In addition to the actions of leaders and heroes, spies have played a significant role in ending many of the battles and wars that have defined human history. The ten betrayals that altered the path of history are listed below.

10 Most Famous Betrayals in the World History
Top 10 Most Famous Betrayals In The World's History

Top 10 Most Famous Betrayals In The World's History

1. Satellite Spy (Christopher John Boyce)

Boyce and his childhood friend Andrew Daulton Lee made some money for the Soviet Union by selling spy satellite data and other government materials. Boyce began robbing banks in 1980 after he escaped from jail in 1977. In 2002, he was granted official parole release following his apprehension once more.

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2. Ephialtes Trachian – A greed-driven traitor

10 Most Famous Betrayals in the World History

Tens of thousands of warriors under the command of the Persian king Xerxes I engaged Greek military forces under King Leonidas of Sparta in the Battle of Thermopylae in 480 BCE. When it appeared that the Persians would lose, Xerxes was shown a route around the Spartan army by a local Greek named Ephialtes of Trachis, with the intention of receiving a large reward. It was to be expected that Xerxes won. Ephialtes, regrettably, never got his promised reward, and to make matters worse, he was soon beheaded for treachery. In the end, Ephialtes was killed in 470 BCE.

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3. John Walker

John Anthony Walker appeared to be a decent man at first glance. After rising through the ranks of the US Navy, he left in 1976 to pursue a career as a private investigator. However, his former spouse exposed his dark activities. Following severe financial difficulties, Walker began selling the Soviet Union secret material in 1967.

He enlisted his own brother and son into the spy ring after leaving the navy. The information he gave the USSR was extremely harmful. In essence, they could locate US ships anywhere in the world. Walker entered into a plea agreement with detectives in 1985 and was handed a life sentence. 2014 saw his death in prison.

Walker was able to pull off the biggest treason in naval history for 20 years before he was finally arrested by the FBI in 1985. His arrest came about thanks to his wife reporting him to the FBI after the divorce. of them when he refused to pay her spousal support. His espionage severely damaged the navy and allowed the Soviet Union to gain significant access to naval warfare.

4. La Malinche: An essential betrayer

Hernán Cortés led the Spanish invasion of Mexico in 1519–1520, and the Nahua-born American slave La Malinche made history. La Malinche was eventually sold multiple times before coming into Cortés' service. Her charms soon won the conquistador over, and she turned out to be crucial to his triumph.

La Malinche was a gifted language learner who frequently assisted Cortés as a counselor and interpreter, especially during the conflict with the Aztecs. To the disadvantage of her own people, La Malinche, a cunning strategist, assisted the Spanish in capturing the Yucatán Peninsula.

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5. The USA and the Rosenbergs

During the height of the Cold War, a married couple with communist tendencies, the Rosenbergs, sold the Soviet Union nuclear secrets. In addition to assisting with the covert information sharing, Julius Rosenberg helped the Soviet Union enlist more spies.

In 1950, he was arrested along with his wife Ethel, whose involvement, if any, is still up for debate. On June 19, 1953, both were put to death for plotting to sell Russia nuclear secrets during a contentious trial.

6. Guy Fawkes: The Plot to Find Gunpowder

10 Most Famous Betrayals in the World History

Guy Fawkes was an explosives specialist in the Spanish army before he joined a group of Catholic anarchists who planned the abortive attack on King James I's court on November 5, 1605. Known as the Gunpowder Plot, Fawkes was tasked with lighting the fuse for the explosion of many gunpowder barrels beneath the London Houses of Parliament.

The authorities surprised Fawkes as he was standing close to the casks in Westminster's cellar. Before he could explode them, he was taken into custody. Before Fawkes was executed by hanging, he was detained and subjected to torture at the Tower of London.

7. The first Black double agent in American history, James Armistead Lafayette

10 Most Famous Betrayals in the World History

African-American slave James Armistead worked as a double agent for the United States, infiltrating the ranks of the British army. The Marquis de Lafayette, whose French troops were allied with the Americans, had the notion to send Armistead to win over the British during the height of the American Revolutionary War (1775 to 1783).

The British hired him as a spy, proving that the plan was successful. James Armistead made use of his special position to give the Americans important documents, including British military plans. The intelligence he was able to gather in 1781 greatly aided the American victory at the Battle of Yorktown.

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8. Robert Ford: The individual who eliminated Jesse James

In 1880, Robert "Bob" Ford got to know infamous robber Jesse James and joined his criminal organization. Two members of James's gang sought safety in Ford's sister's house in 1882. After the two men got into a fight, Ford killed one of them.

Though he was apprehended promptly, he was able to hold talks with the Missouri governor. Ford agreed to kill Jesse James in return for his release, a pardon for the murder, and the reward money. Ford shot the bandit in the head after waiting for him to turn around after accepting the invitation to the James family.

9. Benedict Arnold: The perfect example of a traitor from America

During the American Revolutionary War, Benedict Arnold served as a commander in the American Continental Army. He plotted with the British to seize the American fort at West Point in 1780 in return for £20,000 and the promise of a command in the British army. Arnold was forced to run when the conspiracy was uncovered.

However, the British gave him £6,000 and the title of brigadier general. Even after all these years, Americans are still familiar with the West Point treason plan and consider Benedict Arnold to be the height of national traitors.

10. The gorgeous double agent, Mata Hari

During the Belle Époque era, Margaretha Zelle, often known as Mata Hari, was a well-liked dancer and courtesan in Parisian cabarets. She was also a symbol of female espionage. When the First World War started in 1914, the Germans chose Mata Hari to be a spy because of her connections to the elite of Paris.

After a year, she received an offer from France to work as a German spy. She consented to use her charm to coerce information out of her clients, the Germans this time. The French government suspected Hari of counterespionage, and in 1917 Hari was found guilty and executed by firing squad at the Château de Vincennes.

In Summary

Seduction, power struggles, envy, money,... The reasons for betrayal are as varied as the traitors themselves, and those who commit acts of betrayal are not all same. For instance, the following list features everyone from government employees and double spies to a dancer from the Roaring Twenties.

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