The Most Important Leaders in World History Politicians
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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!

  • 143 ReRanks
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  1. 1
    + 3792
    - 2649

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

    ) open
  2. 2
    + 2604
    - 2277

    Died at 52 (1769-1821)

    ) open
  3. 3
    + 2813
    - 2020

    Died at 56 (99 BC-43 BC)

    ) open
  4. 4
    + 3599
    - 2134

    Died at 56 (1809-1865)

    ) open
  5. 5
    + 3037
    - 2095

    Died at 67 (1732-1799)

    ) open
  6. 6
    + 3651
    - 2380

    Died at 79 (1869-1948)

    ) open
  7. 7
    + 1987
    - 1666
    ) open
  8. 8
    + 2913
    - 2028

    Died at 91 (1874-1965)

    ) open
  9. 9
    + 1235
    - 1010

    added by DaleGribble Died at 83 (1815-1898) Lead to the unification of Germany in 1871, and first chancellor of the German Empire.

    ) open
  10. 10
    + 1681
    - 1600
    ) open
  11. 11
    + 5941
    - 2628

    ranked low on reranks Died at 57 (1881-1938)

    ) open
  12. 12
    + 1164
    - 972

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

    ) open
  13. 13
    + 2852
    - 1797

    ranked low on reranks Martin Luther King Jr.

    ) open
  14. 14
    + 1652
    - 1503

    often listed & ranked high on reranks Died at 70 (1533-1603)

    ) open
  15. 15
    + 2862
    - 1872

    ranked low on reranks Died at 95 (1918-2013)

    ) open
  16. 16
    + 1236
    - 1167

    often listed Died at 59 (1028-1087)

    ) open
  17. 17
    + 2911
    - 2815

    often listed & ranked high on reranks Died at 56 (1889-1945)

    ) open
  18. 18
    + 1335
    - 856

    ranked low on reranks Died at 83 (1743-1826)

    ) open
  19. 19
    + 1346
    - 802

    ranked low on reranks Died at 84 (1706-1790)

    ) open
  20. 20
    + 647
    - 724

    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.

    ) open
  21. 21
    + 2075
    - 1244

    Sultan Mehmed II

    ) open
  22. 22
    + 1278
    - 869

    Died at 46 (1917-1963)

    ) open
  23. 23
    + 890
    - 1112

    often listed & ranked high on reranks Died at 75 (1878-1953)

    ) open
  24. 24
    + 639
    - 580

    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.

    ) open
  25. 25
    + 711
    - 456

    added by Polar Bear Died at 53 (1672-1725) Important Russian Tsar from 1682 - 1721, enforced the Europeanisation of Russia. Maybe the greatest Tsar ever.

    ) open
  26. 26
    + 1619
    - 1292
    ) open
  27. 27
    + 1354
    - 906

    ranked low on reranks & added by ozgursuer Suleyman The Magnificent The Shadow of God and The Great Khan

    ) open
  28. 28
    + 439
    - 453

    often listed & 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.

    ) open
  29. 29
    + 1272
    - 755

    added by kismarton0707 atilla the hun

    ) open
  30. 30
    + 1074
    - 1070

    Died at 65 (272-337)

    ) open
  31. 31
    + 697
    - 520

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

    ) open
  32. 32
    + 842
    - 710

    Died at 50 (849-899)

    ) open
  33. 33
    + 1200
    - 940

    Died at 63 (1882-1945)

    ) open
  34. 34
    + 552
    - 512

    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,

    ) open
  35. 35
    + 522
    - 304

    added by Florenc Mother Teresa

    ) open
  36. 36
    + 1728
    - 1127

    ranked low on reranks

    ) open
  37. 37
    + 715
    - 678

    Died at 82 (1819-1901)

    ) open
  38. 38
    + 824
    - 774

    Died at 66 (494 BC-428 BC)

    ) open
  39. 39
    + 497
    - 416

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

    ) open
  40. 40
    + 316
    - 200

    added by Polar Bear Died at 59 (121-180)

    ) open
  41. 41
    + 362
    - 350

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

    ) open
  42. 42
    + 791
    - 931
    ) open
  43. 43
    + 711
    - 1112

    often listed Died at 83 (1893-1976)

    ) open
  44. 44
    + 159
    - 147

    added by mikado Nebuchadnezzar II

    ) open
  45. 45
    + 794
    - 757

    Died at 42 (1791 BC-1749 BC)

    ) open
  46. 46
    + 536
    - 391

    ranked low on reranks & added by Polar Bear Eric the Red Great viking explorer. Founded the first European settlement in Greenland.

    ) open
  47. 47
    + 146
    - 130

    added by mikado Died at 42 (39-81)

    ) open
  48. 48
    + 481
    - 443

    added by Polar Bear T. E. Lawrence of Arabia British Army officer, led the Arabian revolt against the Ottoman suppressors.

    ) open
  49. 49
    + 498
    - 358

    added by Polar Bear Philip II of Macedon

    ) open
  50. 50
    + 343
    - 377

    added by Polar Bear Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor Great Habsburg king and emperor, established the Habsburg dynasty in Spain.

    ) open
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