Weird History
188.8k voters

The Most Influential People of All Time

Updated September 25, 2020 2.3m votes 188.8k 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
    59,004
    36,677
    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
    Wright brothers
    9,095
    5,331
    The Wright brothers, Orville and Wilbur, were two American brothers, inventors, and aviation... more on Wikipedia

    More Wright brothers 

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

  • 3
    Benjamin Franklin
    10,800
    6,862

    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

  • 4
    Marie Curie
    11,066
    7,043

    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
    Nikola Tesla
    20,169
    13,170

    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
    5,857
    3,731
    Archimedes of Syracuse (; Greek: Ἀρχιμήδης; c. 287 – c. 212 BC) was a Greek mathematician,... more on Wikipedia
  • 7
    Julius Caesar
    15,576
    10,325

    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 CaesarThe Best Actors Who Have Played Julius Caesar

  • 8
    Abraham Lincoln
    23,658
    15,585

    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 

    Direct Quotes From People Who Thought Abraham Lincoln Would Be The Worst President EverSmall But Poignant Facts We Just Learned About Abraham Lincoln

  • 9
    Martin Luther King, Jr.
    27,334
    17,969

    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.14 Events That Happened Immediately After Martin Luther King Jr.'s Assassination

  • 10
    Moses
    22,247
    14,709
    Moses () was a prophet according to the teachings of the Abrahamic religions. Scholarly... more on Wikipedia
  • 11
    Leonardo da Vinci
    31,585
    21,468

    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
    8,791
    5,778

    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 1,891 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

  • 13
    Stephen Hawking
    5,415
    3,141

    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?

  • 14
    Louis Pasteur
    5,144
    3,358

    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
  • 15
    Albert Einstein
    38,548
    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

    More Albert Einstein 

    Behind Einstein's Disastrous First Marriage To Physicist Mileva MarićOddball Facts About Albert Einstein's Eccentricity

  • 16
    Michelangelo
    8,199
    5,555

    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 

    #58 of 250 The Best Gay Authors#4 of 403 Famous Role Models We'd Like to Meet In Person

  • 17
    Socrates
    19,514
    13,621
    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
    24,884
    17,085

    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
    Isaac Newton
    33,892
    23,917

    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
    9,420
    6,431

    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 Best Winston Churchill Quotes

  • 21
    Muhammad
    51,230
    35,858
    Muhammad (Arabic: مُحمّد‎, pronounced [muħammad]; c. 570 CE – 8 June 632 CE) was an Arab... more on Wikipedia

    More Muhammad 

    #50 of 347 The Most Important Leaders In World History#148 of 170 If You Fought To The Death, Who Would You Want By Your Side?

  • 22
    Genghis Khan
    12,977
    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
    4,329

    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

    More Alexander Graham Bell 

    10 Controversial Facts People Don't Know About Alexander Graham Bell#209 of 753 People We Wish Were Still Alive

  • 24
    Henry Ford
    9,304
    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
    23,011
    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