Weird History
190.8k voters

The Most Influential People of All Time

Updated September 25, 2020 2.4m votes 190.8k 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
    60,177
    37,136
    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

  • Archimedes2
    6,254
    3,994
    Archimedes of Syracuse (; Greek: Ἀρχιμήδης; c. 287 – c. 212 BC) was a Greek mathematician,... more on Wikipedia
  • Julius Caesar3
    16,053
    10,591

    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

  • Nikola Tesla4
    20,775
    13,460

    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'

  • Marie Curie5
    11,492
    7,379

    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
  • Wright brothers6
    9,532
    5,853
    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

  • Abraham Lincoln7
    24,178
    15,831

    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 on Wikipedia

    More Abraham Lincoln 

    Small But Poignant Facts We Just Learned About Abraham LincolnLincoln Approved The Largest Mass Execution In US History - But Not Against Confederates

  • Benjamin Franklin8
    11,166
    7,172

    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

    More Benjamin Franklin 

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

  • Martin Luther King, Jr.9
    27,903
    18,186

    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. 

    14 Events That Happened Immediately After Martin Luther King Jr.'s Assassination#754 of 1,172 The Best Writers of All Time

  • Moses10
    22,677
    14,987
    Moses () was a prophet according to the teachings of the Abrahamic religions. Scholarly... more on Wikipedia
  • Leonardo da Vinci11
    32,161
    21,574

    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
    39,227
    26,673

    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

  • Stephen Hawking13
    5,786
    3,425

    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 HawkingStephen Hawking Issues Terrifying Warning About Artificial Intelligence

  • Louis Pasteur14
    5,422
    3,538

    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
    9,104
    5,964

    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

  • Michelangelo16
    8,459
    5,707

    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 

    #34 of 753 People We Wish Were Still Alive#58 of 250 The Best Gay Authors

  • Socrates17
    19,868
    13,733
    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

  • Isaac Newton18
    34,370
    23,985

    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
    25,240
    17,297

    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 Movies About Gandhi, RankedThe Best Mahatma Gandhi Quotes

  • Alexander Graham Bell20
    6,653
    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
    13,243
    9,173
    Genghis Khan (born Temüjin, c. 1162 – August 18, 1227) was the founder and first Great Khan... more on Wikipedia
  • Muhammad22
    51,673
    36,145
    Muhammad (Arabic: مُحمّد‎, pronounced [muħammad]; c. 570 CE – 8 June 632 CE) was an Arab... more on Wikipedia
  • Winston Churchill23
    9,707
    6,631

    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 

    The 10 Most Devastating Burns Ever Delivered By Winston ChurchillThe Best Winston Churchill Quotes

  • Galileo Galilei24
    23,290
    16,483

    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
    9,497
    6,590

    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