A single person, called a dictator, holds absolute power in a dictatorship. As of October of 2014, there are 23 countries operating under a dictatorship including, Vietnam, Somalia, Syria, Cuba and Egypt.
The first dictatorships appeared during the 19th and 20th centuries. They took the place of traditional monarchies and it didn't take long for democracy and dictatorship to be the world's top major forms of government.
There are several forms of dictatorships recognized throughout the world. They include communist, fascist, religious, family and Third World. They are slightly different in their beliefs and the way they do things, but the one thing that remains constant is that each type of dictatorship is run by only one person. The citizens of countries under a dictatorship have no say in how the country is run.
Although dictatorships did not become popular until the 19th century, this form of government dates back to the Roman Empire. In times of emergency or crisis, Roman dictators were authorized to use absolute power. They were subject to laws, however, and these laws kept them from abusing the power they were given.
Two of the most infamous dictators in history were Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler. Both of these men were fascist dictators and this type of dictator differs tremendously from other forms of dictatorship.