1. French Wars of Religion – 3 million
A death toll of 3 million is a promising start, especially for a war erupting solely because overzealous folks couldn’t agree to what religion is better.
The French Wars of Religion is an umbrella term for the many frictions that opposed the Catholics and the Huguenots (Reformed Protestants). Carried out throughout the 16th century, it aroused other European powers into picking sides.
The above painting depicts the most “memorable” event of the French Wars of Religion – the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre. Huguenots were slaughtered in the tens of thousands in a feast of savagery that lasted several weeks. What happened was scandalous mostly because the Catholic Church considered the atrocities a sign a divine retribution.
You will be surprised to know the war changed little and was mostly a façade for dynastic takeover.
Coming up next is the bloodiest African conflict to date.