List of Top Ten Most Cruel Rulers In History (Most Ruthless Leaders)

We often hear stories about hell and the devils that reside within the darkest corners of it. No one knows if it is real or a hoax because nobody has seen it, right? Well, some of the rulers of ancient times brought hell to real life and are known to date for their evil and inhumane actions.

The world has seen catastrophes in many shapes and forms. All of these men have wreaked havoc on humanity with their evil practices. While hundreds and thousands of people were suffering, they didn’t seem to bat an eye. Here we take a closer look at the top 10 most cruel rulers of all times.

Top Ten Most Cruel Rulers In History

1. Adolf Hitler (1889-1945)

most cruel rulers of all times

Notorious for his actions even in 2022, Hitler is regarded as one of the most brutal dictators of all time. He rose to power as chancellor of Germany and leader of the Nazi Party. Hitler believed that Jewish people were the root cause of all the problems and was determined to eradicate them. He was also responsible for fanning the flames leading to World War II by invading Poland. He was the mastermind behind the horrible holocaust that lead to the genocide of about 6 million Jews. Hitler’s malicious decisions lead to the deaths of 50 million people among other victims. Hitler committed suicide in 1945.

2. Nero (AD 37-AD 58)

Nero- Top Ten Most Cruel Rulers In History

The fifth and last emperor of the Julio-Claudian dynasty wreaked havoc on the people of Rome. Starting his reign at the age of 16, he tailored a reputation for murderous cruelty and corruption. According to Roman historians, Nero ordered the assassination of his mother and went ahead to poison her and have her drown in a self-sinking boat, disguising it as suicide. He also tortured and murdered his two wives by slitting their wrists and kicking them in the belly while pregnant. Nero’s sickening mindset went beyond slaughtering his nearest and dearest. He is also believed to be the cause of the great fire that burned Rome but managed to blame it on Christians, who were later severely punished for it. He committed suicide at age 30.

3. Genghis Khan(1162-1227):

Genghis Khan

The emperor of Mongolia rarely left a score unsettled and didn’t hesitate to unleash hell on anyone that would not go his way. The war between the Khwarezmid empire and Mongols left millions dead and Shah’s Empire completely destroyed. Just after this, Khan returned east and waged war on the Tanguts because they refused to provide troops during the war with Khwarezmid. He executed the entire royal family as a punishment for their defiance. During his reign, historians believe he may be responsible for at least 40 million deaths and the Mongol attacks reduced the world’s population by 11%.

4. Joseph Stalin (1878-1953)

Joseph Stalin

The general secretary of the Soviet Union has done some unspeakable things. His period of reign caused the death and suffering of millions of people. Ironically, his religious mother wanted Stalin to be a priest but he soon bent toward atheism. Initiating a rapid industrial revolution, his ruthless plans enforced workers to fulfill extremely strict targets. Those who failed to do so were imprisoned or executed, deeming them enemies of the state. Stalin also reportedly abused his second wife Nadezhda which lead to her suicide. He died in 1953 due to a stroke and millions of people showed cheerfulness at the death of one of the most murderous dictators in history.

5. Attila The Hun(434-453):

Attila The Hun

Known as the scourge of god, Attila was one of the most terrifying enemies the Romans ever faced. He went as far as killing his own brother in the greed of power. He initiated bloodshed battles like invading Gaul and slaughtering the entire village in their wake. His genocidal conquests were in discussion for a long time after his death. Attila mysteriously died after a night of drinking and was said to have a nosebleed during sleep that led him to choke on his own blood while some say his new wife was behind his tragic death.

6. Vlad III (1428-1476)

Vlad III- Most Ruthless Leaders

Considered one of the most important rulers in Wallachian history, Vlad did some horrible things. He also gained the name ‘Vlad the impaler’ because of his sadistic nature. During his reign, he was known for impaling his enemies on stakes in the ground and leaving them to die. The character Dracula is also somewhat based on Vlad’s nature. He reigned as prince of Wallachia three times and killed 20% of the population. He impaled many of his victims and put them on display. Seeing his viciousness, some of the enemies decided to retreat.

7. Ivan (1530-1584)

Ivan the Terrible

The first Tsar of Russia had sadistic outrages since he was a child. The seeds of his mental illness were sown in his childhood when his father died when he was only 3-years-old and his mother died when he was 8. Ivan took his frustration out on poor animals by throwing them out of the windows and pulling feathers off of birds. To police his newly captured lands, he created the Oprichniki. The Oprichniki were given complete freedom to torture and execute anyone that was suspected of betrayal by Evan. The tortures included impalement, boiling them alive, tearing off limbs, and being roasted on a fire. Ivan brutalized his own population in a murderous rage killing anyone that uttered a word against him and hence gained the name “Ivan the Terrible”.

8. Leopold II (1835-1909)

Leopold II

The second King of the Belgians and the owner and absolute ruler of the Congo free state, Leopold is another merciless ruler on this list. His presidency over the Congo free state would be described by the terms atrocity and systematic brutality. He tortured and murdered many people, including amputation of hands of men, women, and children who failed to adhere to the strict deadlines and quotas. To describe his administration, George Washington Williams used the term “crimes against humanity”. His cruel practices eventually lead to the deaths of 1 to 15 million Congolese people. He died on 17th December 1909.

9. Maximilien Robespierre (1758-1794)

Maximilien Robespierre

The French lawyer and statesman became an integral part of the French Revolution. Being the leading member of the Committee of Public Safety from 1973, he encouraged the execution of more than 17,000 enemies by the guillotine. Under Robespierre’s leadership, the revolutionary government presented the Reign of Terror in September. In less than a year or so, he successfully purged many of his enemies who were either imprisoned or executed by the guillotine. Ironically enough, a day after Robespierre’s arrest, he and his 21 followers were guillotined before a cheering mob in Paris.

10. Talaat Pasha (1874-1921)

Talaat Pasha

He was a Turkish ottoman politician and the Minister of Interior Affairs. Pasha was the mastermind behind the Armenian genocide. The 1915 orders for the eviction of Armenians carry his signature. His attitude towards Armenians was beyond cruel and he also went as far as to order the destruction of young Armenian orphans. Talaat later had a trial in absentia and was convicted as a war criminal, including massacre, and was given a death sentence. He however was assassinated by an Armenian Soghomon Tehlirian in 1921 out of thirst for revenge.

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