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Title: Massacre  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: List of massacres in Australia, List of massacres in Israel, List of massacres in the Palestinian territories, Geochang massacre, Pogrom
Collection: Conflicts, Death, Massacres
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


The Chios Massacre refers a famous incident during the Greek War of Independence in 1822.[1]
Twenty-six republicans were assassinated by fascists that belonged to Franco's Nationalists at the beginning of the Spanish Civil War, between August and September of 1936. This mass grave is placed at the small town named as Estépar, in Northern Spain. The excavation occurred in July–August of 2014.
The El Mozote massacre, El Salvador 1981

A massacre is a specific incident which involves the deliberate slaughter of unarmed people, although a tight definition had never emerged.[2]


  • Origin and history of term 1
  • Definitions 2
  • See also 3
  • References 4
  • Further reading 5

Origin and history of term

The first recorded use in English of the word massacre to label an event is Marlowe's (circa 1600), The massacre at Paris[3] (a reference to the St. Bartholomew's Day massacre). The word ultimately derives from Middle Low German *matskelen meaning to slaughter.

Massacre is also a verb that means to kill (people or, less commonly, animals) in numbers, especially brutally and indiscriminately. The first known use for this meaning was in 1588.[4]

The term is also used metaphorically for events that do not involve deaths, such as the Saturday Night Massacre—the dismissals and resignations of political appointees during Richard Nixon's Watergate scandal.


Robert Melson's "basic working definition," reads, "by massacre we shall mean the intentional killing by political actors of a significant number of relatively defenseless people... the motives for massacre need not be rational in order for the killings ot be intentional... Mass killings can be carried out for various reasons, including a response to false rumors... political massacre... should be distinguished form criminal or pathological mass killings... as political bodies we of course include the state and its agencies, but also nonstate actors..."[5]

Mark Levine defines massacre as involving the murder of more than one individual, "although it is not possible to set unalterable rules about when multiple murders become massacres. Equally important is that massacres are not carried out by individuals, but by groups... the use of superior, even overwhelming force..." and he excludes "legal, or even some quasi-legal, mass executions."[6]

See also


  1. ^ Dadrian, Vahakn N. (1999). Warrant for Genocide: Key Elements of Turko-Armenian Conflict. New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers. p. 153.  
  2. ^ Gallant, Thomas W. (2001). "review of Levene, Roberts The Massacre in History". Crime, History & Societies 5 (1). 
  3. ^ Oxford English Dictionary Massacre, n.
  4. ^ Oxford English Dictionary Massacre, v.
  5. ^ Melson, Robert (July 1982). "Theoretical Inquiry into the Armenian Massacres of 1894-1896". Comparative Studies in Society and History 24 (3): 482–3. 
  6. ^ Levene & Roberts 1999

Further reading

  • Kenz, David El. "GLOSSARY TERM: Massacre". Online Encyclopedia of Mass Violence. Retrieved 22 November 2013. 
  • Levene, Mark; Roberts, Penny, eds. (1999). The massacre in history (1. publ. ed.). Providence: Berghahn Book.  
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