Which nations have succesfully committed genocide?

By committing genocide, I mean successfully causing the extinction of an ethnicity. The Holocaust would not qualify, as there were survivors. So far the only instance I can think of off the top of my head is the British genocide of Tasmanian aborigines. Are there any other examples?

Re the Holocaust, how many Jews in Europe today? How many in pre 1939? Yeah a pretty complete professional job.


The British didn’t deliberately wipe out the Tasmanian aborigines. The goal of British policy was to move them to a reservation. However, after moving there, they eventually died because they had no natural immunity to European diseases. While the British certainly won’t earn any human rights awards for that historical episode, it was not genocide.

I think the answer to the question would depend on how you define “extinction of an ethnicity”. The Mongols under warlords like Genghis Khan and Tamerlane would often commit mass murder after invading an area. However, it’s doubtful that they really killed ever last individual. Survivors would be incorporated as slaves. The culture would be gone, though. The situation regarding some tribes in Mexico conquered by the Aztecs was probably similar.

Having met a few Tasmanian Aborigines over the years, I can confirm that they are not, in fact, extinct.

They tend to get pretty annoyed by foreigners claiming that they are extinct, actually, so if you ever meet one, telling him/her that he/she doesn’t exist is very unwise.

Similar to the fate of the Tasmanian Aborigines, there’s the Andamanese Islanders, now decimated down to a handful of individuals. I posted last year on the death of Boa Sr, the last member of the Bo tribe of the Andaman Islands. Like the Tasmanians, some minor genetic trace of the Andamanese may go on as their last members are absorbed into the mainstream Indian population, but as a seperate and distinct people they seem sure to disappear within a generation.

Their cousins, the Sentinelese, are among the last uncontacted peoples on Earth, and they have vigorously resisted any attempts to contact them. Considering the fate of the Andamanese Islanders, I cannot blame them.

I’m just not getting through, am I?

Tasmanian Aborigines are not only not extinct, they’re in no danger of extinction.

Here, for example, is a news clip featuring actual footage of “extinct” Tasmanian Aborigines. OMG! They look just like regular non-extinct people!

Not exactly a nation yet, but Homo Sapiens did it to Homo Neanderthal.
And quite completely & effectively. Every one of them was wiped out, even their very existence was forgotten until recently, when remains were found.

I’m fairly sure ancient Israel slaughtered everyone they came across upon entering Canaan.

No, that’s just what is stated in the bible. It didn’t happen.
I’m sure that many small ethnic groups have been wiped out. If I’m not mistaken, it has been the case of a number of small Amerindian tribes in the Amazonian area.

As I recall, Genghis Khan did destroy entire cultures and languages, to such an extent they are only known to have existed from archaeological digs. “Caucasians” are named such because they were originally thought to have originated in the Caucasus mountains; the scale of the Mongol massacres was such that they disguised the fact that Caucasians originated farther east.

IIRC, they are all descended from part-Tasmanians, the results of rapes and such.

Well, how many “African” Americans don’t have any “white” blood?

Are you suggesting that “African” Americans would represent a survival of actual African ethnicities, if all actual Africans were wiped out? I know some Africans who would disagree pretty strongly.

It seems that I should have been a bit more exact in defining genocide. Please bear with me as even scholars who study genocide have trouble agreeing on a definition. For purposes of this post, I’d like to define genocide as the deliberate and systematic destruction of an ethnic, racial, religious, or national group. Most scholars include the phrase “in whole or in part,” but that doesn’t serve my purposes since I’m trying to find out how many ethnic groups are completely gone as a result of genocide.

I should have checked my facts regarding the Tasmanian Aborigines. Otherwise I only see some unnamed civilizations destroyed by the Mongols and some unnamed Amazonian tribes. I’m not certain about the Andamanese because I don’t think the situation meets the “deliberate and systematic” requirement.

This is going to be a tough one, you want:
1). deliberate decision to wipe out a people,
2). absorption of survivors, with no trace of their culture, into existing culture, and …
3). perfect success.

That may never have happened. Let’s use the example of the Chickasaw from the southeastern US. The US government decided to “civilize” them. And the Chickasaw nation altered their culture, adopted yeoman farming, Christianity, kept slaves, etc. Then they were forcibly removed, many dying along the Trail of Tears. The survivors formed the Chickasaw nation in Indian territory in the Southwest US. But, some who remained behind, without recognition, or even safety, survive now as the Carolina Chickasaw. And this is just what I’ve gleaned from PBS special and Wikipedia.

But, you see what I’m getting at. The US deliberately tried two separate methods of culture destruction on the small small group. And instead got two groups reviving (the the best of their ability) their original culture.

Are you suggesting Tasmanian Aborigines are not a surviving ethnic/cultural group because most of them are not of 100% Aboriginal ancestry? Every Aborigine I’ve ever met - and that’s quite a few - would strongly object to that notion.

They survived some prolonged awful treatment and managed to keep much of their culture intact. They’re very proud of that fact. Here in Australia, it is highly offensive to the Aborigines and to a great many non-indigenous Australians to hear people who clearly know very little about the issue spouting off as if they were experts on Aboriginal culture and history.

The Beothuk people in Newfoundlandhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beothuk_people

debatable as to whether it was intentional genocide though

No, I don’t know enough about Tasmanians to suggest anything about them. But I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that both their cultural and genetic ties to pre-contact aborigines are less problematic than the ties between black Americans (or any subset thereof) and any specific African ethnicity.

What about the ‘Old Prussians’? I’ve read a few histories that suggested they were exterminated rather than assimilated by the germanic folks who moved in.

No. I suppose I made my point rather badly.

What I was trying to flag up was that the “purity” of an ethnic group is not relevant to the fact of its existence, and also that trying to impose any sort of “objective” criteria is pretty much a non-starter when it comes to self-identification.

(I’ve probably expressed this badly, as well!)