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Statistics of Democide

Contents | Figures | Tables | Preface

Chapter 1: Summary and Conclusions [Why Democide?...]
Chapter 2: Pre-Twentieth Century Democide
Chapter 3 Japan's Savage Military
Chapter 4: The Khmer Rouge Hell State
Chapter 5: Turkey's Ethnic Purges
Chapter 6: The Vietnamese War State
Chapter 7: Poland's Ethnic Cleansing
Chapter 8: The Pakistani Cutthroat State
Chapter 9: Tito's Slaughterhouse
Chapter 10: Orwellian North Korea
Chapter 12: Feudal Russia
Chapter 13: Death American by bombing
Chapter 14: The Gang of Centi-Kilo Murderers
Chapter 15: The Lesser Murderers
Chapter 16: The Social Field of Democide
Chapter 17: Democracy, Power, and Democide
Chapter 18: Social Diversity, Power, and Democide
Chapter 19: Culture and Democide
Chapter 20: The Context of Democide Socio-Economic and Geographic
Chapter 21: War, Rebellion, and Democide
Chapter 22: The Social Field and Democide
Chapter 23: Democide Through the Years

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  • Death By Government

    Chapter 11

    Statistics Of
    Mexican Democide
    Estimates, Calculations, And Sources *

    By R.J. Rummel

    Through its system of peonage and chattel slavery, terror, democidal conscription, summary executions, and political terror, pre-revolutionary and revolutionary Mexican regimes committed murder on a massive scale, surely totaling at least hundreds of thousands of Indians, peons, innocent villagers, captured soldiers, and conscripts. But a more precise toll is unknown. From partial information and estimates I calculate that from 1900 to 1920 total government democide alone amounted to somewhere between some 600,000 to 3,3000,000 Mexicans, perhaps closer to 1,400,000 killed. Although these figures amount to little more than informed guesses, I believe that there is enough evidence to at least indict these authoritarian regimes for megamurder.

    Table 11.1 lists the estimates, sources, and calculations for Mexican democide. The data are sparse and for the big estimates overly dependent on a few sources, especially Turner's popular account.1 More professional works tend to support the essence of Turner's allegations about the system of peonage and chattel slavery under Díaz,2 but no overall mortality estimates are given anywhere that I could find. Thus the human cost of this system can only be approached here by indirect calculation.

    I do this by first calculating the number involved in peonage and chattel slavery, themselves difficult to find statistics (lines 61 to 64, 71 to 75; here one can see also the over dependence on Turner), and then consolidating what few estimates there are (lines 65 and 77). The next step was to estimate the annual death rates among these forced laborers. As described in Death By Government3, in some groups of new workers the toll was almost 100% within a year (line 67); it was less so, but still incredibly high for some other groups (line 66). But this is anecdotal evidence, and although the impression is that this is not that unusual for the worse of the haciendas, how actually widespread this is over how many years is a guess.

    One possible approach is to draw on the death rates for comparable forced labor systems. For those forced into this system of slavery in Mexico, it seems as lethal, if not more so, than the Soviet gulag at its worse. However, if one applies the annual death rate range of the Soviet camps (10, 20, and 28 percent a year)4 to the number of Mexican forced laborers given here (lines 65 and 77) up through the first year of the Revolution (after which the system was collapsing), then the mid-total killed would be 12,540,000 for a total Mexican population of about 15,000,000 (line 128). Obviously, either the average conditions are much less deadly than for gulag or the estimated population of rural slave laborers is way too large. Probably this is a combination of both.

    To compensate for this I tried to find a reasonable proportion of the agricultural population that might have died, given the gulag-like conditions under which the forced laborers worked. I ended up with an annual chattel slave death rate of roughly about 12 percent, and those for peonage as about five percent, of gulag's. One may consider these rates much too low, given Turner's account and the description in Death By Government, but even these possibly low rates come to a mid-total forced labor democide of 825,000, or roughly 69,000 dead a year. If the 1910 agricultural employed (line 119) and total population (line 128) were unchanged from 1900, then this means that almost 2 percent of the agricultural population and 1/2 percent of the total population were killed in this system per year. These are reasonable rates compared to the average annual population democide rate of 1.4 percent for the four deka-megamurderers described in Chapters 4 to 7 of Death By Government and Chapters 3 to 10 here in Statistics of Democide, and the details about the system of forced labor in Mexico. However, because of the obvious guess work involved, these figures can only be an indictment of the associated Mexican regimes.

    The basis for those estimates for other kinds of democide before and during the Revolution are even thinner (lines 35, 47, 57, and 87). Clearly, many people were killed in cold-blood, but no totals are estimated in the literature. I tried to give conservative minimum estimates here based on my knowledge of similar situations and democide elsewhere. For example, given that under Díaz at least 10,000 prisoners allegedly were killed "while trying to escape," a euphemism for murdered (line 26), and in September, 1906, alone, the government allegedly murdered up to 2,000 people (line 27), then if the government operates consistently, over the whole country for an 11 year period it must have killed at least 30,000 people (line 34), or at least near 2,700 a year, including demonstrators and strikers, political opponents and critics, and "escapees" and others in prison.

    An important problem is what to define as the end year for these calculations, which I give as 1920. For all the countries involved in this book, the period for which a democide is calculated should cover the years and months during which the system of government has remained largely the same, including its socio-economic aspects. In Mexico the socio-economic structure, and particularly the political system developed under Díaz, appeared to remain predominantly the same under the succeeding presidents until the end of the Revolution in 1920 and the election of Obregon. On this I lean on Ronald Atkin's analysis:

    for many people the Revolution as such ended with the publication of Mexico's historic Constitution of February 1917. But I have chosen to take my story of the Revolution a further three years, to 1920. There are two reasons for this. The first is that Mexico's last successful uprising, against the presidency of Venustiano Carranza, took place in that year. The second is that Carranza's rule was replaced by what came to be known as the Northern Dynasty, a circle of military men from the north-western state of Sonora headed, until his assassination in 1928, by Alvaro Obregon and afterwards by Plutarco Elías Calles. Though the country continued to be plagued by unrest and uprisings for some time, Mexico's era of reconstruction and consolidation began with Obregon in 1920, and the rule of the Northern Dynasty continued until the fall of Calles in 1935.5

    And thus I get the 1900 to 1920 range for alleged Mexican democide (not counting that of the rebels and warlords, line 97), 1900 to 1920, of 618,000 to 3,290,000 killed, or a mid-figure of 1,417,000. 


    * From the pre-publisher edited manuscript of Chapter 11 in R.J. Rummel, Statistics of Democide, 1997. For full reference to Statistics of Democide, the list of its contents, figures, and tables, and the text of its preface, click book.

    1. Turner (1969).

    2. See Fehrenbach (1973), Knight (1986, Vol. 1), Hart (1987), McBride (1923), Tutino (1986), Ruíz (1980, 1992), Simpson (1937), and Whetten (1948).

    3. Rummel (1994, Chapter 16).

    4. Rummel (1990, table 1B, line 113).

    5. Atkin (1969, pp. xiii-xiv).

    For citations see the Statistics of Democide REFERENCES

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