Famous 17th Century Historical Personalities

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

Elizabeth I of England
14
Famous As: Queen of England
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

Peter the Great
17
Famous As: First Emperor of Russia
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 Louis XIV of France

Louis XIV of France
10
Famous As: King of France (1643-1715)
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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 4 Henry IV of France

Henry IV of France
10
Famous As: King of France (1589-1610)
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.

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 5 Shivaji

Shivaji
68
Famous As: King
Birthdate: February 19, 1630
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Shivneri
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.

 6 Anne, Queen of Great Britain

Anne, Queen of Great Britain
7
Famous As: Queen of Britan
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 Charles II

Charles II
20
Famous As: King of England, Scotland & Ireland
Birthdate: May 29, 1630
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: St James's Palace
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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 8 James II of England

James II of England
10
Famous As: King of England
Birthdate: October 14, 1633
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: London
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.

 9 Charles I of England

Charles I of England
11
Famous As: King of England
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 William III of England

William III of England
13
Famous As: King of England
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.

 11 George I of Great Britain

George I of Great Britain
10
Famous As: King of Great Britain
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. 

 12 Mary II of England

Mary II of England
4
Famous As: Queen of England, Scotland and Ireland (1689-1694)
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.

 13 Maria Theresa of Spain

Maria Theresa of Spain
4
Famous As: Queen of France and Navarre (1660-1683)
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.

 14 George II of Great Britain

George II of Great Britain
14
Famous As: King of Great Britain & Ireland (1727-1760)
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.

 15 Ahmed I

Ahmed I
9
Famous As: Ottoman Emperor
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.

 16 Louis XIII of France

Louis XIII of France
5
Famous As: King of France
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.

 17 Charles II of Spain

Charles II of Spain
18
Famous As: Ruler
Birthdate: November 6, 1661
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Madrid
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.

 18 Hausa Queen Amina

Hausa Queen Amina
5
Famous As: Queen of Nigeria
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.

 19 Murad IV

Murad IV
5
Famous As: Ottoman Sultan
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.

 20 Philip V of Spain

Philip V of Spain
6
Famous As: King of Spain (1700-1724)
Birthdate: December 19, 1683
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Versailles, France
Died: July 9, 1746

Philip V reigned as the king of Spain from November 1700 to January 1724, and again from September 1724 to 1746. Philip introduced the centralization of monarchy and imposed the Nueva Planta decrees. Philip's accession initiated the 13-year War of the Spanish Succession. His final years were marred by depression.

 21 Kangxi Emperor

Kangxi Emperor
5
Famous As: Emperor
Birthdate: May 4, 1654
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Forbidden City, 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.

 22 Catherine I of Russia

Catherine I of Russia
6
Famous As: Empress of Russia (1725-1727)
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.

 23 Françoise d'Aubigné, Marquise de Maintenon

Françoise d'Aubigné, Marquise de Maintenon
4
Famous As: Louis XIV of France's Wife
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.

 24 Philip IV of Spain

Philip IV of Spain
5
Famous As: King of Portugal (1621-1640), King of Spain (1621-1665)
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.

 25 Christina, Queen of Sweden

Christina, Queen of Sweden
4
Famous As: Queen
Birthdate: December 18, 1626
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Tre Kronor
Died: April 19, 1689

 26 Akbar

Akbar
61
Famous As: Mughal Emperor
Birthdate: October 14, 1542
Sun Sign: Libra
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.

 27 Charles XII of Sweden

Charles XII of Sweden
6
Famous As: King of Sweden
Birthdate: June 17, 1682
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Stadsholmen, Stockholm, Sweden
Died: November 30, 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.

 28 Philip III of Spain

Philip III of Spain
6
Famous As: King of Spain (1598-1621)
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.

 29 Ibrahim of the Ottoman Empire

Ibrahim of the Ottoman Empire
4
Famous As: Sultan
Birthdate: November 4, 1615
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: İstanbul, Turkey
Died: August 18, 1648

 30 Margaret of Valois

Margaret of Valois
3
Famous As: Queen consort of France (1589-1599), Queen consort of Navarre (1572-1599)
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.

 31 Abigail Masham, Baroness Masham

Abigail Masham, Baroness Masham
3
Famous As: Courtier
Birthdate: 1670 AD
Birthplace: London, United Kingdom
Died: December 6, 1734

 32 Aurangzeb

Aurangzeb
41
Famous As: Mughal Emperor
Birthdate: November 4, 1618
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Dahod
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..

 33 Yongzheng

Yongzheng
4
Famous As: Emperor of China
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.

 34 Anne of Denmark

Anne of Denmark
5
Famous As: Queen of England and Ireland (1603-1619)
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.

 35 Mariam-uz-Zamani

Mariam-uz-Zamani
13
Famous As: Akbar's Third Wife
Birthdate: 1542 AD
Died: May 19, 1623

Mariam-uz-Zamani, or Jodha Bai, was the wife of Mughal emperor Akbar. She was a Hindu Rajput princess and the daughter of Raja Bharmal of Amber. Mariam’s marriage to Akbar signified her father’s submission to the Mughal emperor. She was symbolic of the gradual rise of multiculturalism in the Mughal era.

 36 Catherine of Braganza

Catherine of Braganza
3
Famous As: Queen
Birthdate: November 25, 1638
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Palace of Vila Viçosa, Vila Viçosa, Portugal
Died: December 31, 1705

 37 Kösem Sultan

Kösem Sultan
6
Famous As: Ottoman sultana
Birthdate: 1589 AD
Birthplace: Tinos, Republic of Venice (currently the territory of Greece)
Died: September 2, 1651

 38 Guru Gobind Singh

Guru Gobind Singh
2
Famous As: Warrior
Birthdate: December 22, 1666
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Patna
Died: October 7, 1708
Guru Gobind Singh, the son of Guru Tegh Bahadur, became the 10th guru, or spiritual leader, of the Sikhs after his father was killed by Mughal emperor Aurangzeb. He established the concept of the “Five Ks” of Sikhs and formed the Khalsa community. He also finalized the Guru Granth Sahib.

 39 Frederick William I of Prussia

Frederick William I of Prussia
3
Famous As: King of Prussia (1713-1740)
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.

 40 Madame de Montespan

Madame de Montespan
3
Famous As: Maîtresse en titre of Louis XIV
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.

 41 Sarah Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough

Sarah Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough
4
Famous As: Close Friend of Queen Anne
Birthdate: June 5, 1660
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: St Albans, Hertfordshire, Kingdom of England
Died: October 18, 1744

 42 Elizabeth Stuart, Queen of Bohemia

Elizabeth Stuart, Queen of Bohemia
4
Famous As: Electress
Birthdate: August 19, 1596
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Palace Buildings, Rosyth, Scotland
Died: February 13, 1662

 43 Leopold I, Holy Roman Emperor

Leopold I, Holy Roman Emperor
3
Famous As: Composer
Birthdate: June 9, 1640
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Vienna
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 Sambhaji

Sambhaji
16
Famous As: Ruler
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.

 45 Queen Nzinga

Queen Nzinga
3
Famous As: 17th Century Queen of Angola
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.

 46 Rudolf II, Holy Roman Emperor

Rudolf II, Holy Roman Emperor
3
Famous As: Politician
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.

 47 Anne of Austria

Anne of Austria
4
Famous As: Queen of France (1615-1643)
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.

 48 Elizabeth Charlotte, Madame Palatine

Elizabeth Charlotte, Madame Palatine
3
Famous As: German Princess
Birthdate: May 27, 1652
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Heidelberg Castle, Heidelberg, Electoral Palatinate, Holy Roman Empire
Died: December 8, 1722

 49 Ferdinand II, Holy Roman Emperor

Ferdinand II, Holy Roman Emperor
3
Famous As: Holy Roman Emperor
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. 

 50 Prince George of Denmark

Prince George of Denmark
3
Famous As: Prince
Birthdate: April 2, 1653
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Copenhagen, Denmark
Died: October 28, 1708