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5 Most Tyrannical Rulers In The History Of The World (Photos)

From tyrannical kings to high-handed dictators, history has witnessed several cruel rulers. While many rulers exhibited tyranny in order to achieve certain goals, some exercised cruelty just to show off their power over others. Some of these rulers were downright brutal, so much so that their actions were stranger than fiction! Take a look at the 5 most tyrannical rulers in the history of the world:

1. Maximilien Robespierre

Maximilien Robespierre was a radical Jacobin leader and one of the principal figures in the French Revolution. In the latter months of 1793, he came to dominate the Committee of Public Safety, the principal organ of the Revolutionary government during the Reign of Terror, but in 1794 he was overthrown and guillotined.

Robespierre soon took on a public role, calling for political change in the French monarchy. He became a devotee of social philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau, intrigued by the idea of a virtuous man who stands alone accompanied only by his conscience. He gained a reputation for defending the poorest of society and earned the nickname "the incorruptible" for his adherence to strict moral values.

At age 30, Robespierre was elected to the Estates General of the French legislature. He became increasingly popular with the people for his attacks on the French monarchy and his advocacy for democratic reforms. He also opposed the death penalty and slavery. Some of his colleagues saw his refusal to compromise and his rigid stand against all authority as extreme and impractical. After a time he left the legislature to push his agenda outside of government.

In April 1789, Robespierre was elected president of the powerful Jacobin political faction. A year later, he participated in writing the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen, the foundation of the French constitution. When the people of Paris rose up against King Louis XVI in August 1792, Robespierre was elected to head the Paris delegation to the new National Convention. In December of that year, he successfully argued for the execution of the king and continued to encourage the crowds to rise up against the aristocracy.

On July 27, 1793, Robespierre was elected to the Committee of Public Safety, formed to oversee the government with virtual dictatorial control. Faced with pressures both from the outside and from within, the Revolutionary government instituted the Reign of Terror in September. In the next 11 months, 300,000 suspected enemies of the Revolution were arrested and more than 17,000 were executed, most by guillotine. In the orgy of bloodshed, Robespierre was able to eliminate many of his political opponents.

Seemingly intoxicated with the power over life and death, Robespierre called for more purges and executions. By the summer of 1794, many in the Revolutionary government began to question his motives, as the country was no longer threatened by outside enemies. An awkward coalition of moderates and revolutionaries formed to oppose Robespierre and his followers.

On July 27, 1794, Robespierre and many of his allies were arrested and taken to prison. He was able to escape with the aid of a sympathetic jailer and hid in the Hôtel de Ville in Paris. When he received word that the National Convention had declared him an outlaw, he tried to commit suicide but succeeded only in wounding his jaw. Shortly after, troops from the National Convention stormed the building and seized and arrested Robespierre and his followers. The next day, he and 21 of his allies were executed at the guillotine.

2. Mehmed Talaat

Mehmed Talaat was the de facto political leader of the Ottoman Empire from 1913 to 1918. He was the leader of the Committee of Union and Progress and ruled the empire during the Armenian genocide, which he ordered as Minister of Interior Affairs in 1915.

His career in Ottoman politics began when he was elected as a deputy from Adrianople to the Chamber of Deputies in 1908, then Minister of the Interior and Minister of Finance, and finally Grand Vizier in 1917. As the minister of interior, Talaat Pasha ordered on 24 April 1915 the arrest and deportation of Armenian intellectuals in Instanbul, most of them being ultimately murdered, and on 30 May 1915, requested the Temporary Deportation Law. These events initiated the Armenian genocide. He is widely considered the main perpetrator of the genocide, and is thus held responsible for the death of around 1 million Armenians.

After the Empire's surrender in World War I, on the night of 3 November 1918 with the aid of Ahmed Izzet Pasha, Talaat Pasha and other members of the CUP's central committee fled the Ottoman Empire. In the Ottoman Empire, the Ottoman Military Tribunal convicted Talaat and sentenced him to death in absentia for his role in the Armenian genocide. Talaat was assassinated in Berlin in 1921 by Soghomon Tehlirian, a member of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation, as part of Operation Nemesis.

3. Vlad the Impaler

Vlad the Impaler was a 15th-century ruler of Wallachia, an east European principality within modern Romania. Vlad became infamous for his brutal punishments, such as impalement, but also renowned by some for his attempt to fight the Muslim Ottomans, even though Vlad was only largely successful against Christian forces.

He earned his fearsome nickname for impaling more than 20,000 people and killing as many as 60,000 others during his bloody reign. He was even said to dine among his impaled enemies and dip his bread in their blood.

Vlad the Impaler was born between 1428 and 1431, during a time of unrest in Wallachia.

His mother, the queen, came from a Moldavian royal family and his father was Vlad II Dracul. The surname translates to “dragon” and was given to Vlad II after his induction into a Christian crusading order known as the Order of the Dragon. Young Vlad had two brothers, Mircea and Radu.

Due to Wallachia’s proximity to the warring factions of Christian-ruled Europe and the Muslim-ruled Ottoman Empire, Dracul’s territory was the site of constant turmoil.

In 1442, the Ottomans called for a diplomatic meeting and invited Vlad Dracul. He saw an opportunity to educate his younger sons in the art of diplomacy so he brought Vlad III and Radu with him.

But Dracul and his two sons were captured and held hostage by the Ottoman diplomats instead. The captors told him that he would be released but he had to leave his sons.

Dracul, believing it was the safest option for his family, agreed. Fortunately for Vlad III and his brother, during their time as hostages, the two princes received lessons in science, philosophy, and the art of war.

However, things were far worse back home. A coup orchestrated by local warlords, known as the boyar, overthrew Dracul. In 1447, he was killed in the swamps behind his home while his oldest son was tortured, blinded, and buried alive.

Vlad III was freed soon after his family’s death, and at this time he began to use the name Vlad Dracula, meaning son of the dragon. When he returned to Wallachia, he transformed into a violent ruler, soon earning his moniker Vlad the Impaler in disturbing fashion.

In 1448, Vlad returned to Wallachia to take back the throne from Vladislav II, the man who had taken his father’s place. He succeeded, but after just a few months, the deposed Vladislav returned and took back the throne. But in 1456, Vlad returned with an army and support from Hungary and was able to take the throne from Vladislav for a second time.

Legend has it that Vlad personally beheaded his rival Vladislav on the battlefield. And once he was back on his father’s throne again, his reign of terror truly began.

Some historians believe his family’s horrific deaths were what turned Vlad III into Vlad Tepes, the original Romanian for Vlad the Impaler. Some accounts state Vlad was subjected to beatings and torture during his imprisonment under the Ottomans, which may also be where he learned the tradition of impaling enemies.

Soon after he took the throne back, Vlad had enemies of his own to deal with. Some in Wallachia considered Vladislav II a better leader, which caused uprisings in villages across the region. The returning monarch knew he had to assert his dominance over the people. So, he decided to host a banquet and invite his opposition.

It didn’t take long before the festivities turned bloody. Vlad’s dissenting guests were stabbed to death and their still-twitching bodies were impaled on spikes.

From there, Vlad’s violent reputation only continued to grow as he defended his throne and devastated his enemies time and again via the grisliest methods imaginable.

4. Leopold II of Belgium

With Leopold II being responsible for somewhere between two and fifteen million deaths, he goes down as one of history’s most tyrannical rulers.

He was the second King of the Belgians, but his greatest legacy was left far away from the Flemish country.

Leopold was the founder and sole owner of the Congo Free State, a private project that he undertook on his own. With a passion for colonialism, Leopold started the International African Society, which he used to travel to Africa and lay claim to a plot of land several times the size of Belgium. Fourteen countries, including the USA, then agreed to allow him free rule of these lands. With his private militia, he coerced the indigenous population into forced labour, greatly abusing them for his own sadistic and economic reasons. A booming rubber industry was a lasting legacy of this permitted slaughter.

5. Pol Pot

Pol Pot was born on May 19, 1925 in Cambodia. He was the Communist leader of the Khmer Rouge, and came to power after the U.S. evacuated their troops in Cambodia after a 6 year war. Pol Pot began a rebel organization, and overtook power in Phnom Penh. He thought that all modern ideas were bad, so the Khmer Rouge forced everyone living in cities into the countryside. There they had hard, stressful work, and were not fed well. Many died just from the work they had to do, and others died from starvation.

Residents who disobeyed the Khmer Rouge were taken to prisons and torture chambers. Here they would be interrogated and severely tortured. The Khmer Rouge whipped, stabbed, stung, and even drowned the poor victims of Pol Pot. They lashed their enemies, stung them with scorpions, and even tried to drown them if they wouldn’t cooperate. Also, in the prison you weren’t fed much, so many, many people just died from starvation.

If the victims survived the prisons then they would be taken to the Killing Fields for execution. Here the victims would be beaten to death with machetes, hammers, and even bamboo poles! Then, they threw the dead bodies into a mass grave. Sometimes, they would take children’s heads and smash them into a tree right in front of their mother!

In 1979, Pol Pot was removed from leadership of Cambodia, for the most part ending his reign of terror. He went into hiding with the Khmer Rouge in the forests of Cambodia, and it was here that he placed land mines everywhere. Many Cambodians were injured and killed by these hidden dangers, which still exist today. On April 15, 1998, Pol Pot died and was not charged for any crimes.

Content created and supplied by: AdoyiGreporter (via Opera News )

Committee of Public Safety Jacobin Maximilien Robespierre Reign of Terror Robespierre


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