Weekly insights into our crazy world.

Thursday, June 7, 2012



On Sunday, all of Britain celebrated Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee.  The 86-year-old superstar has officially been on the throne for sixty years.  While that is a very long time, she still needs to serve another twenty-three years to be the all-time longest reigning monarch of all time.  Who managed to rule for longer than sixty years?  Let's find out!  Here's the list of Longest Reigning Monarchs of All Time:

#7. Emperor Hirohito. Japan. 62 years.   Talk about a survivor!  We're talking six-plus decades of drama.  First, in 1921, the Emperor visited Europe and put the reclusive nation on the map.  Furiously motivated, he returned home and industrialized Japan seemingly overnight.   Next, he conquered Asia...Siberia, Samoa, Singapore, Siam...you name it!  Then he showed great humility on August 15th, 1945, when he begged the world for forgiveness...and kept his crown.   

#6. Queen Victoria.  England. 63 years. The most powerful woman ever.  It's true: The sun never set on her empire.  Even today, the sun never sets on places named after her.  Let's see...there's Victoria Peak in Hong Kong...and Lake Victoria in Africa.  The Victoria Strait leads to the Arctic Ocean while Victoria Falls is the largest on earth.  The city of Victoria is in Canada while the state of Victoria is in Australia.

Poor Franz Joseph.
#5. Eleanor of Aquitaine. 66 years.  What makes Eleanor so impressive, is that her tenure as Queen was on two separate thrones: England and France!  After fifteen years, she had her marriage to King Louis the Fat annulled for obvious reasons.  Next, she married Henry the Second of England and reigned until her death, fifty years later.

#4. Pakal the Great. Maya. 68 years.  Our only representative from the Western Hemisphere, Pakal ascended to the throne in the year 615.  He was only twelve years old.  During his long reign, the capital Palenque grew into a massive city, trailing only Xian in China and Constantinople in overall population.

#3. Franz Joseph. Austria-Hungary. 68 years.  Historians love Franz because his personal life mirrored his professional life.  When he came to the throne in 1848, the great Austrian Empire stretched from Rome to the Rhine to Romania.  During his long reign, he watched it slowly disappear...piece by piece.  Simultaneously, his family life deteriorated in a similar fashion.  His brother, Max was shot by a firing squad in Mexico.  His wife, Empress Eleanor was also assassinated ten years later.  His son, Prince Rudolf committed suicide.  Finally, the killing of his nephew, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, started a World War.

#2. Louis XIV. France. 72 years.  The Sun King was originally called the "Gift from God," as his parents had been trying to conceive a child for twenty years.  While he is largely remembered today for his opulent palaces like Versailles and the Louvre, we here at the DUNER BLOG admire his penchant for bureaucracy.  With the help of finance minister Jean Colbert, he created the first modern state.

#1. King Sobhuza II. Swaziland. 83 years.  Crowned 'Paramount Chief" at the age of three months, Sobhuza the Second managed to accomplish what few other African monarchs could: He kept his land!  Even today, the tiny landlocked country is recognized by the United Nations.  We are also impressed by his virility.  He had 70 wives and 210 children.  Today, over 1,000 people in Swaziland are his grandchildren. 

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