Tokugawa Ieyasu was the founder and first shōgun of the Tokugawa shogunate of Japan. He is considered one of the three "Great Unifiers" of Japan. He was the son of Matsudaira Hirotada, a minor local warlord. He grew up to be an ambitious young man with exemplary leadership qualities and eventually founded the Tokugawa shogunate of Japan.
Yi Sun-sin was a Korean military general and admiral best remembered for his famous victories during the Imjin war, where his troops were victorious against the Japanese navy. Since the Imjin war, Yi Sun-sin has been revered in Korea as a national hero. Most of his victories were achieved despite being outnumbered by the enemies.
James IV of Scotland reigned as the king of Scotland from 1488 until his death in 1513. Although his reign ended at the Battle of Flodden, where he was defeated, James is widely considered the most successful monarch of Scotland from the House of Stewart.
Part of Irish folklore, Grace O'Malley was known as The Pirate Queen. Born into a seafaring family and was known for her unrelenting attitude toward the English. Known for her exploits in the Nine Years' War, she refused to bow down to Queen Elizabeth, as she herself was a queen.
Nurhaci was a Jurchen chieftain who reigned as the Khan of Later Jin for 10 years. He is credited with uniting and reorganizing several Jurchen tribes. His attack and conquest of Ming dynasty laid the foundation for the formation of the Qing dynasty, which was founded by his descendants in 1636. His life inspired the 2005 TV series, Taizu Mishi.
Pier Gerlofs Donia was a Frisian rebel leader and pirate, whose life is shrouded in mystery. He was said to be a big, strong man with a dark complexion. He led an armed band, known as the Arumer Zwarte Hoop, against the Hollanders and Burgundians at sea and targeted ships that traveled the Zuiderzee. He died in 1520.
Hasekura Tsunenaga was a Japanese samurai who served under Date Masamune, the daimyō of Sendai. He is best remembered for heading a diplomatic mission called the Keichō Embassy and is regarded as the first Japanese ambassador in Spain and in the Americas. Hasekura Tsunenaga's life and career have inspired several works of art including a 1980 novel titled The Samurai.
Piri Reis was an Ottoman navigator, admiral, cartographer, and geographer. He is best remembered for his Book of Navigation, which contains maps and charts and information on navigational techniques. He gained international recognition in 1929 when a portion of his first world map was discovered at the Topkapı Palace in Turkey. Piri Reis finds mention in several popular video games.
Birbal was an advisor and chief commander of army in Mughal Emperor Akbar's court. He is best remembered for the folk tales that glorify his wit and intelligence. One of Akbar's most important courtiers, Birbal was part of The Navaratnas, a group of nine extraordinary people in the emperor's court. He has been portrayed in many folk tales and films.
Ishida Mitsunari was a Japanese military commander and samurai of the late Sengoku period. He is best remembered for commanding the Western army during the famous Battle of Sekigahara. Like many other Japanese samurai, Ishida Mitsunari has been fictionalized and depicted in many novels, TV series, and video games.
John of Austria was an illegitimate son of Charles V, the Holy Roman Emperor who reigned from 1519 to 1556. John served as a military leader under his half-brother, King Philip II of Spain. John of Austria is best remembered for his role at the Battle of Lepanto, where he served as the admiral of the Holy Alliance fleet.
Remembered as the founder of St. Augustine in Florida, USA, Spanish admiral and explorer Pedro Menéndez de Avilés has also been credited with planning the first regular trans-Atlantic convoys. Ruthlessly loyal to the Spanish king, he massacred the entire population of a nearby French post and established a string of forts along the Atlantic coast to protect Spanish interests.
An adviser of King Charles I and, Philip II of Spain, Fernando Álvarez de Toledo, 3rd Duke of Alba was a Spanish general and diplomat. A master of logistics, he had an unshakable self-confidence, which helped him to sail through most adverse situations. Notable for his conquest of Portugal, he is also remembered for his tyranny as the governor-general of Netherlands.
Alexander Farnese, Duke of Parma was an Italian condottiero and noble. He is best remembered for his service as a general in the Spanish army. From 1578 to 1592, Alexander Farnese served as the Governor of the Spanish Netherlands. He was also the Duke of Parma and Piacenza from 15 September 1586 to 3 December 1592.
Maurice, Prince of Orange is remembered for transforming the Dutch army with his modern military strategy and engineering. The second son of William I the Silent, he was part of the Eighty Years’ War with Spain. He passed away shortly before the siege of Breda was completed.
Johann Tserclaes, Count of Tilly was a field marshal who played a major role in the famous Thirty Years' War. A fierce field marshal, Johann Tserclaes had a string of prominent victories from 1620 to 1631 against the Protestants. He destroyed the Protestant city of Magdeburg, so much so that 20,000 inhabitants out of a population of 25,000 were dead.
Spanish conquistador Pedro de Valdivia served the Spanish army under Charles I. He led an expedition into Chile where he founded the cities of Santiago, Concepción and Valdivia, the latter was named after him. He extended Spanish rule south to the Biobío River and served as 1st Royal Governor of Chile. He also held-office as 2nd Adelantado of Terra Australis.
Lautaro was a Mapuche war leader best remembered for spearheading the indigenous resistance against the conquest of Chile by the Spanish. He led the warriors of Mapuche to a series of triumphs against the Spanish. He was killed at the Battle of Mataquito in his early 20s. Lautaro is credited with developing tactics that were used even after his death.
A 16th-century Duke of Savoy, Emmanuel Philibert, also known as Testa di ferro, was the only child of Charles III, Duke of Savoy. An able soldier, he is remembered for recovering most of the territories his father had lost to Spain and France. He also stressed on Italian as the official language.
Samurai warrior Maeda Toshiie was a leading general of the Sengoku period and served Oda Nobunaga. He was known for his mastery with a traditional Japanese blade-like weapon called yari. He showcased his military exploits in battles such as the Battle of Tedorigawa and trusted a core group of vassals.
Jean Ribault was a French navigator and naval officer. He is best remembered for colonizing what would eventually become the American Southeast. Jean Ribault also played an important role in the attempts of the French to colonize Florida.
Sixteenth-century English nobleman Walter Devereux, 1st earl of Essex is known for his infamous and unsuccessful attempt to colonize Ulster, an Irish province. His brutal raids included the murders of numerous people, including the families of top officials and the women and children he found hiding in caves.