews. If the Jewish state was essential, the Europeans could have created a Jewish state in Europe and guaranteed safety and neutrality of the same.
Why did West Asia have to pay for European genocide? One reason – Oil.
Israel is the Western world’s cat’s paw in West Asia. Price of this oil politics – More than 2 million in the last 50 years. Innocent Israelis and Palestinians – fed on distorted history kill and maim each other. The beneficiaries – Europe and USA.
Tally – More than a million dead.
The US Philippine War
After the abolition of slavery in USA, the ‘land of the free’ turned to proxy slavery – colonialism. The first attempt was Cuba.
In Asia, Philippines was the American colony in the Asia. To protect the US$2,00,00,000 payment made by the USA to Spain, USA colonial forces killed 1.4 million during the period 1899 to 1905. Over the next 80 years, Philippines was ruled by Americans and foisted dictators like Marcos – at the cost of these Filipinos. As history would have it, Brigadier General Arthur MacArthur fought the first Filipino war – and his son, Douglas fought in the second during WW2.
Human Cost – Some 1.4 million dead during the period from 1899 to 1905.
More updates on …
Atomic Bombing Of Japanese
The Jewish Persecution In Europe
Brussels & Berlin Conferences – Agreement on Colonies & Slavery
The Sacking Of Vijayanagar Kingdom
Timur, the Lame
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