Modernisation has been the motto of many a ruler. But Emperor Menelik II (1844-1913) of Abyssinia (now Ethopia) takes the cake with the cherry on the top. On hearing of the new modernised way of killing convicts – the electric chair (first used on August 6, 1890) – the emperor decided to implement it in his country. He put an order for three such chairs with the American manufacturer.

When the delivery arrived and a trial run had to be conducted, it was discovered that the chairs needed electricity to carry out their desired function. And Abyssinia had no electricity. The progressive emperor couldn’t let his investment go wasted. He adopted one of them as his imperial throne.

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