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190.8k voters

The Most Influential People of All Time

Updated September 25, 2020 2.4m votes 190.8k voters 3.0m 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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  • Jesus Christ1
    60,207
    37,144
    Jesus (c. 4 BC – c. AD 30 / 33), also referred to as Jesus of Nazareth and Jesus Christ, was a... more on Wikipedia

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  • Julius Caesar2
    16,062
    10,602

    Julius Caesar

    Dec. at 56 (99 BC-43 BC)

    BirthplaceRome, Italy

    Gaius Julius Caesar (12 July 100 BC – 15 March 44 BC) was a Roman general and statesman who... more on Wikipedia

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  • Nikola Tesla3
    20,790
    13,467

    Nikola Tesla

    Dec. at 87 (1856-1943)

    BirthplaceSmiljan, Croatia

    Nikola Tesla was a Serbian American inventor, electrical engineer, mechanical engineer,... more on Wikipedia

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  • Marie Curie4
    11,498
    7,389

    Marie Curie

    Dec. at 67 (1867-1934)

    BirthplaceWarsaw, Second Polish Republic

    Marie Skłodowska Curie ( KEWR-ee, French: [kyʁi], Polish: [kʲiˈri]; born Maria Salomea... more on Wikipedia
  • Archimedes5
    6,260
    4,004
    Archimedes of Syracuse (; Greek: Ἀρχιμήδης; c. 287 – c. 212 BC) was a Greek mathematician,... more on Wikipedia
  • Wright brothers6
    9,537
    5,864
    The Wright brothers, Orville and Wilbur, were two American brothers, inventors, and aviation... more on Wikipedia

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  • Benjamin Franklin7
    11,176
    7,184

    Benjamin Franklin

    Dec. at 84 (1706-1790)

    BirthplaceBoston, Massachusetts, USA

    Benjamin Franklin (January 17, 1706 [O.S. January 6, 1705] – April 17, 1790) was an American... more on Wikipedia

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  • Abraham Lincoln8
    24,194
    15,835

    Abraham Lincoln

    Dec. at 56 (1809-1865)

    BirthplaceKentucky, Hodgenville, United States of America, United States, with Territories

    Abraham Lincoln (February 12, 1809 – April 15, 1865) was an American statesman and lawyer who... more on Wikipedia

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  • Moses9
    22,689
    14,995
    Moses () was a prophet according to the teachings of the Abrahamic religions. Scholarly... more on Wikipedia
  • Martin Luther King, Jr.10
    27,918
    18,193

    Martin Luther King, Jr.

    Dec. at 39 (1929-1968)

    BirthplaceAtlanta, Georgia, United States of America

    Martin Luther King Jr. (January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968) was an American Baptist minister and... more on Wikipedia

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  • Leonardo da Vinci11
    32,180
    21,581

    Leonardo da Vinci

    Dec. at 67 (1452-1519)

    BirthplaceVinci, Italy

    Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci was an Italian polymath, painter, sculptor, architect,... more on Wikipedia

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  • Albert Einstein12
    39,247
    26,679

    Albert Einstein

    Dec. at 76 (1879-1955)

    BirthplaceUlm, Germany

    Albert Einstein ( EYEN-styne; German: [ˈalbɛɐ̯t ˈʔaɪnʃtaɪn] (listen); 14 March 1879 – 18 April... more on Wikipedia

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  • Stephen Hawking13
    5,799
    3,437

    BirthplaceOxford, United Kingdom

    Stephen William Hawking (8 January 1942 – 14 March 2018) was an English theoretical... more on Wikipedia

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  • Ludwig van Beethoven14
    9,117
    5,972

    Ludwig van Beethoven

    Dec. at 57 (1770-1827)

    BirthplaceBonn, Germany

    Ludwig van Beethoven ( (listen); German: [ˈluːtvɪç fan ˈbeːthoːfn̩] (listen); baptised 17... more on Wikipedia

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  • Michelangelo15
    8,469
    5,714

    Michelangelo

    Dec. at 89 (1475-1564)

    BirthplaceCaprese Michelangelo, Italy

    Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni, commonly known as Michelangelo, was an Italian... more on Wikipedia

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  • Louis Pasteur16
    5,427
    3,548

    Louis Pasteur

    Dec. at 73 (1822-1895)

    BirthplaceDole, France

    Louis Pasteur (, French: [lwi pastœʁ]; December 27, 1822 – September 28, 1895) was a French... more on Wikipedia
  • Socrates17
    19,883
    13,737
    Socrates (; Ancient Greek: Σωκρᾰ́της, romanized: Sōkrátēs, [sɔːkrátɛːs]; c. 470 – 399 BC) was... more on Wikipedia

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  • Isaac Newton18
    34,384
    23,988

    Isaac Newton

    Dec. at 84 (1643-1727)

    BirthplaceWoolsthorpe-by-Colsterworth, United Kingdom

    Sir Isaac Newton (25 December 1642 – 20 March 1726/27) was an English mathematician,... more on Wikipedia
  • Mahatma Gandhi19
    25,250
    17,303

    Mahatma Gandhi

    Dec. at 79 (1869-1948)

    BirthplacePorbandar, India

    Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (; 2 October 1869 – 30 January 1948) was an Indian lawyer,... more on Wikipedia

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  • Alexander Graham Bell20
    6,654
    4,475

    Alexander Graham Bell

    Dec. at 75 (1847-1922)

    BirthplaceEdinburgh, United Kingdom

    Alexander Graham Bell ('Graham' pronounced ) (March 3, 1847 – August 2, 1922) was a ... more on Wikipedia
  • Genghis Khan21
    13,246
    9,182
    Genghis Khan (born Temüjin, c. 1162 – August 18, 1227) was the founder and first Great Khan... more on Wikipedia
  • Muhammad22
    51,688
    36,154
    Muhammad (Arabic: مُحمّد‎, pronounced [muħammad]; c. 570 CE – 8 June 632 CE) was an Arab... more on Wikipedia
  • Winston Churchill23
    9,714
    6,641

    Winston Churchill

    Dec. at 91 (1874-1965)

    BirthplaceBlenheim Palace, Woodstock, United Kingdom

    Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill (30 November 1874 – 24 January 1965) was a British... more on Wikipedia

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  • Galileo Galilei24
    23,295
    16,490

    Galileo Galilei

    Dec. at 78 (1564-1642)

    BirthplacePisa, Italy

    Galileo Galilei ( GAL-il-AY-oh, also US: -⁠EE-oh, Italian: [ɡaliˈlɛːo ɡaliˈlɛi]; 15 February... more on Wikipedia
  • Pythagoras25
    7,645
    5,209
    Pythagoras of Samos (c. 570 – c. 495 BC) was an ancient Ionian Greek philosopher and the... more on Wikipedia

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