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5 of the Most Ruthless Women in History

Updated on May 1, 2010

The women on the list are some of the most ruthless women throughout history. They have tortured, sexually abused, and murdered numerous individuals. Some of the women had a deeply misguided sense of righteousness and the rest are just pure sadists who enjoyed inflicting pain on their victims.

Elizabeth Bathory

Countess Elizabeth Bathory
Countess Elizabeth Bathory

One of the most ruthless and horrifying women in history Countess Elizabeth Bathory was born Aug. 7, 1560 in Esced, Hungary. She married Count Ferencz Nadasdy in 1575 and then relocated to Cachtice Castle.

After 29 years of marriage in 1604 Count Ferencz Nadasdy died and shortly after rumors began to surface about Bathory's cruel treatment of her female servants. As she only tortured and murdered servants no one cared.

In 1609 Elizabeth's luck began to change. She was accused of murdering girls of lower noble classes sent to her for schooling. She was tried in 1611 and sentenced to house arrest.

Darya Saltykova

Darya Saltykova b. 1730 d. 1801 was a Russian noblewoman accused of torturing and murdering at least 100 of her serfs. Most of the serfs she murdered were children and young girls Complaints about Saltykova were ignored by officials for a very long time until relatives of her victims were able to bring an official petiton before Catherine the Great who sentenced her to be chained to a public platform for one hour wearing a sign stating 'This Woman tortured and Murdered', Saltykova was later imprisoned in the basement of a convent for the remainder of her life.

Delphine Lalaurie

One of the most infamous figures in New Orleans history Madame Lalaurie was a socialite who lived in the French Quarter of New Orleans. Delphine allegedly killed, tortured and mutilated 100 of her slaves.

One of the most infamous stories of Lalaurie's cruelty involves an 8 year old slave girl who was brushing her hair. Lalaurie brutally beat the child who tried in vain to escape but fell to her death from a balcony.

Lalaurie was only fined $500 for her atrocities, and died leading a comfortable life in Paris.

Catalina de los Ríos y Lisperguer

Catalina de los RĂ­os y Lisperguer was a Chilean aristocrat often called "La Quintrala", she was extremely cruel to her tenants and slaves, torturing them and murdering them. She avoided punishment for years due to her extreme wealth, she was eventually tried for the murder of 40 peasants but she was not convicted due to her familial ties. She died in 1655 and her house was abandoned for many years due to fear that her malevolent spirit may live on.

Enriqueta Marti

Enriqueta Marti was born in Barcelona, Spain. She is an extremely disturbing figure in history, she was a child murderer and also a procuress of children for the purpose of prostitution.

Another way Enriqueta Marti made her living was by selling charms and potions to the wealthy of Barcelona. What they did not know is that in those potions were the ground up remains of her child victims.

Two girls, Angelita and Teresita, were rescued from her and told the police of Enriqueta's horrific crimes. Enriqueta was imprisoned in February 1912 and murdered by fellow prisoners three months later She was buried in a common grave in the mountains of Barcelona..

Most Evil

Who do you believe is the most ruthless of these women?

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    • profile image

      James Jeffrey Paul 

      7 years ago

      I think historians have determined that most of the stories about Delphine Lalaurie's cruelties are greatly exaggerated. When her house burned, according to exactly contemporary accounts, they did find some slaves chained up inside, and while the slaves had been awfully mistreated, they hadn't been murdered or subjected to the Gothic cruelties that popular imagination attributes to "Delphine."

      Still, fascinating webpage. Please post more online links to info on these "bad girls."

    • gmwilliams profile image

      Grace Marguerite Williams 

      8 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York

      I am quite familiar with Ms. Bathory however I did not know about the other four. Great hub.

    • Alastar Packer profile image

      Alastar Packer 

      8 years ago from North Carolina

      Your a person after my own heart. I'm fascinated by history too. Didn't know about any of these women except bathory and lalaurie(who believe ex-residence is haunted),so this hub was great to read. Look forward to ck. out more.

    • hassam profile image


      9 years ago from Pakistan

      That's brutal!

    • CrystalStarWoman profile image


      9 years ago from Pevensey Bay, East Sussex, England

      Very interesting hub! Welcome to Hubpages :)

    • Super Chef profile image

      Super Chef 

      9 years ago from Around the world

      Excellent first hub and welcome to hubpages!!!!!!!

    • DevLin profile image


      9 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      And people wonder why I say women scare me.

    • christopheranton profile image

      Christopher Antony Meade 

      9 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom

      Good but chilling hub. The list could be continued to our own time, e.g Elena Ceaucescu, and Chiang Ching,(Madame Mao).

      Thank you.

    • Rochelle Frank profile image

      Rochelle Frank 

      9 years ago from California Gold Country

      Hard to say who was worst. Most of them were powerful and wealthy, obviously proving that power can power can corrupt. I don't believe I have ever heard of any of these before.

    • myownworld profile image


      9 years ago from uk

      Amazing hub! (a little unnerving too!) Keep up the good work and welcome here... :)


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