For better or for worse, rulers shape countries, forge dynasties and write history -- but how much do you remember about these kings and queens, despots and dictators long after their rule has ended? Take our quiz to see if you can match the ruler to the country!
According to legend, Nero was busy fiddling while this great land burned.
Nero ruled ancient Rome from 54 to 68 AD. He was a huge fan of music and art, so much so that his detractors started a rumor that he was busy playing the fiddle during the great Roman fire of 64 AD.
Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand united this great European country, but are probably best known for funding the explorations of a guy named Christopher Columbus.
Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand the II united Spain during their time on the throne. They also helped fund Columbus' expedition to the New World in 1492, setting off a long period of colonization in the Americas.
Queen Victoria ruled this country for a staggering 63 years and still managed to have nine children during that time.
Victoria ruled Great Britain from 1837 to 1901, making her one of the longest-reigning monarchs in history. The mighty British empire doubled in size during her reign, and the country also went through an impressive industrial revolution that changed the way of life for many of her subjects.
Which empire is the warrior Genghis Khan associated with?
Genghis Khan ruled Mongolia in the 12th and 13th centuries, uniting Asia and China into a massive empire roughly the size of Africa.
Napoleon Bonaparte became emperor of this country in 1804.
Napoleon lived from 1769 to 1821. As Emperor of France, he eventually conquered much of Europe, but his reign came to an end when he failed during a planned Russian invasion in 1812.
Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of this nation.
Lincoln led the American people through the Civil War and also played an important role in the emancipation of slaves in the 19th century. Sadly, he was assassinated on April 15, 1865, as he watched a play.
Which country did Catherine the Great become Empress of in 1762?
Catherine the Great ruled Russia from 1762 until her death in 1796. She helped to unite and modernize her country, making tremendous strides in religious freedom, education and the arts for her people.
Despite his modern-day celebrity, King Tut was a relatively minor ruler in the history of this empire.
King Tut ruled Egypt from 1332 to 1323 BC, but was only 19 when he died, so his legacy as a ruler was relatively forgettable. What makes him so famous today is the 1922 discovery of his tomb, which was surprisingly intact, providing a wealth of information for researchers.
Frederick II made this country the strongest nation in Europe during his 18th century reign.
Frederick II was King of Prussia -- modern-day Germany -- from 1740 to 1786, and is recognized today for making Prussia one of the most powerful European nations of his day.
Emperor Meiji led this country through its industrial revolution.
Meiji ruled Japan from 1867 to 1912, transforming the country from a largely feudal system to a major economic power in the world.
Henry VIII became king of this country at the age of 17.
You may remember him for having six wives -- a couple of which he beheaded -- but Henry VIII was also King of England for 36 years.
Which of these ancient empires was ruled by Alexander the Great?
Alexander the Great ruled the ancient Roman state of Macedonia -- modern-day northern Greece -- from 336 to 323 BC. Despite dying from malaria at age 33, he is still remembered to this day for uniting many ancient Greek citizens under a single government.
Despite his strong legacy, Caesar only ruled this ancient empire for around five years.
Caesar served as military dictator of Rome from 49 to 44 BC -- until he was famously assassinated via stabbing -- by members of his own Senate.
Hitler was chancellor of this country before his Nazi party tried to take over Europe.
Hitler served as Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945 before he was named Fuhrer of Nazi Germany. After the horror of the Holocaust, he committed suicide in a bunker in the final days of World War II.
It wasn't just Xanadu that Kublai Khan ruled; he reigned over this ancient empire in the 13th century.
Kublai Khan, grandson of Genghis Khan, followed in his ancestor's footsteps as Emperor of the Mongols. He ruled from 1260 to 1294, eventually taking control of all of China.
What country did Queen Elizabeth II rule for 44 years?
Daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, Queen Elizabeth II lost her mother at the age of 2. She went on to become a powerful leader, ruling England until her death in 1603.
King Sobhuza II ruled this African nation for a record-setting 82 years.
King Sobhuza became king of Swaziland when he was less than a year old. His reign saw the country's independence from the U.K. in 1968 and ended only upon his death in 1982.
Which country was led by Vladimir Lenin through the 1920s?
Lenin helped to found Russia's Communist party and was the first ruler of the U.S.S.R. He died in 1924, but his embalmed body is still on display in Moscow's Red Square for all to see.
Which world power was ruled by Winston Churchill during World War II?
Churchill served as prime minister of the U.K. from 1940 through the end of World War II, then took on the role once more from 1951 to 1955.
Louis XIV ruled this nation for 72 years.
Known as the Sun King for his opulent lifestyle and gold-soaked palace at Versailles, Louis VIX reigned over France from 1643 to 1715.
Which empire was briefly ruled by a despot named Caligula?
Caligula -- whose name means "little soldier's boot" -- was the Roman Emperor for only four years, from 37 to 41 AD. During that time, he managed to prove himself a ruthless dictator, routinely stating that he had the right to "do anything to anybody."
What country "elected" Kim Jong-Un supreme leader in 2014?
Supreme leader Kim Jong-Un won 100 percent of North Korea's vote in 2014 -- in an election with 100 percent turnout. It probably had something to do with voters fearing ending up in a forced labor camp if they failed to cast a ballot.
Which country was led by Benito Mussolini during World War II?
Mussolini was prime minister of Italy from 1922 to 1943. He ran the country as a democracy of sorts until 1925, when he became a dictator and embraced fascism. After the war, he was caught trying to sneak out of the country and was promptly executed.
Emperor Hirohito led this nation into World War II.
Technically, Hirohito was emperor of Japan from 1926 all the way through 1989. In reality, he lost all of his power after World War II and was no more than a figurehead for much of his reign.
More than 40 million people died when Mao Zedong took this nation on a Great Leap Forward.
Mao Zedong ruled China from 1949 through 1959. Among his most recognized contributions to the country? The death of 40 million citizens during a program he named the Great Leap Forward, which promised to revolutionize industry and agriculture.
Ashoka ruled this Asian nation from 268 to 232 BC.
Ashoka remains one of the most celebrated Indian leaders, even more than 2,000 years after his death. He united an area that stretched from modern-day Afghanistan to Bangladesh and later became a revered Buddhist leader.
Many suspected Ivan the Terrible suffered from a mental illness when he brutalized the people of this nation during his 16th-century reign.
Ivan the Terrible centralized power in Russia when he ruled the nation from 1533 to 1584. He also made some questionable -- and horrible -- choices, such as killing his own son and blinding the architect of St. Basil's so he could never construct a similar masterpiece.
What country was led by King Leopold II from 1865 to 1909?
King Leopold II served as king of Belgium at the end of the 19th century and dawn of the 20th century. During his reign, he committed terrible atrocities while developing the Congo River Basin, including kidnapping and forced labor.
Which nation was ruled by Joseph Stalin during World War II?
Stalin served as dictator of the U.S.S.R. from 1929 through the early 1950s. He not only lead the nation during World War II but also helped to spur the Cold War between the U.S.S.R. and the United States.
Which country was led by Pol Pot and his Khmer Rouge regime?
Pol Pot left a terrible legacy after ruling Cambodia from 1975 to 1979. During his brief reign, more than a million of the country's estimated eight million citizens died due to starvation, execution, forced labor or other causes.
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