world leaders The Most Influential People of All Time  

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Originally by Ranker Community
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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 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 who ever lived, with your votes and your rankings.

list ordered by

1
45,018 30,415
Jesus Christ is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
Jesus Christ 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
30,295 21,704
Albert Einstein is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
Albert Einstein Died 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
28,409 21,657
Isaac Newton is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
Isaac Newton Died 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
26,178 18,337
Leonardo da Vinci is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
Leonardo da Vinci Died 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
21,345 17,945
Aristotle is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
Aristotle Died 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. His father, Nicomachus, died when Aristotle was ...more

6
43,178 34,034
Muhammad is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
Muhammad 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

7
19,973 15,343
Galileo Galilei is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
Galileo Galilei Died 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

8
19,154 17,394
Charles Darwin is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
Charles Darwin Died 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

9
17,139 14,562
Plato is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
Plato 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
16,540 14,668
Alexander the Great is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
Alexander the Great Died 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

11
16,203 13,567
William Shakespeare is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
William Shakespeare Died 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
16,311 12,959
Socrates is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
Socrates 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

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13
19,984 14,651
Martin Luther King, Jr. is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
Martin Luther King, Jr. Died 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

14
20,792 16,799
Mahatma Gandhi is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
Mahatma Gandhi Died 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

15
18,514 13,248
Abraham Lincoln is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
Abraham Lincoln Died at 56 (1809-1865) Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States, serving from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. Lincoln led the United States through its Civil War—its bloodiest war ...more

16
13,279 11,880
George Washington is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
George Washington Died at 67 (1732-1799) George Washington was the first President of the United States, the Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War, and one of the Founding Fathers of the ...more

17
38,646 53,689
Adolf Hitler is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
Adolf Hitler Died 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

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18
18,042 13,895
Moses is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
Moses 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
14,557 10,150
Nikola Tesla is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
Nikola Tesla Died 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

20
13,864 12,807
Gautama Buddha is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
Gautama Buddha 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
11,976 14,448
Karl Marx is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
Karl Marx Died 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

22
11,604 10,196
Julius Caesar is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
Julius Caesar Died 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

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23
8,825 8,241
Martin Luther is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
Martin Luther Died 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
9,726 9,398
Napoleon Bonaparte is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
Napoleon Bonaparte Died at 52 (1769-1821) Napoléon Bonaparte was a French military and political leader who rose to prominence during the French Revolution and its associated wars. As Napoleon I, he was Emperor of the French from ...more

25
7,557 7,477
Johannes Gutenberg is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
Johannes Gutenberg Died 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

26
9,564 9,025
Thomas Edison is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
Thomas Edison Died at 84 (1847-1931) Thomas Alva Edison was an American inventor and businessman. He developed many devices that greatly influenced life around the world, including the phonograph, the motion picture camera, and a ...more

27
7,463 6,292
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Died at 35 (1756-1791) Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, baptised as Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart, was a prolific and influential composer of the Classical era. Mozart showed prodigious ability from his ...more

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28
10,953 9,167
Genghis Khan is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
Genghis Khan 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

29
6,486 4,578
Marie Curie is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
Marie Curie Died 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

30
11,117 9,010
Nelson Mandela is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
Nelson Mandela Died 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

31
6,138 4,594
Ludwig van Beethoven is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
Ludwig van Beethoven Died 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

32
7,894 5,784
Benjamin Franklin is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
Benjamin Franklin Died 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

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33
7,144 6,307
Thomas Jefferson is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
Thomas Jefferson Died 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

34
5,555 5,711
Homer is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
Homer 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

35
6,172 4,707
Michelangelo is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
Michelangelo Died 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
5,570 6,805
Christopher Columbus is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
Christopher Columbus Died 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

37
8,405 7,504
Bill Gates is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
Bill Gates age 62 William Henry "Bill" Gates III is an American business magnate, philanthropist, investor, computer programmer, and inventor. Gates originally established his reputation as the ...more

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38
7,328 5,843
Henry Ford is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
Henry Ford Died 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

39
7,043 7,412
Confucius is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
Confucius Died 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

40
6,345 5,288
Pythagoras is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
Pythagoras 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

41
5,204 6,381
John F. Kennedy is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
John F. Kennedy Died 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

42
6,717 5,897
Winston Churchill is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
Winston Churchill Died 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

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43
7,461 6,622
Paul the Apostle is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
Paul of Tarsus Paul the Apostle, originally known as Saul of Tarsus, was an apostle who taught the gospel of Christ to the first-century world. He is generally considered one of the most important figures of ...more

44
4,127 4,844
Charlemagne is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
Charlemagne 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

45
3,384 2,843
Archimedes is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
acalabr added Archimedes 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

46
6,522 5,157
Wright brothers is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
Wright brothers 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

47
2,927 2,450
Louis Pasteur is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
Louis Pasteur Died 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

48
2,632 2,487
Hippocrates is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
Hippocrates Died 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

49
5,556 7,844
Vladimir Lenin is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
Vladimir Lenin Died at 54 (1870-1924) Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov, alias Lenin was a Russian communist revolutionary, politician and political theorist. He served as head of government of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic ...more

50
5,247 4,691
Alexander Graham Bell is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
Alexander Graham Bell Died 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