Special Report

The Most Ruthless Leaders of All Time

Source: Sean Gallup / Getty Images News via Getty Images

Vlad Tepes
> Country: Wallachia (Romania)
> Years in charge: 1448, 1456-1462, 1476-1477

Vlad Tepes was known as “Vlad the Impaler” because of his preferred method of dealing with his opponents. He’s said to have inspired Bram Stoker’s character Dracula.

Source: Spencer Arnold Collection / Hulton Royals Collection via Getty Images

Henry VIII
> Country: England
> Years in charge: 1509-1547

Henry VIII ruled England for more than three decades, during which he oversaw the creation of the Church of England and had two of his wives executed.

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

Ivan the Terrible
> Country: Russia
> Years in charge: 1547-1584

Ivan the Terrible was the first Moscow ruler to make himself Tsar of all Russia. He transformed it from a medieval country into an empire at immense cost to its people.

Source: 60861613@N00 / Flickr

Mary I (Bloody Mary)
> Country: England and Ireland
> Years in charge: 1553-1558

Mary I was the first queen of England to rule in her own right. She’s known as “Bloody Mary” for her persecution of Protestant heretics, whom she burned at the stake.

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

Ibrahim I
> Country: Ottoman Empire
> Years in charge: 1640-1648

Ibrahim was an Ottoman Sultan whose reign was characterized by war and rebellion.

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