All About History

10 Greatest Kingmakers

Among the many things that history can teach us, it’s clear that succession – whether royal or political – is not as straightforward as you might presume. As the term would suggest, a kingmaker is a person or group who’s instrumental in arranging these successions, either because they’re not eligible themselves or they don’t want the position. Usually, historical kingmakers were well connected politically and some of them even had ties with the military too, which gave them the ability to manoeuvre successions as they saw fit – often through the means of manipulation and bloodshed. Even though these kingmakers did not take the top job for themselves, they often sought to exert their power and influence through the people they chose, to varying degrees of success, although not every kingmaker had this goal in mind. There have been plenty of times in history where the true power lay behind the scenes and there are many historical figures who can be described as kingmakers. Here, we’ve chosen ten people who certainly prove how diverse the term ‘kingmaker’ can really be.

The Sayyid Brothers

Lived: Sayyid Abdullah Khan, 1666-1722 Sayyid Hussain Ali Khan Barha, c.1668-1720 Where: Mughal Empire

The kingmakers of the Mughal Empire and the power behind the throne, the Sayyid Brothers chose, installed and removed several puppet kings who had no independent control or influence. Following the death of Emperor Aurangzeb in 1707, the brothers supported Bahādur Shah I in his successful bid to overthrow his

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