1969-05-01 to 1970-01-01
Rajputana, India (now in Rajasthan, northwestern India)The Rajputana famine of 1869 (also the Great Rajputana Famine, Bundelkhand and Upper Hindustan famine, Rajputana famine of 1868-70) affected an area of 296,000 square miles (770,000 km2) and a population of 44,500,000, primarily in the princely states of Rajputana, India, and the British territory of Ajmer. Other areas affected included Gujarat, the North Deccan districts, the Jubbalpore division of the Central Provinces and Berar, the Agra and Bundelkhand division of the United Provinces, and the Hissar division of the Punjab.
Late in 1868, epidemics of cholera broke out among the vulnerable population, and there was no harvest in the spring of 1869. Many inhabitants of the famine-stricken regions of Rajputana (for example, two-thirds of the population of Marwar) emigrated with their livestock or herds. Initially, they did not go to the British territory of Ajmer, where relief works had been arranged; many wandered in search of food until they died from starvation.
In May 1869, many villagers, who had emigrated earlier now returned to their villages believing that the rains would be early. However, the rains held off until mid-July and, in the interim, many thousands more died of starvation. Even so, the autumn harvest promised to be abundant, but swarms of locusts descended upon the fields and destroyed the young crops.