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!

  • 161 ReRanks
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  1. 1
    + 4966
    - 3469

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

  2. 2
    + 3452
    - 3025

    Ajaccio, France

    ) open
  3. 3
    + 4068
    - 2889

    Virginia, USA

    ) open
  4. 4
    + 2949
    - 2373
    ) open
  5. 5
    + 3621
    - 2778

    Rome, Italy

    ) open
  6. 6
    + 2112
    - 1687

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

    ) open
  7. 7
    + 2535
    - 2316
    ) open
  8. 8
    + 4584
    - 3148

    Hodgenville, Kentucky, USA

    ) open
  9. 9
    + 2113
    - 1760

    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
  10. 10
    + 2585
    - 2209

    Palace of Placentia, London, England

    ) open
  11. 11
    + 4756
    - 3459

    Porbandar, India

    ) open
  12. 12
    + 2056
    - 1787

    Duchy of Normandy

    ) open
  13. 13
    + 3897
    - 2997

    Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, United Kingdom

    ) open
  14. 14
    + 4563
    - 3884

    Braunau am Inn, Austria

    ) open
  15. 15
    + 6807
    - 3483

    Thessaloniki, Greece

    ) open
  16. 16
    + 3749
    - 2685

    Martin Luther King Jr.

  17. 17
    + 3697
    - 2727

    Mvezo, South Africa

    ) open
  18. 18
    + 1177
    - 1173

    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
  19. 19
    + 1928
    - 1224

    Shadwell, Virginia, USA

    ) open
  20. 20
    + 908
    - 806

    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
  21. 21
    + 1102
    - 897

    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
  22. 22
    + 1190
    - 729

    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.

    ) open
  23. 23
    + 1833
    - 1107

    ranked low on reranks
    Boston, Massachusetts, USA

    ) open
  24. 24
    + 1250
    - 1505

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Gori, Georgia

    ) open
  25. 25
    + 1119
    - 770

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

  26. 26
    + 1646
    - 1165

    Brookline, Massachusetts, USA

    ) open
  27. 27
    + 1440
    - 1261
    ) open
  28. 28
    + 2343
    - 1595

    Sultan Mehmed II

  29. 29
    + 1210
    - 921

    Wantage, England

    ) open
  30. 30
    + 855
    - 681

    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
  31. 31
    + 464
    - 345

    added by mikado
    Nebuchadnezzar II

  32. 32
    + 410
    - 310

    added by mikado
    Rome, Italy

    ) open
  33. 33
    + 779
    - 574

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

  34. 34
    + 1960
    - 1757
    ) open
  35. 35
    + 1524
    - 1090

    added by kismarton0707
    atilla the hun

  36. 36
    + 1137
    - 933

    Athens, Greece

    ) open
  37. 37
    + 557
    - 518

    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.

    ) open
  38. 38
    + 1649
    - 1348

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

  39. 39
    + 551
    - 500

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

    ) open
  40. 40
    + 1077
    - 1212

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Saint Petersburg, Russia

    ) open
  41. 41
    + 445
    - 271

    ranked low on reranks & added by mikado
    Erwin Rommel

  42. 42
    + 888
    - 1326

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Shaoshan, China

    ) open
  43. 43
    + 508
    - 330

    ranked low on reranks & added by Polar Bear
    Rome, Italy

    ) open
  44. 44
    + 447
    - 278

    added by mikado
    Robert E. Lee

  45. 45
    + 1391
    - 1286

    New York City, Hyde Park, New York

    ) open
  46. 46
    + 862
    - 841

    Kensington Palace, London, England

    ) open
  47. 47
    + 312
    - 271

    added by mikado
    Frederick Barbarossa

  48. 48
    + 691
    - 515

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

    ) open
  49. 49
    + 915
    - 874

    Babylon, Iraq

    ) open
  50. 50
    + 436
    - 399

    added by Polar Bear
    Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor Ruler of the Holy Roman and the Spanish Empire during the time of the Conquistadores. Ruled over an empire, in which the sun never sets.

    ) open
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