Famous 18th Century Historians

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 1 
Voltaire
(Writer)

Voltaire
4
Birthdate: February 20, 1694
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: May 30, 1778
18th-century historian, author, philosopher, and advocate of freedom of speech Voltaire was a leading figure of the French Age of Enlightenment. He often ran into trouble for his criticism of the French nobility and the Roman Catholic Church. He once went to Britain on voluntary exile, fearing imprisonment in France.

 2 
David Hume
(Philosopher & Historian)

David Hume
4
Birthdate: April 26, 1711
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Edinburgh, Scotland
Died: August 25, 1776

Scottish Enlightenment philosopher, historian, and economist, David Hume, is considered one of the most important philosophers to write in English. His book, A Treatise of Human Nature, is counted among the most influential works in the history of philosophy. His works have influenced numerous thinkers, including German philosopher Immanuel Kant and Christian philosopher Joseph Butler.

 3 
Thomas Carlyle
(Philosopher)

Thomas Carlyle
4
Birthdate: December 4, 1795
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Ecclefechan, Dumfriesshire, Scotland
Died: February 5, 1881
Initially a math teacher, Thomas Carlyle later abandoned the profession when a sudden spiritual awakening led him to writing. His parents wanted him to become a clergy, but he ended up becoming one of the greatest Victorian essayists and authors ever, known for works such as Sartor Resartus.
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 4 
Edward Gibbon
(Historian)

Edward Gibbon
5
Birthdate: April 8, 1737
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: London, England
Died: January 16, 1794

Eighteenth-century historian and author Edward Gibbon is best remembered for his 6-volume historical work The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, a narrative that charted events from the 2nd century to the Fall of Constantinople. He had also been an MP, representing Lymington and Liskeard.

 5 
Montesquieu
(Philosopher)

Montesquieu
4
Birthdate: January 18, 1689
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: La Brède, France
Died: February 10, 1755

French Enlightenment political philosopher, historian, judge, and man of letters Montesquieu remains the main source of the separation of powers system that is followed in many constitutions across the globe. His treatise The Spirit of the Laws on political theory greatly influenced work of many others, including drafting of the U.S. Constitution by the founding fathers of the United States.

 6 
Walter Scott
(Novelist and Poet known for his Works Ivanhoe, Rob Roy, and The Lady of the Lake)

Walter Scott
4
Birthdate: August 15, 1771
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Edinburgh, Scotland
Died: September 21, 1832

Walter Scott was a Scottish novelist, poet, historian, and playwright. Scott's ability as a writer and his knowledge of history made him a pioneering figure in the formation of the historical novel genre. An influential writer, many of his works remain classics of Scottish as well as English-language literature. Scott was admired by other prominent writers like Letitia Elizabeth Landon.

François-René de Chateaubriand
4
Birthdate: September 4, 1768
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Saint-Malo, France
Died: July 4, 1848

François-René de Chateaubriand was a French writer, diplomat, historian, and politician. Chateaubriand had a major influence on 19th-century French literature. François-René de Chateaubriand is also remembered for defending the Catholic faith by writing The Genius of Christianity when most intellectuals were turning against the Church. Chateaubriand was a food enthusiast; it is believed that Chateaubriand steak is named after him.

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 8 
Horace Walpole
(Writer, Novelist, Autobiographer, Politician)

Horace Walpole
4
Birthdate: September 24, 1717
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: London
Died: March 2, 1797

 9 
Giambattista Vico
(Philosopher)

Giambattista Vico
4
Birthdate: June 23, 1668
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Naples, Italy
Died: January 23, 1744

Italian philosopher Giambattista Vico is regarded as a pioneer of what is now known as cultural anthropology, or ethnology. He brought together history and the social sciences in his work Scienza nuova. A poor bookseller’s son, he studied by candlelight but grew up to be a major Counter-Enlightenment figure.

 10 
Thomas Gray
(Poet, Writer, Literary critic)

Thomas Gray
4
Birthdate: December 26, 1716
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: London
Died: July 30, 1771

 11 
Germaine de Staël
(Philosopher)

Germaine de Staël
5
Birthdate: April 22, 1766
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: July 14, 1817

Germaine de Staël was a French political theorist and woman of letters. She is best remembered for her collaboration with the popular  Swiss-French political thinker Benjamin Constant. Germaine, who was way ahead of her time, is widely regarded as a precursor of feminism.

 12 

Johann Joachim Winckelmann
3
Birthdate: December 9, 1717
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Stendal, Germany
Died: June 8, 1768

German art historian Johann Joachim Winckelmann is often referred to as the father of modern archaeology. Born to a cobbler, he studied Greek, theology, and even medicine. He later specialized in Greek and Neoclassical art and had a prominent influence on Western painting, sculpture, and literature.

 13 
Thomas Hutchinson
(Businessman)

Thomas Hutchinson
3
Birthdate: September 9, 1711
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: British America
Died: June 3, 1780

 14 
William Whewell
(Economist, Physicist, Historian, Philosopher, Writer, University teacher, Mathematician)

William Whewell
3
Birthdate: May 24, 1794
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Lancaster
Died: March 6, 1866

William Whewell was an English polymath, scientist, philosopher, theologian, and historian of science. He worked in a wide range of fields, publishing works in the disciplines of physics, mechanics, geology, economics, and astronomy. He also wrote poetry, sermons, and theological tracts. He is credited with coining the terms linguistics, physicist, consilience, scientist, catastrophism, and uniformitarianism.

 15 
James Mill
(Historian)

James Mill
4
Birthdate: April 6, 1773
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Angus, Scotland
Died: June 23, 1836

James Mill was a Scottish economist, historian, philosopher, and political theorist. Mill is credited with co-founding the Ricardian school of economics. He is also credited with writing The History of British India, which classifies Indian history into three parts: British, Muslim, and Hindu. The classification has played an influential role in the field of Indian historical studies.

 16 
Thomas Arnold
(Educator)

Thomas Arnold
3
Birthdate: June 13, 1795
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: East Cowes, England
Died: June 12, 1842

 17 

Dimitrie Cantemir
3
Birthdate: October 26, 1673
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Dimitrie Cantemir, Romania
Died: September 1, 1723

 18 

N. F. S. Grundtvig
3
Birthdate: September 8, 1783
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Vordingborg Municipality, Denmark
Died: September 2, 1872

N. F. S. Grundtvig was a Danish author, pastor, poet, historian, teacher, philosopher, and politician. By the end of the 19th century, Grundtvig's philosophy had given rise to a new sense of nationalism, for which he is often counted among the most influential Danish people of all time. He is also remembered for promoting values like compassion, wisdom, and equality.

 19 

Mountstuart Elphinstone
3
Birthdate: October 6, 1779
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Dumbarton, Dumbartonshire, Scotland
Died: November 20, 1859

 20 
François Guizot
(Politician, Diplomat, Historian, Translator, Writer, Literary critic, Carpenter)

François Guizot
3
Birthdate: October 4, 1787
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Nîmes
Died: September 12, 1874

François Guizot was a French historian and statesman. He was a key figure in French politics in the years leading to the Revolution of 1848. After serving under the "citizen king" Louis Philippe in several roles, he was made the Prime Minister of France in 1847. He played a critical role in expanding public education. 

 21 

Ludvig Holberg
3
Birthdate: December 3, 1684
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Bergen, Norway
Died: January 28, 1754

One of the forefathers of Norwegian and Danish literature, Ludvig Holberg was a legendary literary figure of the Dano-Norwegian dual monarchy era. Initially a French tutor, he later studied music, before devoting himself to writing. His comedies earned him the nickname of The Molière of the North.

Friedrich Carl von Savigny
3
Birthdate: February 21, 1779
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Frankfurt, Germany
Died: October 25, 1861

 23 

Charles Brockden Brown
3
Birthdate: January 17, 1771
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: February 22, 1810

 24 

Nikolay Karamzin
3
Birthdate: December 12, 1766
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Mikhaylovka, Russia
Died: June 3, 1826

 25 
James Rennell
(Geographer)

James Rennell
2
Birthdate: December 3, 1742
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Chudleigh, England
Died: March 29, 1830

James Rennell was an English historian and geographer. A pioneer of oceanography, Rennell is often referred to as the Father of Oceanography. Rennell, who served as a Surveyor General of Bengal, India, is credited with producing some of the earliest accurate maps of Bengal. James Rennell is also credited with co-founding the Royal Geographical Society in London in 1830.

 26 

William H. Prescott
3
Birthdate: May 4, 1796
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Salem, Massachusetts, United States
Died: January 28, 1859

 27 

Elizabeth F. Ellet
3
Birthdate: October 18, 1818
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Sodus Point, New York, United States
Died: June 3, 1877

 28 
Adam Ferguson
(Philosopher)

Adam Ferguson
3
Birthdate: July 1, 1723
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Logierait, Perthshire, Scotland
Died: February 22, 1816

Jean Charles Léonard de Sismondi
2
Birthdate: May 9, 1773
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Geneva, Switzerland
Died: June 25, 1842

 30 

Ernst Moritz Arndt
2
Birthdate: December 26, 1769
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Rügen, Germany
Died: January 29, 1860

 31 

Catharine Macaulay
2
Birthdate: April 2, 1731
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Wye, Kent, England
Died: June 22, 1791

 32 

Johan Rudolf Thorbecke
2
Birthdate: January 14, 1798
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Zwolle, Netherlands
Died: June 4, 1872

One of the most significant 19th-century politicians from the Netherlands, Johan Rudolf Thorbecke led the country as its prime minister. The Liberal Party politician began his career as a lecturer. As a prime minister, he encouraged free trade by abolishing excise duties and built many new canals.

 33 

František Palacký
2
Birthdate: June 14, 1798
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Hodslavice, Czechia
Died: May 26, 1876

 34 

William Robertson
2
Birthdate: September 19, 1721
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Borthwick, Scotland
Died: June 11, 1793

Constantin François de Chassebœuf, comte de Volney
2
Birthdate: February 3, 1757
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Craon, France
Died: April 25, 1820

Constantin François de Chassebœuf, comte de Volney was a French abolitionist, philosopher, orientalist, writer, and politician. Volney was one of the first modern writers to champion the Christ myth theory, which suggests that Jesus Christ had no historical existence. Volney argued that Jesus was a mythical character and that Christianity was an amalgam of numerous ancient mythologies. 

 36 
Charles Burney
(Musical Composer)

Charles Burney
2
Birthdate: April 7, 1726
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Shrewsbury, England
Died: April 12, 1814

 37 

Ludwig Uhland
2
Birthdate: April 26, 1787
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Tübingen, Germany
Died: November 13, 1862

 38 

Barthold Georg Niebuhr
2
Birthdate: August 27, 1776
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Copenhagen, Denmark
Died: January 2, 1831

Barthold Georg Niebuhr was a Danish-German banker, statesman, and historian. A symbol of national spirit in Germany, Barthold Georg Niebuhr helped invigorate a sense of patriotism and nationalism in students at the University of Berlin. 

 39 

Mary Russell Mitford
2
Birthdate: December 16, 1787
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: New Alresford, England
Died: January 10, 1855

 40 

İbrahim Müteferrika
2
Birthdate: 1674 AD
Birthplace: Cluj-Napoca, Romania
Died: 1745 AD

 41 
George Grote
(Historian)

George Grote
2
Birthdate: November 17, 1794
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Clay Hill, England
Died: June 18, 1871

 42 
Hugo Kołłątaj
(Politician)

Hugo Kołłątaj
2
Birthdate: April 1, 1750
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Volhynian Voivodeship, Dutchy of Lithuania
Died: February 28, 1812

Hugo Kołłątaj was a Polish educationalist and constitutional reformer who played a major role during the Polish Enlightenment. An influential social and political activist, Kołłątaj was one of the authors of the Constitution of 3 May 1791, which aimed at implementing a constitutional monarchy. Hugo Kołłątaj's work also influenced many subsequent reformers.

 43 

Ignaz von Döllinger
2
Birthdate: February 28, 1799
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Bamberg, Germany
Died: January 10, 1890

 44 
Lucas Alamán
(Scientist)

Lucas Alamán
2
Birthdate: October 18, 1792
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: New Spain
Died: June 2, 1853

A prominent Mexican conservative leader, Lucas Alamán was known as an honest politician, who wished to reform Mexican education, agriculture, and industry. Though trained as a mining engineer, he stepped into politics and served as the country’s foreign minister. He also penned various historical works and established Mexico’s National Museum.

 45 
Thomas Warton
(Literary historian)

Thomas Warton
2
Birthdate: January 9, 1728
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Basingstoke, England
Died: May 21, 1790

 46 
Pietro Verri
(Economist)

Pietro Verri
2
Birthdate: December 12, 1728
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Milan, Italy
Died: June 28, 1797

Author of numerous literary, historical, and economic works, Pietro Verri was a leader of Milanese academy and moving force behind Società dei Pugni. Also a distinguished public administrator and political economist employed with the Milanese government, he has been credited with abolition of tax farming. Some of his important works are Riflessioni sulle leggi vincolanti and Meditazioni sull’ economia politica.

 47 
Thomas Rymer
(Antiquary)

Thomas Rymer
2
Birthdate: 1641 AD
Birthplace: Appleton Wiske, England
Died: December 14, 1713

 48 

Simanas Daukantas
2
Birthdate: October 28, 1793
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Kalviai, Lithuania
Died: December 6, 1864

 49 

Thomas Edward Bowdich
2
Birthdate: June 20, 1791
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Bristol, England
Died: January 10, 1824

 50 
Josef Dobrovský
(Philologist)

Josef Dobrovský
2
Birthdate: August 17, 1753
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Gyarmat, Hungary
Died: January 6, 1829