War. Death. Destruction. A tale as old as time. A cycle that never ends. The millions of lives lost to mankind’s love of warfare is startling in quantity and impossible to grasp. 

Some wars are so ancient, the world seems to have forgotten they ever occurred. Some are so recent, it is like they happened only yesterday. But both have staggering cultural, political, economic and social repercussions. Here is a look through history at some of the most costly wars mankind has endured. 


22. The Biafran War

The Biafran War, also known as the Nigerian Civil War, was fought between the government of Nigeria and the secessionist state of Biafra from July 6, 1967, to January 15, 1970. After Britain formally decolonized from Nigeria in the early 1960s, political, economic, ethnic, cultural and religious tensions grew and Biafra sought succession. An estimated 2 million civilians perished due to famine during the blockade.


21. The Japanese Invasions of Korea

The two Japanese invasions of Korea between 1592 and 1598 CE are also known as the “Imjin Wars.” The first invasion started when Toyotomi Hideyoshi, a Japanese military leader, put into motion his long-held plan to invade China through Korea. It got off to a successful start as cities like Pyongyang and Seoul were captured, but eventually, the combined operations of the Korean navy, a large land army from Ming China and well-organized local rebels resulted in the first invasion stalling in 1593 CE. After unsuccessful peace talks, Hideyoshi launched a second, much less successful invasion in 1597 CE, and when the warlord died the next year, the Japanese forces withdrew. The conflict led to a death toll of 1 million for Korea.