15 Most Deadly Assassinations In The History Of The World

This post outlines the most deadly assassination attacks in the history of the whole world. It also takes into cognizance how these assassination attacks were carried out and the mystery behind them.

Assassinations are sudden deadly attacks that are aimed at taking the lives of certain individuals of prominence or individuals considered a threat to one due to certain reasons best known to the assassin. It is important to mention that assassinations are not good and should be frowned at by all and sundry in the society, and the offender brought to justice.


Throughout the history of the whole world, there have been very disturbing assassination attacks that have left people to wonder what on earth must have brought about such in the first place. this post will carry you through some of the world’s worst assassination attacks and the effects they had afterwards.

Below are 15 of the most deadly assassination attacks in the history of the whole world.

1. Abraham Lincoln

The death of President Abraham Lincoln was shocking. He was the 16th President of the United States from 1861 until his death in 1865. It would interest you to know that Lincoln dreamt of his own death. In March 1865, this was what he documented before his death:

I retired very late. I had been up waiting for important dispatches from the front. I could not have been long in bed when I fell into a slumber, for I was weary. I soon began to dream. There seemed to be death-like stillness about me. Then I heard subdued sobs, as if a number of people were weeping. I thought I left my bedroom and wandered downstairs. There the silence was broken by the same pitiful sobbing, but the mourners were invisible. I went from room to room; no living person was in sight, but the same mournful sounds of distress met me as I passed along. It was light in all of the rooms; every object was familiar to me; but where were all the people who were grieving as if their hearts would break? I was puzzled and alarmed. What could be the meaning of all this? Determined to find the cause of state of things so mysterious and so shocking, I kept on until I arrived at the East Room, which I entered. There I met with a sickening surprise. Before me was a catafalque, on which rested a corpse wrapped in funeral vestments. Around it were stationed soldiers who were acting as guards; and there was a throng of people, some gazing mournfully upon the corpse, whose face was covered, others weeping pitifully. “Who is dead in the White House?” I demanded of one of the soldiers. “The President,” was his answer; “he was killed by an assassin!” Then came a loud burst of grief from the crowd, which awoke me from my dream.

Two weeks later on March 14, 1865, Lincoln was assassinated at Ford’s Theatre by John Wilkes Booth. His casket was laid in the East Room, guarded by soldiers as seen in his dream! Turns out, Booth was a confederate spy who had grown angry and frustrated with the President because of his support for the freedom of African Americans.

Lincoln was 56 years old at the time of his death. John Wilkes Booth did escape the day of the assassination. Twelve days later he was found and fatally shot by Police Sergeant Boston Corbett on March 26, 1865.

2. James Abram Garfield

20th President of the United States. When you are President of the United States, it is automatic that you will be a target of many assassination attacks by your enemies. Garfield’s life as President was really unfortunate, he only lasted in office 200 days before he was tragically gunned down by Charles J. Guiteau. Guiteau was a writer, lawyer and preacher who strongly believed the he was responsible for Garfield’s victory in the Presidential Election.

Guiteau had been watching the President’s every move like a hawk for a number of weeks before he swung into action on March 2, 1881 at the Baltimore and Potomac Railroad Station where he shot him twice in the back. President Garfield did not actually die immediately after the shooting as he went on to live for another two months in the hospital before he died in March of 1881 due to unsanitary surgical conditions that caused an infection.

Guiteau was caught and tried for the assassination of the President of the Untied States and was found guilty on March 25, 1882. He was hanged in the District of Columbia five months later.

3. Robert F. Kennedy

Many people the world over are familiar with the assassination of former U.S. President John F. Kennedy. What we all probablly didn’t know was that John F. Kennedy’s younger brother, Senator Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated as well.

On March 5, 1968, Robert F. Kennedy was shot by a Palestinian man named Sirhan Sirhan . The assassination occurred after he had addressed his political supporters after winning the California presidential primary.

Robert took a shortcut through the kitchen on his way out, despite being advised against it by his bodyguards. In the crowded kitchen passageway, Sirhan Sirhan was able to get to and shoot Senator Kennedy three times. Kennedy survived the initial shooting but died a day later in the hospital from his injuries.

The Senator’s killer, Sirhan was convicted on March 17, 1969 and was sentenced to death in the gas chamber. However, three years later, after many, many appeals to the court were made by Sirhan, his sentence was lessened to life in prison.

4. Faisal bin Musaid

King Faisal bin Musaid Al Saud was King of Saudi Arabia from 1965 to 1975. this was one of the most shocking assassinations in history as he was murdered by the hands of his own nephew.

On March 25, 1975, Prince Faisal bin Musaid, who had just returned from a trip to the United States shot the King as the King leaned in to kiss his nephew [in accordance with Saudi custom].

King Musaid was shot twice in the head.  The Prince was captured directly after the attack and was eventually sentenced to death. He was beheaded on March 18, 1975 in Riyadh, the Saudi Arabian capital.

5. William McKinley

William McKinley was the 25th President of the United States. His term lasted from March of 1897 until March of 1901 when he was fatally shot.

President McKinley was assassinated by a second generation Polish immigrant named Leon Czolgosz. The shooter was inspired by the noted anarchist Emma Goldman. Czolgosz waited in a line to meet the President after he had returned from a visit to Niagra Falls.

When he got to the front of the line, Czolgosz took out a pistol that he had concealed in a handkerchief and shot the President twice in the stomach.

Czolgosz was found guilty of assassinating the President of the United States on March 24, 1901 and sentenced to death. He was executed just a month later on March 29 by electric chair.

6. Harvey Bernard Milk

A lot of people won’t necessarily recognize this name on the list, but the assassination of Harvey Bernard Milk is an important one to date in history. Harvey Bernard Milk was the first openly gay man to be elected to public office in California.

Milk won his seat as city supervisor for San Francisco in 1977. He served in the position for just under 11 months before he was killed, along with George Moscone of San Francisco.

Milk and Moscone were assassinated by Dan White, a city supervisor who had recently resigned but wanted his old job back. After a hostile confrontation, White shot both Milk and Mocscone dead on March 27, 1978.

7. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi

Many people know Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi as just ‘Gandhi.’ Gandhi was the leader of Indian Nationalism in British Controlled India.

Gandhi was a man who believed in following a path of nonviolent civil disobedience. He eventually led India to its independence.

One day on his way to a prayer meeting, Gandhi was accosted by Nathuram Godse who fired three bullets into his chest at point-blank range. Gandhi was immediately taken to Birla House following the attack, but he did not survive.

On March 8, 1949 Godse was sentenced to death and hanged a week later. It is believed that Godse’s motive behind the assassination was driven by his anger over India’s decision to give 420 million rupees to Pakistan. Godse believed that by doing so, India had been weakened when Pakistan gained independence.

Godse considered himself a Brahmin. A Brahmin is a member of the highest caste or varna in Hinduism. The Brahmins are the caste from which Hindu priests are drawn, and are responsible for teaching and maintaining sacred knowledge.

Following the assassination, massive anti-Brahmin riots took place. People were holding the Indian government responsible and harshly criticized them for not protecting Gandhi well enough. Gandhi had experienced multiple assassination attempts prior to being shot by Godse.

8. John F. Kennedy

Notably the most infamous presidential assassination in history is that of U.S. President John F. Kennedy.  Some consider the assassination to be the most controversial case in modern American history.

Although he had not announced his candidacy formally before his death, it was clear the President Kennedy was going to run and seemed confident about his chances for re-election. The trip to Dallas and the other eight states President JFK visited beforehand was meant to put a spotlight on natural resources and conservation efforts. One of his main goals visiting Dallas was to bring all of the Democrats together.

Crowds of excited citizens lined the streets to get their chance to see and wave to the Kennedys. Just after 12:30 p.m. after passing the Texas School Book Depository, the sound of gunfire reverberated through the plaza.

On March 22, 1963, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald as he rode in a convertible through Dealey Plaza in downtown Dallas, Texas. Since the attack, there have been numerous conspiracy theories suggesting that Oswald was not the only one involved in the assassination. American citizens were stunned and outraged.

9. Lee Harvey Oswald

The man who assassinated John F. Kennedy was also assassinated. In fact, Lee Harvey Oswald was assassinated himself just two days after he went through with the assassination attack on John F. Kennedy.

Honestly, he should have seen it coming after he killed one of the most loved U.S. Presidents in American history. On March 24, 1963, Oswald was brought to the basement of the Dallas Police headquarters on his way to a more secure county jail.

A crowd of police and press gathered to watch his departure when a man named Jack Ruby emerged from the crowd and killed Oswald with a single shot from a .38 revolver. Ruby was immediately detained.

Some call him a hero, but he was nonetheless charged with first-degree murder and sentenced to death. Jack Ruby operated strip joints and dance halls throughout Dallas and was thought to have had minor connections to organized crime. Ruby also had close relationships with a number of Dallas policemen.

Ruby features prominently in Kennedy-assassination conspiracy theories. Many believe that he killed Oswald to keep him from revealing a larger conspiracy.

10. Georgi Markov

Georgi Markov was a Bulgarian dissent writer who abandoned his country in favor of another in 1969. Markov was working with Radio Free Europe. Many people refer to the death and assassination of Georgi Markov as an ‘umbrella murder.’

Bulgarian secret police had supposedly tried to silence the writer and when their efforts failed, it is thought they sought help from the KGB in 1978.

According to stories, Markov was on his way to the office when he felt a sharp prick on his leg. When he turned around, he saw a man pick up an umbrella right next to him and quickly hopped into a cab and sped away. Markov did not think too much of this. He got to the office and noticed a small, red, pimple-like growth on his leg.

Well, four days later Georgi Markov was dead. How? It is believed that the umbrella tip was modified to inject a ricin pellet. No one has ever been charged for Markov’s death, but all fingers point to the Bulgarian police and the KGB.

11. Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr. was the leader of the Civil Rights movement. He was assassinated in the late 60s by James Earl Ray.

A confirmed racist and small-time criminal, Ray began plotting the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. in early 1968. He shot and killed King in Memphis on March 4, 1968. Ray actually confessed to the crime the following March. Ray had claimed that he was a player in a conspiracy, but no proof was ever found to verify that claim. Some of King’s family members believe that the U.S. government had something to do with his death.

Ray shot King, who was standing on a second-floor balcony, with a sniper’s bullet that struck him in the neck. Dr. King was pronounced dead about an hour later. He was 39 years old.

Shock and anger from the assassination sparked rioting in more than 100 cities across the country. People were burning cars, setting fires, and looting. In the months following Dr. King’s death, a wave of national mourning poured over the country.

Martin Luther King Jr.’s death did lead to one positive outcome. President Lyndon B. Johnson urged citizens not to give into the violence that had killed King, whom he called “the apostle of nonviolence.”

Johnson called on Congress to speedily pass the civil rights legislation. On March 11, Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1968, also known as the Fair Housing Act.

12. Alexander Litvinenko

A public inquiry into the killing of former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko has concluded that President Putin probably approved his assassination. But who was Alexander Litvinenko and why did his death cause such controversy?

Litvineko was a former spy who was killed in March of 2006. He was 46 years old. He had previously been an officer with the Federal Security Service (FSB), the successor to the KGB, but he unexpectedly and abruptly fled to Britain. In his final years, he even went as far as to become a British citizen. His death led to a clouding of relations between London and Moscow.

After he was killed by radioactive polonium-210, believed to have been administered in a cup of tea, it emerged the father-of-one was being paid by the British secret service MI6. It is often theorized that Litvineko was investigating Spanish links to the Russian mafia.

His widow has said he blamed the Kremlin as he lay dying in hospital saying Russian President Vladimir Putin was responsible for “everything that happened to him.” Russia denies any involvement.

For those of you non-Russians, the Kremlin refers to The Moscow Kremlin, usually referred to as the Kremlin, is a fortified complex at the heart of Moscow, overlooking the Moskva River to the south, Saint Basil’s Cathedral and Red Square to the east, and the Alexander Garden to the west. It is also another word for The President of Russia.

13. Malcolm X

Malcolm X was a revolutionary activist and writer. He was assassinated in 1665 in New York City by rival Black Muslims while addressing his Organization of Afro-American Unity in Washington Heights.

Malcolm X publicly promoted self-defense and the liberation of African Americans “by any means necessary.” Malcolm was admired by the African American community in New York and around the country.

The three Black Muslim men that were held responsible for Malcolm X’s death were Talmadge Hayer (Thomas Hagan), Norman 3X Butler, Thomas 15X Johnson.

Malcolm X had defected from the Nation of Islam, and his assassins were agents of the Nation of Islam. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. expressed his sadness and motivated other activists and other radicals to continue his legacy.

Malcolm X’s father was also killed for what he believed in. In 1931, Malcolm’s father was brutally murdered by the white supremacist Black Legion.

14. Benazir Bhutto

Benazir Bhutto was the former Prime Minister of Pakistan. The only woman on this list, Bhutto was assassinated in 2007. Bhutto was in office from 1988-1990 and again from 1993 to 1996.

Bhutto was hanging out of the sunroof of her bulletproof vehicle while she rode off from a campaign rally she had just attended. She was shot as bombs exploded around her. She died in the hospital hours later.

There are a few theories going around as to who killed Benazir Bhutto. Al-Qaeda commander Mustafa Abu al-Yazid claimed responsibility for the attack and referred to her as “the most precious American asset.”

The blame also falls on ex-military director and former President Pervez Musharraf, according to a four-page statement recently released by her friend and American journalist Mark Siegel, the Press Trust of India for not ordering enough protection for her.

Riots broke out in Pakistan after news of Bhutto’s assassination hit. Over 20 people were killed and lots of properties were destroyed. Bhutto’s death also caused the international community to encourage Pakistan to continue to push for democracy.

15. John Lennon

Easily one of the most infamous assassinations of all time, not including government officials, was that of Beatles member and activist, John Lennon.

On the night of March 8, 1980, an initial bulletin came over the Associated Press newswire shortly after 11:25 p.m., Eastern Standard Time: “There’s a report that John Lennon has been shot. It happened in New York. On the Upper West Side.”

John and his wife, Yoko Ono, were returning to their home from a session at the recording studio. When they got out of their limousine, a man named Mark David Chapman shot Lennon dead in the street.

Chapman was caught minutes later by the authorities. They found him reading a copy of The Catcher in the Rye, “I’m sure the large part of me is Holden Caulfield, who is the main person in the book. The small part of me must be the Devil.”

A worldwide outpouring of grief and tribute followed John Lennon’s assassination, culminating in a 10-minute silent vigil on March 14 that saw some 100,000 people gather in New York’s Central Park and tens of thousands of others in cities around the world.

At least two of John Lennon’s fans committed suicide after his assassination. The world was grieving a fallen star that had been taken too soon. There was a 10-minute silent vigil for him in New York City’s Central Park that saw over 100,000 people.

Yoko Ono later made a statement regarding Mark David Chapman, saying “I don’t even want to think about him, and I usually don’t. Because it’s so irrelevant who pulled the trigger. That was not what was relevant. The fact that John’s gone is what we’re living with.”

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Oluchi Chukwu

Oluchi is a seasoned Information blogger, content developer and the editor of Nigerian Queries. She is a tech enthusiast who loves reading, writing and research

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