Famous People Of The 17th Century

The 17th century was a politically chaotic period in almost all parts of the world. Several great military conflicts took place including the Thirty Years' War, the Great Turkish War, and the Dutch-Portuguese War which led to the emergence of military leaders like Gustav II Adolf and Axel Gustafsson Oxenstierna, and other important political personnel like John III Sobieski and Mehmed IV. European politics were majorly controlled by Louis XIV and the period marked in earnest the European colonization of the Americas. The 17th century was also an important one in the scientific field. It saw the birth of Blaise Pascal, the French mathematician, physicist, inventor, writer and Christian philosopher. Pierre de Fermat, Robert Hooke, Sir Isaac Newton, and Gottfried Wilhelm (von) Leibniz were also prominent scientists born in this era. The world of music and fine arts was enriched by the birth of the likes of Dieterich Buxtehude, Danish-German composer and Francesco Cavalli, Venetian opera composer. Artists like André Le Nôtre, Jan Steen, and Johannes Vermeer were also born in this era. Read on to learn more about the life and works of famous people of the 17th century.

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

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 1 Anne, Queen of Great Britain

Anne, Queen of Great Britain.
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.

 2 Charles I of England

Charles I of England.
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.

 3 Isaac Newton

Isaac Newton.
Listed In: Scientists
Famous As: Mathematician
Birthdate: January 4, 1643
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Lincolnshire, England
Died: March 31, 1727

One of the most influential and popular scientists of all time, Sir Isaac Newton played a prominent role in our understanding of natural phenomena. He formulated the law of universal gravitation and laws of motion. He also developed the Newtonian telescope among other devices. Apart from science, Newton was also intrigued by religion, occult, and alchemy.

 4 George I of Great Britain

George I of Great Britain.
Famous As: King of Britain
Birthdate: May 28, 1660
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Hanover
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. 
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 5 Charles II

Charles II.
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.

 6 George II of Great Britain

George II of Great Britain.
Famous As: Former King of Great Britain & Ireland
Birthdate: October 30, 1683
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Hanover
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.

 7 Akbar

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.

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 8 Blackbeard

Listed In: Criminals
Famous As: Pirate
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Birthplace: Bristol
Died: November 22, 1718

Blackbeard was a notorious English pirate who struck fear into the hearts of his opponents during the early 18th century. His life has inspired several video games, TV miniseries, and films. Tim Powers' novel On Stranger Tides houses a fictionalized version of Blackbeard; the novel was later adapted into a film titled Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.

 9 Galileo Galilei

Galileo Galilei.
Famous As: Astronomer
Birthdate: February 15, 1564
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Pisa, Italy
Died: January 8, 1642

An Italian astronomer, engineer, and physicist, Galileo Galilei is widely regarded as the father of observational astronomy, the father of the scientific method, the father of modern physics, and the father of modern science. He is credited with popularizing the telescope, which changed the course of history.

 10 Shivaji

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.

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 11 Oliver Cromwell

Oliver Cromwell.
Listed In: Leaders
Famous As: English Statesman
Birthdate: April 25, 1599
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Huntingdon, Huntingdonshire, Kingdom of England
Died: September 3, 1658
The Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland, and Ireland, Oliver Cromwell was a military leader and a devoted Puritan who belonged to an affluent landowning family. During the English Civil War, Cromwell fought against King Charles I and caused the deaths of at least 3,000 soldiers and civilians.

 12 Charles II of Spain

Charles II of Spain.
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.

 13 Aurangzeb

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..

 14 William III of England

William III of England.
Famous As: King of England
Birthdate: November 4, 1650
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Binnenhof, South Holland
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.

 15 Johann Sebastian Bach

Johann Sebastian Bach.
Listed In: Musicians
Famous As: Composer
Birthdate: March 31, 1685
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Eisenach, Saxe-Eisenach
Died: July 28, 1750

Johann Sebastian Bach was an 18-th century German composer of the Baroque period. He redefined both church and secular music. He served as the court musician of Duke Johann Ernst and King Augustus III. He created more than 300 cantatas and vocal music such as Mass in B minor.

 16 Rembrandt

Famous As: Painter
Birthdate: July 15, 1606
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Leiden
Died: October 4, 1669

Rembrandt was a Dutch printmaker, painter, and draughtsman. A master in three major art media, Rembrandt is widely considered the most important visual artist in Dutch art history and one of the greatest of all time. He is also considered the greatest etcher in the history of printmaking. His life and work inspired several films, including the 1936 movie Rembrandt.

 17 James II of England

James II Of England .
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.

 18 Peter the Great

Peter the Great.
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.

 19 John Locke

John Locke.
Famous As: Father of Classical Liberalism
Birthdate: August 29, 1632
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Wrington, Somerset, England
Died: October 28, 1704
John Locke, also known as The Father of Liberalism, was a prominent Enlightenment Age philosopher. A qualified physician, Locke postulated the theory of mind, empiricism, and the idea of tabula rasa. His ideas influenced the social contract theory, the works of Kant and Rousseau, and the U.S. Declaration of Independence.

 20 Kösem Sultan

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

 21 Sasaki Kojirō

Sasaki Kojirō
Listed In: Sportspersons
Famous As: Swordsman
Birthdate: 1575 AD
Birthplace: Fukui, Japan
Died: April 13, 1612

 22 Guru Tegh Bahadur

Guru Tegh Bahadur.
Listed In: Leaders
Famous As: Ninth Sikh Guru
Birthdate: April 1, 1621
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Amritsar
Died: November 24, 1675

Guru Tegh Bahadur, the youngest son of Guru Hargobind Sahib, was the ninth Guru of the Sikhs. His 115 hymns find place in the Guru Granth Sahib. He tried to prevent forced conversion of Hindus and Sikhs into Islam, and was, as a result, executed by Mughal emperor Aurangzeb.

 23 Ahmed I

Ahmed I.
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.

 24 Tokugawa Ieyasu

Tokugawa Ieyasu.
Listed In: Leaders
Famous As: Military Leader
Birthdate: January 31, 1543
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Okazaki Castle, Mikawa (now Okazaki, Japan)
Died: June 1, 1616

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. 

 25 Sambhaji

Famous As: Ruler
Birthdate: May 14, 1657
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Purandar fort, India
Died: March 11, 1689

 26 Johannes Vermeer

Johannes Vermeer.
Famous As: Painter
Birthdate: October 31, 1632
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Delft
Died: December 15, 1675

Johannes Vermeer was a Dutch painter renowned for his use of light in paintings. Although he did not achieve fame during his lifetime, Vermeer's works gained popularity in the 19th century. Today, Vermeer is often counted among the greatest painters of the Dutch Golden Age. Over the years, Vermeer's work has inspired artists like Wilhelm Hammershoi and Thomas Wilmer Dewing.

 27 John Milton

John Milton.
Listed In: Writers
Famous As: Poet, Polemicist, and Civil Servant for the Commonwealth of England.
Birthdate: December 9, 1608
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Cheapside, City of London, United Kingdom
Died: November 8, 1674

John Milton was an English poet whose epic poem Paradise Lost is widely regarded as one of the greatest works of literature. Milton's other celebrated work Areopagitica is counted among history's most impassioned and influential defenses of freedom of the press and freedom of speech. John Milton’s works have influenced other prominent writers, such as Thomas Hardy and George Eliot.

 28 Baruch Spinoza

Baruch Spinoza.
Famous As: Dutch philosopher
Birthdate: November 24, 1632
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Amsterdam, Dutch Republic
Died: February 21, 1677
Dutch philosopher Baruch Spinoza is best remembered for his rationalist ideas and his posthumously released book Ethics. He opposed Rene Descartes’s ideas and believed that God was an abstract entity. He was later expelled from the Jewish society, while his books were banned by the Catholic Church.

 29 Murad IV

Murad IV.
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.

 30 Malhar Rao Holkar

Malhar Rao Holkar
Listed In: Leaders
Birthdate: March 16, 1693
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Jejuri
Died: April 20, 1766

 31 Guru Gobind Singh

Guru Gobind Singh.
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.

 32 Philippe I, Duke of Orléans

Philippe I, Duke of Orléans.
Famous As: Son of Louis XIII of France
Birthdate: September 21, 1640
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Saint-Germain-en-Laye
Died: June 9, 1701

Philippe I, Duke of Orléans received the dukedoms of Chartres and Valois in 1661 as the younger son of Louis XIII of France. Unlike most royal persons of his generation, Philippe was open about his homosexuality and did not think twice before acting effeminately in public. However, he fathered several children and earned the nickname the grandfather of Europe.

 33 Antonio Lucio Vivaldi

Antonio Lucio Vivaldi.
Listed In: Musicians
Famous As: Composer
Birthdate: March 4, 1678
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Venice, Italy
Died: July 28, 1741

Italian Baroque composer, virtuoso violinist, and teacher, Antonio Lucio Vivaldi, is regarded as one of the greatest Baroque composers. He was extremely popular during his lifetime and composed many instrumental concertos and operas. He was also a Roman Catholic priest and worked at a home for abandoned children. Even though he died in 1741, his music continues to be popular.

 34 Mary II of England

Mary II of England.
Famous As: Queen of England, Scotland and Ireland
Birthdate: April 30, 1662
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: St James's Palace
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.

 35 Louis XIII of France

Louis XIII of France.
Famous As: King of France
Birthdate: September 27, 1601
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Fontainebleau
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.

 36 Thomas Hobbes

Thomas Hobbes.
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: April 5, 1588
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Westport, Wiltshire, England
Died: December 4, 1679

Thomas Hobbes was an English philosopher. Widely regarded as the co-founder of modern political philosophy, Hobbes is best known for his influential book Leviathan. Apart from political philosophy, Thomas Hobbes also contributed immensely to various other fields, such as ethics, theology, geometry, history, and jurisprudence.

 37 Blaise Pascal

Blaise Pascal.
Famous As: French Mathematician, Physicist, Inventor, Writer and Catholic Philosopher
Birthdate: June 19, 1623
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Clermont-Ferrand,, Auvergne, France
Died: August 19, 1662

Blaise Pascal was a French physicist, mathematician, philosopher, and inventor. A child prodigy, Pascal's work on projective geometry, at the age of 16 is commendable. He is one of the earliest inventors of the mechanical calculator, which he did when he was still a teenager. His work on probability theory influenced the development of social science and modern economics.

 38 Henry Every

Henry Every.
Listed In: Criminals
Famous As: Pirate
Birthdate: August 23, 1659
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Newton Ferrers, England
Died: April 22, 1699

 39 William Kidd

William Kidd
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Famous As: Pirate
Birthdate: 1655 AD
Birthplace: Greenock, Scotland
Died: May 23, 1701

 40 Gottfried W. Leibniz

Gottfried W. Leibniz.
Famous As: Philosopher, Mathematician
Birthdate: July 1, 1646
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Leipzig, Electorate of Saxony, Holy Roman Empire
Died: November 14, 1716
Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz was a significant logician, mathematician, and philosopher of the Enlightenment era. He laid down his own concepts of differential and integral calculus. He was behind the invention of the mass-produced mechanical calculator and modified the binary number system. He also laid down a separate library cataloging system.

 41 Maria Theresa of Spain

Maria Theresa of Spain.
Famous As: Queen of France
Birthdate: September 10, 1638
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Royal Seat of San 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.

 42 Ibrahim of the Ottoman Empire

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

 43 Jonathan Swift

Jonathan Swift.
Listed In: Writers
Famous As: Novelist & Satirist
Birthdate: November 30, 1667
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland
Died: October 19, 1745

Eighteenth-century essayist, poet, and pamphleteer Jonathan Swift is remembered for his iconic works such as A Tale of a Tub, A Modest Proposal, and Gulliver's Travels. One of the world’s greatest satirists, he gave rise to the deadpan Swiftian style. He had also been the Dean of St. Patrick's Cathedral.

 44 Johannes Kepler

Johannes Kepler.
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Famous As: Astronomer, Mathematician & Physicist
Birthdate: December 27, 1571
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Weil der Stadt, Germany
Died: November 15, 1630

This 17th-century German mathematician, astronomer, and astrologer is remembered for his pathbreaking work on optics. He invented a developed version of the refracting telescope. He also laid down Kepler's laws of planetary motion and wrote Astronomia Nova, Harmonices Mundi, and Epitome Astronomiae Copernicanae.

 45 Johan de Witt

Johan de Witt
Listed In: Leaders
Famous As: Mathematician, Politician
Birthdate: September 24, 1625
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Dordrecht
Died: August 20, 1672

 46 Daniel Defoe

Daniel Defoe.
Famous As: Novelist, Journalist & Merchant
Birthdate: September 13, 1660
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: London, England
Died: April 24, 1731
Daniel Defoe was an English trader, pamphleteer, and spy, who is best remembered for his 1719 novel Robinson Crusoe. He also helped in popularizing the novel format of writing in Britain. He was a forerunner of business journalism, too, and also traded in hosiery, woollen goods, and wine.

 47 Philip IV of Spain

Philip IV of Spain.
Famous As: King of Portugal
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.

 48 Robert Walpole

Robert Walpole.
Listed In: Leaders
Famous As: First Prime Minister of Great Britain
Birthdate: August 26, 1676
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Houghton, Norfolk
Died: March 18, 1745

 49 John Smith

John Smith.
Listed In: Miscellaneous
Famous As: Explorer
Birthdate: January 6, 1580
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Lincolnshire, United Kingdom
Died: June 21, 1631

John Smith was an English explorer, soldier, colonial governor, author, and Admiral of New England. In the early-17th century, Smith played a major role in the establishment of the first indissoluble English settlement in America, which came to be known as the English colony at Jamestown. Apart from helping Jamestown survive various challenges, Smith's leadership also helped the colony flourish.

 50 Alexander Pope

Alexander Pope.
Listed In: Writers
Birthdate: May 21, 1688
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: London
Died: May 30, 1744

Alexander Pope was a satirist and poet whose works produced during the Augustan period made him one of the greatest artistic exponents of that period. Widely regarded as one of the most important English poets of the 18th century, Alexander Pope is best remembered for writing discursive poetry and heroic couplets.