Emperors & Kings

When we talk of emperors and kings, the picture of a regal man dressed in resplendent attire reigning over some ancient land comes to our mind, for in today’s world what we know about emperors and kings comes primarily from folklores and history books. An emperor is the male sovereign ruler of an empire. There have been many vast empires worldwide which consisted of several states and countries. Kings were the rulers of their own kingdoms over which they exercised complete power. Being extremely powerful, the emperors and kings have played crucial roles in shaping the history of not just their own empires and kingdoms, but of the whole world. Titus, the ancient Roman Emperor might have had a short reign, but he secured his place in history as he completed the Colosseum and dealt with the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. Genghis Khan, the Great Khan of the Mongol Empire conquered vast territories, four times the lands of Alexander the Great. Other rulers still revered today are Atilla the Hun, Timur the Lame and Charlemagne. Over the centuries, absolute monarchies gave way to several other forms of government and now only a handful of monarchies, that too ceremonial, remain in the world. Browse on to learn more about the great emperors and kings who had once walked on this earth.

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 1 Alexander the Great

Alexander the Great
9
Famous As: Emperor of the ancient Greek kingdom of Macedon
Birthdate: July 20, 0356
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: Macedonian
Died: June 10, 0324

Counted amongst the greatest military commanders of all times, Alexander the Great successfully created one of the largest empires—from Macedonia to Persia and India—of the ancient world. The son of King of Macedonia, Philip II, he ascended the throne at the age of 20 and achieved unprecedented success before he died at the age of 33.  

 2 Genghis Khan

Genghis Khan
6
Famous As: Khagan of the Mongol Empire
Birthdate: 1162 AD
Nationality: Mongolian
Died: August 18, 1227

The founder and first Great Khan and Emperor of the Mongol Empire, Genghis Khan is often considered to be the greatest conqueror of all time. A brutal ruler, he enjoyed exceptional military successes and occupied a substantial portion of Central Asia and China. Besides his military accomplishments, he is also credited with revitalizing the Mongol Empire's writing system.

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 3 Napoleon Bonaparte

Napoleon Bonaparte
0
Famous As: Emperor of the French
Birthdate: August 15, 1769
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: French
Died: May 5, 1821
French military leader Napoleon Bonaparte ruled as the French emperor from 1804 to 1814 and again in 1815. He strengthened France’s position in Europe through the Napoleonic Wars and extended his kingdom. However, he was eventually defeated by the Seventh Coalition at the Battle of Waterloo and sent to exile. 

 4 Julius Caesar

Julius Caesar
2
Famous As: Former Roman dictator
Birthdate: July 13, 0100
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: Ancient Roman
Died: March 15, 0044

Julius Caesar is considered one of the greatest military commanders in history and played an important role in the events that led to the downfall of the Roman Republic and the rise of the Roman Empire. He assumed control of the government after a civil war. He was assassinated by rebel senators on the Ides of March, 44 BC.

 5 Henry VII of England

Henry VII
2
Famous As: King of England
Birthdate: January 28, 1457
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: British
Died: April 21, 1509

Henry VII of England played an important role in popularizing the House of Tudor by becoming the first monarch of the house; he ruled as the king of England from 1485 until his death in 1509. He is credited with several economic, diplomatic, and administrative initiatives.

 6 Charlemagne

Charlemagne
0
Famous As: King of the Frank
Birthdate: April 2, 0742
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: German
Died: January 28, 0814

Also known as Charles the Great, Charlemagne ruled as the king of the Franks, king of the Lombards, and emperor of the Romans at different time periods. Not surprisingly, he had a major impact during the Early Middle Ages as he went about uniting the majority of central and western Europe, for which he is called the Father of Europe.

 7 Augustus

Augustus
4
Famous As: Roman roman emperor
Birthdate: September 23, 0063
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: Ancient Roman
Died: August 19, 0014

Augustus, the first Emperor of the Roman Empire, ruled from 27 BC to 14 AD. He transformed Rome from a republic to an empire after Julius Caesar’s assassination. He annexed new territories, brought about peace and prosperity and laid the foundation of an empire that lasted for nearly 1500 years. Historians regard him as an effective but controversial leader.

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 8 Ashoka

Ashoka
6
Famous As: Indian emperor of the Maurya Dynasty
Birthdate: 0304 BC
Nationality: Indian
Died: 0232 BC
Ashoka the Great of the Maurya Dynasty was the grandson of Chandragupta Maurya and ruled the Indian subcontinent from c. 268 to 232 BCE. Following the death and destruction caused by the Kalinga War, which was part of his expansion plan, he converted to Buddhism and propagated the faith.

 9 Henry VIII of England

Henry VIII of England
2
Famous As: King of England
Birthdate: June 28, 1491
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: British
Died: January 28, 1547

Henry VIII, the second monarch of the Tudor dynasty, ruled England from 1509 to 1547. He married six times, leading to differences with the Roman Catholic Church, which prohibited divorce, thus forming the Anglican Church. The "father of the Royal Navy," he was known for his tyranny and extravagance.

 10 Shivaji

Shivaji
6
Famous As: King
Birthdate: February 19, 1630
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: Indian
Died: April 3, 1680

Shivaji was an Indian warrior-king. He is credited with founding the Maratha Empire, which became a force to reckon with during the 18th century. He is also credited with creating his own navy. Considered one of the most important Indian kings and a hero of the Hindus, Shivaji's life and work have inspired several works of art, including films.

 11 Wilhelm II

Wilhelm II
0
Famous As: Emperor of Germany
Birthdate: January 27, 1859
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: German
Died: June 4, 1941

Wilhelm II reigned as the King of Prussia and German emperor from 1888 to 1918. He is credited with promoting scientific innovation and building a blue-water navy, which strengthened Germany’s position as a great power. However, he was also responsible for getting his country involved in World War I, which eventually brought an end to the Hohenzollern dynasty’s rule.

 12 William the Conqueror

William the Conqueror
2
Famous As: King of England
Birthdate: 1028 AD
Nationality: French
Died: September 9, 1087

William the Conqueror was the first Norman King of England who ruled from 1066 to 1087. William's conquest had a profound impact on England; his government merged elements of the Norman and English systems that laid the foundations of the medieval English kingdom. He is credited with building castles, mottes, and keeps, including the White Tower and Tower of London.

 13 Richard III of England

Richard III of England
0
Famous As: King of England
Birthdate: October 2, 1452
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: British
Died: August 22, 1485

Richard III was King of England from 1483 to 1485. His defeat and subsequent death marked the demise of the Middle Ages in England. He is the subject of William Shakespeare's famous play Richard III. He has also been an inspiration for several other works of literature and films.

 14 Marcus Aurelius

Marcus Aurelius
0
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: April 26, 0121
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: Italian
Died: March 17, 0180

Marcus Aurelius played an important role in the Roman Empire. A Stoic philosopher, Marcus was part of the Five Good Emperors and the last emperor of the Pax Romana—a 200-year-long period of relative peace in the Roman Empire. Also a writer, his work Meditations is regarded by many as one of the greatest works of philosophy.

 15 Akbar

Akbar
6
Famous As: Mughal Emperor
Birthdate: October 14, 1542
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: Indian
Died: October 27, 1605

Akbar, the third Mughal emperor, played an important role in inculcating Persian culture into the Indian subcontinent. Akbar is considered one of the most important rulers of the Mughal Empire, an empire that seeped foreign ideas and culture into medieval India, the effects of which are still visible in modern-day India, especially in the northern parts of the country.

 16 George III of the United Kingdom

George III of the United Kingdom
2
Famous As: King
Birthdate: June 4, 1738
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: British
Died: January 29, 1820

The King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland for almost six decades, George III had a reign that was longer than those of any of his predecessors. His reign was marked by a series of military conflicts. He suffered from mental illness in his later years.

 17 Tutankhamun

Tutankhamun
2
Famous As: Pharaoh
Birthdate: 1342 BC
Nationality: Egyptian
Died: 1325 BC

Tutankhamun was an Egyptian pharaoh who ruled between 1334 and 1325 BC. He is one of the most studied ancient Egyptian pharaohs, thanks to his well-preserved tomb. Although he was not a popular ruler, the global exhibitions of artifacts associated with him have made Tutankhamun the most renowned pharaoh in the modern world.

 18 George V

George V
9
Famous As: Former King of the United Kingdom
Birthdate: June 3, 1865
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: British
Died: January 20, 1936

George V became the King of Great Britain and the British Dominions in 1910. During the World War I, he played an active role in supporting the troops. The rise of socialism, communism, fascism and the Indian independence movement was witnessed during his rule. His reign also saw the supremacy of the elected British House of Commons established by the Parliament.

 19 Edward VIII of the United Kingdom

Edward VIII of the United Kingdom
4
Famous As: King of United Kingdom
Birthdate: June 23, 1894
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: British
Died: May 28, 1972

Edward VIII was King of the United Kingdom and the Dominions of the British Empire for several months in 1936. He was also Emperor of India during this period. He served in the British Army during the First World War and became the king following his father’s death. However, he abdicated the throne only months into his reign.

 20 Vlad the Impaler

Vlad the Impaler
2
Famous As: Ruler of Wallachia
Birthdate: 1431 AD
Nationality: Romanian
Died: December 31, 1477

Often considered a national hero of Romania, Vlad the Impaler was an important ruler in Wallachian history. Also known as Vlad Dracula, his reputation for cruelty inspired the name of the famous fictitious vampire Count Dracula. Books describing his cruelty were among the first-known bestsellers in the German-speaking territories.

 21 Kublai Khan

Kublai Khan
0
Famous As: Founder of the Yuan dynasty in Mongolia and China,
Birthdate: September 23, 1215
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: Mongolian
Died: February 18, 1294

Also known as the Emperor Shizu of Yuan, Kublai Khan served as the fifth khagan of the famous Mongol Empire. After the division of the empire, Kublai Khan founded the Yuan dynasty in China and ruled as the first Yuan emperor from 1271 until his death in 1294. Hence, he played an important role in re-creating a militarily powerful China.

 22 Caligula

Caligula
2
Famous As: Roman Emperor
Birthdate: August 31, 0012
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: Ancient Roman
Died: January 24, 0041

Caligula, the third Roman emperor, is often described as a cruel man who forced his subjects to worship him as their god. Considered an insane tyrant, Caligula is accused of incest and forcing the audience to enter a sporting arena to be eaten alive by wild beasts during the intermission. His stories are famous in popular culture.

 23 Nero

Nero
2
Famous As: Roman Emperor
Birthdate: December 15, 0037
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: Italian
Died: June 9, 0068

Nero was the fifth Roman emperor whose rule was associated with tyranny. Five years into his reign, he had his mother Agrippina killed. The Great Fire of Rome, which occurred during his reign, is believed to have been instigated by him for political reasons. He was also responsible for eliminating many Christians from the empire.

 24 Alfred the Great

Alfred the Great
2
Famous As: King of Wessex
Birthdate: 0849 AD
Nationality: British
Died: October 26, 0899

Alfred the Great, king of Wessex, cemented his place in history as a legendary ruler who led his kingdom to victory in wars that seemed hopeless. He is known for his brilliant strategies and defensive measures. He prevented England from falling to the Danes during his rule from circa 871 to 886. He’s also credited with promoting learning and literacy and curbing corruption.

 25 Edward VI of England

Edward VI of England
0
Famous As: King of England
Birthdate: October 12, 1537
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: British
Died: July 6, 1553

Edward VI of England served as the King of England and Ireland from 1547 until his death at the age of 15 in 1553. Edward VI, who took interest in religious matters, allowed Protestantism to be established in England during his reign. His reign also witnessed the introduction of written works that formed the basis for practices of the English Church.

 26 Charles II

Charles II
0
Famous As: King of England, Scotland & Ireland
Birthdate: May 29, 1630
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: British
Died: February 6, 1685
Charles II, son of King Charles I of England, ruled England, Scotland, and Ireland from 1660 to 1685. He was initially defeated by Oliver Cromwell and forced to go into exile, but returned to England after Cromwell’s death. He introduced the Clarendon Code and later sided with the Tories.

 27 Robert I of Scotland

Robert I of Scotland
0
Famous As: King of Scotland
Birthdate: July 11, 1274
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: Scottish
Died: June 7, 1329

Robert I of Scotland reigned as the king of Scots from 1306 to 1329. Regarded as one of the most popular warriors of his generation, Robert led Scotland in their fight against England in what came to be known as the First War of Scottish Independence. He is considered a national hero in Scotland for his efforts in the war.

 28 Saladin

Saladin
2
Famous As: Sultan of Egypt
Birthdate: 1137 AD
Nationality: Egyptian
Died: March 4, 1193
Named the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, Saladin founded the Ayyubid Dynasty. He abolished the Fatimid Caliphate and later defeated the Crusaders at the Battle of Hattin, thus taking control of Palestine. As the de facto Caliph of Islam, he controlled a vast area, including Egypt, Syria, and Yemen.

 29 William IV of the United Kingdom

William IV of the United Kingdom
0
Famous As: King of the United Kingdom
Birthdate: August 21, 1765
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: British
Died: June 20, 1837
William IV, the third son of George III, was the king of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and that of Hanover, from 1830 to 1837. His stint in the Royal Navy earned him the nickname “Sailor King.” He introduced electoral reforms, abolished slavery, and restricted child labor.

 30 Timur

Timur
0
Famous As: Monarch of the Timurid Empire
Birthdate: April 9, 1336
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: Uzbekistan
Died: February 19, 1405

Widely considered one of the greatest tacticians and military leaders in history, Timur is credited with founding the Timurid Empire, which attained its greatest extent under the leadership of Timur. His empire laid the foundation for the rise of the more prominent Islamic gunpowder empires, such as the Mughal Empire, which then ruled the Indian subcontinent for almost 330 years.

 31 Henry VI of England

Henry VI of England
0
Famous As: King of England
Birthdate: December 6, 1421
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: British
Died: May 21, 1471

The only child of Henry V, Henry VI of England served as the king of England for almost 40 years. He also served as the disputed king of France between 1422 and 1453, becoming the only English monarch to serve as the king of France. He founded educational institutions like Eton College, All Souls College, Oxford, and King's College, Cambridge.

 32 Hirohito

Hirohito
0
Famous As: Former Emperor of Japan
Birthdate: April 29, 1901
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: Japanese
Died: January 7, 1989
Hirohito, or Emperor Showa, the longest-reigning Japanese emperor, reigned from 1926 to 1989 and supported the Axis Powers during World War II. He also served in the Japanese military. He was not prosecuted for war crimes by the U.S. and played a major role in the post-war reconstruction of Japan.

 33 George I of Great Britain

George I of Great Britain
0
Famous As: King of Britain
Birthdate: May 28, 1660
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: German
Died: June 11, 1727
George I ruled as the king of Great Britain and Ireland from 1714 to 1727. He also ruled the Duchy and Electorate of Brunswick-Lüneburg from 1698 to 1727. He was the House of Hanover’s first British monarch. George's reign witnessed the rise of Robert Walpole and the cabinet government. 

 34 Edward IV of England

Edward IV of England
0
Famous As: King of England
Birthdate: April 28, 1442
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: British
Died: April 9, 1483

The King of England for several years from 1461 until his death in 1483, Edward IV of England was a central figure in the Wars of the Roses. He was a brave warrior and his contemporaries described him as handsome, affable, and energetic. He died at the relatively young age of 40. The cause of his death remains unknown. 

 35 Attila

Attila
2
Famous As: Ruler
Birthdate: 0406 AD
Nationality: Ancient Roman
Died: February 29, 0453

 36 Mohammad Reza Pahlavi

Shah of Iran
2
Famous As: Last Shah of Iran
Birthdate: October 26, 1919
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: Iranian
Died: July 27, 1980

Mohammad Reza Pahlavi served as the last king of Iran from 1941 to 1979. During his reign, Iran witnessed rapid military and industrial modernization and several social and economic reforms. During his rule, Iran also enjoyed a spike in economic growth, surpassing France, England, and the US. However, the Iranian Revolution, which was unusual in many ways, overthrew the king.

 37 Louis XVI of France

Louis XVI of France
0
Famous As: King of France
Birthdate: August 23, 1754
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: French
Died: January 21, 1793

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.

 38 Solomon

Solomon
2
Famous As: King of Israel
Birthdate: 0990 BC
Nationality: Israeli
Died: 0931 BC
Also known as Jedidiah, Israeli king Solomon, known for his wisdom, is a figure that appears in the Hebrew Bible, the Old Testament, the Quran, and Hadiths. He ruled over the United Monarchy. His sins such as idolatry and marrying foreign women led to the disintegration of his kingdom.

 39 William III of England

William III of England
0
Famous As: King of England
Birthdate: November 4, 1650
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: Dutch
Died: March 8, 1702
King William III of England, son of William II, Prince of Orange, was also known as William of Orange. A staunch Protestant, he is remembered for his joint rule with his wife, Queen Mary II, and for his exploits such as the Glorious Revolution and the Nine Years' War.

 40 Babur

Babur
2
Famous As: Founder of Mughal Dyanasty
Birthdate: February 14, 1483
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: Uzbekistan
Died: December 26, 1530
Babur, the first emperor of the Mughal Dynasty of India, was a descendant of Genghis Khan and Timur. He defeated Ibrahim Lodi in the First Battle of Panipat in 1526 CE and then defeated Rajput ruler Rana Sanga in the Battle of Khanwa in 1527. His memoir is titled Baburnama.

 41 James II of England

James II Of England
0
Famous As: King of England
Birthdate: October 14, 1633
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: British
Died: September 16, 1701

James II of England reigned as the king of Ireland, Scotland, and England from 1685 to 1688. His deposition as king, caused by the Glorious Revolution of 1688, ended a century of civil and political strife by establishing the principle that Parliament would be preferred over the Crown as opposed to the principles of divine right of kings and absolutism.

 42 Haile Selassie

Haile Selassie
0
Famous As: Former Emperor of Ethiopia
Birthdate: July 23, 1892
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: Ethiopian
Died: August 27, 1975

Haile Selassie, served his country, Ethiopia, as its regent from 1916 to 1930 and as its emperor from 1930 to 1974. He introduced the first Ethiopian constitution, abolished slavery, chaired the Organisation of African Unity, and helped Ethiopia enter the UN. He inspired the Rastafari movement, too.

 43 Ramses II

Ramses II
0
Famous As: King
Birthdate: 1304 AD
Nationality: Egyptian
Died: 1214 AD

 44 Suleiman The Magnificent

Suleiman the Magnificent
0
Famous As: 10th Sultan of the Ottoman Empire
Birthdate: November 6, 1494
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: Turkish
Died: September 6, 1566
Suleiman The Magnificent ruled the Ottoman Empire from 1520 to 1566 and was instrumental in the empire’s expansion, leading the conquests of Belgrade, Rhodes, and Hungary. He was a patron of art and culture, and a talented poet and goldsmith himself. He married Roxelana, a Christian-turned-Muslim from his harem.

 45 George IV of the United Kingdom

George IV of the United Kingdom
0
Famous As: King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
Birthdate: August 12, 1762
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: British
Died: June 26, 1830

Regarded as the first gentleman of England, King George IV of the United Kingdom saw his empire consolidating its position as the global hegemon, particularly after the Napoleonic Wars. His regency during the illness of his father and then his 10-year reign were marked by royal extravagance. 

 46 Aurangzeb

Aurangzeb
0
Famous As: Mughal Emperor
Birthdate: November 4, 1618
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: Indian
Died: March 3, 1707

Aurangzeb reigned over most part of the Indian subcontinent for 49 years as the sixth Mughal emperor. He helped the Mughal Empire reach its greatest extent and helped India become the biggest manufacturing power and the world's largest economy. He was known for his religious piety and led a very simple life..

 47 Henry II of England

Henry II of England
0
Famous As: King of England
Birthdate: March 5, 1133
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: French
Died: July 6, 1189

Henry II of England reigned as the king of England from 1154 to 1189. During his long rule, Henry introduced many changes that had severe long-term consequences. Some of his legal changes are believed to have laid the foundation for English Common Law. Henry is often portrayed in films and plays; he has been played by actors like Peter O'Toole.

 48 Mansa Musa

Mansa Musa
4
Famous As: Emperor
Birthdate: 1280 AD
Nationality: French
Died: 1337 AD

Mansa Musa was the tenth Mansa, or emperor, of the Mali Empire in West Africa and ruled from c.1312 to c.1337. Nicknamed the Emir of Melle, he was one of the richest people of his time, due to Mali’s gold reserves. He also patronized science, arts, and literature.

 49 Shah Jahan

Shah Jahan
0
Famous As: Mughal Emperor
Birthdate: January 5, 1592
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: Indian
Died: February 1, 1666

Shah Jahan, emperor Jahangir’s son, ruled as the fifth Mughal emperor, from 1628 to 1658. He is known for commissioning the Taj Mahal for his wife Mumtaz Mahal, among other contributions to Mughal architecture. He was put under house arrest by his son, Aurangzeb, during his final years.

 50 Philip II of Spain

Philip II of Spain
0
Famous As: King of Spain
Birthdate: May 21, 1527
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: Spanish
Died: September 13, 1598
Philip II, son of Charles V, was a 16-th century king of Spain and Portugal. Also known as Philip the Prudent, he became the king of Ireland and England through his marriage to Mary I. Following Mary’s death, he attempted to overthrow Elizabeth I with his armada invasions, but failed.
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