Weird History
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30 Of History's Biggest Badasses

Updated November 13, 2020 62.8k votes 8.9k voters 304.2k views30 items

List RulesVote up the badasses - historical figures from before 1960 - who made history worth learning about.

When you think of the biggest badasses in history, who comes to mind? Rambo, Stone-cold Steve Austin, maybe even the self-proclaimed "American Badass," Kid Rock? Well, if any of those characters fit your criteria for badassery, you went a little wide of the mark. Throughout history, many men and women exemplified what it truly means to be badass without the assistance of big-budget filming and expensive PR campaigns. When was the last time you saw James Bond or Lara Croft emerge from the countryside, aged 19, to prevent France from becoming England? You didn't, because that was Joan of Arc, the first figure taught in Historical Badasses 101.

A badass is defined as a "tough, uncompromising or intimidating person" and many historical figures - including world leaders, medieval warriors, and military men - fit that bill. In fact, being a badass is how many of them made history. Many of these tough guys have been called the toughest man (or woman!) in the world, and the most feared names in history. Many of these strong leaders even have the most badass names - or their names became cool after their impressive deeds. Who do you think will wind up the top ten badasses?

Compiled here is a list of historical figures who took toughness and intimidation to the next level. During times when everything was much more dangerous (including people), the most badass people in history rose above it all by simply being even more dangerous. Vlad the Impaler didn't inspire Dracula with his mercy, that's for sure. Now, who do you think is the most badass guy ever? Vote up the toughest humans ever below. 

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  • 1

    Simo Häyhä

    Simo "Simuna" Häyhä (17 December 1905 – 1 April 2002), nicknamed "White Death" by the Red Army, was a Finnish sniper. He is believed to have killed over 500 men during the 1939–40 Winter War, the highest number of sniper kills in any major war. He used a Finnish-produced M/28-30 rifle, a variant of the Mosin–Nagant rifle, and a Suomi KP/-31 submachine gun. Häyhä estimated in his diary that he killed more than 500 Red Army soldiers in the Winter War. His unit's chaplain Antti Rantama credited him with 259 confirmed kills by sniper rifle and an equal number of kills by submachine gun during the Winter War....  more
    • Age: Dec. at 96 (1905-2002)
    • Birthplace: Rautjärvi, Finland
    5,010
    571
    Badass?

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  • 2

    Hugh Glass

    Hugh Glass (c. 1783 – 1833) was an American frontiersman, fur trapper, trader, hunter, and explorer. He is best known for his story of survival and retribution after being left for dead by companions when he was mauled by a grizzly bear. Born in Pennsylvania to Scots-Irish parents, Glass became an explorer of the watershed of the Upper Missouri River, in present-day Montana, the Dakotas, and the Platte River area of Nebraska. His life story has been adapted into two feature-length films: Man in the Wilderness (1971) and The Revenant (2015). They both portray the survival struggle of Glass, who (in the best historical accounts) crawled and stumbled 200 miles (320 km) to Fort Kiowa, South...  more
    • Age: 241
    • Birthplace: Pennsylvania
    2,821
    343
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  • Geronimo Mescalero-Chiricahua: Goyaałé"the one who yawns," June 1829 – February 17, 1909) was a prominent leader and medicine man from the Bedonkohe band of the Apache tribe. From 1850 to 1886 Geronimo joined with members of three other Chiricahua Apache bands — the Tchihende, the Tsokanende and the Nednhi — to carry out numerous raids, as well as resistance to U.S. and Mexican military campaigns in the northern Mexico states of Chihuahua and Sonora, and in the southwestern American territories of New Mexico and Arizona. Geronimo's raids and related combat actions were a part of the prolonged period of the Apache–United States conflict, which started with American settlement in Apache lands...  more
    • Age: Dec. at 79 (1829-1909)
    • Birthplace: Arizona
    3,449
    460
    Badass?

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  • Sergeant Major Daniel Joseph Daly (November 11, 1873 – April 27, 1937) was a United States Marine and one of only nineteen men (including seven Marines) to have received the Medal of Honor twice. All Marine double recipients except Daly and Major General Smedley Butler received both Medals of Honor for the same action. Daly is said to have yelled, "Come on, you sons of bitches, do you want to live forever?" to the men in his company prior to charging the Germans during the Battle of Belleau Wood in World War I. Major General Butler described Daly as, "The fightin'est Marine I ever knew!" Daly reportedly was offered an officer's commission twice to which he responded that he would rather be,...  more
    • Age: Dec. at 63 (1873-1937)
    • Birthplace: Glen Cove, New York
    2,116
    282
    Badass?