Weird History

The Most Influential People of All Time  

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
2.3M votes 168k voters 2.6M views 2,854 items

List Rules Vote on humans who have had the most influence on the history of the world--good or bad. They can be from any period of time.

This is a list of the most influential people of all of human history. This means that the individuals on this list have had a significant effect on how regular people live their lives today and have had a large impact on how modern society works. The names on this list include religious figures, scientists and inventors, and some of the most important leaders in world history. Vote for your top choices and re-rank this list your way. 

What makes an individual worthy of a spot on a list of the most influential people ever? Certainly, some of the greatest minds of all time deserve to be ranked highly. Examples include Leonardo da Vinci, Sir Isaac Newton, and certainly Albert Einstein. Each one of these incredible and inspirational people used the power of their minds to change the world. Not surprisingly, several names on this list are also among the most famous role models we'd like to meet in person.

Featuring historical figures, interesting men, and impactful people, this list of top 100 and more of the world's most inspirational figures have had all kinds of effects on the biggest and historic events.

And modern-era figures also deserve to be listed here. Can anyone argue that Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg aren't among the most influential contemporary Americans? It's time to add your opinions on who you believe are the most influential people in history, with your votes and your rankings.

list ordered by
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26
Benjamin Franklin is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
Dec. at 84 (1706-1790)
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
Karl Marx is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
Dec. at 65 (1818-1883)
Karl Marx was a German philosopher, economist, sociologist, journalist, and revolutionary socialist. Marx's work in economics laid the basis for much of the current understanding of labour and ...more
28
Johannes Gutenberg is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
Dec. at 70 (1398-1468)
Johannes Gensfleisch zur Laden zum Gutenberg was a German blacksmith, goldsmith, printer, and publisher who introduced printing to Europe. His invention of mechanical movable type printing ...more
29
Genghis Khan is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
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
30
Thomas Jefferson is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
Dec. at 83 (1743-1826)
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
31
Marie Curie is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
Dec. at 67 (1867-1934)
Marie Skłodowska-Curie was a Polish and naturalized-French physicist and chemist who conducted pioneering research on radioactivity. She was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, the first ...more
32
Ludwig van Beethoven is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
Dec. at 57 (1770-1827)
Ludwig van Beethoven was a German composer and pianist. A crucial figure in the transition between the Classical and Romantic eras in Western art music, he remains one of the most famous and ...more
33
Nelson Mandela is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
Dec. at 95 (1918-2013)
Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was a South African anti-apartheid revolutionary, politician and philanthropist who served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999. He was South Africa's first ...more
34
Christopher Columbus is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
Dec. at 55 (1451-1506)
Christopher Columbus was an Italian explorer, navigator, and colonizer, citizen of the Republic of Genoa. Under the auspices of the Catholic Monarchs of Spain, he completed four voyages across ...more
35
Michelangelo is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
Dec. at 89 (1475-1564)
Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni, commonly known as Michelangelo, was an Italian sculptor, painter, architect, poet, and engineer of the High Renaissance who exerted an unparalleled ...more
36
Bill Gates is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
age 63
William Henry "Bill" Gates III is an American business magnate, philanthropist, investor, computer programmer, and inventor. Gates originally established his reputation as the ...more
37
Henry Ford is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
Dec. at 84 (1863-1947)
Henry Ford was an American industrialist, the founder of the Ford Motor Company, and sponsor of the development of the assembly line technique of mass production. Although Ford did not invent ...more
38
Winston Churchill is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
Dec. at 91 (1874-1965)
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
39
Homer is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
Homerus, best known as his anglicised name Homer, is the author of the Iliad and the Odyssey. He was believed by the ancient Greeks to have been the first and greatest of the epic poets. Author ...more
40
Archimedes is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
acalabr added
Archimedes of Syracuse was an Ancient Greek mathematician, physicist, engineer, inventor, and astronomer. Although few details of his life are known, he is regarded as one of the leading ...more
41
Walt Disney is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
rwomick added Dec. at 65 (1901-1966)
Walter Elias "Walt" Disney was an American entrepreneur, cartoonist, animator, voice actor, and film producer. As a prominent figure within the American animation industry and ...more
42
Wright brothers is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
The Wright brothers, Orville and Wilbur, were two American brothers, inventors, and aviation pioneers who are credited with inventing and building the world's first successful airplane and ...more
43
Hippocrates is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
Dec. at 83 (459 BC-376 BC)
Hippocrates of Kos, was a Greek physician of the Age of Pericles, and is considered one of the most outstanding figures in the history of medicine. He is referred to as the "Father of ...more
44
Louis Pasteur is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
Dec. at 73 (1822-1895)
Louis Pasteur was a French chemist and microbiologist renowned for his discoveries of the principles of vaccination, microbial fermentation and pasteurization. He is remembered for his ...more
45
Pythagoras is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
Pythagoras of Samos was an Ionian Greek philosopher, mathematician, and founder of the religious movement called Pythagoreanism. Most of the information about Pythagoras was written down ...more
46
Confucius is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
Dec. at 72 (550 BC-478 BC)
Confucius was a Chinese teacher, editor, politician, and philosopher of the Spring and Autumn period of Chinese history. The philosophy of Confucius emphasized personal and governmental ...more
47
John F. Kennedy is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
Dec. at 46 (1917-1963)
John Fitzgerald Kennedy (May 29, 1917 – November 22, 1963), also referred to as John F. Kennedy, JFK, John Kennedy or Jack Kennedy, was the 35th President of the United States. He served from ...more
48
Stephen Hawking is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
Алпан Балкыш added age 77
Stephen William Hawking CH CBE FRS FRSA (8 January 1942 – 14 March 2018) was an English theoretical physicist, cosmologist, author and Director of Research at the Centre for Theoretical ...more
49
Charlemagne is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
Charlemagne, also known as Charles the Great or Charles I, was King of the Franks who united most of Western Europe during the Middle Ages and laid the foundations for modern France and Germany. ...more
50
Alexander Graham Bell is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
Dec. at 75 (1847-1922)
Alexander Graham Bell was an eminent Scottish-born scientist, inventor, engineer and innovator who is credited with inventing the first practical telephone. Bell's father, grandfather, and ...more