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14 Animals That Changed the World

By Becky Ferreira Jun 17, 2013

8 of 15

The Monkey Assassin

The idea of kings being killed by animals seems Medieval, but monarchs in the modern world have been brought down by animals too. In October 1920, King Alexander of Greece was wandering through some gardens when his dog started fighting a Barbary macaque. When Alexander attempted to separate the two, another macaque swooped in to stand up for his kinsmen, and bit the Greek king. The wound became infected, killing Alexander at only 27, and throwing the Greek monarchy into turmoil. The resulting political instability and the bitter Greco-Turkish war that followed it prompted Winston Churchill's observation that "it is perhaps no exaggeration to remark that a quarter of a million persons died of this monkey bite."

Tags: history, animals, slideshows, nature, books-and-comics, the roman empire

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About the Author
Becky Ferreira

Becky Ferreira is a writer, performer, and raptor based in New York.

Wanna contact a writer or editor? Email contribute@sparknotes.com.