26 Rulers Who Were Killed by Their Own People

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“Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown” is a quote from the Shakespeare play “King Henry the Fourth , Part Two.” And while the citation speaks to how heavy responsibilities weigh on a monarch, it also might apply to those leaders fearful of meeting a tragic end at the hands of their own people. (Here are 13 famous assassination attempts on the British royal family.)

To determine a list of rulers who were killed by their own people, 24/7 Tempo referred to sources such as Britannica, National Geographic, Time, and Biography. In compiling the list, we included those whose fate was determined by a judicial process or had been held as a prisoner at the time of their death as well as those who were unexpectedly assassinated.

Whether by coup, trial, or assassination, many of the rulers who were killed by their own people attempted to be change agents.

The most famous of these is probably Julius Caesar. By crossing into Rome from its territories with his army in defiance of custom, he made himself dictator. And a group of senators took the ultimate action against him.

Rulers such as Muammar Qaddafi in Libya, Samuel Doe of Liberia, and Maurice Bishop in Grenada seized power violently and died the same way. After years of torturing their own people, Iraq dictator Saddam Hussein and Afghan leader Mohammad Najibullah were executed. (These are the most ruthless rulers of all time.)

King Louis XVI of France and Tsar Nicholas II of Russia were both executed by their own people after leading them into financially ruinous wars and doing little to help those starving.

Yitzhak Rabin of Israel and Anwar Sadat of Egypt, who both shared the Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts in pursuing peace in the Middle East, paid the ultimate price for their efforts at the hands of assassins from their own countries. 

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