As with any lists they are subjective, and, I dare say, some will think some people they work with or live next door to are worthy of inclusion!
Anyway, here is a personal list of SOME of the bad guys in history.
Henry VIII (1491-1547)
Became king of England in 1509, and though talented at music and sports, Henry VIII had two wives executed, and was known for his sadistic punishments, generally. Also had trashed many monasteries during the Reformation.
Pol Pot (1926-1998)
Wanted to take Cambodia back to Year Zero, and anyone remotely intellectual was seen as fair game for being murdered. Pol Pot had millions killed or forced into slave labour.
Caligula (AD 12-41)
Though early in his reign as emperor of Rome, Caligula seemed a good guy, things went down downhill to such an extent that he ended up being murdered. Though Caligula was known for being depraved and cruel, a ruler not long after him was possibly even worse…
Nero (AD 37-68)
Nero took over where Caligula left off. An absolute madman, who famously fiddled why Rome burnt. Persecuted Christians, and thought he was skilled in the arts. Arguably, Rome’s nastiest ruler.
Adolf Hitler (1889-1945)
Founder of the Nazi Party, which, even compared to the atrocities of past centuries and millennia, committed crimes against humanity which beggar belief. Reasons for Adolf Hitler’s anti-Jewish feelings have been put down to a failed romance with a girl Hitler thought was Jewish to his not being accepted as an artist – possibly his work being criticised by a Jew. Whatever the reasons, Hitler had an Aryan race ideal, and so Jews, Slavs, gypsies, and the disabled were destroyed. He also had murdered gays, and anyone with leftist leanings. The Nazis killed millions in their death camps, and Hitler himself supposedly took his own life in a bunker in Berlin as the Russians advanced.
Joseph Stalin (1879-1953)
In terms of deaths, Joseph Stalin’s brutal Communist regime killed millions like the Nazis. Anyone not fitting Stalin’s ideals were sent to the harsh gulags (forced labour camps). Many never came out alive.
Herod (c. 73-4 BC)
The historical accuracy of his ‘Massacre of the Innocents’ is hotly disputed, but, as king of Israel, Herod was evil. He had his wife and two sons killed, though he was in poor health, and his mental state may have been affected by a painful illness.
King John (1167-1216)
Probably more bad than evil, but not an easy man to love. John treated his brother Richard the Lionheart badly, upset the barons, and, in English folklore, persecuted Robin Hood. Forced to sign the Magna Carta to keep his throne.
Vlad the Impaler (1431-1476)
Notorious Romanian ruler, also known as Dracula (yes, he was the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s ‘Dracula’), Vlad liked impaling people as a means of punishment and execution. If you’ve got a very strong stomach, more can be gleaned here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vlad_III_Dracula. I’ll forego my dinner today…
Hernando Cortes (1488-1547)
The Spanish committed the biggest genocide in history up to this point, as they tore though Central America. The Spanish destroyed the Aztec empire of Mexico, and Cortes has, perhaps unfairly, been seen as the main villain in that genocide. But, to some, he still remains a flawed adventurer, and no more vicious than many other adventurers of that time.
So, there we are. If there’s anyone who you strongly feel should be in the list, but have been excluded, just put ’em in the comments box!
Dates supplied by Pears Cyclopaedia, except Caligula [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caligula] and Vlad the Impaler [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vlad_III_Dracula] – by Wikipedia.