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6 Child Monarchs Who Changed History

6 Child Monarchs Who Changed History



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1. Ptolemy XIII Theos Philopator

The 13th ruler of Egypt’s Ptolemaic dynasty, Ptolemy XIII rubbed elbows with some of ancient history’s most towering figures during his short life. The young pharaoh first came to power in 51 B.C. at the age of 11 or 12. He soon found himself overshadowed by his famous sister Cleopatra, whom he had married in accordance with ancient Egyptian custom. Jealous of her increasing celebrity, in 48 B.C. Ptolemy sparked a civil war after he plotted with influential members of the court and expelled Cleopatra from Egypt.

Ptolemy also allied himself with the Roman leader Pompey, who was then at war with Julius Caesar. When Pompey was defeated and arrived in Egypt seeking refuge, the teenage pharaoh had him assassinated in an attempt to impress Caesar and ingratiate himself to Rome. The plan proved unsuccessful, and after arriving in Egypt Caesar forced the boy ruler to reconcile with his sister. Ptolemy XIII eventually led an Egyptian army against the Romans, but Caesar soundly defeated his forces in a battle that resulted in the burning of the famed Library of Alexandria. The young ruler is then believed to have drowned in the Nile River as he tried to flee capture.

2. Fulin, the Shunzhi Emperor

The third emperor of China’s Qing Dynasty, 5-year-old Fulin (eventually known as the Shunzhi Emperor) rose to power in 1643 following the death of his father. Because he was so young, for the next several years China was ruled under the regency of his uncle, Dorgon. After Dorgon’s death in 1650, 12-year-old Shunzhi took the reigns of the empire. Wary of power grabs from his political enemies, he soon fostered a precarious alliance with influential court eunuchs and made efforts to fight corruption and consolidate the empire under Qing rule.

The Shunzhi Emperor is today remembered as a remarkably open-minded leader. He devoted significant time to the study of science and astronomy and was also tolerant of various religions. Around 1652 he hosted an elaborate reception in Peking for the Fifth Dalai Lama, but he also regularly consulted with an Austrian Jesuit missionary named Johann Adam Schall von Bell. While he never became a Catholic, the emperor considered Schall one of his closest advisors and even referred to him as “grandfather.” Shunzhi died from smallpox in 1661 at the age of 22. His son, the Kangxi Emperor, would go on to reign for over 60 years.

3. Elagabalus

The Roman emperor Elagabalus may have taken power at the tender age of 15, but his four-year reign was anything but innocent. A native of Syria, Elagabalus seized control of Rome in 218 after his mother and grandmother sparked a revolt by claiming he was the illegitimate son of the recently murdered emperor Caracalla. The young ruler wasted little time in causing controversy. Before he had even arrived in the capital city he installed the Syrian sun god Elagabal—whose cult he ruled as high priest—as the chief deity of Rome. He went on to shock the public with his sexual excesses, which supposedly included cross-dressing, prostitution and a romantic relationship with his chariot driver. Elagabalus also earned the scorn of Rome’s political class by allowing his mother to enter the male-only halls of the senate.

Already viewed by many in the empire as corrupt, Elagabalus caused yet another scandal when he married a vestal virgin—a class of priestesses who were supposed to remain chaste—and proclaimed their union would produce god-like offspring. His debauched behavior eventually alienated the Praetorian Guard, and in 222 the 18-year-old emperor was assassinated and replaced by his cousin, Alexander Severus. Elagabalus was later characterized as one of the most decadent of all Rome’s leaders, but some modern historians have argued that his eccentric behavior was likely exaggerated by his political enemies in an attempt to discredit him.

4. Tutankhamen

Most famously associated with the 1922 discovery of his tomb, Tutankhamen was an Egyptian pharaoh thought to have ruled for 10 years in the 14th century B.C. “King Tut” inherited the throne at the age of 9 or 10 and initially ruled Egypt under the direction of advisers due to his young age. While his reign was not a significant time in Egyptian history, Tutankhamen did institute some major societal changes. Most important was his reversal of the unpopular reforms of his father, the “heretic king” Akhenaten. Abandoning Akhenaten’s decree that the sun god Aten be the sole deity, Tutankhamen reinstated the god Amun and restored Thebes as Egypt’s capital city.

King Tut died mysteriously around the age of 19, but his most important contribution to history would come over 3,200 years later, when the British Egyptologist Howard Carter uncovered his final resting place in the Valley of the Kings. One of the best-preserved Egyptian burial sites ever discovered, Tutankhamen’s tomb helped shape our modern understanding of ancient Egyptian royal customs.

5. Mary, Queen of Scots

Mary Stuart—more famously known as Mary, queen of Scots—ruled as queen of two separate nations before she was 18 years old. Mary became queen of Scotland after her father died only six days after her birth in 1542. While she was too young to govern, her position as a royal made the infant queen a very influential figure in international relations. Anxious to unite Scotland and England, in 1543 King Henry VIII proposed a future marriage between Mary and his son Edward. Political tensions between the two countries led the Scottish parliament to reject the engagement, and Mary was sheltered in various castles after Henry VIII invaded Scotland and tried to force the marriage in what became known as the “Rough Wooing.”

To keep her out of reach of the English, in 1548 the 5-year-old queen was taken to France. At 16 she married Francis II, briefly ruling as queen of France after he ascended the throne. Following Francis’ death, in 1561 Mary returned to Scotland to resume her duties as queen. She remarried twice as an adult, but a 1567 uprising forced to her abdicate the Scottish throne and flee to England. There she was imprisoned for nearly 19 years before being executed for her unwitting role in a plot to overthrow Queen Elizabeth I.

6. Baldwin IV of Jerusalem

King Baldwin IV not only saved Jerusalem from capture at the age of 16, but he did it while suffering from a debilitating disease. Born in 1161, Baldwin IV rose to power at the age of 15 following the death of his father, Amalric I. Despite suffering from leprosy since childhood, Baldwin IV would go on to repeatedly defend his Christian kingdom against Saladin, the famed Muslim military tactician who ruled as sultan of Egypt and Syria.

When Saladin moved toward the city of Ascalon in 1177, the young King Baldwin IV rushed to the site with only a small complement of infantry and a few hundred Knights Templar. Besieged within the city’s walls by Saladin’s superior numbers, Baldwin IV managed to break his army out of the fortress before routing the Muslim forces at the Battle of Montgisard. After securing a brief peace agreement with Saladin, the teenager returned to Jerusalem a hero. He would go on to fight many battles against Saladin’s forces after the truce ended, often traveling in a litter when his leprosy made him too weak to ride a horse. Baldwin IV’s condition worsened over the next several years, and he finally died in 1185 at the age of 23. Two years later Saladin would win a decisive victory at the Battle of Hattin and effectively topple the Kingdom of Jerusalem.


Primogeniture

Primogeniture ( / p r aɪ m - ə -/ also UK: /- oʊ - ˈ dʒ ɛ n ɪ tʃ ər / ) is the right, by law or custom, of the firstborn legitimate child to inherit the parent's entire or main estate in preference to shared inheritance among all or some children, any illegitimate child or any collateral relative. In most contexts it means the inheritance of the firstborn son (agnatic primogeniture) [1] it can also mean by the firstborn daughter (matrilineal primogeniture).


Monarchs of England Timeline

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Functions of monarchies

A monarchy consists of distinct but interdependent institutions—a government and a state administration on the one hand, and a court and a variety of ceremonies on the other—that provide for the social life of the members of the dynasty, their friends, and the associated elite. Monarchy thus entails not only a political-administrative organization but also a “court society,” a term coined by the 20th-century German-born sociologist Norbert Elias to designate various groups of nobility that are linked to the monarchical dynasty (or “royal” house) through a web of personal bonds. All such bonds are evident in symbolic and ceremonial proprieties.

During a given society’s history there are certain changes and processes that create conditions conducive to the rise of monarchy. Because warfare was the main means of acquiring fertile land and trade routes, some of the most prominent monarchs in the ancient world made their initial mark as warrior-leaders. Thus, the military accomplishments of Octavian (later Augustus) led to his position as emperor and to the institution of monarchy in the Roman Empire. Infrastructural programs and state-building also contributed to the development of monarchies. The need, common in arid cultures, to allocate fertile land and manage a regime of fresh water distribution (what the German American historian Karl Wittfogel called hydraulic civilization) accounted for the founding of the ancient Chinese, Egyptian, and Babylonian monarchies on the banks of rivers. The monarchs also had to prove themselves as state-builders.

Monarchy also results from the wish of a society—be it a city population, tribe, or multi-tribal “people”—to groom an indigenous leader who will properly represent its historical achievements and advance its interests. Monarchy, therefore, rests on the cultural identity and symbolism of the society it represents, and in so doing it reifies that identity within the society while also projecting it to outsiders. Perhaps most importantly, successful and popular monarchs were believed to have a sacred right to rule: some were regarded as gods (as in the case of the Egyptian pharaohs or the Japanese monarchs), some were crowned by priests, others were designated by prophets (King David of Israel), and still others were theocrats, leading both the religious and political spheres of their society—as did the caliphs of the Islamic state from the 7th century ce . Coming from these varying backgrounds, leaders first rose to power on the grounds of their abilities and charisma. Accordingly, monarchies proved capable of adapting to various social structures while also enduring dynamic cultural and geopolitical conditions. Thus, some ancient monarchies evolved as small city-states while others became large empires, the Roman Empire being the most conspicuous example.


Valois Dynasty

The Valois dynasty would fight the Hundred Years War with England and, at times, looked like they were losing their thrones, and then found themselves facing religious division.

  • 1328–1350 Philip VI
  • 1350–1364 John II (the Good)
  • 1364–1380 Charles V (the Wise)
  • 1380–1422 Charles VI (the Mad, Well-Beloved, or Foolish)
  • 1422–1461 Charles VII (the Well-Served or Victorious)
  • 1461–1483 Louis XI (the Spider)
  • 1483–1498 Charles VIII (Father of his People)
  • 1498–1515 Louis XII
  • 1515–1547 Francis I
  • 1547–1559 Henry II
  • 1559–1560 Francis II
  • 1560–1574 Charles IX
  • 1574–1589 Henry III

The Tangled Line of Succession to the British Throne

The British royal family never fails to fascinate. Prince Harry's marriage to successful American actress Meghan Markle and the birth of their second child, Lilibet Diana, on June 4, 2021, captured people's hearts. (The name "Lilibet" was the childhood nickname of Queen Elizabeth and "Diana," of course, references Harry's beloved mother.)

But now that Harry and Megan have done a "Megixt" and moved permanently to the U.S., what is Lilibet's position in line for the throne? Since Harry was always behind any children his brother William has, he was already fairly far down the list. So how does it all work?

The royal line of succession may be confusing to some, but it's gotten a lot more straightforward. Before the Succession to the Crown Act, passed in 2013, males were always given priority over females. So, although Princess Anne was the second of Queen Elizabeth's four children, she was in line for the throne behind Prince Edward, the third son and youngest child. However, the Act ended the system of "male primogeniture," so the monarchy is equally available to both sexes — the oldest child is now next in line for the throne, followed by the child next in age and so on. (This change applies only to those born after Oct. 28, 2011.) If the oldest child has children of his own, these take precedence over his brother or sister.

Queen Elizabeth herself is the child of a royal "spare," (George VI) who only took the helm when his older brother, King Edward VIII abdicated in 1936. Edward VIII had no children of his own. George VI had two daughters, Elizabeth and Margaret, and no sons. Thus, Elizabeth inherited the throne from him and has ruled since 1952.

After her death, Elizabeth's oldest son, Prince Charles, is expected to inherit the throne. Here is the line of succession as it stands right now:

  1. Prince Charles, Prince of Wales (Elizabeth's eldest son)
  2. Prince William, Duke of Cambridge (Charles' elder son)
  3. Prince George (William's oldest child)
  4. Princess Charlotte (William's second child)
  5. Prince Louis (William's third child)
  6. Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex (Charles' younger son, William's brother)
  7. Archie Mountbatten-Windsor (Harry and Meghan's son)
  8. Lilibet Diana Mountbatten-Windsor (Harry and Meghan's daughter)
  9. Prince Andrew, Duke of York (the queen's second son and third child)
  10. Princess Beatrice (Andrew's elder daughter)
  11. Princess Eugenie (Andrew's younger daughter)
  12. August Philip Hawke Brooksbank (Princess Eugenie's son)
  13. Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex (the queen's third son and youngest child)
  14. James, Viscount Severn (Edward's son)
  15. Lady Louise Mountbatten-Windsor (Edward's daughter)
  16. Princess Anne, the Princess Royal (the queen's only daughter and second child)
  17. Peter Phillips (Anne's son)
  18. Savannah Phillips (Peter's elder daughter)
  19. Isla Phillips (Peter's younger daughter)
  20. Zara Tindall (Anne's daughter)

Lady Louise Mountbatten-Windsor (born 2003) is Edward's daughter and oldest child, but she doesn't benefit from the Succession to the Crown act because it applies only to those born after Oct. 28, 2011. So, her little brother James, Viscount Severn, born in 2007, gets priority. However, both are pretty far down the royal succession chain, so let's hope they'll have other career plans.


6 Women Who Changed Social Work Forever Last Updated: 11 Mar 2020

Did you know March is Women’s History Month and Social Work Month?

As a social service provider, powered in part by incredible women, we thought we’d celebrate a few incredible female trailblazers who changed the landscape of social work forever.

Highly educated and incredibly influential, Mary Church Terrell was an African-American educator, writer, civil rights activist, and social reformer who conveyed her ideas with intelligence and grace. Born in Memphis, Tennessee, she began her professional career in the academic community, later moving to lectures and writings on race relations and women’s rights. In 1904, she represented black women at the International Congress of Women in Berlin, delivering her remarkable address in three languages.

After serving as a high school teacher for 10 years, Grace Abbott moved to Chicago to begin her career in social work. She quickly developed a fierce passion for immigration and child labor reform, working with marginalized populations by day and writing opinion pieces for the Chicago Evening Post by night. Eventually, she became the director of the child labor division of the U.S. Children’s Bureau.

“I may be the first woman member of Congress,” said Jeannette Rankin when she was elected to the House of Representatives in 1916. “But I won’t be the last.” An influential politician and member of the women’s suffrage movement, Rankin began her advocacy career as a social worker, later returning to the field after her political career. Her passion was giving a platform to voices that were usually silenced or marginalized.

An African-American social worker, labor activist, educator, and journalist, Thyra J. Edwards was extremely passionate about children. After training in social work at the Chicago School of Civics and Philanthropy, Edwards worked tirelessly to improve child welfare legislation, eventually founding her own children’s home.

Affectionately called “the godmother of the civil rights movement” by Obama, Dorothy Irene Height made a great and lasting impact on the field of social work. Besides being one of the major female leaders of the civil rights movement, Height also worked tirelessly as an advocate for women, the unemployed, the uneducated, and many more. She served as the president of the National Council of Negro Women (NCNW) for forty years, had leadership roles in the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA), and the National Council of Negro Women.

For nearly thirty years, Rinaldo worked with the Veterans Administration in Washington D.C. During this time, she helped shape and create the standards for caring for Veterans. She recruited hundreds of social workers, innovated essential systems, and worked tirelessly to advocate for Veteran health!

These women have inspired the field of social work in incredibly meaningful ways! We are thankful for their bravery, innovation, intelligence, and care. Their efforts have paved the way for the work we do for women and children , Veterans and their families, people experiencing homelessness, and those struggling with mental illness and other disabilities .


1. Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln was the 16th president of the United States and led the country through its greatest internal struggle, the Civil War. He successfully preserved the union if not for Abraham Lincoln, the United States would probably be divided into two countries right now. He also signed the Emancipation Proclamation, abolishing slavery in America. Abraham Lincoln is widely considered one of the greatest US presidents, if not one of the greatest leaders in history.

324 Comments

Where is ASHOKA THE GREAT.

I disagree with this list. Few points:
– Hitler should not be here. Great leaders listen to others and make rational decision. Hitler lacked that ability. All 3rd Reich success was due to talented German marshals.
– Genghis khaan cannot be the most brutal. Other rulers at his time were as brutal as Genghis, if not bloodthristier than him. Genghis killed for reason, not to entertain himself. He is supposed to be ranked a lot higher on the list if you consider he built his empire from zero, he didn’t have opportunity to learn from someone like Aristotle, he didn’t have luxury to train himself while being guarded in a palace, etc. Pure natural phenomenon. You cannot deny it, whatever your stereotypical brain might say.
Just for your information, there is a big difference between “Khan” and “Khaan” in Mongolian. While “khaan” equivalent to “king”, “khan” has been introduced late-medeaval time becoming a title for provincial or tribal leaders.

I can’t believe that CYRUS THE GREAT is not in the list.
He was indeed a great King of all times. He established the great Persian empire which was the FIRST EMPIRE of the world. And though he was a great king, he was extremely unselfish. He destroyed the slavery in all his lands, and made the Cyrus Cylinder, the first example of human rights in the world, while slavery existed in western countries even in 19th century.
I am sure he was on of the great kings in the world, and I think that justice is more important Than the land or military .

Hey, I think you’ve gotten Gaius Julius Caesar (Commonly known as Julius Caesar) and Gaius Julius Caesar Octavian Augustus (Commonly known as Augustus | Octavian) deaths confused. Julius Caesar was assassinated on the Ides of March (44BC) which then paved the way for Augustus to follow in his adoptive fathers shoes. Augustus died of an illness in 14AD at the age of 75, which is quite a long time given the period of time, he was not assassinated.

Also a comment on the Charlemagne section, unsure why you didn’t state that he founded the HRE (Holy Roman Empire) in the year 800, plus that he became known as “The Father of Europe” seems an impressive title.

with no doubt the most powerful and fair king in the history is the Darius the first who ruled the largest empire in history and conquered a lot of it without any bloodshed . However The Alexander the great and Jenghiz khan made a bloodbath of people at the time… I CAN SAY IN THE TIME OF ALL OF RULERS IN UR LIST Was slevery of black people…but u cant find such a thing about all time of persia…AND LAST: United States and other countries who has been tried to ruin Iran and its history for the latest issues fed you basically false cinematic movies like �” and “Alexander” and a lot other movies….I hope there be one day everybody can live in honesty and peace….ALWAYS LEGENDS RISE FROM ENEMY’S LIES.

Why there is no Cyrus the great of Persia . He was the first king that made human rights and also he was one of the strongest warrior of all time

Where is raja raja cholan? He is the one of the greatest and still he has marks (temple) in thailand, vietnam, sri lanka, java sumatra etc…..

Just disgusting top 10 i have ever seen before. how Abraham Lincoln can become top 1 rulers. shame to the writers

This list is ludicrously biased list as the person who made list primarily highlighted the western people.

Ghenghis Khan deserved to be number one because his kingdom was considerably large which include China, South east Asia, central Asia, west Asia, Some parts of Russia and Western Europe. In a nutshell, he had a gigantic Eurasian kingdom and no king had ever conquered this much. Therefore, Ghenghis khan deservedly to be ranked one.

Rest of list should go like this:

2. Alexander the great
3. Attila
4. Napolean
5. Timurlane
6. Asoka the great
7. Cyrus the great
8. Ceaser
9. Kublai Khan
10. Charle

akbar , askoka and maharana pratap should also be added

vaibhav i agree wid u but it was chandragupta maurya dynasty..

chandragupta maurya is the greatest king of all time..

oh please all of knew just Cyrus the Great

Cyrus the Great was the greatest ruler of all time.

You’re mixing up Julius Caesar with his adoptive son Octavius. The latter is known as Augustus Caesar and is considered the first emperor of Rome, thus you post a picture of Julius Caesar with your description. You should change the picture to one of Octavius Augustus and rename the title “Augustus” instead of just “Caesar” to avoid confusion.

Number one should be the Duke of Wellington. A brilliant strategist not hampered by traditional theories. Bernard Montgomery who led the US forces to victory in Europe after they became bogged down by stiff German resistance and poor leadership. Henry V pulled the rabbit out of a hat at Agincourt through strategy, planning and innovation. Heinz Guderian who revolutionised modern warfare and was instrumental in Nazi Germany’s European vacation of 1940.

By the way, by late 1940 Britain was manufacturing more tanks, aircraft and ships than Germany. Britain was never the lame duck that the Americans like to think they were.

Where is Stalin? Stalin was more powerful than all the above listed leaders together. He freed Europe from fashists and made Russia to a superpower and ruled until his death remaining the absolute dictator of many countries including East Germany, Hungary, Finland, Poland, Chechoslovacka , Baltic states and many other Eastern countries. He kept China and North Korea under his strong influence. In 1945 he was more powerful than Roosevelt, Churchill and hitler together. Being a born leader he did not lead his country to destruction like that mentally ill hitler but turn it to superpower with atomic bomb and growing economy.

I partially agree with what sandy indian says but there are much greater rulers from India. Someone find about Kartavirya Arjuna who ruled the entire earth for 85000 years.

why ashoka is not in this list or morya or guptas they also had large area and rulead well in there time

O hello are you stupid or what . have you heard the name “Ashoka The Great”.. he had ability to rule over the world, but he didn’t. because he believe in peace .. please i request you to go to library and take history lesson .. if you can’t do that then vote for it. i’m damm sure ashoka will be on the top

The list itself isn’t terrible but the ethnocentrism coming out in the comments is frankly shameful. None of the American presidents did anything great enough to make the list. Think about this list in perspective: the US has less than 300 years of history while the entirety of recorded human history is several millennia. What makes the US so great is its technology, not the singular accomplishments of its leaders who didn’t even wield absolute power.

Joseph II was hardly a fitting choice, and while I applaud the inclusion of a character like Hitler he arguably could have been left off as well. Augustus should be way higher the Roman Emperors took their imperial title from his name 14 centuries after his death.

Caesar should have been first, and frankly none of the American presidents belong on that list, give Lincoln’s spot to Marisa Theresa, and put her in 8th where Caesar is

Abraham Lincoln the greatest ruler ever? this was obviously done by an American?! Get your head out of your own pathetic Arses! all of the above where better and more worthy than Abraham Lincoln, Edward VII was better than Licoln for god sake.

– Genghis Khan gets a very undeserved reputation for brutality, and in fact his empire was remarkably inclusive and fair. His war tactics were brutal, but at the time so were everyone else’s – he was simply a great deal better at it.

– As has been mentioned, you are confusing Augustus and Juluis Caesar here. Augustus is called Caesar after Julius as he took over after the latter’s assassination and became the first emperor of Rome.

– The Emancipation didn’t free a single slave it was a promise to free slaves in rebelling territories not yet under Lincoln’s control. It was a symbolic end to slavery, but American slavery did not end until the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment in early 1865.

We can definitely argue about who else should be on this list, but these are three pretty egregious historical errors right off the bat.

There are plenty of problems with this list, but chief among them is the inclusion of Adolf Hitler. If you define ‘leadership’ as creating a momentary industrial powerhouse through unsustainable scapegoating, forced labor, and military production, and then further define it as megalomania that results in some of the worst military and strategic decisions the world has ever seen, then sure, he’s a great leader. But then of course you also have to ask yourself how a great leader could begin and prosecute a war so badly planned that it resulted in the complete destruction of his entire country.

So basically, even if you don’t automatically excise him from this list because of the Holocaust, you should do so because he was actually remarkably BAD for Germany.

Hitler is in it but not the Great Cyrus seriously!

The list cannot even begin without the greatest king ever produced in the history of world – The great Maratha king Chhatrapati Shivajee. He had the best of all the qualities – Great warrior himself, great politician, great administrator, and above all, excellent human being who worked hard thoughout his life for wellbeing of the people of his kingdom, selflessly. No historian could ever find a single blot on his character. He is one of those great warriors who never lost a single battle in his life.
Please go through the history to know details about him and the battles he fought. It’s all amazing and you will never come out of it ever.

Chinggis khan should be No 1. It is actually not pronounced like Genghis by Mongolians.

try to study history of great muslim ruler UMER IBN E KHITAAB.i think he is the most popular ruler of the world .

The graetest ruler is yet to come.
he’s on the way coming to make this world again like a heaven and end this evil permanently.,
he’ll be the one [ KING DACK ] (L.P.T.D)

Hey not sure if this has been pointed out already, but Julius Caesar and Augustus were not the same people. Also Augustus wasn’t assassinated Julius Caesar was. I think the confusion lies in the name Octavian Caesar was Julius’ Caesar’s adopted son who went on to rule as stated above from 27BC -14CE, however he is usually know as Caesar Augustus.

I think you need to redefine “ruler” because presidents do not rule a nation, they govern it. You can’t rule in a democracy. Abraham Lincoln was a great leader but he was no ruler. He doesn’t even compare to some of the greatest rulers. What about Stalin? Ramses II? Or even Cyrus The Great? He built one of the greatest empires oh his time and was one of the most compassionate rulers.

I agree, It should not be Top 10 Rulers but Top 10 Leaders. Top 10 Rulers applies to ancient up to late middle ages era. Ancient barbarian and late middle ages rulers who conquered and ruled with the sword is not comparable to leaders who governs.

You started this page with introductory passage
“There have truly been many great rulers in history. Some managed to conquer the world, some managed to end violence and put their countries into periods of peace and stability, and some changed not only their nations, but the world”.

by looking at all these things, i think Muhammad, may peace be upon him, is the world greatest ruler and leader, who still is and always will be.

I just wanted to say that the information you have above about Caesar is wrong. Julius Caesar conquered Gaul and sent his legions to probe Britan for possible conquest as well (see: The Gallic War). Because of Caesar’s conquests and his way with self promotion the senate became weary of Caesar and demanded he lay down command of his legions and return to Rome. Caesar refused stating famously “I’d rather be the first man in Gaul than the second man in Rome.” He marched on Rome with his legions (This had been done once before by Sulla Felix). Caesar had himself declared Dictator for life.
In truth Imperator was a complicated title during the republic. It could be any magistrate with imperium or an honorific title bestowed on a commander. Ceasar possesed both forms of imperium but he was officially a dictator like Fabius Maximus of Sulla Felix. Ceasar was assassinated on the ides of March in 44BC. Octavian, Caesar’s successor died in 14AD. He was the first Emperor(Augustus) and started the style of government known as the principate. During this period the Emperors gave the illusion that the republic was still alive and they were nearly the first among peers.

1-Cyrus the great
2- Alexander the Great
3- Darius the great
4- Charlemagne
5- Napoleon
6- Caesar
7- Genghis Khan
8- Asoka
9- Suleiman
10- Huang Ti

Just check out CIVILIZATION 5 the pc game and you will get a list of the greatest leaders ever.also i feel its unfair to rank them and enlisting the top 100 in no perticular order would be a much better option

Abraham Lincoln is greatest leader of all time?
Totally disagree.
Author speaks as if Civil War and Emancipation Proclamation are two separate great achievements of Lincoln. But, wasn’t Civil War heavily caused by slavery? I believe they should be counted as one, a good one though.

Catherine the Great? and Peter the Great?

How can you be so ignorant to the truth of the bible or even history so as not to include Solomon as the greatest king/kingdom ever until the reign of Jesus Christ in the millennium. I know the bible is not popular among the so called intellectuals and scholarly egg heads, but you can’t hold water in a bucket with this list. Read 2 Chronicles 8 and 9 and pay close attention to 9:22.

Archaeological evidence shows that Solomon’s kingdom was not the greatest kingdom or even that much of a kingdom. He ruled an insignificant city state which would be conquered several times over by real empires such as the Assyrian, Babylonian, Persian, Macedonian, Roman, Byzantine, Muslim, and Ottoman empires. The bible is not popular among scholarly intellectuals because it is based on little to no evidence. And the events and people in the bible who are true such as Solomon are exaggerated greatly. Please read “David and Solomon: In Search of the Bible’s Sacred Kings and the Roots of the Western Tradition.” Try to use outside sources to prove the bible rather than just accept it automatically as true.

In the period of Genghis Khan and their emperors they make us set, organized livable and lovable to all the human beings due to this we all are organized/set in rest of the world thanks to all of them for giving this good history to the world and us.

Ok, I’m pretty sure that Odysseus was not REAL.

lol sultan suleyman at least in the number then

what about Saladin he was the best read about him and you’ll know

I’m unsure whether this was previously mentioned or not, but why is Frederick the Great not on this list? I agree with those saying the opinion of this list is skewed. (Although, come to think of it, almost every “Top Whatever” list sparks a similar reaction to this one!!)

he was a leader but not a ruler and a fighter… insted of Lincoln there should be Atila the Hun

Hitler was a great ruler. Let`s exclude the fact he killed millions, started a war, etc. “He got things done.” As Bernie Ecclestone said. Germany was like Zimbabwe, mass-unemployment, hyperflation, where a loaf cost BILLIONS, and Germany had lost parts of Germany. He turned the country into the most technological, and military in the world. and Nazi Germany made many advances in science which are still in use today, they were the first to ban hunting, the first environmentalists Hitler admired the British Empire, you can go on and on. People say, The Holocaust is the most evil event ever,” but Jews have been persecuted FOREVER. By the Catholic Church, England, Spain, Russia. And so on. And his Eugenics programme was copied from America. But you never hear this. Or hear about how Commie Jews in the USSR killed FAR more than he did. Hitler`s only problem was that he were mad..

And What About Indian kings Like Chhatrapati Shivaji , Samudragupta ,Prithviraj Chauhan & more in this list Only Western Kings R not eligible for this list
I DONT TRUST THIS LIST.

You know this is all opinions right, man? Cause none of y’all could really get the best leaders

To Sasa, your answer of September 9 have no provision for Reply at the end of your answer so I just use this comment box. Can’t you not see that he is a great thinker, writer, etc. He has the gift and he used it to the maximum to advance his advocacy while as far as I know Roosevelt does not have the gift because if he has the gift, I am sure he would make use of that gift also. So, there is no comparison. However, read Theodore Roosevelt comment in praise of Lincoln.

An Introductory Note by Theodore Roosevelt

Abraham Lincoln – 16th President of U.S.
Immediately after Lincoln’s re-election to the Presidency, in an off-hand speech, delivered in response to a serenade by some of his admirers on the evening of November 10, 1864, he spoke as follows:

“It has long been a grave question whether any government not too strong for the liberties of its people can be strong enough to maintain its existence in great emergencies. On this point, the present rebellion brought our republic to a severe test, and the Presidential election, occurring in regular course during the rebellion, added not a little to the strain…. The strife of the election is but human nature practically applied to the facts in the case. What has occurred in this case must ever occur in similar cases. Human nature will not change. In any future great national trial, compared with the men of this, we shall have as weak and as strong, as silly and as wise, as bad and as good. Let us therefore study the incidents in this as philosophy to learn wisdom from and none of them as wrongs to be avenged…. Now that the election is over, may not all having a common interest reunite in a common fort to save our common country? For my own part, I have striven and shall strive to avoid placing any obstacle in the way. So long as I have been here, I have not willingly planted a thorn in any man’s bosom. While I am deeply sensible to the high compliment of a re-election and duly grateful, as I trust, to Almighty God for having directed my countrymen to a right conclusion, as I think for their own good, it adds nothing to my satisfaction that any other man may be disappointed or pained by the result.”

This speech has not attracted much general attention, yet it is in a peculiar degree both illustrative and typical of the great statesman who made it, alike in its strong common-sense and in its lofty standard of morality. Lincoln’s life, Lincoln’s deeds and words, are not only of consuming interest to the historian, but should be intimately known to every man engaged in the hard practical work of American political life. It is difficult to overstate how much it means to a nation to have as the two foremost figures in its history men like Washington and Lincoln. It is good for every man in any way concerned in public life to feel that the highest ambition any American can possibly have will be gratified just in proportion as he raises himself toward the standards set by these two men.

It is a very poor thing, whether for nations or individuals, to advance the history of great deeds done in the past as an excuse for doing poorly in the present but it is an excellent thing to study the history of the great deeds of the past, and of the great men who did them, with an earnest desire to profit thereby so as to render better service in the present. In their essentials, the men of the present day are much like the men of the past, and the live issues of the present can be faced to better advantage by men who have in good faith studied how the leaders of the nation faced the dead issues of the past. Such a study of Lincoln’s life will enable us to avoid the twin gulfs of immorality and inefficiency–the gulfs which always lie one on each side of the careers alike of man and of nation. It helps nothing to have avoided one if shipwreck is encountered in the other. The fanatic, the well-meaning moralist of unbalanced mind, the parlor critic who condemns others but has no power himself to do good and but little power to do ill–all these were as alien to Lincoln as the vicious and unpatriotic themselves. His life teaches our people that they must act with wisdom, because otherwise adherence to right will be mere sound and fury without substance and that they must also act high-mindedly, or else what seems to be wisdom will in the end turn out to be the most destructive kind of folly.

Throughout his entire life, and especially after he rose to leadership in his party, Lincoln was stirred to his depths by the sense of fealty to a lofty ideal but throughout his entire life, he also accepted human nature as it is, and worked with keen, practical good sense to achieve results with the instruments at hand. It is impossible to conceive of a man farther removed from baseness, farther removed from corruption, from mere self-seeking but it is also impossible to conceive of a man of more sane and healthy mind–a man less under the influence of that fantastic and diseased morality (so fantastic and diseased as to be in reality profoundly immoral) which makes a man in this work-a-day world refuse to do what is possible because he cannot accomplish the impossible.

In the fifth volume of Lecky’s History of England, the historian draws an interesting distinction between the qualities needed for a successful political career in modern society and those which lead to eminence in the spheres of pure intellect or pure moral effort. He says:

“….the moral qualities that are required in the higher spheres of statesmanship [are not] those of a hero or a saint. Passionate earnestness and self-devotion, complete concentration of every faculty on an unselfish aim, uncalculating daring, a delicacy of conscience and a loftiness of aim far exceeding those of the average of men, are here likely to prove rather a hindrance than an assistance. The politician deals very largely with the superficial and the commonplace his art is in a great measure that of skilful compromise, and in the conditions of modern life, the statesman is likely to succeed best who possesses secondary qualities to an unusual degree, who is in the closest intellectual and moral sympathy with the average of the intelligent men of his time, and who pursues common ideals with more than common ability…. Tact, business talent, knowledge of men, resolution, promptitude and sagacity in dealing with immediate emergencies, a character which lends itself easily to conciliation, diminishes friction and inspires confidence, are especially needed, and they are more likely to be found among shrewd and enlightened men of the world than among men of great original genius or of an heroic type of character.”

The American people should feel profoundly grateful that the greatest American statesman since Washington, the statesman who in this absolutely democratic republic succeeded best, was the very man who actually combined the two sets of qualities which the historian thus puts in antithesis. Abraham Lincoln, the rail-splitter, the Western country lawyer, was one of the shrewdest and most enlightened men of the world, and he had all the practical qualities which enable such a man to guide his countrymen and yet he was also a genius of the heroic type, a leader who rose level to the greatest crisis through which this nation or any other nation had to pass in the nineteenth century.

I’m sorry i have no time to read that whole letter…I am not denying the fact that lincoln is a great leader. Fantastic, even, and I did not at any point say that Theodore Roosevelt would say he was not a great leader.

I deny the fact that Lincoln was the greatest. If you want to debate who the greatest AMERICAN leader was, sure, Lincoln is certainly there, along with several others.

Also I’m not really sure what “The Gift” is…do you mean his oratory skills? Because I can assure you there are many people who have equivalent, if not better, talent at words than Lincoln.

Yes, there are equivalent if not better but they did not have the opportunity to use it as Lincoln did and so they cannot claim or attributed with greatness. You did not say that Teddy Roosevelt would say that he was not a great leader, on the contrary, he said Lincoln was a great leader, just read the last portion above. I am convince that he was the greatest and he deserved number 1 because I have studied his life. If you want proofs, just search in Google Lincoln’s debates, speeches, quotes , and letters, inaugural address. I have no time to research for you..

You believe that Lincoln is the best based on his speeches and debates? I still am not sure what you’re trying to get at with this whole Teddy Roosevelt point..I am not trying to compare Roosevelt and Lincoln, that is not my point. I was simply restating a quote from Roosevelt that I believe rings true, “Speak softly but carry a big stick”.

Again, that quote pertains to what you have just said–Lincoln’s speeches, debates, essays, quotes, inaugural addresses, and letters–mean absolutely nothing if he did not back them up with action. I don’t believe in a man who can TELL me what they can do, I believe in a man who can SHOW me, and DO the things he says he will do.

During Lincoln’s presidency, around 750,000 American soldiers died. That is the bloodiest presidency of the United States. I am not really sure how that is a success in his line of work…

Yes, and most admired is his Gettysburg address which he wrote on the train going to Gettysburg and his draft is still preserved. Neither do I compare Teddy with Lincoln because there is no comparison. People compare Lincoln with Franklin Roosevelt, both are Aquarian, both are faced with the problem of saving the country. Better read the biography or accomplishments of Lincoln how he backed up or carry out what he said in his inaugural addresses so that you can better appreciate the man and his efforts to solve the problems that arose during his terms. A single quotation from Teddy which is his motto during the various wars he led against the enemies of the US does not make much of greatness. The price of peace is 750,000 Americans dead on both sides is seen as a success.

When you rebel, the next logical step is secession or separation by declaring independence just as the Americans did to the British. The intent is the same, we don’t presume just to lower taxes or whatever.

that is not true. Most rebellions seek to take over the entire country. Usually, they do not end up seceding. The French Revolution was a rebellion, but there was no secession. The Robespierres took over France from Louis XVI in 1789. The Bolshevik Revolution in Russia was a rebellion, but there was no secession. The Bolsehviks led by Lenin took over Russia and killed the Tsar, forming the Soviet Union in 1917.

The American Revolution WAS a war intended to lower taxes. When the war began, the Colonies had absolutely no intention of becoming an independent country. They were tired of being taxed by the British government, who ruled from overseas. Have you ever heard the phrase “no taxation without representation”? The American Colonies wanted to be represented in Parliament in England so they could fairly be taxed (even though their taxes were quite low).

I can cite many more rebellions that had absolutely nothing to do with secession. Even in recent events, the Arab Spring is a string of revolutions around the Middle East and Africa in which governments are overthrown and replaced. THAT is how most rebellions end: the government is overthrown, or the rebellion is crushed.

In the French revolution and in Russia there is no need to secede, just overthrow, take over or replace. Just as Cromwell take over England, no secession, just overthrow the King. There is no argument over that.

Secession is more formal, preceded by declarations of secession before going to war which the south did because they are member of the Union. And they form their own, the Confederacy of Southern States. In a broader sense,it is just a matter of semantics but the intent is the same, rebellion, that is, rebellion against the Federal Union. As president, Lincoln chief duty is to preserve the Union, upheld the Constitution’s declaration of equality of man, regardless of race, creed, etc. etc. and therefore slavery is against and a violation of the Constitution.

Lincoln dedicated the remaining years of his political life to make his advocacy which he started as early as 1854, comes true, that is the mark of a great man considering that he came from a poor family, but strive to educate himself and rise to great height, a self-made man.

Yes, so we have established the fact that there is a difference between a secession and a rebellion/revolution.

However, slavery was not unconstitutional at the beginning of the Civil War. Lincoln strove to place laws that would make it unequal. The “equality of man” as you put it only considered white men “men”. Therefore, the constitution only called for the protection of the rights of white men. African American men were considered property until after the Civil War.

I do not deny that Abraham Lincoln was a great leader. Is he one of the Top 10 leaders of all time? Yes, he very well could be. But #1? That is something to debate about.

What makes Lincoln great is that he has foresight. He saw sooner or later that slavery will be extinct in the US. That there cannot be a union, of states where half is for slavery and half is against slavery. Being not unconstitutional at the beginning of the Civil War does not make slavery right or justifiable. It is an accepted fact that the US Constitution is not perfect so that many amendments had been introduced in order to fill up what had been lacking or overlooked. And one thing about Lincoln, he made his speeches, great ones at that, and various letters, and made great debates with Stephen Douglas, his political rival, etc. etc.

I’m not really sure what point you’re trying to make at the end there…how do his speeches, debates, and letters make him a better leader….? He could have been a fantastic orator but, as Theodore Roosevelt said, “Speak softly and carry a big stick”. Who cares what you can say, you have to back it up.

I’m also not really sure where you are getting your “facts”…cite a source?

HAHAHAHAHAH! Odysseus was not even proven he existed…

Mr Muhammad Ali Jinnah is the first Great leader in the world and he is also a founder of Pakistan.The legend of Pakistan no words to describe the beauty of Quaide e azam we are owe to our Quaid Muhammad Ali Jinnah.We salute him confidence and honesty love you Quaide we never forget you.

How is he the first great leader in the world if people like Alexander came before him…by over 1,000 years…

this rating is ridiculous, hitler was more powerfull than nepolean and gengais khan was more powerfull than elizabeth, c class rating

Be careful…Hitler was an incredible public speaker. There is no other leader that inspired his country to go from being a country in 33 billion dollars in debt to the greatest military power on Earth in a little over twenty years….yes he was a total jerk, but he was a magnificent orator. I’m not totally sure where you are getting your facts, but the SS and SA were not exactly going around killing leaders and threatening people under Hitler’s command. Let’s remember that Times Magazine named him Man of the Year in 1938, so he must have done something right.

The list lacks historical integrity because it doesn’t mention two of the most prosperous eras in history. The first is the kingdom of Israel and it’s ruler king Solomon. In addition to the early Islamic period and I am not going to mention prophet muhammed because he was a spiritual leader that laid the seeds of the Islamic civilisation but did not cultivate it himself but I must say that you need to include Umar bin Al-Khattab a great political leader and successor of the prophet and you can read further about his accomplishments. P.S. Abraham Lincoln should not be in the list of top rulers in history but he would absolutely be on the top of the most successful presidents of the unites states.

pls read CHHATRPATI SHIVAJI HISTORY.

Oh and yes Saladin should be on this list as an absolute I am not a Muslim but i know that he was a great leader of men , a nation and a people.

This list while not totally correct is a good list I think that Abe was a President that did what he had to do in the time that he lived but and i repeat BUT his was a political decision. There is one important person that is missing off of this list that was a great leader Hannibal Barca all these generals and leaders learned from him Napoleons tactics were not his own they were based off of previous leaders and warmongers. Yes George Washington should be on this list because of his great ability to lead he was not a great field general but he was a great leader of men and because of him the United States because a Nation his leadership at the time the first President was very serious and that is why he was asked to lead the country for 3 terms only other Person to do that was FDR. yes there are a lot of people missing from this list from different countries who many consider to be great rulers many have done great and powerful things in the times that they lead but we each have our own list just like in everything else good list and i even agree with Hitler but thank god he made his mistake of invading Russia in the winter. and to whoever said that Europe would be speaking Russian your wrong you would all be speaking German. Plus please remember Alexander the great may have been a great warrior but his governing skill were really bad overall i think the list is a good one …..

abraham lincoln.. maybe in america.. but definitely not in the world..

It is not Augustus, it is Julius Caesar, the first Emperor of Rome.
Abraham Lincoln deserves to be number 1 because of his greatness. He preserved the Union and abolished slavery for the good of mankind.

No. He abolished slavery for a military purpose…honestly, if the Civil War had not started during his presidency, he almost definitely would not have abolished slavery.

I’m not saying he’s racist, but he certainly had a reason for abolishing slavery–he wanted to decrease morale in the south and encourage freed slaves to run to the North, which would destroy the South’s economy.

We cannot just make conclusions without knowing the historical background to appreciate greatness. Lincoln from the outset was strongly against slavery. As early as 1820, the Missouri Compromise outlawed slavery above the 36-30′ parallell comprised of the industrial north, while those below, made up of the agricultural south. Lincoln return to politics as a result of the Kansas-Nebraska Act forming the states of Kansas and Nebraska which allowed settlers to decide whether they would or would not accept slavery. Lincoln saw this as a violation and a repeal of the Missouri Compromise of 1820. With the advent of the Republican Party, Lincoln became its standard bearer and won as President in January 1861. The south saw this as a threat and so, secession started. War started on March 1861. Emancipation Proclamation (abolition of slavery) by Lincoln was done in September 22,1862. He did not abolished slavery because of the Civil War. The Civil War was started by the south because of the slavery issue.

I agree with just about everything you said, which was basically just reinforcing my points…until your last sentence. The south saw their secession as a formation of a new government. The north saw it as a rebellion. While the first battle of the war was initiated by the south (Sumter), it was because they feared the north would attack (which ended up happening at Bull Run, the next major battle, in which the north attacked the south). Lincoln wanted to “preserve the Union”, meaning that he saw the secession as a rebellion, not a separation.

I am sure that secession is a violation of the US Constitution. Secession, rebellion and separation are the same. It can also be seen as treason.

Lincoln even before he became president was a staunch anti-slavery advocate.

no, secession and rebellion are not the same. Rebellion could be to lower taxes, not necessarily secede from a country.

Yet lincoln saw it as a rebellion. And sought to end it.

Do you have sources to back up his anti-slavery policies? I’d love to see them.

How about Harry Truman. After the atomic bombs were dropped the US had the most supreme power the world has ever seen. Harry made the decision and the whole world trembled. This is a great topic with excellent feedback all around.

I think you should consider adding late “sheikh Zayed founder of UAE” (may his soul rest in peace) he was a very great man.

I think the creater of this list is from america therefor many people from that place. Therefor they are not add the name of Chatrapati Shivaji maharaj & their family.

1-)2.Mehmet the Conqueror
2-)Alexander the Great
3-)Sultan 1. Selim Yavuz
4-)Ceasar Augustus
5-)Gengish Khan
6-)Timorleng
7-)Napolyon Bonapart
8-)Suleiman the Magnificent
9-)Salahaddin
10-)Hitler

prepare a list of a person who knows history

u can tell this is made by an american as abraham lincoln is at the top. he is far from the best ruler ever and is not even regarded as one of the best to the rest of the world

I do not thInk. Chinngiss khan was greatest Lincolin was nothing with Chinngiss khan

Joseph II was a very poor choice as one of the top ten Greatest Rulers. Though he pushed hard for freedom among the serfs he was a control freak in matters of religion. “Absolute power” did, in fact, corrupt him absolutely though I think he was corrupt before his mother died and left him in charge.

THOSE WHO MADE THE LIST OF THE GREAT LEADERS IN HISTORY FORGOT THE GREATEST EMPEROR ASHOKA WHO REALLY RUNED THE ENTIRE INDIAN SUBCONTINENT. ASHOKA SPREAD NONVIOLENCE , SECURALISM & THE SPREAD OF BUDHISM ALL OVER ASIA, WHICH WOULD BE THE BEST SOLUTION FOR WORLD PEACE. WAS THERE ANY RULER LIKE HIM RULED ANY NATION IN THE WORLD LIKE HIM.

I THINK THE WESTERNERNERS THINK ONLY WESTERN RULERS & WHAT WEST DO IS ALWAYS BEST. THEY HAVE TO LEARN MANYTHING FROM INDIA, THE GREATEST NATION , ALWAYS STAND FOR NONVIOLENCE, PEACE, NON ALIGNMENT MOVEMENT, VEGETARIANISM, BEST FAMILY LIFE, YOGA, AYURVEDA ETC.


In profile: Mary, Queen of Scots

The only child of James V of Scotland and Mary of Guise, Mary, Queen of Scots (1542–1585) is undoubtedly one of history's most controversial monarchs. Mary was just six days old when she became queen of Scotland, and she is most often remembered for her three doomed marriages – she was suspected of the murder of her second husband, Lord Darnley – and her rivalry with her cousin, Elizabeth I. How much do you know about the queen who was overthrown by the Scots?

This competition is now closed

Published: December 7, 2018 at 4:50 pm

From her three marriages – to Francis, King of France Lord Darnley and the Earl of Bothwell – to her execution at Fotheringhay Castle in 1587, here’s everything you need to know about the life of Mary, Queen of Scots…

Born: 8 December 1542, Linlithgow Palace, West Lothian, Scotland

Died: 8 February 1587, Fotheringhay Castle, Northamptonshire, England (executed)

Ruled: 1542–67

Family: Mary was the only child of James V of Scotland and Mary of Guise.

She was married three times: to Francis, King of France (1558-60) Lord Darnley (1565-67) and the Earl of Bothwell (1567-78). Mary had one child with Lord Darnley in 1566, who went on to become James VI and I of Scotland and England.

What is Mary, Queen of Scots remembered for?

Being involved in an assassination plot against her cousin, Elizabeth I, in an attempt to kill England’s queen and take the throne for herself. Mary may also have been involved in the murder of her second husband, Lord Darnley, who was killed on 9 February 1567.

Mary was overthrown by the Scots and forced to abdicate in July 1567. She was executed at Fotheringhay Castle on 8 February 1587 at the age of 44.

What is known about the life of Mary, Queen of Scots?

Mary was just six days old when she became queen of Scotland following her father’s death. Being only a baby, her mother, the French Mary of Guise, acted as regent on Mary’s behalf.

Amid tensions between English and Scottish powers, when she was just eight months old Mary was betrothed to Prince Edward, Henry VIII’s son, in the hope of calming rivalries between the two countries. However, Catholics opposed this betrothal and the match was eventually broken off.

To demonstrate his frustration, Henry VIII ordered a number of savage raids on Scotland, which later became known as ‘The Rough Wooing’. Henry’s army “set fire to the Abbey of Holyroodhouse where James V was buried, burned crops in the Tweed Valley and set ablaze the Border abbeys of Melrose, Jedburgh and Dryburgh.”

In 1548, the Scots decided to resume their traditional alliance with the French by betrothing Mary to the four-year-old Dauphin of France, Francis. Mary was sent to the French court, where she was brought up among the daughters and wives of French nobles.

At the age of 15 Mary was married to Francis, who became king of France just a year later. The marriage created an alliance between the crowns of Scotland and France, but it was cut short when Francis unexpectedly died just a year later, in 1560.

As an 18-year-old widow who had spent most of her youth in France Mary returned to her home country of Scotland. The Catholic Mary found a country that had changed significantly over the years. It was now predominately Protestant, following religious reforms implemented under the guidance of Presbyterian theologian John Knox.

Initially, Mary was able to rule somewhat successfully under the guidance of William Maitland of Lethington and Lord James. However, her marriage in 1565 to her Catholic second cousin, Henry, Lord Darnley, sparked a breakdown in relations between the monarch and the Scottish nobles at court.

Mary’s marriage quickly began to collapse, and tensions at court reached new heights in 1566 when Darnley and a number of nobles burst into the room in which the heavily-pregnant Mary was having supper with her Italian secretary, David Rizzo, and stabbed him 56 times. The group claimed that Rizzo and Mary were having an affair, with Rizzo trying to gain greater influence at court.

Despite giving birth to a son, James, in June 1566, Mary relationship with her husband deteriorated further still. Just eight months later, Darnley’s body was found outside a house just beyond the walls of Edinburgh – coincidentally, after an explosion in the house. Darnley’s body was found outside, raising speculation that he had been unharmed by the explosion but instead murdered and left in the grounds.

Mary’s suspected involvement in the murder of Darnley on 10 February 1567 was “a political mistake of the first order”, says historian Sean Lang her marriage three months later to the main suspect, the Earl of Bothwell, was “an act of breathtaking stupidity”.

Mary’s marriage to the Earl of Bothwell alienated the Scottish nobles, who in June 1567 raised arms against her army at the battle of Carberry Hill. Mary was forced to surrender and abdicate, while Bothwell escaped to Scandinavia.

Mary was imprisoned in Lochleven Castle, Kinross-shire, and her infant son, James, was made king of Scotland. Just months later Mary managed to escape the castle, yet she failed to save her crown at the battle of Langside, outside Glasgow, in May 1568.

Mary, Queen of Scots and her cousin, Elizabeth I

Mary then fled south, hoping that she could find shelter and support in England from her cousin, Queen Elizabeth I. However, as Mary held such a strong claim to the English throne and could threaten the queen’s position, Elizabeth I had Mary imprisoned and kept under surveillance for the next 19 years.

Being the next legitimate heir to the English throne, Mary became the subject of a number of Catholic plots against Elizabeth’s life. Despite claiming innocence to association with the assassination plots in the 1570s and 1580s, Mary’s personal letters were intercepted in 1586 by Elizabeth’s spymaster, Francis Walsingham.

Walsingham found enough evidence to arrest Mary on the basis that she was involved in the Babington Plot against Elizabeth – a ploy led by Catholic noble Anthony Babington to assassinate Elizabeth and free Mary with the support of an invasion from abroad.

Mary was put on trial for treason and, in October 1586, she was condemned to death. Despite her initial hesitation, Elizabeth finally signed Mary’s death warrant and, on 8 February 1587, Mary was executed at Fotheringhay Castle at the age of 44.

Mary was initially buried in Peterborough Cathedral, but in 1612 James VI and I had his mother’s remains moved to the King Henry VII Chapel in Westminster Abbey.

This article was first published by History Extra in February 2016


House of Tudor

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House of Tudor, an English royal dynasty of Welsh origin, which gave five sovereigns to England: Henry VII (reigned 1485–1509) his son, Henry VIII (1509–47) followed by Henry VIII’s three children, Edward VI (1547–53), Mary I (1553–58), and Elizabeth I (1558–1603).

The origins of the Tudors can be traced to the 13th century, but the family’s dynastic fortunes were established by Owen Tudor (c. 1400–61), a Welsh adventurer who took service with Kings Henry V and Henry VI and fought on the Lancastrian side in the Wars of the Roses he was beheaded after the Yorkist victory at Mortimer’s Cross (1461). Owen had married Henry V’s Lancastrian widow, Catherine of Valois and their eldest son, Edmund (c. 1430–56), was created Earl of Richmond by Henry VI and married Margaret Beaufort, the Lady Margaret, who, as great-granddaughter of Edward III’s son John of Gaunt, held a distant claim to the throne, as a Lancastrian. Their only child, Henry Tudor, was born after Edmund’s death. In 1485 Henry led an invasion against the Yorkist king Richard III and defeated him at Bosworth Field. As Henry VII, he claimed the throne by just title of inheritance and by the judgment of God given in battle, and he cemented his claim by marrying Elizabeth, the daughter of Edward IV and heiress of the House of York. The Tudor rose symbolized the union by representing the red rose of the Lancastrians superimposed upon the white rose of the Yorkists.

The Tudor dynasty was marked by Henry VIII’s break with the papacy in Rome (1534) and the beginning of the English Reformation, which, after turns and trials, culminated in the establishment of the Anglican church under Elizabeth I. The period witnessed the high point of the English Renaissance. During Elizabeth’s reign, too, through a generation of wars, Spain and the Irish rebels were beaten, the independence of France and of the Dutch was secure, and the unity of England was assured.

By act of Parliament (1544) and his own will and testament, Henry VIII left the crown to his three children in turn—Edward VI, Mary I, and Elizabeth I—and provided that, in the event that they died without issue, the crown would pass to the descendants of his younger sister, Mary, before those of his elder sister, Margaret, widow of James IV of Scotland. During her reign, Elizabeth refused to choose between Edward Seymour, Lord Beauchamp (descendant of Mary) and King James VI of Scotland (descendant of Margaret)—the former being the heir under Henry VIII’s will and act of succession and the latter being the heir by strict hereditary succession. On her deathbed, however, she selected the king of Scotland—who became James I of Great Britain, first of the English House of Stuart.


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