How often has a conquering country completely wiped out the conquered?

Often in war, there are logistical issues about holding territory and governing the captured, but how often in history has the conquering country simply killed everyone (though presumably, given the nature of history, the women of child-bearing age would probably all be enslaved) and left the entire land that they took barren? I’m not talking about cutting a swath through a country to some strategic goal, but the systematic destruction of an entire national country so that the conquerors didn’t have to deal with annoying questions about converting the captured or holding on to land.

I’m guessing not much, given how valuable slaves to work your underground sugar mines are, and probably if we limit the area to a small country or a city-state, it has happened much more often than an entire country. Is it too hard to do? Too valuable to kill off millions of free slave labor? Surely it couldn’t be that people wouldn’t cross that line, plenty of crazed maniacs fanatical enough to wipe out a country of tens of millions of people if given the chance litter the history books

Well, what are you counting as “the conquered”? If it is a city, there might just be a handful of examples (Carthage after the third Punic war, maybe). If it is a country, I doubt if there are any.

Nishapur wasn’t really a country, but Ghengis Khan’s troops are said to have slaughtered more than 1.5 million residents (the entire population of the city) in retaliation for the death of his son-in-law.

I am sure it has happened innumerable times in history.

I’d go the other way. Looking at wiki’s list of genocides in history, I’m struck by how few ‘successful’ genocides there have been. Once you get beyond the size of a village or so it just seems impossible to exterminate entire groups.

I’m gonna say once. If they have to do it again, they weren’t completely wiped out the first time.

Back in the Bronze Age it was SOP to kill the men and enslave the women.

The Old Prussians were a Baltic tribe that was assimilated by the Germans who we now associate with the name. I’m sure you could find their DNA markers all over the world, but their culture and language is long kaput.

The natives of California and Argentina were subjected to thorough ethnic cleansing.

Well, there was the whole Native Americans thing, where there was no one left to bury the dead.

Total cultural assimilation was probably fairly common. But killing them all? Not so common, I suspect. It was just too much work.

Tasmanians. While there are some people of Tasmanian descent, the last full-blooded Tasmanian died over a century ago. This wasn’t deliberate genocide, but rather the effect of diseases the English introduced, as well as persecution and war over the century since the first contact.

There are many, many tribes of Native Californians left.

In 1099,during the Crusades when the Franks took the city of Jerusalem, they slaughtered almost all of the inhabitants and they were replaced with various immigrants to create the brief “Kingdom of Jerusalem.” It lasted from 1099 until 1291.


And no descendants of them left anywhere? :dubious:

Anyway, it is not what the OP is asking about.

And that certainly isn’t.

God’s marching orders to Moses, preparing to enter the Holy Land. Deuteronomy 20 (KJV):

10 When thou comest nigh unto a city to fight against it, then proclaim peace unto it.

11 And it shall be, if it make thee answer of peace, and open unto thee, then it shall be, that all the people that is found therein shall be tributaries unto thee, and they shall serve thee.

12 And if it will make no peace with thee, but will make war against thee, then thou shalt besiege it:

13 And when the LORD thy God hath delivered it into thine hands, thou shalt smite every male thereof with the edge of the sword:

14 But the women, and the little ones, and the cattle, and all that is in the city, even all the spoil thereof, shalt thou take unto thyself; and thou shalt eat the spoil of thine enemies, which the LORD thy God hath given thee.

15 Thus shalt thou do unto all the cities which are very far off from thee, which are not of the cities of these nations.

16 But of the cities of these people, which the LORD thy God doth give thee for an inheritance, thou shalt save alive nothing that breatheth:

17 But thou shalt utterly destroy them; namely, the Hittites, and the Amorites, the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites; as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee:

In 1835 Maoris nearly effected genocide of the inhabitants on the Chatham Islands. About 10% of the population survived to be enslaved. Also, prohibited from marrying one another, the remnant population were effectively wiped out as a distinct group. Probably as close to genocide as it gets.

I’m willing to bet on “Never.”

At the very least, the rape and enslavement of the women would provide some continuation of the genetic material of a conquered people.

Killing every man, woman, child and cat and salting the earth is counterproductive if you want to conquer the land. You want a rich and fertile region which fills your coffers with revenue, which maybe provides opportunities for settlement and recruitment to your forces, which you won’t get if you wipe it out.

I always looked at this last group as a combination of Just-so Stories for national myth, with hyperbolic reminders like in the US “when we threw off the colonists” for then-current consumption. (Analogy obviously loose.)

Those were the Moriori People, and while the Maori did a pretty good job of things, they survive to this day. In the US, entire nations were decimated by disease brought by Europeans. The huge populations of Indians seen early on along the east coast were nearly annihilated by the time Columbus sailed the ocean blue.