Whether by sword, axe or guillotine, death by beheading was historically considered the most humane form of death sentence—as long as the executioner was swift, strong and good at hitting his mark. While the practice was never legally supported in the United States, we do give the method a nod in this country whenever we use the term "capital punishment"; the word "capital" is derived from the Latin "capitalis," which translates to "of the head." Here are some of the most famous victims of this gruesome form of execution.
Vasco Núñez de Balboa
St. John the Baptist
Military Leader, Royalty / 1270 - 1305
William Wallace, a Scottish knight, became a central early figure in the wars to secure Scottish freedom from the English, becoming one of his country's greatest national heroes.
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profile name: Louis XVI profile occupation: King
profile id: 9196350
profile name: Vasco Núñez de Balboa profile occupation: Explorer
profile id: 17169742
profile name: Peter Kurten profile occupation: Serial Killer
profile id: 9218155
profile name: Anne Boleyn profile occupation: Queen
profile id: 9355623
profile name: St. John the Baptist profile occupation: Preacher, Prophet, Saint
profile id: 9522479
profile name: William Wallace profile occupation: Military Leader, Royalty
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