Weird History
192.3k voters

The Most Influential People of All Time

Updated September 25, 2020 2.3m votes 192.3k 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.

Photo:
...more
  • Jesus Christ1
    58,492
    36,079
    Jesus (c. 4 BC – c. AD 30 / 33), also referred to as Jesus of Nazareth and Jesus Christ, was a...  more

    More Jesus Christ 

    Here Is All The Physical Evidence That Jesus Christ Was A Real PersonHere Are 12 Theories About The Mysterious Lost Years Of Jesus Christ

  • Nikola Tesla2
    20,525
    13,460

    Nikola Tesla

    Dec. at 87 (1856-1943)

    BirthplaceSmiljan, Croatia

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

    More Nikola Tesla 

    12 Surprising Things Not Many People Know About Nikola Tesla#5 of 97 Historical Figures You Most Want to Bring Back from the Dead

  • Marie Curie3
    11,532
    7,469

    Marie Curie

    Dec. at 67 (1867-1934)

    BirthplaceWarsaw, Second Polish Republic

    Marie Skłodowska Curie ( KEWR-ee, French: [kyʁi], Polish: [kʲiˈri]; born Maria Salomea...  more

    More Marie Curie 

    12 Things About Marie Curie That Prove She's One of the Most Influential Women Ever#179 of 319 The Most Inspiring (Non-Hollywood) Female Role Models

  • Leonardo da Vinci4
    31,620
    21,011

    Leonardo da Vinci

    Dec. at 67 (1452-1519)

    BirthplaceVinci, Italy

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

    More Leonardo da Vinci 

    #10 of 16 16 Famous Bodies From History Found In Inconspicuous Places#78 of 472 The Most Interesting Star Trek Characters

  • Moses5
    22,250
    15,022
    Moses () was a prophet according to the teachings of the Abrahamic religions. Scholarly...  more

    More Moses 

    #2 of 13 The Most Messed Up Passages From The Old Testament#10 of 16 Here's Every Event And Individual In The Bible We Have Physical Evidence Of

  • Abraham Lincoln6
    23,672
    15,923

    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

    More Abraham Lincoln 

    A Timeline Of The Hunt For John Wilkes BoothLincoln Approved The Largest Mass Execution In US History - But Not Against Confederates

  • Albert Einstein7
    38,148
    26,129

    Albert Einstein

    Dec. at 76 (1879-1955)

    BirthplaceUlm, Germany

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

    More Albert Einstein 

    Behind Einstein's Disastrous First Marriage To Physicist Mileva Marić#6 of 12 Historical Figures Whose Descendants Looked Just Like Them

  • Julius Caesar8
    15,746
    10,783

    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

    More Julius Caesar 

    The Craziest Romans Who Helped Kill Julius Caesar#453 of 3,510 The Best Movie Characters Of All Time

  • Martin Luther King, Jr.9
    27,237
    18,136

    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

    More Martin Luther King, Jr. 

    14 Events That Happened Immediately After Martin Luther King Jr.'s Assassination#824 of 1,172 The Best Writers of All Time

  • Isaac Newton10
    33,440
    23,464

    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

    More Isaac Newton 

    The Surprisingly Sad, Strange Life of Sir Isaac Newton#12 of 22 We Asked, You Answered: If You Could Be Any Dead Historical Figure For 24 Hours, Who Would It Be?

  • Wright brothers11
    9,387
    6,131
    The Wright brothers, Orville and Wilbur, were two American brothers, inventors, and aviation...  more
  • Socrates12
    19,430
    13,678
    Socrates (; Ancient Greek: Σωκρᾰ́της, romanized: Sōkrátēs, [sɔːkrátɛːs]; c. 470 – 399 BC) was...  more

    More Socrates 

    The Best Socrates Quotes#48 of 753 People We Wish Were Still Alive

  • Benjamin Franklin13
    10,949
    7,420

    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

    More Benjamin Franklin 

    The Best Benjamin Franklin Quotes#51 of 439 Famous Men You'd Want to Have a Beer With

  • Archimedes14
    6,168
    4,249
    Archimedes of Syracuse (; Greek: Ἀρχιμήδης; c. 287 – c. 212 BC) was a Greek mathematician,...  more
  • Muhammad15
    49,992
    35,519
    Muhammad (Arabic: مُحمّد‎, pronounced [muħammad]; c. 570 CE – 8 June 632 CE) was an Arab...  more

    More Muhammad 

    #215 of 410 The Most Important Military Leaders in World History#141 of 170 If You Fought To The Death, Who Would You Want By Your Side?

  • Mahatma Gandhi16
    24,560
    17,168

    Mahatma Gandhi

    Dec. at 79 (1869-1948)

    BirthplacePorbandar, India

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

    More Mahatma Gandhi 

    The Best Movies About Gandhi, Ranked#80 of 191 Freedom Fighters of India

  • Ludwig van Beethoven17
    8,919
    6,134

    Ludwig van Beethoven

    Dec. at 57 (1770-1827)

    BirthplaceBonn, Germany

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

    More Ludwig van Beethoven 

    18 Grim Facts About The Life Of Beethoven You Never Learned As A Kid#3 of 368 The Best Classical Composers

  • Galileo Galilei18
    22,660
    16,281

    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

    More Galileo Galilei 

    #18 of 134 The Most Controversial Writers of All Time#5 of 22 22 Historical Figures With Preserved Body Parts You Can Still Visit Today

  • Genghis Khan19
    12,925
    9,233
    Genghis Khan (born Temüjin, c. 1162 – August 18, 1227) was the founder and first Great Khan...  more

    More Genghis Khan 

    #1 of 16 The Most Brutal Medieval Monarchs#9 of 30 30 Of History's Biggest Badasses

  • Michelangelo20
    8,290
    5,897

    Michelangelo

    Dec. at 89 (1475-1564)

    BirthplaceCaprese Michelangelo, Italy

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

    More Michelangelo 

    #57 of 250 The Best Gay Authors#16 of 1,355 The Greatest Minds of All Time

  • Stephen Hawking21
    5,713
    3,733

    BirthplaceOxford, United Kingdom

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

    More Stephen Hawking 

    22 Things You Didn't Know About Stephen Hawking#9 of 75 The Greatest Guest Appearances in The Simpsons History

  • George Washington22
    16,899
    12,236

    George Washington

    Dec. at 67 (1732-1799)

    BirthplacePopes Creek, Colony of Virginia, British America

    George Washington was the first President of the United States, the Commander-in-Chief of the...  more

    More George Washington 

    What Was George Washington's Private Life Like?Most Don’t Know George Washington’s Second Term Was A Nightmare For Him And The American People

  • Winston Churchill23
    9,463
    6,782

    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

    More Winston Churchill 

    11 Facts About Winston Churchill That Sound Made Up But Aren't#5 of 14 Which Historical Figure Would Win In An All-Night Drinking Competition?

  • Louis Pasteur24
    5,312
    3,788

    Louis Pasteur

    Dec. at 73 (1822-1895)

    BirthplaceDole, France

    Louis Pasteur (, French: [lwi pastœʁ]; December 27, 1822 – September 28, 1895) was a French...  more
  • Henry Ford25
    9,249
    6,742

    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

    More Henry Ford 

    #3 of 54 The Most Influential CEOs of All Time#9 of 20 Appalling Anti-Semitic Remarks by Famous People