vote on everything
Weird History
187.9k voters

The Most Influential People of All Time

Updated September 25, 2020 2.3m votes 187.9k 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.

Photo:
...more
  • 1
    Jesus Christ is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
    58,394
    36,466
    Jesus (c. 4 BC – c. AD 30 / 33), also referred to as Jesus of Nazareth and Jesus Christ, was a... more on Wikipedia

    More Jesus Christ 

    There's A Hidden Gospel Of Jesus's Childhood, And Its Contents Are ShockingHere Is All The Physical Evidence That Jesus Christ Was A Real Person

  • 2
    Benjamin Franklin is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
    10,570
    6,632

    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

    More Benjamin Franklin 

    The Best Benjamin Franklin QuotesTurns Out Benjamin Franklin's Son Hated America And Actively Fought Against The Revolution

  • 3
    Marie Curie is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
    10,856
    6,819

    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
  • 4
    Julius Caesar is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
    15,336
    10,221

    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

    More Julius Caesar 

    The Craziest Romans Who Helped Kill Julius Caesar20 Julius Caesar Memes That You'd Think Would Be Boring, But Are Actually Hilarious

  • 5
    Nikola Tesla is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
    19,889
    12,993

    Nikola Tesla

    Dec. at 87 (1856-1943)

    BirthplaceSmiljan, Croatia

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

    More Nikola Tesla 

    12 Surprising Things Not Many People Know About Nikola TeslaThe True Story Of The Industrial Feud That Inspired 'The Current War'

  • 6
    Archimedes is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
    5,688
    3,596
    Archimedes of Syracuse (; Greek: Ἀρχιμήδης; c. 287 – c. 212 BC) was a Greek mathematician,... more on Wikipedia
  • 7
    Wright brothers is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
    8,885
    5,104
    The Wright brothers, Orville and Wilbur, were two American brothers, inventors, and aviation... more on Wikipedia

    More Wright brothers 

    #15 of 433 The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History#8 of 15 Historical Events You Most Want To Go Back and See

  • 8
    Moses is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
    21,997
    14,578
    Moses () was a prophet according to the teachings of the Abrahamic religions. Scholarly... more on Wikipedia
  • 9
    Abraham Lincoln is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
    23,356
    15,479

    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

    More Abraham Lincoln 

    Small But Poignant Facts We Just Learned About Abraham LincolnFacts We Just Learned About Abraham Lincoln That Made Us Say 'Really?'

  • 10
    Martin Luther King, Jr. is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
    27,000
    17,865

    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

    More Martin Luther King, Jr. 

    15 Surprising And Little-Known Facts About Martin Luther King Jr.#776 of 1,172 The Best Writers of All Time

  • 11
    Louis Pasteur is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
    4,995
    3,238

    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
  • 12
    Leonardo da Vinci is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
    31,297
    21,405

    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

    More Leonardo da Vinci 

    #10 of 16 16 Famous Bodies From History Found In Inconspicuous Places#72 of 472 The Most Interesting Star Trek Characters

  • 13
    Ludwig van Beethoven is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
    8,624
    5,662

    Ludwig van Beethoven

    Dec. at 57 (1770-1827)

    BirthplaceBonn, Germany

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

    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

  • 14
    Michelangelo is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
    8,048
    5,468

    Michelangelo

    Dec. at 89 (1475-1564)

    BirthplaceCaprese Michelangelo, Italy

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

    More Michelangelo 

    #3 of 403 Famous Role Models We'd Like to Meet In Person#17 of 18 Famous Writers and Artists Who Were Terrible Humans

  • 15
    Albert Einstein is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
    38,198
    26,556

    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

    More Albert Einstein 

    Behind Einstein's Disastrous First Marriage To Physicist Mileva MarićFacts We Just Learned About Albert Einstein That Made Us Say 'Really?'

  • 16
    Winston Churchill is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
    9,280
    6,307

    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

    More Winston Churchill 

    11 Facts About Winston Churchill That Sound Made Up But Aren'tThe 10 Most Devastating Burns Ever Delivered By Winston Churchill

  • 17
    Socrates is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
    19,340
    13,548
    Socrates (; Ancient Greek: Σωκρᾰ́της, romanized: Sōkrátēs, [sɔːkrátɛːs]; c. 470 – 399 BC) was... more on Wikipedia

    More Socrates 

    The Best Socrates QuotesThe Best Books About Socrates

  • 18
    Mahatma Gandhi is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
    24,663
    16,995

    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

    More Mahatma Gandhi 

    The Best Mahatma Gandhi QuotesThe Best Movies About Gandhi, Ranked

  • 19
    Muhammad is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
    50,964
    35,725
    Muhammad (Arabic: مُحمّد‎, pronounced [muħammad]; c. 570 CE – 8 June 632 CE) was an Arab... more on Wikipedia

    More Muhammad 

    #53 of 347 The Most Important Leaders In World History#744 of 1,357 The Greatest Minds of All Time

  • 20
    Stephen Hawking is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
    5,225
    2,999

    BirthplaceOxford, United Kingdom

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

    More Stephen Hawking 

    22 Things You Didn't Know About Stephen HawkingWhat Does Stephen Hawking's Last Paper Before His Death Really Reveal About The Multiverse?

  • 21
    Isaac Newton is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
    33,636
    23,879

    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
  • 22
    Genghis Khan is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
    12,831
    8,956
    Genghis Khan (born Temüjin, c. 1162 – August 18, 1227) was the founder and first Great Khan... more on Wikipedia

    More Genghis Khan 

    #3 of 16 Historical Leaders Called 'The Great,' Ranked By Greatness#7 of 30 30 Of History's Biggest Badasses

  • 23
    Henry Ford is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
    9,199
    6,340

    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
  • 24
    Alexander Graham Bell is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
    6,277
    4,282

    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
  • 25
    Galileo Galilei is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Most Influential People of All Time
    22,838
    16,390

    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
PeopleHistoryHistorical FiguresWorld LeadersPoliticspolltop 10Weird HistoryInfluential