Famous 17th Century Historical Personalities

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Find out more about the greatest 17th Century Historical Personalities, including Charles I of England, Louis XIV of France, James II of England, Anne, Queen of Great Britain and Shivaji.
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 1 
Elizabeth I of England
(Queen of England)
Elizabeth I of England
24
Birthdate: September 7, 1533
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Palace of Placentia
Died: March 24, 1603
Elizabeth I, daughter of King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, ruled as the Queen of England and Ireland from 1558 to 1603. She had been declared illegitimate after her mother’s execution. Nicknamed The Virgin Queen for her unmarried status, she established an English Protestant church and served as its governor.
 2 
Peter the Great
(First Emperor of Russia)
Peter the Great
18
Birthdate: June 9, 1672
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Moscow
Died: February 8, 1725
Peter the Great ruled the Tsardom of Russia, and then the Russian Empire, from 1682 to 1725. He ushered in the Enlightenment and cultural revolution in Russia. He also strengthened the Russian navy and launched the Russo-Persian War. Saint Petersburg, the capital of Russia till 1917, was established by him.
 3 
Charles II
(King of England, Scotland and Ireland from 1660 to 1685)
Charles II
21
Birthdate: May 29, 1630
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: St James's Palace, London, England
Died: February 6, 1685
Charles II, son of King Charles I of England, ruled England, Scotland, and Ireland from 1660 to 1685. He was initially defeated by Oliver Cromwell and forced to go into exile, but returned to England after Cromwell’s death. He introduced the Clarendon Code and later sided with the Tories.
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 4 
Louis XIV of France
(King of France from 1643 to 1715)
Louis XIV of France
11
Birthdate: September 5, 1638
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Saint-Germain-en-Laye, France
Died: September 1, 1715

Louis XIV of France reigned as the King of France from 1643 to 1715. Louis XIV is the longest-reigning monarch of a sovereign country in the history of Europe. Under his rule, France often asserted its military prowess and emerged as the most dominant European monarchy. His life inspired several films, such as The Taking of Power by Louis XIV.

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 5 
Henry IV of France
(King of France (1589-1610))
Henry IV of France
13
Birthdate: December 13, 1553
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Pau, France
Died: May 14, 1610

Henry IV of France reigned as the King of France from 2 August 1589 until his death on 14 May 1610. Remembered for his concern about the welfare of the people of France, Henry worked to eliminate corruption, promote agriculture, encourage education, and regularize state finance. The character of Ferdinand in Shakespeare's Love's Labour's Lost was loosely based on Henry.

 6 
Anne, Queen of Great Britain
(Queen of Great Britain and Ireland (1707 – 1714))
Anne, Queen of Great Britain
10
Birthdate: February 6, 1665
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: St James's Palace, Westminster, England
Died: August 1, 1714

Many biographers consider Anne, the Queen of Great Britain, a weak and irresolute woman. It is said that she lacked political astuteness and was easily influenced by others. Though she was troubled by poor health throughout her life, she became increasingly obese and ill during her 30s and eventually died at the age of 49.

 7 
James II of England
(King of England, Scotland, and Ireland from 1685 to 1688)
James II of England
11
Birthdate: October 14, 1633
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: London, England
Died: September 16, 1701

James II of England reigned as the king of Ireland, Scotland, and England from 1685 to 1688. His deposition as king, caused by the Glorious Revolution of 1688, ended a century of civil and political strife by establishing the principle that Parliament would be preferred over the Crown as opposed to the principles of divine right of kings and absolutism.

 8 
Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj
(Founder of the Maratha Kingdom of India)
Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj
78
Birthdate: February 19, 1630
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Maharashtra, India
Died: April 3, 1680

Shivaji was an Indian warrior-king. He is credited with founding the Maratha Empire, which became a force to reckon with during the 18th century. He is also credited with creating his own navy. Considered one of the most important Indian kings and a hero of the Hindus, Shivaji's life and work have inspired several works of art, including films.

 9 
Charles I of England
(King of England, Scotland & Ireland from 1625 to 1649)
Charles I of England
12
Birthdate: November 19, 1600
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Dunfermline Palace, Dunfermline, Scotland
Died: January 30, 1649

Charles I, the King of England, Scotland and Ireland from 1625 to 1649, was said to be authoritarian and was in constant battle with the Parliament over the issue of royal prerogative. The friction led to a civil war from 1642 to 1645 between him and the English and Scottish Parliaments. He was defeated and executed in 1649 for treason.

 10 
Maria Theresa of Spain
(Queen Consort of France from 1660 to 1683)
Maria Theresa of Spain
7
Birthdate: September 10, 1638
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Lorenzo de El Escorial, San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain
Died: July 30, 1683
Maria Theresa of Spain was the queen consort of France from 1660 to 1683, as the wife of Louis XIV of France. She lost five of her six children early and was also often ignored by the court. She died due to a wound on her arm at age 44.
 11 
Mary II of England
(Queen of England, Scotland and Ireland (1689 - 1694))
Mary II of England
8
Birthdate: April 30, 1662
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: London, England
Died: December 28, 1694

Mary II of England was Queen of England, Ireland, and Scotland from 1689 to 1694. Although she co-reigned along with her husband William III of England, she also took major decisions by herself whenever William was abroad. Mary has been portrayed in films, such as Orlando and England, My England.

 12 
George II of Great Britain
(Former King of Great Britain & Ireland (1727 - 1760))
George II of Great Britain
15
Birthdate: November 10, 1683
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Hanover, Germany
Died: October 25, 1760
George II was the king of Great Britain from 1727 to 1760. He had negligible control over his country’s policies, as the Parliament took most of the significant decisions back then. His participation in the 1743 Battle of Dettingen made him the last British monarch to fight in a battle.
 13 
Ahmed I
(Ottoman Emperor)
Ahmed I
10
Birthdate: April 18, 1590
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Manisa, Turkey
Died: November 22, 1617
Ahmed I reigned as the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 1603 till 1617. He ended the Ottoman tradition of royal fratricide upon taking over the throne. He constructed the iconic Blue Mosque of Turkey. He also patronized art, especially calligraphy, and wrote poems under the pseudonym Bahti.
 14 
Kösem Sultan
(Chief Consort and Legal Wife of the Ottoman Sultan Ahmed I)
Kösem Sultan
8
Birthdate: 1589 AD
Birthplace: Greece
Died: September 2, 1651
 15 
Louis XIII of France
(Former King of France (1610 – 1643))
Louis XIII of France
6
Birthdate: September 27, 1601
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Château de Fontainebleau, Fontainebleau, France
Died: May 14, 1643

Louis XIII of France reigned as the King of France between 1610 and 1643. He is best remembered for saving the kingdom from the mismanagement of his mother Marie de' Medici, who was exiled by a 16-year-old Louis XIII. He is also credited with popularizing wigs among men, which had not been fashionable since antiquity.

 16 
Hausa Queen Amina
(Queen of Nigeria)
Hausa Queen Amina
6
Birthdate: 1533 AD
Birthplace: Zaria, Nigeria
Died: 1610 AD

Nigerian warrior queen Amina ruled the 16th-century city-state Zazzau at a time when women leaders were hard to come by. Her 34-year-old reign saw her expanding her kingdom and developing trade routes. Some believe she was merely a mythical figure, but remnants of the walls she had built prove otherwise.

 17 
George I of Great Britain
(Former King of Great Britain and Ireland (1714 - 1727))
George I of Great Britain
12
Birthdate: May 28, 1660
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Hanover, Germany
Died: June 11, 1727
George I ruled as the king of Great Britain and Ireland from 1714 to 1727. He also ruled the Duchy and Electorate of Brunswick-Lüneburg from 1698 to 1727. He was the House of Hanover’s first British monarch. George's reign witnessed the rise of Robert Walpole and the cabinet government. 
 18 
Murad IV
(Ottoman Sultan)
Murad IV
5
Birthdate: July 26, 1612
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Constantinople, Ottoman Empire
Died: February 8, 1640

Murad IV, who ruled as the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 1623 to 1640, was infamous for his cruelty. He took over the throne at 11 and subsequently came to be known for his exploits in the Ottoman–Safavid War, which changed the map of the Caucasus.

 19 
Nader Shah
(Shah of Iran from 1736 to 1747)
Nader Shah
18
Birthdate: October 22, 1688
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Dargaz, Iran
Died: June 19, 1747

Nader Shah reigned over Iran as the Shah of Iran from 1736 until his death in 1747. He is widely regarded as one of the most powerful rulers in the history of Iran. He has also been described as the Napoleon of Persia, thanks to his military genius, which was evident in his several campaigns.

 20 
Charles II of Spain
(King of Spain from 1665 to 1700)
Charles II of Spain
20
Birthdate: November 6, 1661
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Madrid, Spain
Died: November 1, 1700

Charles II of Spain reigned as the king of Spain from 1665 to 1700. He was the last king from the House of Habsburg to rule the Spanish Empire. Despite suffering from many illnesses throughout his life, Charles proved to be a reasonably influential king. The town of Charleroi and the Caroline Islands in modern Belgium were named after Charles.

 21 
Kangxi Emperor
(Emperor of the Qing Dynasty from 1661 to 1722)
Kangxi Emperor
6
Birthdate: May 4, 1654
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Beijing, China
Died: December 20, 1722
Son of emperor Shunzhi and empress Xiaokang, Xuanye, or the Kangxi Emperor, was the Qing dynasty’s third emperor. Apart from signing the Treaty of Nerchinsk with Russia, he crushed the revolt of the three warlords, known as the Rebellion of Wu Sangui. He was also known to be a workaholic.
Christina, Queen of Sweden
5
Birthdate: December 18, 1626
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Tre Kronor
Died: April 19, 1689
 23 
Catherine I of Russia
(Former Empress of Russia (1725 - 1727))
Catherine I of Russia
8
Birthdate: April 15, 1684
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Russia
Died: May 17, 1727

Catherine I of Russia was the second wife and Empress consort of Peter the Great. She served as the Empress regnant of Russia from 1725 until her death in 1727. The daughter of a peasant, she had an adventurous life as a young woman and eventually married Peter the Great who was taken by her beauty. They had 12 children.

 24 
Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden
(King of Sweden from 1611 to 1632)
Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden
2
Birthdate: December 9, 1594
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Stockholm, Sweden
Died: November 6, 1632

Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden reigned as the King of Sweden from 30 October 1611 until his death on 6 November 1632, at the age of 37. He is credited with transforming Sweden into a great European power. Considered one of the greatest modern military commanders, Gustavus Adolphus turned Sweden into one of Europe's primary military forces during the Thirty Years' War.

 25 
Françoise d'Aubigné, Marquise de Maintenon
5
Birthdate: November 27, 1635
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Niort, France
Died: April 15, 1719

Françoise d'Aubigné was a French noblewoman. She was secretly married to King Louis XIV and was one of his closest advisers. She was never considered the queen of France and served as the royal children's governess. She was born in an impoverished family and was previously married to poet Paul Scarron. She married Louis years after Scarron’s death.

 26 
Marie de' Medici
(Queen Consort of France and Navarre from 1600 to 1610)
Marie de' Medici
4
Birthdate: April 26, 1575
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Florence, Italy
Died: July 3, 1642
Queen Marie de Médicis, the second wife of Henry IV of France, acted as the regent for her son till he came of age. An art connoisseur, she built the Luxembourg Palace in Paris. Known for her affinity for Concino Concini, she was eventually exiled for her excesses. 
 27 
Charles XII of Sweden
(King of Sweden (1697 – 1718))
Charles XII of Sweden
7
Birthdate: June 27, 1682
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Stockholm, Sweden
Died: December 11, 1718
Charles XII ruled Sweden as an absolute monarch for 18 years during the Great Northern War. He took over the throne at 15. Although appreciated for his effective legal and tax reforms, he is known to have led Sweden to immense destruction by participating in the 1707-1709 campaign against Russia.
Ibrahim of the Ottoman Empire
5
Birthdate: November 4, 1615
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: İstanbul, Turkey
Died: August 18, 1648
 29 
Margaret of Valois
(Queen Consort of France (1589 - 1599), Queen Consort of Navarre (1572 - 1599))
Margaret of Valois
4
Birthdate: May 14, 1553
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Saint-Germain-en-Laye, France
Died: March 27, 1615
Margaret of Valois, queen of Navarre and France, is remembered for her historically significant Memoirs, which throws light on major events such as the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre. She did not allow her husband, Henry III, to annul their childless marriage till the death of Henry’s mistress.
 30 
Philip III of Spain
(King of Spain (1598 - 1621))
Philip III of Spain
6
Birthdate: April 14, 1578
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Madrid, Spain
Died: March 31, 1621

Philip III of Spain was the king of Spain from 1598 to 1621. He also reigned over Portugal, Naples, Sicily, and Sardinia as Philip II. He was the son of Philip II of Spain and Anna of Austria. He was believed to be a weak man, who relied too much on his corrupt chief minister, the Duke of Lerma.

 31 
Philip IV of Spain
(King of Portugal (1621 - 1640), King of Spain (1621 - 1665))
Philip IV of Spain
5
Birthdate: April 8, 1605
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Valladolid, Spain
Died: September 17, 1665

Philip IV of Spain was the king of Spain from 1621 to 1665 and the king of Portugal from 1621 to 1640. He was a fine horseman and a keen hunter but was considered a weak ruler with excessive dependence on the ministers. Even though the Spanish empire expanded considerably during his reign, he was not a popular king.

 32 
Yongzheng Emperor
(Fourth Emperor of the Qing Dynasty (1722 - 1735))
Yongzheng Emperor
5
Birthdate: December 13, 1678
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Beijing, China
Died: October 8, 1735

Yongzheng reigned over the Qing dynasty as its fourth Emperor from 1722 to 1735. He was also the third Qing emperor to reign over the Eighteen Provinces. Remembered for his hard-working nature, Yongzheng's most prominent objective was to come up with an effective government at minimum expense. Yongzheng, who cracked down on corruption, is credited with forming the Grand Council.

 33 
Sambhaji
(Ruler)
Sambhaji
17
Birthdate: May 14, 1657
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Purandar fort, India
Died: March 11, 1689

The Maratha Empire’s second Chhatrapati, Sambhaji Bhosale, was the eldest son of Shivaji. After losing his mother at 2, he was raised by his grandmother. A treaty made him a Mughal mansabdar. Later, following repeated clashes with the Mughals, he was eventually captured and tortured to death.

Abigail Masham, Baroness Masham
4
Birthdate: 1670 AD
Birthplace: London, United Kingdom
Died: December 6, 1734
 35 
Anne of Denmark
(Queen Consort of England and Ireland (1603 - 1619))
Anne of Denmark
5
Birthdate: December 12, 1574
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Skanderborg, Denmark
Died: March 2, 1619

Often described as a "dumb blonde," Anne of Denmark, who became the queen of Scotland, England, and Ireland, through her marriage to King James VI and I, was an art connoisseur known for attending extravagant masques. She probably also converted to Catholicism later, going against James’s anti-Catholic stance.

 36 
William III of England
(Former King of England, Scotland, and Ireland (1689 - 1702))
William III of England
15
Birthdate: November 14, 1650
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: The Hague, Netherlands
Died: March 8, 1702
King William III of England, son of William II, Prince of Orange, was also known as William of Orange. A staunch Protestant, he is remembered for his joint rule with his wife, Queen Mary II, and for his exploits such as the Glorious Revolution and the Nine Years' War.
 37 
Akbar
(3rd Emperor of the Mughal Empire (1556 - 1605))
Akbar
66
Birthdate: October 25, 1542
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Umarkot, Pakistan
Died: October 27, 1605

Akbar, the third Mughal emperor, played an important role in inculcating Persian culture into the Indian subcontinent. Akbar is considered one of the most important rulers of the Mughal Empire, an empire that seeped foreign ideas and culture into medieval India, the effects of which are still visible in modern-day India, especially in the northern parts of the country.

 38 
Sarah Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough
(Close Friend of Queen Anne)
Sarah Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough
4
Birthdate: June 5, 1660
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: St Albans, Hertfordshire, Kingdom of England
Died: October 18, 1744
Elizabeth Stuart, Queen of Bohemia
4
Birthdate: August 19, 1596
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Palace Buildings, Rosyth, Scotland
Died: February 13, 1662
 40 
Frederick William I of Prussia
(Former King of Prussia (1713 - 1740))
Frederick William I of Prussia
3
Birthdate: August 14, 1688
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Berlin, Germany
Died: May 31, 1740

The Soldier King Frederick William I of Prussia is remembered for transforming his nation into a prosperous state. He was known for his simple lifestyle, as opposed to his father’s kingly excesses. His experience at the War of the Spanish Succession led him to strengthen Prussia militarily, too.

Catherine of Braganza
3
Birthdate: November 25, 1638
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Palace of Vila Viçosa, Vila Viçosa, Portugal
Died: December 31, 1705
 42 
Madame de Montespan
(Maîtresse en titre of Louis XIV)
Madame de Montespan
3
Birthdate: October 5, 1640
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Lussac-les-Châteaux, France
Died: May 27, 1707

Madame de Montespan was the chief Royal mistress of King Louis XIV of France. Thanks to her strong influence over Louis XIV, Madame de Montespan was sometimes referred to as the true Queen of France during Louis' reign. One of the most celebrated chief Royal mistresses of all time, Madame de Montespan had seven children with Louis XIV of France.

 43 
Leopold I, Holy Roman Emperor
(Holy Roman Emperor)
Leopold I, Holy Roman Emperor
3
Birthdate: June 9, 1640
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria
Died: May 5, 1705

Second son of Emperor Ferdinand III, Leopold I became the heir apparent to his father’s throne on the death of his elder brother in 1654, being coroneted as the Holy Roman Emperor in 1658. Although he received little training for the throne, Austria became a great European power during his reign, emerging victorious in struggles against Ottoman Empire and France.

 44 
Aurangzeb
(6th Emperor of the Mughal Empire (1658 - 1707))
Aurangzeb
44
Birthdate: November 3, 1618
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Dahod, Gujarat, India
Died: March 3, 1707

Aurangzeb reigned over most part of the Indian subcontinent for 49 years as the sixth Mughal emperor. He helped the Mughal Empire reach its greatest extent and helped India become the biggest manufacturing power and the world's largest economy. He was known for his religious piety and led a very simple life..

 45 
Nur Jahan
(Mughal Emperor Jahangir's Wife Who Exerted Immense Political Influence)
Nur Jahan
0
Birthdate: 1577 AD
Birthplace: Kandahar, Afghanistan
Died: December 17, 1645

Mughal empress and the 20th wife of Emperor Jahangir, Nur Jahan is remembered for her political influence. Though nothing concrete is known about her childhood, it is known that she was initially married to Mughal official Sher Afgan Khan who died in a battle. Jahangir’s reckless lifestyle made her dominate the political scene.

 46 
Queen Nzinga
(17th Century Queen of Angola)
Queen Nzinga
3
Birthdate: 1583 AD
Birthplace: Kingdom of Matamba
Died: December 17, 1663

Queen Nzinga, also known as Nzinga of Ndongo and Matamba, was the queen of the Kingdoms of Ndongo and Matamba. Born into the family of Ndongo, Nzinga assumed power after the demise of her father and sibling, after which she fought for the stature and Independence of her kingdoms from the Portuguese. Her reign lasted 37 years.

 47 
Ferdinand II, Holy Roman Emperor
3
Birthdate: July 9, 1578
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Graz, Austria
Died: February 15, 1637

Ferdinand II was the Holy Roman Emperor from 1619 to1637. He was a member of the House of Habsburg and the son of Archduke Charles II of Inner Austria and Maria of Bavaria. A zealous Catholic, he wanted to restore the Catholic Church as the only religion in the empire, a move that earned him the ire of Protestant groups. 

Rudolf II, Holy Roman Emperor
3
Birthdate: July 18, 1552
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Vienna
Died: January 20, 1612

Rudolf II, Holy Roman Emperor reigned as the King of the Romans and as the King in Germany between 1576 and 1612. Best remembered as an intellectual aficionado of occult arts, Rudolf is often seen as the founding father of the Scientific Revolution. He devoted his time to astrology and alchemy in an attempt to find the Philosopher's Stone.

 49 
Anne of Austria
(Queen Consort of France from 1615 to 1643)
Anne of Austria
4
Birthdate: September 22, 1601
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Valladolid, Spain
Died: January 20, 1666

Spanish princess Anne of Austria was also an archduchess of the House of Habsburg. She later became the queen of France, as King Louis XIII’s wife, and also ruled as the regent for her son, Louis XIV. She is one of main characters in The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas.

 50 
Frederick I of Prussia
(Former King of Prussia (1701 - 1713))
Frederick I of Prussia
3
Birthdate: June 11, 1676
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Königsberg, Germany
Died: February 25, 1713

Frederick I of Prussia reigned as the King of Prussia from 1701 until his death in 1713. He crowned himself in 1701 in Königsberg and proclaimed himself King in Prussia. A patron of learning and arts, Frederick I is credited with founding the Academy of Arts in 1696 as well as the Academy of Sciences in 1700.