Top 10 Craziest Dictators

There’s something about ultimate power and going nuts that comes hand in hand, and these super dictators definitely were or are, super crazy.  Here are the top 10 we’ve found so far…

10.) Rafael Trujillo Dominican Republic (1930-1938 and 1942-1952)


Why he’s crazy:

  • Ordered that all churches put up a sign that read, “ God in Heaven, Trujillo on Earth.”
  • Organized a $30 million event called the “Fair of Peace and Fraternity of the Free World”, where he appointed his daughter as Queen. He appointed his 3-Year old son as a colonel.
  • Campaigned for his wife to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature, even though she was illiterate.

He was killed in 1961 by a group of about 11 people, and his family was forced to leave the Dominican Republic.

9.)  Jean Bedel Bokassa Central Africa Republic (Head of State 1966-1976, Emperor 1976-1979)

Bokassa colored.png

Why he’s crazy:

  • Crowned himself Emperor
  • Spent 1/3rd of national budget on Napolean themed Coronation- no foreign leaders attend.
  • In 1979 he had hundreds of schoolchildren arrested for refusing to wear uniforms made in a factory he owned, and was reported to have personally supervised the massacre of 100 of the schoolchildren by his Imperial Guard.

He was deposed by French paratroopers in 1979 and tried in absentia. In 1986 he returned to Central Africa Republic and served 6 years in solitary confinement for the murders of school children. He lived as a private citizen until his death in 1996.

8.) Gnassingbé Eyadéma Togo (1967-2005)

Gnassingbe Eyadema detail1 DF-SC-84-10025.jpg


Why he’s crazy:

  • Surrounds himself with 1000 women who are paid to sing his praises
  • Commissions a comic book where he is a superhero
  • Distributed $20 wristwatches with a portrait of himself which disappeared and re-appeared every fifteen seconds

He died on a plane from a heart attack enroute to emergency medical treatment. At the time of his death, he was the longest serving African Head of State in history.

7.) Idi Amin Uganda (1971-1979)

Idi Amin.jpg


Why he’s crazy:

  • In 1977 gives himself the title of:
    ‘His Excellency, President for Life Field Marshall Al Hadj Doctor Idi Amin Dada, VC, DSO, MC. Lord of all the Beasts of the Earth and Fishes of the Sea and Conqueror of the British Empire in Africa in General and Uganda in Particular’
  • Rumored to have sent a love letters to Queen Elizabeth II of England, proposing marriage and even that he be made King of Scotland.
  • Married 6 times and said to have fathered 43 children.

The Uganda-Tanzania War forced Amin to flee into exile first to Libya and then Saudi Arabia where he lived until his death in 2003.

6.) Papa Doc (Francois) Duvalier Haiti (1957-1971)

Duvalier (cropped).jpg

Why he’s crazy:

  • Revived Voodoo in Haiti
  • Believed his opponent turned into a black dog
  • Ordered all black dogs be killed in Haiti

He ruled until his death in 1971 and was succeeded by his son, Jean-Claude, nicknamed “Baby Doc”.

5.) Ne Win Myanmar/Burma (1962-1988)

President Ne Win

Why he’s crazy:

  • Changes the country’s banknotes to 15, 35, 45, 75, 90- because they are his lucky numbers
  • Two years later, he changes his mind, the many Burmese whose saved money in the old large denominations lost their life savings.
  • When his soothsayer warned him that there might be a bloodbath, he would stand in front of a mirror and trample on meat to simulate the blood then shoot himself in the mirror to avert the possibility of an assassination attempt

Ne Win resigned at the height of an uprising against his communist party in 1988. He remained influential in the military junta that overthrew Burma following his resignation and died in 2002 after being put under house arrest for his involvement in a plot to overthrow the junta.

4.) Mobutu Sese Seko Zaire/Republic of Congo (1965-1997)


Why he’s crazy:

  • Bans anyone else’s name being mentioned on TV
  • prohibited anybody else from wearing leopard-print hats and carried around a wooden cane that he claimed took the strength of eight men to carry.
  • Forced the evening news to begin with a scene of him descending from the clouds

Died in exile in Rabat, Morocco, after a long battle with prostate cancer.

3.) Francisco Macias Nguema, Equatorial Guinea (1968-1979)

Why he’s crazy:
  • Banned the word “intellectual,” shut down private schools and drove educated people out of his country because he had a vendetta against book learning.
  • Shut down several hospitals in favor of his witch doctor ancestry
  • Banned the use of lubricants in a power plant, saying that he could keep the place running with his magic powers. Unsurprisingly, the plant broke down, and the entire capital was engulfed in darkness.

He was overthrown by his own nephew and executed by firing squad.


2.) Kim Jong-Il, North Korea (1994-2011)

Why he’s crazy:
  • Told his people he invented the hamburger
  • Said to have spent over $300,000 a year on Brandy
  • He’s a huge fan of James Bond films but thinks they are documentaries.

He died of a suspected heart attack in 2011 and was succeeded by his youngest son.

1.) Saparmurat Niyazov, Turkmenistan, (1990-2006)
Saparmurat Niyazov.jpg
Why he’s crazy:
  • Named months after himself, and changed the word for bread to his mother’s name
  • Built a huge Ice Castle in the middle of Turkmenistan, a desert country
  • All employees must memorize his book by heart in order to keep their jobs and get a driver’s license.

He died in office in 2006 of a sudden heart attack.


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