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The Most Influential People of All Time

Updated September 25, 2020 2.3m votes 187.5k 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 is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
    58,189
    36,371
    Jesus (c. 4 BC – c. AD 30 / 33), also referred to as Jesus of Nazareth and Jesus Christ, was a... more

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  • 2
    Julius Caesar is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
    15,230
    10,152

    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

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  • 3
    Nikola Tesla is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
    19,800
    12,900

    Nikola Tesla

    Dec. at 87 (1856-1943)

    BirthplaceSmiljan, Croatia

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

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  • 4
    Benjamin Franklin is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
    10,489
    6,537

    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

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  • 5
    Moses is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
    21,884
    14,531
    Moses () was a prophet according to the teachings of the Abrahamic religions. Scholarly... more
  • 0
  • 6
    Marie Curie is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
    10,798
    6,740

    Marie Curie

    Dec. at 67 (1867-1934)

    BirthplaceWarsaw, Second Polish Republic

    Marie Skłodowska Curie ( KEWR-ee, French: [kyʁi], Polish: [kʲiˈri]; born Maria Salomea... more
  • 0
  • 7
    Archimedes is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
    5,634
    3,534
    Archimedes of Syracuse (; Greek: Ἀρχιμήδης; c. 287 – c. 212 BC) was a Greek mathematician,... more
  • 0
  • 8
    Wright brothers is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
    8,810
    5,057
    The Wright brothers, Orville and Wilbur, were two American brothers, inventors, and aviation... more

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  • 9
    Abraham Lincoln is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
    23,248
    15,445

    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

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  • 10
    Martin Luther King, Jr. is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
    26,877
    17,826

    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

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  • 11
    Louis Pasteur is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
    4,945
    3,189

    Louis Pasteur

    Dec. at 73 (1822-1895)

    BirthplaceDole, France

    Louis Pasteur (, French: [lwi pastœʁ]; December 27, 1822 – September 28, 1895) was a French... more
  • 0
  • 12
    Leonardo da Vinci is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
    31,194
    21,369

    Leonardo da Vinci

    Dec. at 67 (1452-1519)

    BirthplaceVinci, Italy

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

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  • 13
    Ludwig van Beethoven is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
    8,557
    5,618

    Ludwig van Beethoven

    Dec. at 57 (1770-1827)

    BirthplaceBonn, Germany

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

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  • 14
    Michelangelo is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
    8,006
    5,418

    Michelangelo

    Dec. at 89 (1475-1564)

    BirthplaceCaprese Michelangelo, Italy

    Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni, commonly known as Michelangelo, was an Italian... more
  • 0
  • 15
    Albert Einstein is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
    38,087
    26,530

    Albert Einstein

    Dec. at 76 (1879-1955)

    BirthplaceUlm, Germany

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

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  • 16
    Socrates is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
    19,278
    13,508
    Socrates (; Ancient Greek: Σωκρᾰ́της, romanized: Sōkrátēs, [sɔːkrátɛːs]; c. 470 – 399 BC) was... more

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  • 17
    Muhammad is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
    50,838
    35,674
    Muhammad (Arabic: مُحمّد‎, pronounced [muħammad]; c. 570 CE – 8 June 632 CE) was an Arab... more

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  • 18
    Winston Churchill is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
    9,236
    6,253

    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

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  • 19
    Mahatma Gandhi is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
    24,593
    16,953

    Mahatma Gandhi

    Dec. at 79 (1869-1948)

    BirthplacePorbandar, India

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

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  • 20
    Isaac Newton is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
    33,540
    23,868

    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

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  • 21
    Genghis Khan is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
    12,767
    8,923
    Genghis Khan (born Temüjin, c. 1162 – August 18, 1227) was the founder and first Great Khan... more

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  • 22
    Henry Ford is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
    9,166
    6,290

    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
  • 0
  • 23
    Stephen Hawking is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
    5,178
    2,951

    BirthplaceOxford, United Kingdom

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

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  • 24
    Alexander Graham Bell is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
    6,234
    4,258

    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
  • 0
  • 25
    Galileo Galilei is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
    22,777
    16,373

    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
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