Top 10 Most Feared Despots

There are several despots in history who were most feared because of their utter lack of mercy and the means employed by them to achieve their aim come what may. Below we see the list of the top 10 most feared despots in the world.


1. Tamerlane (Timur)

Timur (1336–1405) spent his life gaining control over the inhabitants of Asia. A Turk, his main aim was to make Samarkhand, his capital a powerful place in Asia. He was well known for destroying enemies and gaining foothold into strange lands. He massacred huge populations without showing any mercy. He destroyed entire cities and built structures using the skulls of people who were killed.


2. Ivan the Terrible

Ivan was a cruel ruler who did his best to expand the land of Russia. He was suspected of suffering from mental instability. He was known to be very cruel and employed devious means to attain his goals. His troop of personal body guards were called the oprichniki, who massacred his enemies and answered him only. He is also known to have killed many of his wives and his son in an act of fury.


3. Maximillien Robespierre

Robespierre was responsible for turning France into a police state and masterminding the Reign of Terror. He sent his enemies to the guillotine without trying them or offering representation legally. About 300,000 people were imprisoned under his reign and another 40,000 French men and women died in prison. The slaughter ended only after he was killed.


4. Joseph Stalin

Stalin was the totalitarian leader from 1929–53 and with is known for crushing the people of Soviet Russia with his communist principles. He was called the “man of steel” and he sent many people to labor camps just because they did not accept his communist policies. Several ethnic groups were executed under his reign. Many people died of executions, starvations and entry into labor camps during his rule.


5. Adolf Hitler

Between 1933 and 45, Hitler controlled Germany and is known as the most chilling tyrant. His criminality became evident when he started suppressing people of non-Germanic origin and tortured them badly. He was also solely responsible for the slaughter of the gypsies, homosexuals, communists and another 6 million Jews. He nurtured an ambition to rule the world and was one of the most feared despots in history.


6. Mao Zedong (Mao Tse-tung)

Mao Tse-tung controlled China between 1949 and 1976. His economic plan called the Great Leap in China led to the loss over 30 million people. There were several famine related deaths also during his reign. In the name of cultural a revolution he gave vent to his cruel nature by imprisoning and torturing the bourgeoisie community who were considered to be his class enemies.


7. Francois “Papa Doc” Duvalier

Under the reign of Duvalier, more than 50,000 Haitians died and several others were exiled. Using his strength and power he murdered ordinary Haitians and other foes. He called himself president for life in 1964 and was famous for his corrupt policies. Under his rule the per capita income of Haiti sank to its lowest and his son took reign after his death.


8. Nicolae Ceausescu

Romania deteriorated from being a prosperous country to one facing starvation under Ceausescu’s rule. The country also faced acute shortage of fuel, food and other commodities.He wiped out Romanian culture and history by driving people out of their villages to high rise apartments in cities.


9. Idi Amin

Between 1971 and 79, Idi Amin was the president of Uganda. He destroyed the economy by driving away ethnic Asians from Uganda and persecuted the Acholi and Lango tribes. He ransacked the country’s wealth and called himself the conqueror of the British Empire. Uganda suffered a lot as a result of his political antics and savagery.


10. Pol Pot

Pol Pot was a radical Marxist leader of Cambodia from 1975–79. He is said to have started the Khmer Rouge rule by which at least 2 million people were massacred in Cambodia or were forced to death through labor. He dies in 1998 stating that his conscience was clear.

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3 Responses

  1. Ryan

    This is a really poor list of most feared despots. Ivan the Terrible ahead of Pol Pot? Robespierre? Robespierre ahead of Stalin? Really?


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