Louis XIV of France reigned as the King of France from 1643 to 1715. Louis XIV is the longest-reigning monarch of a sovereign country in the history of Europe. Under his rule, France often asserted its military prowess and emerged as the most dominant European monarchy. His life inspired several films, such as The Taking of Power by Louis XIV.
Widely regarded as one of the most influential and important monarchs of the Zulu Kingdom, Shaka reigned as the king of the Zulu Kingdom from 1816 to 1828. Through a series of influential and wide-reaching reforms, Shaka was able to re-organize the Zulu military into a formidable force. His life and work inspired the 1986 South African TV series, Shaka Zulu.
Peter III of Russia reigned over Russia as the emperor for just six months in 1762 before being deposed by people loyal to his wife Catherine II, who then succeeded him. In his short reign, Peter made progressive reforms, including the abolishment of the secret police, which was renowned for its extreme violence. Peter is often portrayed in films.
Louis XVI of France reigned as the last king of France from 1774 to 1792 before the French Revolution, which ended the monarchy in France. During his reign, Louis made attempts to remove land and labor tax, abolish serfdom, and improve tolerance toward non-Catholics. However, the proposed reforms were opposed by the French nobility.
Philip V reigned as the king of Spain from November 1700 to January 1724, and again from September 1724 to 1746. Philip introduced the centralization of monarchy and imposed the Nueva Planta decrees. Philip's accession initiated the 13-year War of the Spanish Succession. His final years were marred by depression.
13 Nader Shah
Nader Shah reigned over Iran as the Shah of Iran from 1736 until his death in 1747. He is widely regarded as one of the most powerful rulers in the history of Iran. He has also been described as the Napoleon of Persia, thanks to his military genius, which was evident in his several campaigns.
Joseph II reigned as the Holy Roman Emperor from 1765, and as the sole ruler of the Habsburg lands from 1780, until 1790. Son of Empress Maria Theresa and Emperor Francis I, and brother of Marie Antoinette, he laid down policies now known as Josephinism. He died without heirs.
Charles III succeeded his heir-less half-brother, King Ferdinand VI, to the throne of Spain. Apart from rejuvenating the areas of scientific research and agriculture, Charles also reduced the powers of the Church. He was also known for his signature Bourbon nose, his cynicism, and his sharp tongue.
Leopold II, Holy Roman Emperor reigned as king of Archduke of Austria, emperor of the Romans, and king of Hungary and Bohemia from 1790 until his death in 1792. From 1765 to 1790, he served as Grand Duke of Tuscany, during which he abolished capital punishment in Tuscany, making it the first nation to abolish capital punishment in modern history.
Jean-Jacques Dessalines was an important figure and leader of the Haitian Revolution. He went on to rule an independent Haiti, which became the first country to abolish slavery permanently. Considered one of Haiti's founding fathers, Dessalines reigned as the emperor of Haiti from 1804 until his murder in 1806. Today, he is regarded as an icon of Haitian nationalism.
Much before his daughter Maria Theresa’s birth, Emperor Charles VI’s Pragmatic Sanction enabled his future daughter to succeed him, due to the lack of male heirs. Though he was always busy fighting, he apparently did it all to bring about peace. He had also unsuccessfully attempted to conquer Spain.
The Soldier King Frederick William I of Prussia is remembered for transforming his nation into a prosperous state. He was known for his simple lifestyle, as opposed to his father’s kingly excesses. His experience at the War of the Spanish Succession led him to strengthen Prussia militarily, too.
Philippe II, Duke of Orléans, was the regent of the Kingdom of France from 1715 to 1723. He was the son of Philippe I, Duke of Orléans, and Elizabeth Charlotte of the Palatinate. He was named the regent of France for Louis XV, who succeeded to the throne at the age of five. Philippe died months after Louis attained majority.
Louis XVIII of France was the king of France from 1814 to 1824, except for the duration of the “Hundred Days” in 1815. He was the son of Louis, Dauphin of France, and his wife Maria Josepha of Saxony. He ruled for slightly less than a decade. He was not popular as a king.
Though he wasn’t a politically experienced ruler, Frederick William II’s reign as the king of Prussia proved to be beneficial for the country in terms of expansion. However, his excesses and his affinity for Protestantism made him unpopular. He patronized art and culture and even played the cello.
Agustín de Iturbide was a Mexican politician and army general who played a key role during the Mexican War of Independence. During the war, Agustín built a successful military and political coalition that brought the entire Mexico City under its control on 27 September 1821, thus playing an important role in gaining independence for Mexico.
Frederick I of Prussia reigned as the King of Prussia from 1701 until his death in 1713. He crowned himself in 1701 in Königsberg and proclaimed himself King in Prussia. A patron of learning and arts, Frederick I is credited with founding the Academy of Arts in 1696 as well as the Academy of Sciences in 1700.
Louis Bonaparte reigned over the Kingdom of Holland from 1806 to 1810. The younger brother of Napoléon Bonaparte, Louis followed in the footsteps of his brother and served in the French Army. He was later made the new king of Holland by Napoleon. However, Louis' wilfulness forced Napoleon to annex Holland into the French Empire and Louis fled into exile.