Weird History The Most Influential People of All Time  

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
2.2M votes 160.9k voters 2.5M views 2,861 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
56,489 36,760
Jesus Christ is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
Jesus, also referred to as Jesus of Nazareth, is the central figure of Christianity, whom the teachings of most Christian denominations hold to be the Son of God. Christianity regards Jesus as ...more
2
37,226 26,560
Albert Einstein is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
Dec. at 76 (1879-1955)
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
3
34,100 25,925
Isaac Newton is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
Dec. at 84 (1643-1727)
Sir Isaac Newton PRS MP was an English physicist and mathematician who is widely recognised as one of the most influential scientists of all time and as a key figure in the scientific ...more
4
31,298 22,378
Leonardo da Vinci is listed (or ranked) 4 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
5
25,262 21,656
Aristotle is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
Dec. at 62 (383 BC-321 BC)
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
6
23,561 18,086
Galileo Galilei is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
Dec. at 78 (1564-1642)
Galileo Galilei, often known mononymously as Galileo, was an Italian physicist, mathematician, engineer, astronomer, and philosopher who played a major role in the scientific revolution during ...more
7
52,995 38,693
Muhammad is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
Muhammad, full name Abū al-Qāsim Muḥammad ibn ʿAbd Allāh ibn ʿAbd al-Muṭṭalib ibn Hāshim, from Mecca, unified Arabia into a single religious polity under Islam. Believed by Muslims and ...more
8
20,033 17,366
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, commonly known as Alexander the Great, was a King of the Ancient Greek kingdom of Macedon and a member of the Argead dynasty. Born in Pella in 356 BC, Alexander ...more
9
20,109 16,578
Plato is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
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
10
19,137 14,611
Socrates is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
Socrates was a classical Greek philosopher credited as one of the founders of Western philosophy. He is an enigmatic figure known chiefly through the accounts of classical writers, especially ...more
11
19,420 15,919
William Shakespeare is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
Dec. at 52 (1564-1616)
William Shakespeare was an English poet, playwright, and actor, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's ...more
12
24,830 17,033
Martin Luther King, Jr. is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
Dec. at 39 (1929-1968)
Martin Luther King Jr. (born Michael King Jr., January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968) was an American Baptist minister and activist who was a leader in the Civil Rights Movement. He is best known for ...more
13
22,648 19,857
Charles Darwin is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
Dec. at 73 (1809-1882)
Charles Robert Darwin, FRS was an English naturalist and geologist, best known for his contributions to evolutionary theory. He established that all species of life have descended over time from ...more
14
22,279 14,901
Abraham Lincoln is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
Dec. at 56 (1809-1865)
Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States, serving from March 1861 until his life was taken in April 1865. Lincoln led the United States and its greatest moral, constitutional ...more
15
24,873 18,928
Mahatma Gandhi is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
Dec. at 79 (1869-1948)
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was the preeminent leader of Indian independence movement in British-ruled India. Employing nonviolent civil disobedience, Gandhi led India to independence and ...more
16
16,380 13,571
George Washington is listed (or ranked) 16 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
17
18,182 11,553
Nikola Tesla is listed (or ranked) 17 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
18
21,422 15,567
Moses is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
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
19
14,357 11,304
Julius Caesar is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
Dec. at 56 (99 BC-43 BC)
Gaius Julius Caesar was a Roman general, statesman, Consul, and notable author of Latin prose. He played a critical role in the events that led to the demise of the Roman Republic and the rise ...more
20
16,791 14,426
Gautama Buddha is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
Gautama Buddha, also known as Siddhārtha Gautama, Shakyamuni, or simply the Buddha, was a sage on whose teachings Buddhism was founded. He is believed to have lived and taught mostly in eastern ...more
21
42,842 57,791
Adolf Hitler is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
Dec. at 56 (1889-1945)
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician who was the leader of the Nazi Party. He was chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945 and Führer of Nazi Germany from 1934 to 1945. As ...more
22
14,106 16,469
Karl Marx is listed (or ranked) 22 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
23
10,900 9,448
Martin Luther is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
Dec. at 63 (1483-1546)
Martin Luther was a German friar, priest and professor of theology who was a seminal figure in the Protestant Reformation. Initially an Augustinian friar, Luther came to reject several teachings ...more
24
11,806 10,615
Napoleon Bonaparte is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
Dec. at 52 (1769-1821)
Napoléon Bonaparte was a French military and political leader who rose to prominence during the French Revolution. As Napoleon I, he was Emperor of the French from 1804 until 1814, and ...more
25
9,074 8,450
Johannes Gutenberg is listed (or ranked) 25 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