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The Most Influential People of All Time

Updated September 25, 2020 2.3m votes 187.8k voters 2.9m views2.4k items

List RulesVote on important figures who have had the most influence on the history of the world, for better or for worse. They can be from any time period.

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 iconic religious figures, recognizable scientists and inventors, and some of the most powerful 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 the world's most legendary 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.

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  • 26
    Pythagoras is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
    7,298
    5,052
    Pythagoras of Samos (c. 570 – c. 495 BC) was an ancient Ionian Greek philosopher and the... more on Wikipedia

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  • 27
    George Washington is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
    16,941
    12,112

    George Washington

    Dec. at 67 (1732-1799)

    BirthplaceVirginia, United States of America

    George Washington was the first President of the United States, the Commander-in-Chief of the... more on Wikipedia

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  • 28
    Walt Disney is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
    7,413
    5,183

    Walt Disney

    Dec. at 65 (1901-1966)

    BirthplaceUSA, Chicago, Hermosa, Illinois

    Walter Elias Disney (; December 5, 1901 – December 15, 1966) was an American entrepreneur,... more on Wikipedia

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  • 29
    Theodore Roosevelt is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
    3,043
    1,995

    Theodore Roosevelt

    Dec. at 61 (1858-1919)

    BirthplaceManhattan, New York City, New York, United States of America

    Theodore Roosevelt Jr. ( ROH-zə-velt; October 27, 1858 – January 6, 1919) was an American... more on Wikipedia

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  • 30
    Plato is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
    19,279
    14,780
    Plato (; PLAY-toe Greek: Πλάτων Plátōn, pronounced [plá.tɔːn] in Classical Attic; 428/427 or... more on Wikipedia

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  • 31
    Nelson Mandela is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
    13,309
    9,379

    Nelson Mandela

    Dec. at 95 (1918-2013)

    BirthplaceMvezo, South Africa

    Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela (; Xhosa: [xolíɬaɬa mandɛ̂ːla]; 18 July 1918 – 5 December 2013) was... more on Wikipedia

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  • 32
    Buddha is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
    16,567
    12,302
    Siddhārtha Gautama (Sanskrit: सिद्धार्थ गौतम Siddhāṛtha Gautama, c. 563/480 – c. 483/400 BCE)... more on Wikipedia

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  • 33
    Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
    9,549
    6,993

    Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

    Dec. at 35 (1756-1791)

    BirthplaceSalzburg, Austria

    Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (27 January 1756 – 5 December 1791), baptised as Johannes Chrysostomus... more on Wikipedia

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  • 34
    Martin Luther is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
    11,437
    8,762

    Martin Luther

    Dec. at 63 (1483-1546)

    BirthplaceEisleben, Germany

    Martin Luther, , (; German: [ˈmaɐ̯tiːn ˈlʊtɐ]; 10 November 1483 – 18 February 1546) was a... more on Wikipedia
  • 35
    Thomas Jefferson is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
    8,480
    6,182

    Thomas Jefferson

    Dec. at 83 (1743-1826)

    BirthplaceShadwell, Virginia, United States of America

    Thomas Jefferson was an American Founding Father, the principal author of the Declaration of... more on Wikipedia

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  • 36
    Alan Turing is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
    4,135
    2,921

    Alan Turing

    Dec. at 42 (1912-1954)

    BirthplaceMaida Vale, London, United Kingdom

    Alan Mathison Turing (; 23 June 1912 – 7 June 1954) was an English mathematician, computer... more on Wikipedia

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  • 37
    Alexander Fleming is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
    2,577
    1,821

    Alexander Fleming

    Dec. at 74 (1881-1955)

    BirthplaceLochfield

    Sir Alexander Fleming (6 August 1881 – 11 March 1955) was a Scottish biologist, physician,... more on Wikipedia
  • 38
    William Shakespeare is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
    19,489
    15,287

    William Shakespeare

    Dec. at 52 (1564-1616)

    BirthplaceStratford-upon-Avon, United Kingdom

    William Shakespeare (bapt. 26 April 1564 – 23 April 1616) was an English poet, playwright, and... more on Wikipedia

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  • 39
    Marco Polo is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
    3,985
    2,829

    Marco Polo

    Dec. at 70 (1254-1324)

    BirthplaceRepublic of Venice

    Marco Polo was a Venetian merchant traveller whose travels are recorded in Livres des... more on Wikipedia
  • 40
    Alexander the Great is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
    20,169
    15,954

    Alexander the Great

    Dec. at 33 (355 BC-322 BC)

    BirthplacePella, Greece

    Alexander III of Macedon (Greek: Αλέξανδρος Γʹ ὁ Μακεδών; 20/21 July 356 BC – 10/11 June 323... more on Wikipedia
  • 41
    Hippocrates is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
    4,100
    3,070

    Hippocrates

    Dec. at 83 (459 BC-376 BC)

    BirthplaceKos, Greece

    Hippocrates of Kos (; Greek: Ἱπποκράτης ὁ Κῷος, translit. Hippokrátēs ho Kṓos; c. 460 – c. 370... more on Wikipedia

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  • 42
    Johannes Gutenberg is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
    9,199
    7,279

    Johannes Gutenberg

    Dec. at 70 (1398-1468)

    BirthplaceMainz, Germany

    Johannes Gensfleisch zur Laden zum Gutenberg (; c. 1400 – February 3, 1468) was a German... more on Wikipedia
  • 43
    Charles Darwin is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
    21,730
    17,261

    Charles Darwin

    Dec. at 73 (1809-1882)

    BirthplaceThe Mount, Shrewsbury, United Kingdom

    Charles Robert Darwin, (; 12 February 1809 – 19 April 1882) was an English naturalist,... more on Wikipedia
  • 44
    Napoleon Bonaparte is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
    11,891
    9,439

    Napoleon Bonaparte

    Dec. at 52 (1769-1821)

    BirthplaceAjaccio, France

    Napoleon Bonaparte (, French: [napɔleɔ̃ bɔnɑpaʁt]; Italian: Napoleone di Buonaparte,... more on Wikipedia

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  • 45
    Bill Gates is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
    10,915
    8,141

    Bill Gates

    Age: 64

    BirthplaceSeattle, Washington, United States of America

    William Henry Gates III (born October 28, 1955) is an American business magnate, investor,... more on Wikipedia

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  • 46
    Aristotle is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
    23,934
    19,775

    Aristotle

    Dec. at 62 (383 BC-321 BC)

    BirthplaceStagira, Greece

    Aristotle (; Greek: Ἀριστοτέλης Aristotélēs, pronounced [aristotélɛːs]; 384–322 BC) was a... more on Wikipedia
  • 47
    Thomas Edison is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
    11,176
    8,958

    Thomas Edison

    Dec. at 84 (1847-1931)

    BirthplaceMilan, Ohio, United States of America

    Thomas Alva Edison (February 11, 1847 – October 18, 1931) was an American inventor and... more on Wikipedia

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  • 48
    Alexander Hamilton is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
    1,848
    1,375

    Alexander Hamilton

    Dec. at 47 (1757-1804)

    BirthplaceCharlestown, Saint Kitts and Nevis

    Alexander Hamilton (January 11, 1755 or 1757 – July 12, 1804) was an American statesman,... more on Wikipedia
  • 49
    Nicolaus Copernicus is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
    5,522
    4,478

    Nicolaus Copernicus

    Dec. at 70 (1473-1543)

    BirthplaceToruń, Second Polish Republic

    Nicolaus Copernicus (; Polish: Mikołaj Kopernik; German: Nikolaus Kopernikus; Niklas... more on Wikipedia

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  • 50
    Neil Armstrong is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
    3,629
    2,753

    Neil Armstrong

    Dec. at 82 (1930-2012)

    BirthplaceOhio, United States of America

    Neil Alden Armstrong (August 5, 1930 – August 25, 2012) was an American astronaut and... more on Wikipedia
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