11 Ridiculous Crimes That Carried the Death Penalty Before Queen Victoria

When England was on the cusp of the Victorian era in the 1820s, there were more thanĀ 200Ā offenses that were punishable by death. They ranged in severity from mass murder to consorting with “Gypsies,” but thanks to the so-called “Bloody Code,” all took the same toll: a public hanging. By the time Victoria took the throne in 1837, that number had dwindled to 15; by 1860, there were only four ways to get officially killed by theĀ English state.

How could there beĀ so manyĀ capital crimes in the Georgian/early-Victorian era? What were the crimes? Many of them were crimes straight out ofĀ CSI, such asĀ rape, murder, and brutal assaults. But others seem insane to modern sensibilities, such asĀ looting shipwrecks, cutting down trees, and writing threatening letters. Read on for a peek into the minds of Georgian and early-Victorian legislators.

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