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190.7k voters

The Most Influential People of All Time

Updated September 25, 2020 2.4m votes 190.7k 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
    60,129
    37,123
    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
    16,036
    10,579

    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
    20,753
    13,456

    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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  • Wright brothers4
    9,517
    5,841
    The Wright brothers, Orville and Wilbur, were two American brothers, inventors, and aviation... more on Wikipedia

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  • Benjamin Franklin5
    11,153
    7,162

    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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  • Archimedes6
    6,236
    3,984
    Archimedes of Syracuse (; Greek: Ἀρχιμήδης; c. 287 – c. 212 BC) was a Greek mathematician,... more on Wikipedia
  • Marie Curie7
    11,478
    7,371

    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
  • Abraham Lincoln8
    24,158
    15,826

    Abraham Lincoln

    Dec. at 56 (1809-1865)

    BirthplaceHodgenville, Kentucky, USA

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

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  • Martin Luther King, Jr.9
    27,877
    18,180

    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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  • Moses10
    22,666
    14,978
    Moses () was a prophet according to the teachings of the Abrahamic religions. Scholarly... more on Wikipedia
  • Leonardo da Vinci11
    32,147
    21,572

    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
  • Albert Einstein12
    39,207
    26,672

    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
    5,773
    3,419

    BirthplaceOxford, United Kingdom

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

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  • Louis Pasteur14
    5,417
    3,532

    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
  • Ludwig van Beethoven15
    9,097
    5,961

    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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  • Michelangelo16
    8,453
    5,702

    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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  • Socrates17
    19,863
    13,728
    Socrates (; Ancient Greek: Σωκρᾰ́της, romanized: Sōkrátēs, [sɔːkrátɛːs]; c. 470 – 399 BC) was... more on Wikipedia

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  • Isaac Newton18
    34,354
    23,984

    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
    25,227
    17,290

    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
    6,643
    4,462

    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
    13,241
    9,170
    Genghis Khan (born Temüjin, c. 1162 – August 18, 1227) was the founder and first Great Khan... more on Wikipedia
  • Muhammad22
    51,657
    36,142
    Muhammad (Arabic: مُحمّد‎, pronounced [muħammad]; c. 570 CE – 8 June 632 CE) was an Arab... more on Wikipedia

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  • Winston Churchill23
    9,703
    6,627

    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
    23,287
    16,481

    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
  • Henry Ford25
    9,496
    6,587

    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