Most Powerful Evil Women of History

It’s always empowering to hear about women who fly past barriers and prove that no glass ceiling can hold them down. Every day, there are more and more role models for young girls to look up to, like Hillary Clinton, Beyoncé, Aung San Suu Kyi, or Malala Yousafzai.

However, with all of these positive role models, there are always some people who use their newfound power over others to accomplish their own markedly less positive goals. Here are some women throughout history who overcame barriers only to choose the negative path.

Elizabeth Bathory

Although the story of the Countess Elizabeth Bathory of Hungary is very interesting, it’s difficult to pick out the actual facts from the legend. Since her death in 1614, wild rumors have swirled about her: that she was a witch, or a vampire, or both. One myth was that she sought out young virgins specifically to bathe in their blood, but this was proved false.

What we do know is that Countess Bathory was probably the most prolific female serial killer of all time — the Guinness Book of World Records numbers her victims at 650. More than 300 witnesses testified against her at her trial, and they claimed that she enjoyed torturing young girls, whom she lured to her castle with the promise of well-paying jobs.

Public Domain

Public Domain

Maria ‘Chata’ Leon

Although some people would consider birthing and raising 13 children itself a remarkable feat, Maria Leon did that while also controlling one of the biggest drug and human trafficking rings in the United States. She was one of the leaders of The Avenues (Las Avenidas) Gang, based out of Los Angeles — a massive organization that had ties to the Mexican Mafia. The Avenues Gang made millions of dollars by charging a tax on all of the narcotics sold within their territory.


At least six of her children held positions of authority within the gang, and when she was captured in 2009, police ordered that her family home be burnt to the ground, since it was so contaminated from all of the drug activities that had gone on inside. After Maria was arrested, many gang members were forced to go underground to avoid a similar fate. / /

Biljana Plavsic

Biljana Plavsic was the former President of the Serb Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, before becoming one of two Vice-Presidents of the Republika Srpska (Serb Republic). She has remained infamous, even though the Bosnian Genocide ended ten years ago.

Many of her anti-Bosnian and anti-Muslim comments were circulated globally, and were a part of the case against her at her trial for war crimes in 2001. She was charged with two counts of genocide, five counts of crimes against humanity, among a list of other charges. Many of the comments that she made attempted to dehumanize Muslim Bosnians so it was easier for the public to accept the discriminatory policies that she enacted against them.

SSGT Lance Cheung / Public Domain

SSGT Lance Cheung / Public Domain

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