"Successful" genocides?

What has been the most successful genocide in history? By “successful”, I mean a situation where one group
has set out to eradicate another group from the planet
– Germans vs. Jews, Hutus vs. Tutsis, etc. Which
group has come the closest?

I’m asking mainly about intentional genocides. So, for
example, Cortes wiping out the Aztecs via
smallpox/syphilis does not count.

Welcome to the SDMB, PMM1968.

Some general resources here.

Two still-hotly debated instances of possible genocide in my region are those of the Tasmanian Aborigines and the Chatham Islands Moriori tribes.

How would you define success – where an entire culture or sub-culture has vanished? Then these might be two candidates.

On the topic of genocide, this Thursday is the Armenian Genocide Memorial Day. Why won’t the U.S. government acknowledge the Armenian Genocide?

Although there is some academic debate on the point, the Beothuk of Newfoundland were, if not purposely eradicated, then at least largely helped towards extinction by the European settlers.

that is the one that jumped to my mind, too.


Is it hotly debated that the Tasmanians were wiped out? I thought that was a pretty well documented fact. And Tasmanians are, or were, considered a distinct group from Australian (mainland) aboriginals.


Going back in history, it’s quite possible that Neanderthals were the first group eradicated. This is highly controversial. but it sure seems coincidental that they thrived (throve?) in Europe for over 100,000 yrs, then disapeared a few thousand yrs after Cro-Magnon types showed up.

It’s debated whether the Tasmanian Aborigines were wiped out more by out-and-out genocidal policies, or by disease, from what I’ve read, John Mace. The historians are still writing conflicting treatises on that one.

Some of the pages I’ve seen this morning:


Why should they? Does it have any bearing on their foreign or domestic policy?

This could head into an off-shoot GD thread, if there isn’t already one.

My GQ answer would be – because the US government don’t want to hack off Turkey, a key ally (at least, for the moment) in the Middle East.

Armenians long battle for recognition.
Armenian Genocide FAQs
Including a paragraph describing why this is a touchy subject for the Turks.

My GQ answer is that just because there isn’t a national holiday or day of mourning for the Armenian genocide doesn’t mean that the US disclaims it. I think it just shows how dangerously bureaucratic a society we’ve become when people insist that a body of elected officials formally acknowledge something in order for its existence to be validated.

For what it’s worth, though, there are hundreds of references to the Armenian genocide in official US government publications already. Proclamations of remembrance have been read into the public record of the Senate and House of Representatives. The Library of Congress hosted a day-long conference on the Armenian genocide. The genocide is specifically mentioned in state insurance legislation. The National Endowment for the Arts gave $20,000 to a documentary filmmaker covering the genocide. US ambassadors have issued formal statements on the topic.


Thanks for the cites. Seems like it’s a one-man (Keith Windschuttle) controversy.

All well and good, psychonaut – but has the United States formally passed, through the House of Representatives and the Senate, up to the desk of the President, a resolution acknowledging that the Armenian Massacre was, in fact, a genocide as defined by the United Nations?

Articles like this one seem to put that into doubt. It would appear to be a big diplomatic no-no as far as relations with Turkey are concerned.

This is a legitimate General Question.

We are not going to debate the Armenian Genocide or the United States foreign policy response to it in this forum. We are going to provide factual answers to General Questions.

Legitimate, yes. Sensible or worth asking, I dunno.

Why is it the business of legislative bodies half a planet away to categorize and define historical events? I am equally confused by the invocation of the UN, which didn’t even exist at the time.
Has United States formally passed a resolution acknowledging that the eliminations of the tribes named above were genocide?

Have the governments of Austria, Peru and/or Thailand passed formal legislation condeming US actions against Native Americans? If they haven’t, does this mean they supported Wounded Knee?

Have any legislatures passed resolutions declaring that the Coelacanth is not, in fact, extinct?

A simple yes or no will do, furt. Everything else is for another forum.

Watch, it’s really quite simple. No, the United States Congress has not passed a resolution declaring that the Coelacanth is not extinct.

I’m not fucking around here. Taking this into GD territory is a horrible, horrible idea.

kad271 was the one who originally asked: “Why won’t the U.S. government acknowledge the Armenian Genocide?”

I’m sorry that in trying to answer the question, to stay out of GD territory and therefore not violate this forum’s rules, what I’ve posted has caused the discussion to stray even closer to that point.

It was not my intention. I have no view, one way or the other, on the issue of acknowledgement of that historical incident. I offered an answer, based on America’s relations with Turkey as I’ve perceived. My apologies for responding to psychonaut.

No debate from my end. In fact, I’ll know now to leave the topic alone.

I was watching a program on the ABC (Australian government broadcaster) a while back which discussed (among other things) a possible Native Title land claim on part of Tasmania. Seeing as that requires both natives and some continuous association with the land in question, there does seem to be some conflict here. :wink:

Some conflict, indeed, Dancing Fool. It would be good if a Tasmanian Doper could come here to give us a bit for information.

The Aboriginal Lands Act 1995 in Tasmania transferred ownership of government lands, to be held in perpetuity by the Aboriginal Land Council, according to this further site.

Given that there is this from the first link:

… I’m not sure if they mean it’s a fallacy that Tasmanian Aboriginal people were eliminated from the island, or what. Would this be classed as a “successful” genocide? Well, it is certainly a contentious one.

To get back to the OP, I believe that the Taino and Carib Indians might qualify. They were the first Native American peoples to have European contact, and therefore bore the brunt of the cultural collision. Large numbers were enslaved by the conquistadors to work mines in Central America. Through overwork, massacres, repression, and disease they were completely wiped out. Leaving behind a few words like hammock and the name of the Caribbean Sea.

A few authorities dispute this, however, positing that scattered survivors passed on bloodlines and traditions to later Caribbean Island communities. This seems to be a minority view.

The Tasmanian Aboriginal people and the Tasmanian Government certainly don’t believe that all Tasmanian aboriginal people were wiped out. See here and here.

The story that all aboriginal people were wiped out by european settlers is now considered to be false. In fact many Tasmanian Aboriginal people see it as part of a propaganda program to deny their existence.

When I was at school (in Sydney) I was taught that Truganinni was the last Tasmanian Aboriginal. However this assertion was often accompanied by the caveat “full-blooded”. Many Australians now recognise that the presence of one or more Europeans in the family tree doesn’t necessarily mean that an individual is not an aboriginal.

Also the fact that many aboriginals were relocated onto other islands and some were subsequently returned (or their descendants returned) is often overlooked.

However, please note that there is currently an enormous controversy within the Tasmanian aboriginal community regarding who is and who is not an aboriginal.

All of this certainly shouldn’t be taken as a denial that there was an enormous act of genocide perpetrated in Tasmania