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FAMINES IN THE INDIAN SUBCONTINENT, 1500 to 1767
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It has become common in discussions of famine in the Indian sub-continent to state that Mike Davis, in "Late Victorian Holocausts: El Niño Famines and the Making of the Third World" (2001) "points out that here were 31 serious famines in the 120 years of British rule compared with 17 famines in the 2,000 years before British rule."
That "120 years" should give a clue to a snag with the claim: its source, as Davis states quite clearly, is a preliminary study of the worldwide history of famine made by Cornelius Walford for the Statistical Society of London back in 1878, just over 120 years after the Battle of Plassey. In 1874, Charles Blair's "Indian famines: Their historical, financial and other aspects …" had noted a significant problem: "… reliable records are only available from the date of our rule in India; and it will be seen ... that subsequent to this time these disasters have been very frequent."
Suspecting, as I attempted to edit some India-related Wikipedia articles a few years ago, that modern technology would make it much easier to find pre-Plassey information, I decided to keep a spreadsheet of references to famines in the period from 1500, when the Portuguese were beginning to expand Europe's first-hand knowledge of India, to 1767, the year before the new British administration in Bengal faced and failed its first major famine challenge (as it happens, others were working on a similar project at the same time, but the fascinating Famine and Dearth website- sadly not always online- has different priorities from mine).
You can see all the pre-1768 famines listed by Walford on a separate page, but below I have tabulated the references I have found so far, in chronological order, linking to a separate page for each year (NB: Where a famine lasts more than one year but there is little information after the first year reported, I have not listed the later years separately).

The principles and ground-rules of this website

Weather records (and proxy records)

Writings about famine and its history in India

COLOUR CODES (links + maps):FAMINE YEARSCARCITY YEAROTHER INTERESTING INFORMATION
WARNING: THIS WEBSITE IS ABSOLUTELY NOT A SAFE SPACE
1500150115021503150415051506150715081509
1510151115121513151415151516151715181519
1520+/or 15211522152315241525+ 1526152715281529
1530153115321533153415351536153715381539 +40
1540+ 1541+ 15421543154415451546154715481549
1550-ish15511552155315541555+ 1556155715581559
1560156115621563156415651566156715681569
157015711572+/or 15731574-515751576157715781579
158015811582 +3158315841585 etc.1586 +7158715881589
159015911592159315941595+ 1596-81597+ 15981599
16001601160216031604160516061607-916081609
16101611161216131614+ 1615-61616+ 161716181619
1620s162116221623162416251626162716281629
1630163116321633163416351636163716381639
16401641 or 216421643164416451646-816471648 +91649
1650-116511652165316541655165616571658-611659
+ 1660-116611662-31663+ 166416651666166716681669-70
1670-711671+ 1672-31673+ 1674+ 1675167616771678+ 1679
16801681168216831684 see1685+ 1686to 1687-91688+ 1689
16901691169216931694+ 1695-61696+ 169716981699-1700
1700+ 17011702-41703+ 17041705+1706-71707-81708+ 1709
1710-111711+ 171217131714171517161717+ 1718+ 1719
+ 17201721-317221723+ 1724172517261727+ 1728+1729
17301731+ 17321733+ 1734+ 1735+ 17361737+ 17381739
174017411742+ 17431744-61745-521746+ 174717481749
175017511752-51753-417541755-6175617571758+ 1759-61
17601761-217621763-4176417651766+ 17671768
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