Monarchy – Definition, Facts, & Famous Monarchs


Under the Monarchy system of governance, nations are ruled by Kings or Queens.

Monarchy is a hereditary system of government in which only one person (e.g. a king or a queen) rules over a sovereign state or region. A monarch refers to the ruler in charge of a monarchical government. Unlike a democratically elected ruler, a monarch ascends the throne with no fixed term of office.

Amazing Facts about Monarchies

Monarchs have a lot of power. The amount of authority vested in monarchs makes them command a lot of respect. Here are some facts about monarchies.

Many Countries Still Practice Monarchy

It looks like monarchy is nowhere close to fading out from governments of the world. As you read this article today, up to 31 countries are under the jurisdictions of monarchies. The rulers of these Monarchies are kings, Emperors, Princes, Queens, Sultans, Princesses, or Emirs.

Some of the nations in the world that currently have a monarch as their chief of state (or head of state) include the United Kingdom (or Britain), Spain, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, Belgium, Vatican City, Australia, Denmark, Canada, Japan, Jamaica, and Barbados.

Bluetooth has a Monarchical History

Maybe you have ever used Bluetooth technology to wirelessly connect two electronic devices. Well, Bluetooth has a hilarious history; One King by name Harald Bluetooth was credited for uniting Scandinavian people. When the new wireless technology was discovered, it was named after the king.

Harald united people in a way similar to how Harald connected Scandinavians. The interesting fact is that Harald reportedly had a discolored tooth, so he was nicknamed Bluetooth.

Tyrannical Monarchs Must Be Feared

The last thing you may want to try is to incur the wrath of a ruthless monarch. One Madagascan queen by name Ranavalona was so wicked to the extent she nearly halved her country’s population through killings. Her “tangena test” was an insane way of testing the loyalty of people by forcing them to consume 3 pieces of chicken flesh and a lethal nut.

This concoction caused the victims to vomit or die. In a situation whereby the vomit came out without any trace of chicken, such people were killed immediately. The series of killings drastically reduced the population.

Majority of the World’s Monarchies Are Ruled By Men

Monarchs could either be men or women, but there is an element of gender bias in the male-female monarch ratio. A simple reason accounts for this disparity; some monarchies strictly prohibit females from ruling. When a king father dies, his grown-up son is usually the next likely ruler. Daughters may only be considered in the absence of a rightful male inheritor.

The U.K’s Monarchy is Very Old

In fact, it’s actually the oldest government system over there. The British practice what it’s called a constitutional monarchy. By this, the king or queen acts as the Head of State while lawmakers in parliament also handle legislative duties. The queen or king isn’t politically tied to a party. He/she is at the heart of the whole nation.

The monarch symbolically represents the whole nation and manifests the identity, oneness, and pride of the British people.

Famous Monarchs in World History

Monarchs come and go, so our society has had a fair share of monarchical rulers. But not all monarchs are equal; depending on the duration of their rule or influences of their reigning era, some monarchs are more popular than others. But don’t be fooled into concluding that monarchs are angels; some monarchs are also famous for the wrong reasons. This list narrows down the names of some famous monarchs the world has seen.

Queen Elizabeth II

Her Majesty’s name has become like the air we breathe. She is the majestic queen of the UK, whose reign started from February 1952.  Queen Elizabeth is a prominent royal and a Commonwealth figure. In September 2015, she surpassed the time records of Queen Victoria to pick a record as the longest-ruling UK monarch – actually, this record covers that of the whole world.

Queen Victoria

She is one of the most famous British queens. Victoria’s reign lasted from 1837 to 1901; that’s 64 good years of the Victorian era. She rose to the throne when she was still in her late teens. Victoria miraculously survived up to 5 assassination attempts on her life. In all, it only increased her fame and name as a real queen.

Read More:

Alexander the Great of Macedon

His name runs throughout history; he was an ancient king of Macedon. Alexander the Great was popular (and still popular) as a war-like conqueror. Ruling from about 356 to 323 BC, Alexander rode horses and conquered vast portions of Asia

Caligula of the Roman Empire

He was a tyrannical Roman Emperor who ruled from 12-42 AD. Caligula’s tenure was full of controversies. He loved to spend lavishly. Caligula famously built a floating bridge of length 2 miles, to serve as a platform for him to gallop over water along with a horse. He loved to scare his subjects by wearing a contorted face.

Caligula loved his horse so much; he built his horse a nice house and even planned to give it a royal appointment (a consult title). When the Romans grew cautious of Caligula’s growing madness, they murdered him in cold blood. This was a man who equated himself to God but couldn’t foresee the hot death that would end his tyrannical rule.

See Also: 10 Great Roman Emperors and their Accomplishments

Ivan the Terrible of Russian Monarchy

He was a Russian Emperor (tsar). Also known as Ivan IV, his nickname says a lot about him; his threatening demeanor was more than the devil himself. Ivan took delight in torturing and executing noble members. In 1564, when he was satisfied with the power, he opted to resign, but he didn’t. In 1581, he did the unthinkable act by murdering his biological son (who was supposed to inherit him); he used a sharp staff to strike down his son, but still went down into Russian history as a respected ruler.

Haile Selassie I of Ethiopian Monarchy

Ruling from 1930 to 1974, He was the last Ethiopian Emperor. Selassie was an illustrious ruler who emphasized the need for Africans to unite themselves. Even today, many Pan-Africanists look up to him for inspiration. Selassie would have loved to rule longer but a military coup dethroned him in 1974; this completely abolished the Ethiopian monarchy.   The Jamaican Rastafarian movement holds Haile Selassie in high esteem.

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