Tyrannical royals aren’t anything new in the history books, but admittedly, people tend to sit up and take notice more when the brutality comes from women – it’s simply more rare.
During the 1800s, Queen Ranavalona ruled over Madagascar, ruthless from the very start. She killed those who got in her way, and grew paranoid, killing even those who dared not. Later, she attempted to eradicate Christians from the island, and this cold vendetta was what earned her a reputation as the world’s most murderous woman (potentially of all time). She hated the British, she hated the French, and she callously used her own people in slave labour. The people were afraid, but she maintained order by poisoning them. If those people died, they were “guilty” of whatever they were accused of.
Over this cold, 33-year reign, the population cut drastically by half. Thankfully, these days, Madagascar is far more civilised. But you can still see the remains of her palace, the Rova of Antananarivo, in the capital to this day.