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The Most Important Leaders in World History  

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Originally by Ranker Community
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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!

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26
Benjamin Franklin is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Most Important Leaders in World History
Benjamin Franklin FRS was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. A renowned polymath, Franklin was a leading author, printer, political theorist, politician, postmaster, scientist, ...more
27
Winston Churchill is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Most Important Leaders in World History
Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, KG, OM, CH, TD, DL, FRS, RA was a British politician who was the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1940 to 1945 and again from 1951 to 1955. Widely ...more
28
Otto I, Holy Roman Emperor is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Most Important Leaders in World History
Polar Bear added
Otto I, also known as Otto the Great, was German king from 936 and emperor of the Holy Roman Empire from 962 until his death in 973. The oldest son of Henry I the Fowler and Matilda, Otto was ...more
29
Arminius is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Most Important Leaders in World History
Polar Bear added
Arminius, also known as Armin or Irmin, was a chieftain of the Germanic Cherusci who defeated a Roman army in the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest. Arminius's influence held an allied coalition of ...more
30
Alfred the Great is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Most Important Leaders in World History
Alfred the Great was King of Wessex from 871 to 899. Alfred successfully defended his kingdom against the Viking attempt at conquest, and by the time of his death had become the dominant ruler ...more
31
Joan of Arc is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Most Important Leaders in World History
Polar Bear added

Joan of Arc, nicknamed "The Maid of Orléans", is considered a heroine of France and a Roman Catholic saint. She was born to Jacques d'Arc and Isabelle, a peasant family, at ...more
32
Elizabeth I of England is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Most Important Leaders in World History
Elizabeth I was Queen of England and Ireland from 17 November 1558 until her passing. Sometimes called The Virgin Queen, Gloriana or Good Queen Bess, the childless Elizabeth was the fifth and ...more
33
Genghis Khan is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Most Important Leaders in World History
Genghis Khan, born Temüjin, was the founder and Great Khan of the Mongol Empire, which became the largest contiguous empire in history after his demise. He came to power by uniting many of ...more
34
Moses is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Most Important Leaders in World History
Moses was, according to the Hebrew Bible, a former Egyptian prince later turned prophet, religious leader and lawgiver, to whom the authorship of the Torah is traditionally attributed. Also ...more
35
Plato is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Most Important Leaders in World History
David Tolner added
Plato was a philosopher, as well as mathematician, in Classical Greece. He is considered an essential figure in the development of philosophy, especially the Western tradition, and he founded ...more
36
Leonidas I is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Most Important Leaders in World History
Leonidas I, was a Greek warrior king of the Greek city-state of Sparta. He led the Spartan forces during the Second Persian War and is remembered for his death at the Battle of Thermopylae. ...more
37
Leif Erikson is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Most Important Leaders in World History
Polar Bear added
Leif Erikson or Leif Ericson was an Icelandic explorer regarded as the first European to land in North America, nearly 500 years before Christopher Columbus. According to the Sagas of ...more
38
Charles Martel is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Most Important Leaders in World History
Polar Bear added
Charles Martel was a Frankish statesman and military leader who, as Duke and Prince of the Franks and Mayor of the Palace, was de facto ruler of Francia from 718 until his death. The ...more
39
Albert Einstein is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Most Important Leaders in World History
David Tolner added
Albert Einstein was a German-born theoretical physicist. Einstein's work is also known for its influence on the philosophy of science. He developed the general theory of relativity, one of the ...more
40
William the Conqueror is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Most Important Leaders in World History
William I, usually known as William the Conqueror and sometimes William the Bastard, was the first Norman King of England, reigning from 1066 until his death in 1087. The descendant of Viking ...more
41
Robert F. Kennedy is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Most Important Leaders in World History
StacyWolfe added
Robert Francis "Bobby" Kennedy, commonly known by his initials RFK, was an American politician from Massachusetts. He served as a Senator for New York from 1965 to 1968. He was ...more
42
Patrick Henry is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Most Important Leaders in World History
hug05612736 added
Patrick Henry was an American attorney, planter and politician who became known as an orator during the movement for independence in Virginia in the 1770s. A Founding Father, he served as the ...more
43
Nebuchadnezzar II is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Most Important Leaders in World History
mikado added
Nebuchadnezzar II was a Chaldean king of the Neo-Babylonian Empire, who reigned c. 605 BC – 562 BC. Both the construction of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon and the destruction of Jerusalem's ...more
44
Attila the Hun is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Most Important Leaders in World History
kismarton0707 added
Attila, frequently referred to as Attila the Hun, was the ruler of the Huns from 434 until his death in March 453. Attila was a leader of the Hunnic Empire, which stretched from the Ural River ...more
45
Richard I of England is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Most Important Leaders in World History
Polar Bear added
Richard I was King of England from 6 July 1189 until his death. He also ruled as Duke of Normandy, Duke of Aquitaine, Duke of Gascony, Lord of Cyprus, Count of Poitiers, Count of Anjou, Count of ...more
46
John Hancock is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Most Important Leaders in World History
hug05612736 added
John Hancock was a merchant, statesman, and prominent Patriot of the American Revolution. He served as president of the Second Continental Congress and was the first and third Governor of the ...more
47
Aristotle is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Most Important Leaders in World History
David Tolner added
Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and scientist born in the Macedonian city of Stagira, Chalkidice, on the northern periphery of Classical Greece. At eighteen, he joined Plato's Academy in ...more
48
Frederick II of Prussia is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Most Important Leaders in World History
Rache Golden added
Frederick II was the third Hohenzollern king, reigning over the Kingdom of Prussia from 1740 until 1786. Frederick's achievements during his reign included his military victories, his ...more
49
Cleopatra is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Most Important Leaders in World History
Cleopatra VII Philopator, known to history simply as "Cleopatra", was the last active pharaoh of Ancient Egypt, only shortly survived by her son, Caesarion as pharaoh. Cleopatra was a ...more
50
Mehmed the Conqueror is listed (or ranked) 50 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 and Turcarum Imperator, and Fatih Sultan Mehmed, was an Ottoman sultan who ruled first for a ...more