Famous Assassinations In World History

Throughout human history, greatness has often been met with violence. In this article, we explore some of the most famous instances of assassination in the history of humanity. The information below was gathered from reputable sources all over the Internet and presented to you here for convenience.

On August 22nd, 1962, the OAS (meaning the Secret Army Association) attempted to assassinate then-French President Charles de Gaulle. 12 Operatives opened fire on the President’s motorcade as it was traveling through Paris, and though the group fired more than 120 rounds off, no one was seriously injured. Unfortunately, not everyone in history has been as lucky as de Gaulle was on that fateful day. In memory of this event, let us take a brief look back at some of the most high-profile assassinations throughout human history.

John F. Kennedy

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Prior to the assassination, President John F. Kennedy, First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, and Texas Governor John Connally ride through the streets of Dallas, Texas on November 22, 1963. Included as an exhibit for the Warren Commission. (Photo by © CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)

Perhaps the single-most covered assassination in the modern era, favorite American President John F. Kennedy was fatally shot in the head from a nearby building as his motorcade strolled down Elm Street in Dallas, Texas on November 22nd, 1963. It was soon revealed that the killer was one Lee Harvey Oswald, though the exact motivations have been muddied by enumerable conspiracy theories that persist to this day. It took the stunned American population months to recover, and ripples of this event shaped public discourse for years to come, leading up to Kennedy’s brother Robert being murdered just eight years later.

Abraham Lincoln

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John Wilkes Booth leans forward to shoot President Abraham Lincoln as he watches a play at Ford’s Theater in Washington, D.C, in 1865.

Abraham Lincoln was one of the most beloved Presidents in US history. He saw the country through some of its most divided moments, carrying it through the Civil War and bringing an end to slavery in the nation once and for all. Unfortunately, he was not loved by all, and one fateful afternoon on April 14, 1865, as he was watching a play at the famous Ford’s Theater in Washington DC, an ex-confederate named John Wilkes Booth snuck up behind him and shot him in the back of the head at point blank range.

The nation was shocked and angered, triggering all-out violence toward those supportive of Booth’s actions. The theater was forcibly closed, and the event did nothing to help heal the divide that had persisted for so long between the North and the South.

Martin Luther King Jr.

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A man stands on the balcony of Lorraine Hotel in the approximate place Martin Luther King, Jr., stood when he was killed April 4th. In the background is the rooming house from which the fatal bullet was fired. In the courtyard beneath the balcony are newsmen, police officials, and others.

Few Americans have done as much for the rights of African Americans and other minority groups as Martin Luther King Jr. did in his short lifetime. The larger-than-life figure was known for his nonviolent approach to civil disobedience, and though he was massively popular among progressives, others were not so keen on his platform of progress. On April 4th, 1968, as King was staying at the then-named Lorraine Hotel, he was shot from his balcony by James Earl Ray. The murder was racially-driven, and it was quickly followed by mass protests and even full-on riots in more than 100 American cities.

Despite this, Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy inspired an entirely new generation of civil rights activists, leading to one of the most progressive era’s in modern history.

Mahatma Gandhi

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Indian school children pay homage to Mahatma Gandhi, on Martyr’s Day to mark the 70th anniversary of Gandhi’s assassination, in Chennai on January 30, 2018. Gandhi was on the way to a prayer meeting in the Indian capital when he was shot three times in the chest and head on January 30, 1948. / AFP PHOTO / ARUN SANKAR (Photo credit should read ARUN SANKAR/AFP/Getty Images)

Gandhi was one of the most influential thinkers of the modern era, and his philosophical tendency toward non-violence inspired millions toward a path of enlightenment and understanding. How tragically ironic, then, that this message of peace was met with brutal violence. Gandhi was fatally shot on January 30th, 1948 by Nathuram Godse. Godse was a Hindu nationalist, and his actions cause a massive spread of divisive hatred between cultures in India.

The government was widely criticized for not doing enough to protect the controversial public figure, though it was a well-known fact that he was not very cooperative when he was asked to take extra precautions by security personnel.

Julius Caesar

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‘Assassination of Julius Caesar’, 1729-1821. (Photo by: Photo 12/UIG via Getty Images)

Julius Caesar was a massively influential dictator at the helm of the Roman Empire during one of its most contentious periods. Many in the Senate had begun to fear that he was vying to take ultimate control from their group, and so a conspiracy to overthrow him was hatched. On the Morning of the Ides of March (the 15th of the month) in 44 BC, the Roman dictator was surrounded at the Curia in the Theater of Pompey, where has was stabbed 23 times. Amazingly, only one of the wounds was deemed fatal in the first known recording of an autopsy.

This single event triggered the end of the Roman Republic, giving rise to the Roman Empire which would eventually be led by Caesar’s adopted heir, Octavius. Though mass protests of the middle class marked this period, it ironically gave way to the very dictatorship once feared by the Senate in Caesar’s original actions.

John Lennon

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December 1980: A man and woman among the crowd in Central Park, New York, who have gathered to mourn the death of John Lennon. The man holds a picture of Lennon and Yoko Ono in bed during one of their ‘love-in’ peace protests. (Photo by Luiz Alberto/Keystone/Getty Images)

John Lennon was a founding member of The Beatles and an influential peace activist. His work alongside his other band members inspired a revolutionary explosion of musical experimentation, which debatably gave rise to many of the genres we enjoy today. Though he was nearly universally loved, one man, Mark David Chapman, had confided in his wife that has had been obsessed with killing the superstar. On the evening of December 8th, 1980, he did just that, shooting Lennon in the back several times.

In the wake of his death, at least three different fans committed suicide over the ordeal. Lennon was survived by his wife, Yoko Ono, who went on to play a part in many of the memorial services that followed. Lennon’s death sparked worldwide misery as nations from all over the globe mourned the loss of a musical visionary unlike any other.

Tupac Shakur

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FEBRUARY 1997: Artist Andre Charles stands by his mural on a metal door on Houston Street to commemorate Tupac Shakur in February 1997 in New York. (Photo by Al Pereira/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

Tupac (sometimes stylized as “2Pac”) Shakur was another massively influential musical figure during the prime of his life. Noted as one of the most gifted rappers and lyricists ever, Shakur’s songs were controversial, to say the least, in that they dealt with issues like police brutality and the African American condition during the period he was growing up. Shakur was also known to be involved in the Crips vs. Blood gang conflict that was rampant at the time.

One night on September 7th, 1996, Tupac was shot several times in a drive-by shooting by an unknown aggressor in a car filled with other individuals in Las Vegas, Nevada.