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188.9k voters

The Most Influential People of All Time

Updated September 25, 2020 2.3m votes 188.9k 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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  • 1
    Jesus Christ
    59,021
    36,683
    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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  • 2
    Wright brothers
    9,097
    5,343
    The Wright brothers, Orville and Wilbur, were two American brothers, inventors, and aviation... more on Wikipedia
  • 3
    Benjamin Franklin
    10,803
    6,867

    Benjamin Franklin

    Dec. at 84 (1706-1790)

    BirthplaceBoston, Massachusetts, United States of America

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

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  • 4
    Marie Curie
    11,073
    7,047

    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
  • 5
    Archimedes
    5,867
    3,735
    Archimedes of Syracuse (; Greek: Ἀρχιμήδης; c. 287 – c. 212 BC) was a Greek mathematician,... more on Wikipedia
  • 6
    Nikola Tesla
    20,180
    13,171

    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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  • 7
    Julius Caesar
    15,587
    10,326

    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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  • 8
    Abraham Lincoln
    23,664
    15,592

    Abraham Lincoln

    Dec. at 56 (1809-1865)

    BirthplaceHodgenville, Kentucky, United States of America

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

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  • 9
    Moses
    22,253
    14,711
    Moses () was a prophet according to the teachings of the Abrahamic religions. Scholarly... more on Wikipedia
  • 10
    Martin Luther King, Jr.
    27,343
    17,973

    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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  • 11
    Leonardo da Vinci
    31,591
    21,471

    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
  • 12
    Ludwig van Beethoven
    8,796
    5,782

    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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  • 13
    Stephen Hawking
    5,418
    3,145

    BirthplaceOxford, United Kingdom

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

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  • 14
    Albert Einstein
    38,558
    26,600

    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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  • 15
    Louis Pasteur
    5,147
    3,362

    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
  • 16
    Michelangelo
    8,202
    5,557

    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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  • 17
    Socrates
    19,517
    13,624
    Socrates (; Ancient Greek: Σωκρᾰ́της, romanized: Sōkrátēs, [sɔːkrátɛːs]; c. 470 – 399 BC) was... more on Wikipedia

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  • 18
    Mahatma Gandhi
    24,887
    17,089

    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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  • 19
    Isaac Newton
    33,896
    23,918

    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
  • 20
    Winston Churchill
    9,424
    6,434

    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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  • 21
    Muhammad
    51,234
    35,859
    Muhammad (Arabic: مُحمّد‎, pronounced [muħammad]; c. 570 CE – 8 June 632 CE) was an Arab... more on Wikipedia

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  • 22
    Genghis Khan
    12,980
    9,036
    Genghis Khan (born Temüjin, c. 1162 – August 18, 1227) was the founder and first Great Khan... more on Wikipedia
  • 23
    Alexander Graham Bell
    6,403
    4,333

    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

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  • 24
    Henry Ford
    9,306
    6,424

    Henry Ford

    Dec. at 84 (1863-1947)

    BirthplaceGreenfield Township, Wayne County, Michigan

    Henry Ford (July 30, 1863 – April 7, 1947) was an American industrialist and a business... more on Wikipedia
  • 25
    Galileo Galilei
    23,014
    16,411

    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