Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

10 Historically Pivotal Murders


Dec. 20, 2012: A woman breaks down while protesting against the rape and brutal assault of a 23-year-old woman in Delhi, India. The victim later died from her injuries, but her death sparked massive public protests in India and renewed focus on gender-based violence. Ramesh Sharma/India Today Group/Getty Images
Dec. 20, 2012: A woman breaks down while protesting against the rape and brutal assault of a 23-year-old woman in Delhi, India. The victim later died from her injuries, but her death sparked massive public protests in India and renewed focus on gender-based violence. Ramesh Sharma/India Today Group/Getty Images

Few crimes can alter the course of history more than a murder. An assassination can change the course of political history, but a murder is an isolated act that can send a chaotic shock wave through the public psyche with unpredictable results.

Over the next few pages, we'll chronologically look at some of the most influential murders in history. Some changed the way we look at human nature. Others spurred social change. A few resulted in hundreds of thousands more deaths. All turned their victims, and in some cases their killers, into legends.


More to Explore