Saturday, September 1, 2012

Complete List of 100 Most Influential Persons in History

The following list of influential figures from world history comes from Michael H. Hart's book The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History. In the book, Hart provides brief biographies of each of the individuals, as well as reasons for their ranking. The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History is a 1978 book by Michael H. Hart, reprinted in 1992 with revisions. Now let's take a look at the complete list of 100 most influential persons in history...


1. Prophet Muhammad (s.a.a.w.), Secular and religious leader ( 570 – 632 AD )


The central human figure of Islam, regarded by Muslims as a prophet of God and the last messenger. Active as a social reformer, diplomat, merchant, philosopher, orator, legislator, military leader, humanitarian, philanthropist.

2. Isaac Newton, Scientist ( 1643 – 1727 )


English physicist, mathematician, astronomer, natural philosopher, alchemist, and theologian. His law of universal gravitation and three laws of motion laid the groundwork for classical mechanics.

3. Jesus Christ, Spiritual leader ( 7–2 BC – 26–36 AD )


The central figure of Christianity, revered by Christians as the Son of God and the incarnation of God. Also regarded as a major prophet in Islam.

4. Buddha, Spiritual leader ( 563 – 483 BC )


Spiritual teacher and philosopher from ancient India. Founder of Buddhism and is also considered an Gautama Buddha in Hinduism.

5. Confucius, Philosopher ( 551 – 479 BC )


Chinese thinker and social philosopher, founder of Confucianism, whose teachings and philosophy have deeply influenced Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Vietnamese and Indonesian thought and life.

6. Paul of Tarsus, Christian apostle ( 5 – 67 AD )


One of the most notable of early Christian missionaries, credited with proselytizing and spreading Christianity outside of Palestine (mainly to the Romans) and author of numerous letters of the New Testament of the Bible.

7. Cài Lún, Political official in imperial China ( 50 – 121 AD )  


Widely regarded as the inventor of paper and the papermaking process.

8. Johannes Gutenberg, Inventor ( 1398 – 1468 )  


German printer who invented the mechanical printing press.

9. Christopher Columbus, Explorer ( 1451 – 1506 )


Italian navigator, colonizer and explorer whose voyages led to general European awareness of the American continents.

10. Albert Einstein, Scientist ( 1879 – 1955 )


German theoretical physicist, best known for his theory of relativity and specifically mass–energy equivalence, expressed by the equation E = mc2.

11. Louis Pasteur - Catholic scientist; pasteurization

12. Galileo Galilei - Catholic astronomer; accurately described heliocentric solar system

13. Aristotle - Platonism / Greek philosophy influential Greek philosopher

14. Euclid - Platonism / Greek philosophy mathematician; Euclidian geometry

15. Moses - Judaism major prophet of Judaism and also regarded as a major prophet in Islam.

16. Charles Darwin - Anglican (nominal); Unitarian biologist; described Darwinian evolution, which had theological impact on many religions

17. Shih Huang Ti - Chinese traditional religion Chinese emperor

18. Augustus Caesar - Roman state paganism ruler

19. Nicolaus Copernicus - Catholic (priest) astronomer; taught heliocentricity.

20. Antoine Laurent Lavoisier - Catholic father of modern chemistry; philosopher; economist

21. Constantine the Great - Roman state paganism; Christianity Roman emperor who completely legalized Christianity, leading to its status as state religion. Convened the First Council of Nicaea that produced the Nicene Creed, which rejected Arianism (one of two major strains of Christian thought) and established Athanasianism (Trinitarianism, the other strain) as "official doctrine."

22. James Watt - Presbyterian (lapsed) developed steam engine

23. Michael Faraday - Sandemanian physicist; chemist; discovery of magneto-electricity

24. James Clerk Maxwell - Presbyterian; Anglican; Baptist physicist; electromagnetic spectrum

25. Martin Luther - Catholic; Lutheran founder of Protestantism and Lutheranism

26. George Washington - Episcopalian first president of United States

27. Karl Marx - Jewish; Lutheran; Atheist; Marxism/Communism founder of Marxism, Marxist Communism

28. Orville and Wilbur Wright - United Brethren inventors of airplane

29. Genghis Khan - Mongolian shamanism Mongol conqueror

30. Adam Smith - Liberal Protestant economist; philosopher; expositor of capitalism; author: The Theory of Moral Sentiments

31. Edward de Vere a.k.a. William Shakespeare - Catholic; Anglican literature; also wrote 6 volumes about philosophy and religion

32. John Dalton - Quaker chemist; physicist; atomic theory; law of partial pressures (Dalton's law)

33. Alexander the Great - Greek state paganism, conqueror

34. Napoleon Bonaparte - Catholic ( nominal ), French conqueror

35. Thomas Edison - Congregationalist; agnostic inventor of light bulb, phonograph, etc.

36. Antony van Leeuwenhoek - Dutch Reformed microscopes; studied microscopic life

37. William T.G. Morton - pioneer in anesthesiology

38. Guglielmo Marconi - Catholic and Anglican inventor of radio

39. Adolf Hitler - Nazism; born/raised in, but rejected Catholicism conqueror; led Axis Powers in WWII

40. Plato - Platonism / Greek philosophy founder of Platonism

41. Oliver Cromwell - Puritan (Protestant) British political and military leader

42. Alexander Graham Bell - Unitarian/Universalist inventor of telephone *

43. Alexander Fleming - Catholic penicillin; advances in bacteriology, immunology and chemotherapy

44. John Locke - raised Puritan (Anglican); Liberal Christian philosopher and liberal theologian

45. Ludwig van Beethoven - Catholic composer

46. Werner Heisenberg - Lutheran a founder of quantum mechanics; discovered principle of uncertainty; head of Nazi Germany's nuclear program

47. Louis Daguerre - an inventor/pioneer of photography

48. Simon Bolivar - Catholic (nominal); Atheist National hero of Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia

49. Rene Descartes - Catholic, Rationalist philosopher and mathematician

50. Michelangelo - Catholic, painter; sculptor; architect

51. Pope Urban II - Catholic, called for First Crusade

52. Umar ibn al-Khattab - Islam, Second Caliph; expanded Muslim empire

53. Asoka - Buddhism, king of India who converted to and spread Buddhism

54. St. Augustine - Greek state paganism; Manicheanism; Catholic Early Christian theologian

55. William Harvey - Anglican (nominal) described the circulation of blood; wrote Essays on the Generation of Animals, the basis for modern embryology

56. Ernest Rutherford - physicist; pioneer of subatomic physics

57. John Calvin - Protestant; Calvinism Protestant reformer; founder of Calvinism

58. Gregor Mendel - Catholic (Augustinian monk) Mendelian genetics

59. Max Planck - Protestant physicist; thermodynamics

60. Joseph Lister - Quaker principal discoverer of antiseptics which greatly reduced surgical mortality

61. Nikolaus August Otto - built first four-stroke internal combustion engine

62. Francisco Pizarro - Catholic, Spanish conqueror in South America; defeated Incas

63. Hernando Cortes - Catholic, conquered Mexico for Spain; through war and introduction of new diseases he largely destroyed Aztec civilization

64. Thomas Jefferson - Episcopalian; Deist 3rd president of United States

65. Queen Isabella I - Catholic, Spanish ruler

66. Joseph Stalin - Russian Orthodox; Atheist; Marxism revolutionary and ruler of USSR

67. Julius Caesar - Roman state paganism Roman emperor

68. William the Conqueror - Catholic laid foundation of modern England

69. Sigmund Freud - Jewish; atheist; Freudian psychology/psychoanalysis founded Freudian school of psychology/psychoanalysis (i.e., the "religion of Freudianism")

70. Edward Jenner - Anglican discoverer of the vaccination for smallpox

71. Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen - discovered X-rays

72. Johann Sebastian Bach - Lutheran; Catholic composer

73. Lao Tzu - Taoism, founder of Taoism

74. Voltaire - raised in Jansenism; later Deist writer and philosopher; wrote Candide

75. Johannes Kepler - Lutheran astronomer; planetary motions

76. Enrico Fermi - Catholic, initiated the atomic age; father of atom bomb

77. Leonhard Euler - Calvinist physicist; mathematician; differential and integral calculus and algebra

78. Jean-Jacques Rousseau - born Protestant; converted as a teen to Catholic; later Deist French deistic philosopher and author

79. Nicoli Machiavelli - Catholic, wrote The Prince (influential political treatise)

80. Thomas Malthus -  Anglican (cleric) economist; wrote Essay on the Principle of Population

81. John F. Kennedy - Catholic, U.S. President who led first successful effort by humans to travel to another "planet"

82. Gregory Pincus - Jewish, endocrinologist; developed birth-control pill

83. Mani - Manicheanism founder of Manicheanism, once a world religion which rivaled Christianity in strength

84. Lenin - Russian Orthodox; Atheist; Marxism/Communism Russian ruler

85. Sui Wen Ti - Chinese traditional religion unified China

86. Vasco da Gama - Catholic navigator; discovered route from Europe to India around Cape Hood

87. Cyrus the Great - Zoroastrianism founder of Persian empire

88. Peter the Great - Russian Orthodox forged Russia into a great European nation

89. Mao Zedong - Atheist; Communism; Maoism founder of Maoism, Chinese form of Communism

90. Francis Bacon - Anglican philosopher; delineated inductive scientific method

91. Henry Ford - Protestant developed automobile; achievement in manufacturing and assembly

92. Mencius - Confucianism philosopher; founder of a school of Confucianism

93. Zoroaster - Zoroastrianism founder of Zoroastrianism

94. Queen Elizabeth I - Anglican British monarch; restored Church of England to power after Queen Mary

95. Mikhail Gorbachev - Russian Orthodox Russian premier who helped end Communism in USSR

96. Menes - Egyptian paganism unified Upper and Lower Egypt

97. Charlemagne - Catholic, Holy Roman Empire created with his baptism in 800 AD

98. Homer - Greek paganism epic poet

99. Justinian I - Catholic Roman emperor; reconquered Mediterranean empire; accelerated Catholic-Monophysite schism

100. Mahavira - Hinduism; Jainism founder of Jainism

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