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The Most Important Leaders In World History  

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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 (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!

list ordered by
1
George Washington is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Most Important Leaders In World History
George Washington was the first President of the United States, the Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army, and one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. He presided over the ...more
2
Abraham Lincoln is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Most Important Leaders In World History
Abraham Lincoln (February 12, 1809 – April 15, 1865) was an American statesman and lawyer who served as the 16th president of the United States from 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. ...more
3
Alexander the Great is listed (or ranked) 3 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 BC), commonly known as Alexander the Great (Ancient Greek: Ἀλέξανδρος ὁ Μέγας, romanized: ...more
4
Thomas Jefferson is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Most Important Leaders In World History
Thomas Jefferson was an American Founding Father, the principal author of the Declaration of Independence, and the third President of the United States. He was a spokesman for democracy, and ...more
5
Martin Luther King, Jr. ... is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Most Important Leaders In World History
Martin Luther King Jr. (January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968) was an American Baptist minister and activist who became the most visible spokesperson and leader in the civil rights movement from 1955 ...more
6
Donald Trump is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Most Important Leaders In World History
thedonnyt added
Donald John Trump (born June 14, 1946) is the 45th and current president of the United States. Before entering politics, he was a businessman and television personality. Trump was born and ...more
7
James Madison is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Most Important Leaders In World History
TammyWakefieldLaughlin added
James Madison Jr. (March 16, 1751 – June 28, 1836) was an American statesman, lawyer, diplomat, philosopher, and Founding Father who served as the fourth president of the United States from 1809 ...more
8
Martin Luther is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Most Important Leaders In World History
Martin Luther, , (; German: [ˈmaɐ̯tiːn ˈlʊtɐ]; 10 November 1483 – 18 February 1546) was a German professor of theology, composer, priest, monk, and a seminal figure in the Protestant ...more
9
Napoleon Bonaparte is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Most Important Leaders In World History
Napoleon Bonaparte (, French: [napɔleɔ̃ bɔnɑpaʁt]; Italian: Napoleone di Buonaparte, pronounced [napoleˈone di bwɔnaˈparte]; 15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821) was a French statesman and military ...more
10
Augustus is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Most Important Leaders In World History
Augustus (Latin: Imperator Caesar Divi filius Augustus; 23 September 63 BC – 19 August AD 14) was a Roman statesman and military leader who was the first emperor of the Roman Empire, reigning ...more
11
Thomas Paine is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Most Important Leaders In World History
j.aureliazenobia added
Thomas Paine (born Thomas Pain) (February 9, 1737 [O.S. January 29, 1736] – June 8, 1809) was an English-born American political activist, philosopher, political theorist, and revolutionary. He ...more
12
Charlemagne is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Most Important Leaders In World History
Charlemagne (English: ; French: [ʃaʁləmaɲ]) or Charles the Great (2 April 742 – 28 January 814), numbered Charles I, was king of the Franks from 768, king of the Lombards from 774, and emperor ...more
13
Jesus Christ is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Most Important Leaders In World History
Andriy Synyshyn added
Jesus (c. 4 BC – c. AD 30 / 33), also referred to as Jesus of Nazareth and Jesus Christ, was a first-century Jewish preacher and religious leader. He is the central figure of Christianity. Most ...more
14
John F. Kennedy is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Most Important Leaders In World History
John Fitzgerald Kennedy (May 29, 1917 – November 22, 1963), often referred to by initials JFK and Jack, was an American politician who served as the 35th president of the United States from ...more
15
Julius Caesar is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Most Important Leaders In World History
Gaius Julius Caesar (; Latin pronunciation: [ˈɡaː.i.ʊs ˈjuː.li.ʊs ˈkae̯.sar]; 12 or 13 July 100 BC – 15 March 44 BC), known by his nomen and cognomen Julius Caesar, was a populist Roman ...more
16
Catherine II of Russia ... is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Most Important Leaders In World History
sebbzor added
Catherine II (Russian: Екатери́на Алексе́евна, romanized: Yekaterina Alekseyevna; 2 May [O.S. 21 April] 1729 – 17 November [O.S. 6 November] 1796), also known as Catherine the Great (Екатери́на ...more
17
Constantine the Great is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Most Important Leaders In World History
Constantine the Great (Latin: Flavius Valerius Aurelius Constantinus Augustus; Greek: Κωνσταντῖνος ὁ Μέγας Kōnstantînos ho Mégas; 27 February c. 272 AD – 22 May 337 AD), also known ...more
18
John Locke is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Most Important Leaders In World History
hug05612736 added
John Locke (February 14, 1764 – March 29, 1855), was a U.S. Representative from Massachusetts. He was born in Hopkinton, Middlesex County, and attended Andover Academy and Dartmouth College, ...more
19
Otto von Bismarck is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Most Important Leaders In World History
DaleGribble added
Lead to the unification of Germany in 1871, and first chancellor of the German Empire. Otto Eduard Leopold, Prince of Bismarck, Duke of Lauenburg (Born von Bismarck-Schönhausen; German: Otto Eduard Leopold Fürst von Bismarck, Herzog zu Lauenburg; 1 April 1815 – 30 July ...more
20
Peter the Great is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Most Important Leaders In World History
Polar Bear added
Peter the Great (Russian: Пётр Вели́кий, tr. Pyotr Velikiy, IPA: [ˈpʲɵtr vʲɪˈlʲikʲɪj]), Peter I (Russian: Пётр I, tr. Pyotr I, IPA: [ˈpʲɵtr ˈpʲɛrvɨj]) or Peter Alexeyevich (Russian: Пётр ...more
21
Nelson Mandela is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Most Important Leaders In World History
Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela (; Xhosa: [xolíɬaɬa mandɛ̂ːla]; 18 July 1918 – 5 December 2013) was a South African anti-apartheid revolutionary, political leader, and philanthropist who served ...more
22
Mahatma Gandhi is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Most Important Leaders In World History
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (; 2 October 1869 – 30 January 1948) was an Indian lawyer, anti-colonial nationalist, and political ethicist, who employed nonviolent resistance to lead the successful ...more
23
Mustafa Kemal Atatü... is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Most Important Leaders In World History
Kemal Atatürk (until 1934: Mustafa Kemal Pasha, Ottoman Turkish: مصطفى كمال پاشا‎; after 1935: Kamâl Atatürk; 19 May 1881 (conventional) – 10 November 1938), commonly referred to ...more
24
Winston Churchill is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Most Important Leaders In World History
Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill (30 November 1874 – 24 January 1965) was a British politician, army officer, and writer. He was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1940 to 1945, when ...more
25
Mother Teresa is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Most Important Leaders In World History
Florenc added
Mary Teresa Bojaxhiu (born Anjezë Gonxhe Bojaxhiu, Albanian: [aˈɲɛzə ˈɡɔndʒɛ bɔjaˈdʒiu]; 26 August 1910 – 5 September 1997), commonly known as Mother Teresa and honoured in the Roman ...more