Weird History

The Most Influential People of All Time  

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
2.3M votes 172.3k voters 2.7M views 2,838 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
1
Jesus Christ is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
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
2
Isaac Newton is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
Dec. at 84 (1643-1727)
Sir Isaac Newton (25 December 1642 – 20 March 1726/27) was an English mathematician, physicist, astronomer, theologian, and author (described in his own day as a "natural philosopher") ...more
3
Albert Einstein is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
Dec. at 76 (1879-1955)
Albert Einstein ( EYEN-styne; German: [ˈalbɛɐ̯t ˈʔaɪnʃtaɪn] (listen); 14 March 1879 – 18 April 1955) was a German-born theoretical physicist who developed the theory of relativity, one of the ...more
4
Aristotle is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
Dec. at 62 (383 BC-321 BC)
Aristotle (; Greek: Ἀριστοτέλης Aristotélēs, pronounced [aristotélɛːs]; 384–322 BC) was a Greek philosopher during the Classical period in Ancient Greece, the founder of the Lyceum ...more
5
Socrates is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
Socrates (; Ancient Greek: Σωκρᾰ́της, romanized: Sōkrátēs, [sɔːkrátɛːs]; c. 470 – 399 BC) was a classical Greek (Athenian) philosopher credited as one of the founders of Western ...more
6
William Shakespeare is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
Dec. at 52 (1564-1616)
William Shakespeare (bapt. 26 April 1564 – 23 April 1616) was an English poet, playwright, and actor, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's greatest ...more
7
Leonardo da Vinci is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
Dec. at 67 (1452-1519)
Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci was an Italian polymath, painter, sculptor, architect, musician, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist, and writer. He is ...more
8
Alexander the Great is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
Dec. at 33 (355 BC-322 BC)
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
9
Plato is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
Plato (; PLAY-toe Greek: Πλάτων Plátōn, pronounced [plá.tɔːn] in Classical Attic; 428/427 or 424/423 – 348/347 BC) was an Athenian philosopher during the Classical period in ...more
10
Muhammad is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
Muhammad (Arabic: مُحمّد‎, pronounced [muħammad]; c. 570 CE – 8 June 632 CE) was an Arab religious, social and political leader and the founder of Islam. According to Islamic doctrine, he was a ...more
11
Galileo Galilei is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
Dec. at 78 (1564-1642)
Galileo Galilei ( GAL-il-AY-oh, also US: -⁠EE-oh, Italian: [ɡaliˈlɛːo ɡaliˈlɛi]; 15 February 1564 – 8 January 1642) was an astronomer, physicist and engineer, sometimes described as a polymath ...more
12
Charles Darwin is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
Dec. at 73 (1809-1882)
Charles Robert Darwin, (; 12 February 1809 – 19 April 1882) was an English naturalist, geologist and biologist, best known for his contributions to the science of evolution. His proposition that ...more
13
Martin Luther King, Jr. is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
Dec. at 39 (1929-1968)
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
14
Abraham Lincoln is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
Dec. at 56 (1809-1865)
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
15
Julius Caesar is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
Dec. at 56 (99 BC-43 BC)
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
Moses is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
Moses () was a prophet according to the teachings of the Abrahamic religions. Scholarly consensus sees Moses as a legendary figure and not a historical person, while retaining the possibility ...more
17
George Washington is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
Dec. at 67 (1732-1799)
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
18
Mahatma Gandhi is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
Dec. at 79 (1869-1948)
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
19
Napoleon Bonaparte is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
Dec. at 52 (1769-1821)
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
20
Martin Luther is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
Dec. at 63 (1483-1546)
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
21
Nikola Tesla is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
Dec. at 87 (1856-1943)
Nikola Tesla was a Serbian American inventor, electrical engineer, mechanical engineer, physicist, and futurist best known for his contributions to the design of the modern alternating current ...more
22
Adolf Hitler is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
Dec. at 56 (1889-1945)
Adolf Hitler (German: [ˈadɔlf ˈhɪtlɐ] (listen); 20 April 1889 – 30 April 1945) was a German politician and leader of the Nazi Party (Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei; NSDAP). He ...more
23
Thomas Edison is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
Dec. at 84 (1847-1931)
Thomas Alva Edison (February 11, 1847 – October 18, 1931) was an American inventor and businessman who has been described as America's greatest inventor. He developed many devices in fields such ...more
24
Johannes Gutenberg is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
Dec. at 70 (1398-1468)
Johannes Gensfleisch zur Laden zum Gutenberg (; c. 1400 – February 3, 1468) was a German blacksmith, goldsmith, inventor, printer, and publisher who introduced printing to Europe with the ...more
25
Genghis Khan is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
Genghis Khan (born Temüjin, c. 1162 – August 18, 1227) was the founder and first Great Khan of the Mongol Empire, which became the largest contiguous empire in history after his death. He ...more