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Lesson to study, History's 10 Most Ruthless Queens and Brutal Rulers

History's 10 Most Ruthless Queens and Brutal Rulers

Throughout our world's long history,

many women have held positions of power.

Most queens serve their constituents

with honor, dignity, and pride, and had fairly normal reigns

where absolutely nobody was murdered by their hands.

Other queens-- well, let's just say

you wouldn't want to get on their bad side.

Today, we'll look at the most ruthless queens

and female rulers of all time.

But before we get started, be sure to subscribe

to the Weird History Channel.

Oh, and leave us a comment, too, and let

us know what historic female figures you

would like to hear more about.

Now, let's go back in time and observe these queens

from a safe distance.

[DRUM MUSIC]

Countess Elizabeth Bathory was a Hungarian noblewoman

born in Transylvania, because of course she

was, and was well known for being a serial slayer.

When it came to her favorite hobby of ending people's lives,

she preferred the plebeian class,

opting to punch down by offing servants and peasants

for years.

Her sweet husband even gifted her a torment chamber

in her castle.

Hmm, that's thoughtful.

Men do know the way to a woman's heart is a well-designed room.

All of that craziness apparently made a girl hungry,

because Countess Bathory developed an appetite

for human flesh.

She would take little nibbles here and there off

of her victims while they were still alive.

Of course she did.

If she ate them while they were dead, that would be gross.

It's rumored she once forced one of her victims to cook and eat

a part of themselves--

very Hannibal Lecter.

In 1611, the countess was finally brought to trial

and convicted on 80 counts, which, to be fair,

does make it hard for her to do her very

favorite thing in the world--

kill people.

Elizabeth died in that very castle in 1614.

[STRING MUSIC]

Only one woman ever held supreme power

in the long history of China.

This woman was a no-nonsense badass

who had a problematic homicidal streak.

Empress Wu Zetian's reign was riddled with stories

of political conflict and a high body count.

She had members of the Tang dynasty taken out, and even

slaughtered members of her own family

in order to keep her power.

One particularly alarming story is that the empress took out

her own mother, and after they were openly

critical of their homicidal grandma,

Wu ordered her two grandchildren to take their own lives.

Nobody could ever accuse Empress Wu

of not being an ambitious woman, if not an ineffective leader

and a pretty horrible grandmother.

Constantine VI ruled the Byzantine Empire

from 780 to 797, all with a little help from his mama,

Irene of Athens.

Irene served as the queen regent with her young son,

Constantine, whose reign began when

he was only nine years old.

A real Cersei-Joffrey situation-- only she

liked her son way, way less.

Normally, in the Byzantine [? monarchy, ?]

an emperor would take sole possession of his throne

at the mature age of 16.

But Irene was not having that.

She remained in power over her son for two decades

before unwillingly ceding power after her son banished her

from the kingdom when he was 19.

This was after she executed seven of his generals

and tossed her own kid into jail.

She sounded like one of those helicopter moms.

Once Constantine's reign began, it

became clear he was an ineffective and deeply

unpopular leader, causing him to eventually, as a Hail Mary,

crawl back to his mama for help.

Being an emperor is hard stuff.

They were able to co-rule for five years

before Irene's thirst for total power became insatiable,

and with the help of her political allies,

she led a rebellion against her son.

One day, when Constantine was out riding,

his mother detained and blinded him,

gouging his eyes out in the very same room where he was born.

What a thoughtful mom.

Constantine would succumb to his injuries, and Irene of Athens

would become the sole leader for the next five years

before she was exiled to Lesbos, where she died a year later.

Mary I's nickname, Bloody Mary, didn't

happen by downing too many cocktails at a quaint brunch.

She got it the old fashioned way--

by taking out a whole lot of people.

Mary I was a Catholic queen in a Protestant country,

who ascended to the throne of England in 1553.

For five years, her reign of terror

saw the execution of Protestants at an alarming rate.

She waged a war, executing hundreds

and burning over 300 Protestants at the stake for heresy.

The people of England were not here for this,

and her legacy was defined by these startling acts

of cruelty.

Her reign as Queen Crazy only lasted, thankfully,

for five years.

Buckle up-- this one's a doozy.

Queen Isabella co-ruled Spain with King Ferdinand II from

1451 to 1504, and used her power as co-leader to do what bad

queens do best--

religious persecution.

The Spanish Inquisition, a horribly brutal period

in Spain, began under her watch and with a lot

of her encouragement.

Spanish Jews and Muslims were expelled from the kingdom

under her guidance.

She was a sponsor of Christopher Columbus's voyage

to the New World the same year that she wildly decreed

all citizens who were Jewish must convert to Catholicism

or get the hell out of Spain.

Jews from around the nation were brought to the Spanish courts

to pledge their faith to Catholicism

or die right there, in front of everybody, on the spot.

Fredegund of Soissons was queen consort to King Chilperic

I, ruler of Soissons, a commune in France.

She had to jump through some hoops

and take out a woman or two in order

to win the heart of her beloved king.

Chilperic was married to Audovera,

whom he left upon Fredegund's encouragement,

and married his second wife, Galswintha.

But a separation wasn't quite enough for Fredegund.

She convinced the king to slay his second wife,

and he just sort of rolled with it.

Galswintha's sister, Brunhilda, was understandably not

thrilled with the decision to off her sister.

Brunhilda was the wife of Sigebert I, King of Austrasia,

making her a queen herself, and setting up

a queen rivalry between the two, with one clearly

having the bigger argument for being the most angry.

Righteousness wasn't enough to win this battle royale,

and it was Fredegund who ordered the successful assassination

of Sigebert at the very moment he

was about to take power from Chilperic, his half brother.

Sounds like Thanksgiving could get real awkward

in the Chilperic-Sigebert household.

[ORGAN MUSIC]

Princess Olga of Kiev's journey is a real roller coaster.

She was the first Ukrainian princess

and the first female ruler of Russia,

becoming queen regent in 945 CE after her husband

Igor, of course, was murdered.

Since their son was too young to rule,

Princess Olga stepped up to the plate

and proceeded to lose her mind.

Her first act as ruler was sweet, sweet revenge

for her beloved Igor, finding the men who whacked her husband

and returning the favor using scalding water.

She boiled them alive--

yes, like a lobster.

And if she doesn't sound like a cartoon witch yet,

Olga's mean streak wasn't over, because Olga still

had people to burn.

She ordered hundreds of people from the boiled men's tribes

to also be taken out in retribution.

Olga straight up buried the tribe leaders alive

while trying to burn down the entire town.

Next, she tricked the other tribe leaders,

who clearly misread this entire situation,

and invited them to a retreat.

These gullible dummies were lured, and then

locked into a bathhouse.

And then, the whole thing was burnt to the ground.

Rule number one in accepting an invite--

don't go if it's a homicidal, vengeful queen.

Olga eventually rediscovered her Orthodox Christianity shortly

after, and was later the first person of Russian heritage

to receive sainthood from the Orthodox Church.

So all's well that ends well for Saint Olga--

and who doesn't love a redemption arc?

[BAGPIPE MUSIC]

Agrippina the Younger was the first empress

of Rome, who spent the duration of her early years

trying to depose her predecessors.

Agrippina believed she and her son

were rightful heirs to the throne by birth.

She manipulated her uncle to change the laws of Rome,

as well as the laws of nature and society,

so she and her uncle could marry.

Soon after, Claudius died, and his demise

is seen as being just a little suspicious.

Is it possible Claudius was taken out by his niece-wife?

Yeah, we can see that.

With Claudius out of the picture,

Agrippina and her son Nero ruled Rome from 49 to 54 CE.

Nero would eventually tire of his mother's controlling

nature and manipulation, and forced her out.

Not to be deterred, Agrippina, a big fan of power and not

of normal family relationships, tried

to organize a coup against him, which backfired tremendously

when a still-in-power Nero had her expelled.

[TRUMPET MUSIC]

After our previously mentioned old friend

Bloody Mary passed away from possible uterine or ovarian

cancer, her half sister Elizabeth succeeded her

on the English throne.

With Elizabeth as queen, things were

going to change around England, as the old ways of oppression

for England's Protestants would move over

in favor of oppressing a different religious group--

those bloody Catholics.

Under Queen Elizabeth, the Catholic Church of England

was legally abolished, which seems like an overcorrection.

It was replaced by a new church with the English monarch

at the head, and all support for Catholicism was illegal.

Catholics could have their property seized,

their bodies beaten and imprisoned, and in some cases,

even executed.

[OMINOUS MUSIC]

Catherine the Great was a meager German princess

when she traveled to Russia.

Little did Russia know she would rule them all.

Catherine married Tsar Peter III,

a real dud of a leader in Russia,

according to the Orthodox Church that hated him,

and his own wife, whose pet name for him

was feeble-minded drunkard.

Catherine started an extramarital affair with

Grigory Orlov, and the two of them had concocted a real

[? Dateline-like ?] plot with the military to overthrow her

husband.

This cunning Catherine didn't do this from the sidelines.

She got extremely involved.

A talented horseback rider herself,

she personally led 14,000 soldiers

to dispose of the tsar.

After the victory, she dressed in a man's uniform

and declared herself the Empress of Russia.

So what do you think?

Any female ruler on this list we missed?

Let us know in the comments below.

And while you're at it, check out some of these other videos

from our Weird History.


History's 10 Most Ruthless Queens and Brutal Rulers

Throughout our world's long history,

many women have held positions of power.

Most queens serve their constituents

with honor, dignity, and pride, and had fairly normal reigns

where absolutely nobody was murdered by their hands.

Other queens-- well, let's just say

you wouldn't want to get on their bad side.

Today, we'll look at the most ruthless queens

and female rulers of all time.

But before we get started, be sure to subscribe

to the Weird History Channel.

Oh, and leave us a comment, too, and let

us know what historic female figures you

would like to hear more about.

Now, let's go back in time and observe these queens

from a safe distance.

[DRUM MUSIC]

Countess Elizabeth Bathory was a Hungarian noblewoman

born in Transylvania, because of course she

was, and was well known for being a serial slayer.

When it came to her favorite hobby of ending people's lives,

she preferred the plebeian class,

opting to punch down by offing servants and peasants

for years.

Her sweet husband even gifted her a torment chamber

in her castle.

Hmm, that's thoughtful.

Men do know the way to a woman's heart is a well-designed room.

All of that craziness apparently made a girl hungry,

because Countess Bathory developed an appetite

for human flesh.

She would take little nibbles here and there off

of her victims while they were still alive.

Of course she did.

If she ate them while they were dead, that would be gross.

It's rumored she once forced one of her victims to cook and eat

a part of themselves--

very Hannibal Lecter.

In 1611, the countess was finally brought to trial

and convicted on 80 counts, which, to be fair,

does make it hard for her to do her very

favorite thing in the world--

kill people.

Elizabeth died in that very castle in 1614.

[STRING MUSIC]

Only one woman ever held supreme power

in the long history of China.

This woman was a no-nonsense badass

who had a problematic homicidal streak.

Empress Wu Zetian's reign was riddled with stories

of political conflict and a high body count.

She had members of the Tang dynasty taken out, and even

slaughtered members of her own family

in order to keep her power.

One particularly alarming story is that the empress took out

her own mother, and after they were openly

critical of their homicidal grandma,

Wu ordered her two grandchildren to take their own lives.

Nobody could ever accuse Empress Wu

of not being an ambitious woman, if not an ineffective leader

and a pretty horrible grandmother.

Constantine VI ruled the Byzantine Empire

from 780 to 797, all with a little help from his mama,

Irene of Athens.

Irene served as the queen regent with her young son,

Constantine, whose reign began when

he was only nine years old.

A real Cersei-Joffrey situation-- only she

liked her son way, way less.

Normally, in the Byzantine [? monarchy, ?]

an emperor would take sole possession of his throne

at the mature age of 16.

But Irene was not having that.

She remained in power over her son for two decades

before unwillingly ceding power after her son banished her

from the kingdom when he was 19.

This was after she executed seven of his generals

and tossed her own kid into jail.

She sounded like one of those helicopter moms.

Once Constantine's reign began, it

became clear he was an ineffective and deeply

unpopular leader, causing him to eventually, as a Hail Mary,

crawl back to his mama for help.

Being an emperor is hard stuff.

They were able to co-rule for five years

before Irene's thirst for total power became insatiable,

and with the help of her political allies,

she led a rebellion against her son.

One day, when Constantine was out riding,

his mother detained and blinded him,

gouging his eyes out in the very same room where he was born.

What a thoughtful mom.

Constantine would succumb to his injuries, and Irene of Athens

would become the sole leader for the next five years

before she was exiled to Lesbos, where she died a year later.

Mary I's nickname, Bloody Mary, didn't

happen by downing too many cocktails at a quaint brunch.

She got it the old fashioned way--

by taking out a whole lot of people.

Mary I was a Catholic queen in a Protestant country,

who ascended to the throne of England in 1553.

For five years, her reign of terror

saw the execution of Protestants at an alarming rate.

She waged a war, executing hundreds

and burning over 300 Protestants at the stake for heresy.

The people of England were not here for this,

and her legacy was defined by these startling acts

of cruelty.

Her reign as Queen Crazy only lasted, thankfully,

for five years.

Buckle up-- this one's a doozy.

Queen Isabella co-ruled Spain with King Ferdinand II from

1451 to 1504, and used her power as co-leader to do what bad

queens do best--

religious persecution.

The Spanish Inquisition, a horribly brutal period

in Spain, began under her watch and with a lot

of her encouragement.

Spanish Jews and Muslims were expelled from the kingdom

under her guidance.

She was a sponsor of Christopher Columbus's voyage

to the New World the same year that she wildly decreed

all citizens who were Jewish must convert to Catholicism

or get the hell out of Spain.

Jews from around the nation were brought to the Spanish courts

to pledge their faith to Catholicism

or die right there, in front of everybody, on the spot.

Fredegund of Soissons was queen consort to King Chilperic

I, ruler of Soissons, a commune in France.

She had to jump through some hoops

and take out a woman or two in order

to win the heart of her beloved king.

Chilperic was married to Audovera,

whom he left upon Fredegund's encouragement,

and married his second wife, Galswintha.

But a separation wasn't quite enough for Fredegund.

She convinced the king to slay his second wife,

and he just sort of rolled with it.

Galswintha's sister, Brunhilda, was understandably not

thrilled with the decision to off her sister.

Brunhilda was the wife of Sigebert I, King of Austrasia,

making her a queen herself, and setting up

a queen rivalry between the two, with one clearly

having the bigger argument for being the most angry.

Righteousness wasn't enough to win this battle royale,

and it was Fredegund who ordered the successful assassination

of Sigebert at the very moment he

was about to take power from Chilperic, his half brother.

Sounds like Thanksgiving could get real awkward

in the Chilperic-Sigebert household.

[ORGAN MUSIC]

Princess Olga of Kiev's journey is a real roller coaster.

She was the first Ukrainian princess

and the first female ruler of Russia,

becoming queen regent in 945 CE after her husband

Igor, of course, was murdered.

Since their son was too young to rule,

Princess Olga stepped up to the plate

and proceeded to lose her mind.

Her first act as ruler was sweet, sweet revenge

for her beloved Igor, finding the men who whacked her husband

and returning the favor using scalding water.

She boiled them alive--

yes, like a lobster.

And if she doesn't sound like a cartoon witch yet,

Olga's mean streak wasn't over, because Olga still

had people to burn.

She ordered hundreds of people from the boiled men's tribes

to also be taken out in retribution.

Olga straight up buried the tribe leaders alive

while trying to burn down the entire town.

Next, she tricked the other tribe leaders,

who clearly misread this entire situation,

and invited them to a retreat.

These gullible dummies were lured, and then

locked into a bathhouse.

And then, the whole thing was burnt to the ground.

Rule number one in accepting an invite--

don't go if it's a homicidal, vengeful queen.

Olga eventually rediscovered her Orthodox Christianity shortly

after, and was later the first person of Russian heritage

to receive sainthood from the Orthodox Church.

So all's well that ends well for Saint Olga--

and who doesn't love a redemption arc?

[BAGPIPE MUSIC]

Agrippina the Younger was the first empress

of Rome, who spent the duration of her early years

trying to depose her predecessors.

Agrippina believed she and her son

were rightful heirs to the throne by birth.

She manipulated her uncle to change the laws of Rome,

as well as the laws of nature and society,

so she and her uncle could marry.

Soon after, Claudius died, and his demise

is seen as being just a little suspicious.

Is it possible Claudius was taken out by his niece-wife?

Yeah, we can see that.

With Claudius out of the picture,

Agrippina and her son Nero ruled Rome from 49 to 54 CE.

Nero would eventually tire of his mother's controlling

nature and manipulation, and forced her out.

Not to be deterred, Agrippina, a big fan of power and not

of normal family relationships, tried

to organize a coup against him, which backfired tremendously

when a still-in-power Nero had her expelled.

[TRUMPET MUSIC]

After our previously mentioned old friend

Bloody Mary passed away from possible uterine or ovarian

cancer, her half sister Elizabeth succeeded her

on the English throne.

With Elizabeth as queen, things were

going to change around England, as the old ways of oppression

for England's Protestants would move over

in favor of oppressing a different religious group--

those bloody Catholics.

Under Queen Elizabeth, the Catholic Church of England

was legally abolished, which seems like an overcorrection.

It was replaced by a new church with the English monarch

at the head, and all support for Catholicism was illegal.

Catholics could have their property seized,

their bodies beaten and imprisoned, and in some cases,

even executed.

[OMINOUS MUSIC]

Catherine the Great was a meager German princess

when she traveled to Russia.

Little did Russia know she would rule them all.

Catherine married Tsar Peter III,

a real dud of a leader in Russia,

according to the Orthodox Church that hated him,

and his own wife, whose pet name for him

was feeble-minded drunkard.

Catherine started an extramarital affair with

Grigory Orlov, and the two of them had concocted a real

[? Dateline-like ?] plot with the military to overthrow her

husband.

This cunning Catherine didn't do this from the sidelines.

She got extremely involved.

A talented horseback rider herself,

she personally led 14,000 soldiers

to dispose of the tsar.

After the victory, she dressed in a man's uniform

and declared herself the Empress of Russia.

So what do you think?

Any female ruler on this list we missed?

Let us know in the comments below.

And while you're at it, check out some of these other videos

from our Weird History.