The names of some autocratic leaders in history include Idi Amin, Caligula, Mobutu Sese Seko, Ivan the Terrible and Muammar al-Qaddafi. Leaders of autocratic governments maintain absolute power over the affairs of their countries.
Mobutu Sese Seko Kuku Ngbendu Wa Za Banga, born Joseph-Desire Mobutu, was president of the Democratic Republic of the Congo from 1965 to 1997. His political career was preceded by a life in the military as he was forced to join his country's colonial army in an effort to avoid prison time. A studious man, Mobutu furthered his education while in the army by reading the works of philosophers and powerful men. His desire for information eventually led him to a career in journalism, in which he cultivated relationships with influential politicians. He rose to power with the support of Belgium and the United States, establishing an autocratic government along the way.
Ivan IV Vasilyevich, popularly known as Ivan the Terrible, was the Grand Prince of Moscow from 1533 to 1547 and Tsar of All the Russias from 1547 till death. Claiming the title of the first tsar of all Russia, he radically transformed his government, establishing an autocracy and centralized government by suppressing the aristocracy that stood against him. He enjoyed great popularity among the common people.