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The Most Important Leaders In World History

Updated October 15, 2020 854.2k votes 97.2k voters 2.1m views350 items

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 (of all physical sizes) 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!

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    Alexander The Great is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Most Important Leaders In World History
    Alexander III of Macedon (Greek: Αλέξανδρος Γʹ ὁ Μακεδών; 20/21 July 356 BC – 10/11 June 323... more
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    Jesus Christ is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Most Important Leaders In World History
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    Jesus (c. 4 BC – c. AD 30 / 33), also referred to as Jesus of Nazareth and Jesus Christ, was a... more
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    Plato is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Most Important Leaders In World History
    2,151
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    Plato (; PLAY-toe Greek: Πλάτων Plátōn, pronounced [plá.tɔːn] in Classical Attic; 428/427 or... more
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    Genghis Khan is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Most Important Leaders In World History
    4,140
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    Genghis Khan (born Temüjin, c. 1162 – August 18, 1227) was the founder and first Great Khan... more
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    Augustus Caesar is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Most Important Leaders In World History
    11,392
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    Augustus (Latin: Imperator Caesar Divi filius Augustus; 23 September 63 BC – 19 August AD 14)... more
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    Aristotle is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Most Important Leaders In World History
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    Aristotle (; Greek: Ἀριστοτέλης Aristotélēs, pronounced [aristotélɛːs]; 384–322 BC) was a... more
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    Mustafa Kemal Atatürk is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Most Important Leaders In World History
    Kemal Atatürk (until 1934: Mustafa Kemal Pasha, Ottoman Turkish: مصطفى كمال پاشا‎; after 1935:... more
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    Frederick the Great is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Most Important Leaders In World History
    Frederick II (German: Friedrich II.; 24 January 1712 – 17 August 1786) ruled the Kingdom of... more
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    Mahatma Gandhi is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Most Important Leaders In World History
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    Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (; 2 October 1869 – 30 January 1948) was an Indian lawyer,... more
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    Sultan Mehmed II is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Most Important Leaders In World History
    Mehmed II, also known as Muhammed bin Murad, Mehmed the Conqueror, Grand Turk, Kayser-i Rûm... more
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    Martin Luther is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Most Important Leaders In World History
    3,375
    2,235
    Martin Luther, , (; German: [ˈmaɐ̯tiːn ˈlʊtɐ]; 10 November 1483 – 18 February 1546) was a... more
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    Nelson Mandela is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Most Important Leaders In World History
    10,053
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    Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela (; Xhosa: [xolíɬaɬa mandɛ̂ːla]; 18 July 1918 – 5 December 2013) was... more
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    Theoderic the Great is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Most Important Leaders In World History
    Theodoric the Great (454 – 30 August 526), also spelled Theoderic or called Theodoric the Amal... more
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    Catherine the Great is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Most Important Leaders In World History
    Catherine II (Russian: Екатери́на Алексе́евна, romanized: Yekaterina Alekseyevna; 2 May [O.S.... more
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    Suleyman The Magnificent is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Most Important Leaders In World History
    Suleiman I (Ottoman Turkish: سلطان سليمان اول‎ Sultan Süleyman-ı Evvel; Turkish: Birinci... more
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    Albert Einstein is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Most Important Leaders In World History
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    Albert Einstein ( EYEN-styne; German: [ˈalbɛɐ̯t ˈʔaɪnʃtaɪn] (listen); 14 March 1879 – 18 April... more
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    Cnut the Great is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Most Important Leaders In World History
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    Cnut the Great (; Old English: Cnut se Micela; Old Norse: Knútr inn ríki; c. 995 – 12 November... more
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    Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Most Important Leaders In World History
    Charles V (24 February 1500 – 21 September 1558) was Holy Roman Emperor from 1519, King of... more
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    Dmitry Donskoy is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Most Important Leaders In World History
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    Defeated the Tatars at the Battle of Kulikovo in 1380. First step of the liberation of the Russian people from the Mongolic suppressors.
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    Constantine the Great is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Most Important Leaders In World History
    Constantine the Great (Latin: Flavius Valerius Aurelius Constantinus Augustus; Greek:... more
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    Frederick William, the Great E is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Most Important Leaders In World History
    Together with Swedish forces, he defeated the Polish-Lithuanian Commenwealth at the Battle of Warsaw (1656). In 1675 he defeated the Swedes at the Battle of Fehrbellin. His military reforms were the first step of the epic rise of Brandenburg-Prussia.
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    Frederick William I of Prussia is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Most Important Leaders In World History
    Frederick William I (German: Friedrich Wilhelm I.; 14 August 1688 – 31 May 1740), known as the... more
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    Titus is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Most Important Leaders In World History
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    Titus was Roman Emperor from 79 to 81. A member of the Flavian dynasty, Titus succeeded his... more
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    Julius Caesar is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Most Important Leaders In World History
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    Gaius Julius Caesar (12 July 100 BC – 15 March 44 BC) was a Roman general and statesman who... more
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    Peter the Great is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Most Important Leaders In World History
    5,242
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    Peter the Great (Russian: Пётр Вели́кий, tr. Pyotr Velikiy, IPA: [ˈpʲɵtr vʲɪˈlʲikʲɪj]), Peter... more
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