8 of the Greatest Migrations in History
8. Chechnya to Central Asia
- Date: 1944
- Estimated Migrants: 0.7 Million
In 1944 Soviet leader Joseph Stalin accused the Chechen people of helping the Germans in World War II. He abolished the country and forced the people on a compulsory migration to Central Asia. Many people were killed en-route with estimates ranging from about a third to half of the entire Chechen population. Survivors of the long journey were however allowed to return to Chechnya in 1957. European Parliament formally recognizes this forcible migration as a Genocide.North Caucasus Weekly
7. Vietnam to rest of the World
- Date: 1970s
- Estimated Migrants: 1-2 MillionStatistics of Vietnamese democide
Millions of people fled from Vietnam when it was taken over by the communists in their war with the USA in 1975. Some did not want to live in the communist society, others had helped the Americans. They fled mainly by sea in any sort of vessel they could get. Hundreds and thousands were drowned in their tiny boats in which they had to face deadly storms, hunger and had to elude the pirates but many struggled through. Some of them have become quite prosperous in the developed countries particularly the United States.
According to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, between 200,000 and 400,000 boat people died at sea.
6. China to Taiwan and rest of the World
- Date: 1948-50
- Estimated Migrants: 2 Million
When the communists under Mao Zedong defeated the nationalists and set up a communist state, many millions especially the Nationalist army fled to Taiwan, which they declared a separate country, claiming it as the real China. Industry quickly developed there and the state became rich and prosperous. Other Chinese fled all over the world and because of their dedicated and hardworking altitude they have prospered.
5. Afghanistan to Pakistan
- Date: 1980s
- Estimated Migrants: 2.58 MillionUNHRC Estimate
The state of Afghanistan was thrown into instability when the Soviet Union invaded the country in 1979. Unable to defeat the local Mujaheddin resistance backed by a coalition of American CIA and Pakistan, Soviets were forced to retreat in 1988 after a bloody war. A civil war ensued between local warlords after the withdrawal of USSR and severe droughts for several years added to the misery of the local population which was already torn with a decade of war. As a result of the terrible state of the country millions of Afghans were compelled to seek refugee in neighboring Iran and Pakistan.
To date Pakistan remains the largest host to international refugees, the figure being estimated at 1.6 Million and majority of them are Afghans.
4. Europe and rest of the World to Israel
- Date: 1882 - Ongoing (Majorly 1948 - 2000)
- Estimated Migrants to Date: 3.6 MillionBureau of Statistics Israel
Traditionally referred to as the 'Aliyah' in Hebrew, migration to the holy land of Israel has been the aspiration of many Jews and is also one of the cardinal doctrine of the Zionist ideology.
The main aim of the Zionist movement was to establish the state of Israel, an independent homeland for Jews. It encouraged Jews from all over the world to migrate to Israel but Ottoman rule checked their numbers in Palestine area. Then World War I changed the scenario and emigrants streamed freely into the British mandated Palestine, some were motivated by their religious cause while others escaped antisemitic movements such as the Holocaust. The British had already promised the state of Israel for Jews in the Balfour Declaration in 1917.
From 1919-1948 there were 493,149 emigrants then after the declaration of the state of Israel this number increased to 687,624 (1948-1951) and since then, Jews continue to trickle to their holy land.
3. Resettlement of Europe after Soviet Domination
- Date: After World War II
- Estimated Population displaced: 12 Million Germans
At the end of World War II changes in the map of Europe meant that many people found themselves living in hostile territory and so millions, primarily Germans were expelled, evacuated or fled from Central and Eastern Europe to the new Germany, making this the largest single instance of ethnic cleansing in recorded history.
2. India to Pakistan
- Date: 1947-50
- Estimated Migrants: 15 Million+
- Death Toll: 1 Million
Following the partition of British India into Pakistan and India, some 15 million people found themselves stranded in the 'wrong' part of the land, Hindus in Pakistani territory and Muslims in Indian territory. Thus began the greatest international migration in history with Muslims migrating towards eastern and western wings of the newly formed state of Pakistan and Hindus crossing over to India.
Emotions ran high and terrible atrocities were committed on both sides ranging from damage to property, arson, killing and mob violence. Ordinary peace loving Hindus and Muslims became so enraged with each other that they committed such atrocities they would never have considered themselves capable off. In some places, even the state troops joined violence. On 9th August 1947 a train carrying Muslim officers from Delhi to Karachi was intercepted and four senior plus 150 other officers were massacred. Soon trains of migrants began to arrive at their destination filled with dead bodies and their caravans intercepted and looted.
Today, however, these migrants have fully blended into the Pakistani society and live as a respectable middle-class community.
1. From Rural China to Urban Centers
- Date: 1976 - Ongoing
- Estimated Migrants to date: 160 Million The Economist
Grinding poverty was always a problem for rural China, and since the death of Mao in 1976, the relaxation of migration rules have given immense impetus to this rural-urban migration. These migrant workers have transformed the economy of China providing much needed cheap labor to fuel the export-led boom of the mighty Chinese economy. Currently, migrant workers make up to 12% of the countries population, the Government's planning commission expects another 100 million people to move to cities by 2020.The Economist
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