Some major political assassinations that shook the world


Leaders will always face oppositions either because of their views or acts. It is never easy being a leader, especially when you are under the limelight and judged for every single step you take.

Here is a look at some major political assassinations that shook the world

Julius Caesar

It was on the Ides of March (15 March 44 BC) that Roman emperor Julius Caesar was stabbed to death, changing the fortunes of the republic.

Roman emperor Julius Caeser was assassinated by a group of senators, including his friend Brutus, on the Ides of March in Rome to stop him from gaining too much power. His death led to a series of civil wars. Later, in William Shakespeare’s play Julius Caesar, a soothsayer tells the emperor: “Beware the Ides of March.”

Patrice Lumumba

Lumumba, the first elected prime minister of Congo, was shot dead on 17 January 1961, by a firing squad while in custody near Kinshasa (then Léopoldville), apparently on the orders of Belgian forces and the CIA.

The execution of the “hero of Congolese independence” affected the pan-African solidarity movement that Lumumba had championed.

Qasem Soleimani

The top Iranian military commander was killed on 3 January 2020, in an American drone strike on his motorcade in Baghdad.

The killing led to Iran launching missiles on two America military bases in Iraq on 8 January.

During the offensive, Iranian forces also mistakenly downed a Ukrainian passenger aircraft, killing all 176 onboard.


Archduke Franz Ferdinand


The Archduke’s assassination on 28 June 1914, at the hands of Gavrilo Princip, a Serbian student, in Sarajevo led the Austro-Hungarian Empire to declare war against Serbia.

This led to a complex web of alliances getting activated Russia declaring war on Austria-Hungary, Germany on Russia and France and Britain on Germany and Austria-Hungary triggering World War I.

Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln was the 16th president of the United States, was assassinated by well-known stage actor, John Wilkes Booth on 14 April 1865.

It was said that Lincoln dreamt of his own death. According to the tale, just a few days before his assassination on 14 April 1865, Lincoln shared a recent dream with a small group that included his wife, Mary Todd, and Lamon.

In it, he walked into the East Room of the White House to find a covered corpse guarded by soldiers and surrounded by a crowd of mourners.

When Lincoln asked one of the soldiers who had died, the soldier replied, “The president. He was killed by an assassin.”

(Interestingly, Lincoln supposedly later insisted to Lamon that the body on display was not his own so he himself did not view the dream as a portent of his own demise.)

Two weeks after the dream, While attending the play Our American Cousin at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C., Lincoln was shot in the head as he watched the play. Lincoln died the following day at 7:22 am, in the Petersen House opposite the theatre.

He was the first US President to be assassinated, with his funeral and burial marking an extended period of national mourning.

Occurring near the end of the American Civil War, the assassination was part of a larger conspiracy intended by Booth to revive the Confederate cause by eliminating the three most important officials of the United States government.

Emperor Nicholas II

Nicholas Romanov, the last Russian emperor, and his entire family were murdered 17 July 1918, in a prison by their Bolshevik captors over his poor handling of “Bloody Sunday” in which hundreds died in a stampede during a royal event and for Russia’s role in World War I in which hundreds of thousands of Russians were killed.

The family’s death led to the end of the royal line and the birth of the Soviet Union.

John F Kennedy


The US president was shot dead by former Marine Lee Harvey Oswald on 22 November 1963, while he travelling in a motorcade in Dallas.

Two days later, Oswald too was gunned down by a night club owner.

Many believed a larger conspiracy behind Kennedy’s assassination but nothing could be proven.

Mahatma Gandhi

Gandhi, a global symbol of nonviolence, was shot dead on 30 January 1948, by Nathuram Godse in Delhi.

The killing shocked the entire world and lakhs of Indians poured into the streets to pay homage to the father of the nation.

Martin Luther King Jr

The iconic American civil rights leader was fatally shot 4 April 1968, by James Earl Ray on a motel’s balcony in Memphis.

The killing led to a period of national mourning that helped speed up the passage of an equal housing bill the last major legislative achievement of the civil rights era.

Yitzhak Rabin

The Israeli prime minister was shot dead on 4 November 1995, by Yigal Amir, a right-wing extremist, at a rally in Tel Aviv.

Rabin was working to establish peace between Israel and Palestine. Since his death, there has been no peace deal between the two nations.

Benazir Bhutto


The Pakistani leader was killed in a suicide bombing on 27 December 2007, at an election rally in Rawalpindi.

Her assassination led to popular support for her party the Pakistan Peoples’ Party which won the largest number of seats in the polls held two months.

Murtala Muhammad


Murtala Muhammad was the head of the Nigerian Federal Military Government from 30 July 1975, until his death in 1976 at the age of 37-year-old.

Murtala Muhammad and his Aide-De-Camp (ADC) were sitting in the back saloon car to his office at Dodan Barracks, the Lagos States before he was shot dead by a group of Nigerian soldiers commanded by Lt. Colonel Buka Suka Dimka.

Murtala Muhammad, the former ruler of the Nigerian military, was assassinated in the Mercedes Benz S-Class on 13 February 1976. His car now is the most well-preserved vehicle in Nigeria.


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