A History of Terror

By Kay Schröder, Rowen Forman, Kenny Jeurissen and Eva Rijvers


An overview

Since 1970, more than 180.000 terrorist attacks have taken place.

Most of these have been in recent years.

Starting in 1970, there has been a gradual increase in terrorist attacks per year. Contributors were groups such as the IRA in Ireland and the FARC in Colombia.

These attacks peak in 1992, after which they started to decrease -- creating a relatively calm decade.

In the aftermath of 9/11, terrorist attacks increased as the “War against Terror” was introduced by US President George W. Bush. These only had a slight dip in 2009.

From 2011 onward, as the Syrian Civil War starts, terrorist attacks increased significantly.

While the amount of terrorist attacks are still profound, namely in the Middle East, terrorist attacks have been steadily decreasing since the 2014 peak.

Weapons used

During this 50-year period, explosives are the most common weapons used in all attacks.


Innocent civilians and properties (e.g. buildings) were among the most targetted.

Victim nationality

Most victims of terrorist attacks were people with the Iraqi nationality.

Geographical shift

There has been a change of countries affected by terrorism in the period before and after 2001.

The graph displays the total amount of attacks in the top 10 affected countries before 2001 and after 2001.

Delve deeper

Click on the button to explore the data for yourself.