Weird History

The 30 Biggest Badasses In History  

Chase Christy
20.3k votes 3.4k voters 102.8k views 30 items

List Rules Vote up the badasses who made history worth learning about. Excludes entertainers (actors, singers, celebrities) and historical figures post-1960.

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, and 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 fit that bill. In fact, being a badass is how many of them made history. 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.

Simo Häyhä is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The 30 Biggest Badasses In History
Photo: Metaweb (FB)/Public domain
1
Simo Häyhä

Simo "Simuna" Häyhä (Finnish pronunciation: [ˈsimo̞ ˈhæy̯ɦæ]; 17 December 1905 – 1 April 2002), nicknamed "White Death" (Russian: Белая смерть, Belaja smert; Finnish: valkoinen kuolema; Swedish: den vita döden) 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 ...more on Wikipedia

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#367 of 931 People We Wish Were Still Alive #14 of 165 If You Fought To The Death, Who Would You Want By Your Side? #62 of 100 Historical Figures You Most Want to Bring Back from the Dead

Genghis Khan is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The 30 Biggest Badasses In History
Photo:  Alastair Rae from London, United Kingdom/Wikimedia Commons/ CC BY-SA 2.0

Genghis Khan (born Temüjin, c. 1162 – August 18, 1227) was the founder and first Great Khan of the Mongol Empire, which became the largest contiguous empire in history after his death. He came to power by uniting many of the nomadic tribes of Northeast Asia. After founding the Empire and being proclaimed Genghis Khan, he launched the Mongol invasions that conquered most of Eurasia. Campaigns initiated in his lifetime include those against the Qara Khitai, Caucasus, and Khwarazmian, Western Xia and Jin dynasties. These campaigns were often accompanied by large-scale massacres of the civilian populations – especially in the Khwarazmian and Western Xia controlled lands. By the end of his life, ...more on Wikipedia

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#25 of 2,831 The Most Influential People of All Time #314 of 1,472 The Greatest Minds of All Time #33 of 379 The Most Important Leaders In World History

Spartacus is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The 30 Biggest Badasses In History
Photo: BSIP / Contributor/Universal Images Group

Spartacus (Greek: Σπάρτακος Spártakos; Latin: Spartacus; c. 111–71 BC) was a Thracian gladiator who, along with Crixus, Gannicus, Castus, and Oenomaus, was one of the escaped slave leaders in the Third Servile War, a major slave uprising against the Roman Republic. Little is known about Spartacus beyond the events of the war, and surviving historical accounts are sometimes contradictory and may not always be reliable. However, all sources agree that he was a former gladiator and an accomplished military leader. This rebellion, interpreted by some as an example of oppressed people fighting for their freedom against a slave-owning oligarchy, has provided inspiration for many political ...more on Wikipedia

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#127 of 2,831 The Most Influential People of All Time #163 of 379 The Most Important Leaders In World History #67 of 411 The Most Important Military Leaders in World History

Ivar the Boneless is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The 30 Biggest Badasses In History
Photo:  Wikimedia Commons (CC-BY)

Ivar the Boneless (Old Norse: Ívarr hinn Beinlausi; Old English: Hyngwar), also known as Ivar Ragnar'son, was a Viking leader who invaded Anglo-Saxon England. According to The Tale of Ragnar Lothbrok, he was the oldest son of Ragnar Loðbrok and third wife Aslaug. His younger half-brothers and brothers included Björn Ironside, Halfdan Ragnarsson, Hvitserk, Sigurd Snake-in-the-Eye and Ubba. The origin of the nickname is not certain. "Ívarr beinlausi" could be translated to "Ivar legless", but "beinlausi" could also be translated as "boneless", since "bone" and "leg" translates to the same word, "ben", in Swedish. Several of the sagas describe him as lacking legs/bones, while a passage in ...more on Wikipedia

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#347 of 2,831 The Most Influential People of All Time #4 of 24 The Most Hardcore Viking Names