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The Most Important Leaders in World History

List Criteria: Remember: "most important" doesn't necessarily mean "best."

For good or for bad, our leaders can be powerful forces for change in the world. But who are the most impaction people to ever hold prominent positions of power? This is a list of the most important and influential leaders in the history of the world.

Who are the most important world leaders? Anyone can vote on this definitive list of the men and women who shaped our civilization – for better or worse – making it a collaborative list of the greatest leaders of all time.

Visionaries, pragmatists, conquerors, and humanitarians all share this list. Rank these famous world leaders in terms of importance and add anyone you see missing. But remember: the most influential leaders (those who changed the face of world politics and forever altered their own countries) weren't necessarily good leaders. Some famous conquerors changed the world but let destruction in their wake. Others actually worked for the good of their people and became the great leaders in history.

So, who are the historical leaders that left their permanent mark (for good or bad)? Find out below!

The Most Important Leaders in World History Politicians
  • 186 ReRanks
    • Women
    • Men
    • Age
    • Region
  • 2 See list ranked by
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  1. 1
    + 6055
    - 4001

    the people's #1 & most listed
    Alexander The Great

  2. 2
    + 4284
    - 3553


    Ajaccio, France

    ;
  3. 3
    + 3657
    - 2839


    ;
  4. 4
    + 2763
    - 2135

    added by DaleGribble
    Schönhausen, Germany Lead to the unification of Germany in 1871, and first chancellor of the German Empire.

    ;
  5. 5
    + 4925
    - 3400


    Virginia, USA

    ;
  6. 6
    + 4293
    - 3164


    Rome, Italy

    ;
  7. 7
    + 3219
    - 2660


    Palace of Placentia, London, England

    ;
  8. 8
    + 3075
    - 2735


    Francia

    ;
  9. 9
    + 2697
    - 2221

    added by Polar Bear
    Joan of Arc Turned the tide in the Hundred Years' War. Was burned by the British suppressors. French national heroine.

    ;
  10. 10
    + 2554
    - 2192

    often listed
    Duchy of Normandy

    ;
  11. 11
    + 5356
    - 3756

    ranked low on reranks
    Hodgenville, Kentucky, USA

    ;
  12. 12
    + 5691
    - 4169


    Porbandar, India

    ;
  13. 13
    + 5420
    - 4684

    often listed
    Braunau am Inn, Austria

    ;
  14. 14
    + 7764
    - 4053


    Thessaloniki, Greece

    ;
  15. 15
    + 4582
    - 3651


    Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, United Kingdom

    ;
  16. 16
    + 1705
    - 981

    ranked low on reranks & added by Polar Bear
    Moscow, Russia Important Russian Tsar from 1682 - 1721, enforced the Europeanisation of Russia. Maybe the greatest Tsar ever.

    ;
  17. 17
    + 1600
    - 1500

    often listed & added by Polar Bear
    Arminius Turned the tide in the endless wars for Germanic independence against the Roman suppressors with his great victory in the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest in the year 9.

    ;
  18. 18
    + 4463
    - 3258


    Martin Luther King Jr.

  19. 19
    + 4417
    - 3301


    Mvezo, South Africa

    ;
  20. 20
    + 2301
    - 1424


    Shadwell, Virginia, USA

    ;
  21. 21
    + 1171
    - 993

    added by Polar Bear
    Otto I the Great, Holy Roman Emperor Great German King, stopped the Magyar invasion of Europe in 955. Founder of the Holy Roman Empire in 962.

    ;
  22. 22
    + 1352
    - 1045

    added by Polar Bear
    Richard I. of England Great English king and Duke of Normandy in the 12th century, glorious crusader, scored much great victories against Muslim armies.

    ;
  23. 23
    + 1588
    - 1855

    often listed & Ranked High on Reranks
    Gori, Georgia

    ;
  24. 24
    + 2193
    - 1275

    ranked low on reranks
    Boston, Massachusetts, USA

    ;
  25. 25
    + 1460
    - 1090


    Wantage, England

    ;
  26. 26
    + 2059
    - 1417


    Brookline, Massachusetts, USA

    ;
  27. 27
    + 1421
    - 915

    added by Polar Bear
    Leif Ericson Brave Viking explorer, discovered Vinland (America) in circa 1000 AD.

  28. 28
    + 1733
    - 1392


    Niš, Serbia

    ;
  29. 29
    + 671
    - 479

    added by mikado
    Nebuchadnezzar II

  30. 30
    + 2643
    - 1751


    Sultan Mehmed II

  31. 31
    + 1767
    - 1230

    added by kismarton0707
    atilla the hun

  32. 32
    + 925
    - 711

    added by Polar Bear
    Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden Great Swedish king, turned the tide in the 30 years war for the protestant side.

  33. 33
    + 2258
    - 1900


    ;
  34. 34
    + 975
    - 813

    added by Polar Bear
    William I., German Emperor Founder of the Second German Empire. Together with his Minister President Bismarck he united Prussia and the North-Western principalities to the North German Confederation in 1866. Five years later,

    ;
  35. 35
    + 539
    - 446

    added by mikado
    Rome, Italy

    ;
  36. 36
    + 1289
    - 1040


    Athens, Greece

    ;
  37. 37
    + 659
    - 631

    added by Polar Bear
    Dmitry Donskoy Defeated the Tatars at the Battle of Kulikovo in 1380. First step of the liberation of the Russian people from the Mongolic suppressors.

    ;
  38. 38
    + 1948
    - 1471

    added by ozgursuer
    Suleyman The Magnificent The Shadow of God and The Great Khan

  39. 39
    + 641
    - 605

    added by Polar Bear
    Croatia Great Ostrogothic king, defeated Italian king Odoacer. Temporary united Ostrogoths and Visigoths.

    ;
  40. 40
    + 1365
    - 1501


    Saint Petersburg, Russia

    ;
  41. 41
    + 1053
    - 1542

    often listed
    Shaoshan, China

    ;
  42. 42
    + 1087
    - 950


    Babylon, Iraq

    ;
  43. 43
    + 986
    - 969

    often listed
    Kensington Palace, London, England

    ;
  44. 44
    + 376
    - 352

    often listed & added by sebbzor
    Huntingdon, United Kingdom

    ;
  45. 45
    + 258
    - 151

    added by Polar Bear
    Charles Martel Definitely stopped the Arab invasion of Europe by his victory in the Battle of Tours in 732.

    ;
  46. 46
    + 417
    - 162

    ranked low on reranks
    Sparta, Greece

    ;
  47. 47
    + 617
    - 394

    added by mikado
    Robert E. Lee

  48. 48
    + 729
    - 569


    Catherine the Great

  49. 49
    + 611
    - 380

    added by mikado
    Erwin Rommel

  50. 50
    + 805
    - 607

    added by Polar Bear
    Eric the Red Great viking explorer. Founded the first European settlement in Greenland.

    ;
416 +

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