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.
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.
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.
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.
Henry Morgan was a Welsh privateer who later served as lieutenant governor of Jamaica. He is best remembered for raiding settlements on the Spanish Main. From the wealth acquired through his raids, Morgan became a plantation owner, buying three large sugar plantations in the Caribbean. His life and career inspired several films, such as Captain Blood and Morgan, the Pirate.
Cardinal Richelieu was a French clergyman and statesman who was active in the early 17th century. He held powerful positions in both the Catholic Church and French government and served as the chief minister to Louis XIII of France in 1624. He helped the French maintain their dominance in the Thirty Years' War that engulfed Europe.
Roger Williams was a 17th-century Puritan minister and theologian. He founded Providence Plantations, which later became the US state of Rhode Island. He advocated for fair dealings with Native Americans and believed in religious freedom. He disapproved of perpetual chattel slavery. After being expelled by the Puritan leaders, he founded the First Baptist Church in America.
Albrecht von Wallenstein was a Bohemian statesman and military leader best remembered for his role in the Thirty Years' War. During the war, he served as the supreme commander of the armies of Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand II. By the time of his death, Wallenstein was one of the most influential and richest men in the Holy Roman Empire.
Philippe II, Duke of Orléans, was the regent of the Kingdom of France from 1715 to 1723. He was the son of Philippe I, Duke of Orléans, and Elizabeth Charlotte of the Palatinate. He was named the regent of France for Louis XV, who succeeded to the throne at the age of five. Philippe died months after Louis attained majority.
Prince Rupert of the Rhine was a German-English admiral, army officer, colonial governor, and scientist. Renowned for his energy and quick-thinking, Rupert made long-lasting and impressive contributions to the doctrine and development of the Royal Navy. He is also credited with shaping modern Canada's political geography.
Well-educated and well-traveled, John III Sobieski initially joined the Swedes as a soldier, in opposing Polish ruler John Casimir. He then switched to the Polish side. He gradually rose through the ranks to become a grand marshal and a grand-hetman, and eventually became the king of Poland.
Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury was a British statesman best remembered for his contribution during the Union of the Crowns. One of the main discoverers of the infamous Gunpowder Plot, Robert Cecil served as the Lord High Treasurer from 1608 to 1612. From 1596 to 1612, he served as the Secretary of State of England.
Prince Eugene of Savoy was a field marshal who served in the army of the Austrian Habsburg dynasty and of the Holy Roman Empire. One of the most influential military commanders of his generation, Prince Eugene served three Holy Roman emperors in a career spanning 60 years. Consequently, he played important roles in many battles, including the Battle of Turin.
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.
Remembered as the founder of the British colony of Georgia in the US, James Oglethorpe was a renowned British soldier, MP, and social reformer. Educated at Oxford, he initially fought for the Austrian army against the Turks. As an MP, he brought in prison reforms. He was also the governor of Georgia.
Michiel de Ruyter was a Dutch admiral best remembered for his achievements during the Anglo-Dutch Wars. An important member of the Dutch Navy during his time, De Ruyter is widely considered one of the most talented admirals of all time. Regarded as a Dutch folk hero, Michiel de Ruyter's life and career inspired the 2015 Dutch film, Michiel de Ruyter.
Nanny of the Maroons was a Jamaican resistance fighter best remembered as the leader of the Jamaican Maroons. She led a community called Windward Maroons which fought a war against the British authorities in what came to be known as the First Maroon War. In 1975, she was declared Jamaica's only female national hero by the government of Jamaica.
Born into a merchant family in France, Jean-Baptiste Colbert grew up to hold various administrative posts. Patronized by Cardinal Mazarin, he became affluent and later became one of the most efficient administrators during the regime of Louis XIV. He also established the French merchant navy.
Hong Taiji reigned as the khan of the Later Jin from 1626 to 1636. He is credited with establishing the Qing dynasty and reigned as its emperor from 1636 to 1643. He also played a major role in consolidating the empire founded by his father Nurhaci. Over the years, Hong Taiji has been portrayed in many TV series and films.
Jan van Riebeeck was a Dutch colonial administrator and navigator. He is credited with founding the Dutch Cape Colony and Cape Town. Jan van Riebeeck is of historical and cultural importance to South Africa as many South Africans consider him the founding father of their country. Several South African villages and towns have streets named after Van Riebeeck.
Koxinga was a Ming loyalist who opposed and resisted the Manchu invasion of China. In 1661, he established the House of Koxinga after defeating the Dutch military camp in Taiwan. He then ruled the Kingdom of Tungning from 1661 to 1662. Today, Koxinga is considered a deity in coastal China and is worshiped in places like Taiwan and Southeast Asia.
Rumored to be a possible lover of the English king James I, statesman George Villiers, was a royal favorite but later grew unpopular with people for his inefficiency and faulty foreign policies. He practically ruled England in the initial years of Charles I’s reign and was eventually assassinated by an army officer.
Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand III is largely held responsible for ending the Thirty Years’ War in 1648 with 2 peace treaties known as the Peace of Westphalia. He also conspired against Generalissimo Albrecht von Wallenstein when he was denied control of the imperial army. He was also instrumental in the Peace of Prague.
Emperor Leopold I’s eldest son, Joseph I became the king of Hungary at the tender age of 9 and the king of Romans at 11. Though he strengthened Austria’s financial situation, bringing the Viennese city bank under the state, he failed to retain the Spanish crown for the Habsburg Monarchy.