Famous 18th Century Historical Personalities

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Find out more about the greatest 18th Century Historical Personalities, including Marie Antoinette, George III of the United Kingdom, Tipu Sultan, Louis XVI of France and Catherine the Great.
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 1 
Napoleon Bonaparte
(Emperor of the French (1804-1814))
Napoleon Bonaparte
77
Birthdate: August 15, 1769
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Ajaccio, France
Died: May 5, 1821
French military leader Napoleon Bonaparte ruled as the French emperor from 1804 to 1814 and again in 1815. He strengthened France’s position in Europe through the Napoleonic Wars and extended his kingdom. However, he was eventually defeated by the Seventh Coalition at the Battle of Waterloo and sent to exile. 
 2 
Catherine the Great
(Former Empress of Russia (1762 – 1796))
Catherine the Great
44
Birthdate: May 2, 1729
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Pomeranian Dukes' Castle in Szczecin, Szczecin, Poland
Died: November 17, 1796

The Empress of Russia for almost 35 years, Catherine the Great was the country's longest-ruling female leader. An ambitious ruler, she rapidly expanded the Russian Empire and is credited with modernizing the country along Western European lines. She supported the ideals of the Enlightenment and the period of her rule—the Catherinian Era—is considered the Golden Age of Russia.

 3 
Louis XIV of France
(King of France (1643-1715))
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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 4 
Marie Antoinette
(Former Queen Consort of France (1774 - 1792))
Marie Antoinette
32
Birthdate: November 2, 1755
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: The Hofburg, Vienna, Austria
Died: October 16, 1793
The last queen of France before the French Revolution started, Marie Antoinette was married to Louis XVI of France and came to be linked with everything that was wrong with the French monarchy including ignorance and extravagance. Her policies aggravated unrest that eventually led to the abolishment of the monarchy and finally the execution of both king and queen.
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 5 
Anne, Queen of Great Britain
(Queen of Great Britain and Ireland (1707 – 1714))
Anne, Queen of Great Britain
10
Birthdate: February 1, 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.

 6 
Frederick The Great
(Former King of Prussia (1740 - 1786))
Frederick The Great
8
Birthdate: January 24, 1712
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Berlin, Germany
Died: August 17, 1786
Prussian king Frederick II, also known as Frederick the Great and The Old Fritz, was the longest-reigning Hohenzollern king. He is known for his involvement in the Silesian Wars and the Partitions of Poland. He also supported art and culture, and reformed the judicial system of Prussia.
 7 
Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz
(Queen Consort of Great Britain and Ireland (1761 - 1818))
Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz
8
Birthdate: May 19, 1744
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Mirow, Germany
Died: November 17, 1818
Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, wife of King George III, reigned as the queen of Great Britain and Ireland from 1761 to 1818, and her reign saw the two kingdoms unite into the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. An amateur art lover and botanist, she also expanded the Kew Gardens.
 8 
George III of the United Kingdom
(King of Great Britain and of Ireland (1760-1801))
George III of the United Kingdom
18
Birthdate: June 4, 1738
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: London, England
Died: January 29, 1820

The King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland for almost six decades, George III had a reign that was longer than those of any of his predecessors. His reign was marked by a series of military conflicts. He suffered from mental illness in his later years.

 9 
Shaka
(Zulu Emperor)
Shaka
12
Birthdate: 1787 AD
Birthplace: KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Died: September 22, 1828

Widely regarded as one of the most influential and important monarchs of the Zulu Kingdom, Shaka reigned as the king of the Zulu Kingdom from 1816 to 1828. Through a series of influential and wide-reaching reforms, Shaka was able to re-organize the Zulu military into a formidable force. His life and work inspired the 1986 South African TV series, Shaka Zulu.

 10 
Maria Theresa
(Holy Roman Empress (1745 - 1765))
Maria Theresa
9
Birthdate: May 13, 1717
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria
Died: November 29, 1780

The mother of 16 children, Maria Theresa was the only female monarch of the Habsburg empire which she ruled with absolute power. She was known for industrial and educational reforms which led to the development of Austria during her 40-year reign. The devout Roman Catholic, who overtly disliked Jews and the Protestants, was sometimes criticized for her religious intolerance.

 

 11 
Louis XVI of France
(King of France)
Louis XVI of France
10
Birthdate: August 23, 1754
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Palace of Versailles, Versailles, France
Died: January 21, 1793

Louis XVI of France reigned as the last king of France from 1774 to 1792 before the French Revolution, which ended the monarchy in France. During his reign, Louis made attempts to remove land and labor tax, abolish serfdom, and improve tolerance toward non-Catholics. However, the proposed reforms were opposed by the French nobility.

 12 
Paul I of Russia
(Emperor of Russia (1796 - 1801))
Paul I of Russia
9
Birthdate: October 1, 1754
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Saint Petersburg, Russia
Died: March 24, 1801
Paul I ruled as the Russian emperor from 1796 till his assassination in 1801. He was officially the son of Peter III and Catherine the Great, but it is believed he was sired by Catherine’s lover, Sergei Saltykov. Paul established the law of succession to the throne of Russia.
 13 
Alexander I of Russia
(Emperor of Russia)
Alexander I of Russia
12
Birthdate: December 23, 1777
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Saint Petersburg, Russia
Died: December 1, 1825

Alexander I was the emperor of Russia and the eldest son of Paul I. While he was initially a friend of Napoleon Bonaparte, he later joined hands with his opponents to defeat him. He was also part of the Congress of Vienna and later contributed to the formation of the Holy Alliance.

 14 
Louis XV of France
(Former King of France (1715 - 1774))
Louis XV of France
6
Birthdate: February 15, 1710
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Palace of Versailles, Versailles, France
Died: May 10, 1774
After losing his parents and his brother to measles, Louis XV became the king of France at the tender age of 5. Known for his extravagances and his reliance on his mistresses, Louis XV was disliked by most. His reign also witnessed judicial reforms and the Seven Years’ War.
 15 
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. 
 16 
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.
 17 
Kamehameha I
(King of Hawaii)
Kamehameha I
9
Birthdate: 1758 AD
Birthplace: Kohala, Hawaii
Died: May 8, 1819
 18 
Qianlong Emperor
(Emperor of China)
Qianlong Emperor
9
Birthdate: September 25, 1711
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Lama Temple, Beijing, China
Died: February 7, 1799
The Qianlong Emperor of the Qing Dynasty was the fourth son of the Yongzheng Emperor and reigned over China from 1735 to 1796. Known for the economic prosperity and military prowess his kingdom gained under his rule, he continued to indirectly rule as the Retired Emperor even after his abdication.
 19 
Peter III of Russia
(Emperor of Russia (January 1762 - July 1762))
Peter III of Russia
11
Birthdate: February 21, 1728
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Kiel, Germany
Died: July 17, 1772

Peter III of Russia reigned over Russia as the emperor for just six months in 1762 before being deposed by people loyal to his wife Catherine II, who then succeeded him. In his short reign, Peter made progressive reforms, including the abolishment of the secret police, which was renowned for its extreme violence. Peter is often portrayed in films.

 20 
George IV of the United Kingdom
(King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland (1820-1830))
George IV of the United Kingdom
10
Birthdate: August 12, 1762
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: London, England
Died: June 26, 1830

Regarded as the first gentleman of England, King George IV of the United Kingdom saw his empire consolidating its position as the global hegemon, particularly after the Napoleonic Wars. His regency during the illness of his father and then his 10-year reign were marked by royal extravagance. 

 21 
Elizabeth of Russia
(Empress of Russia (1741 - 1762))
Elizabeth of Russia
9
Birthdate: December 29, 1709
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Moscow, Russia
Died: January 5, 1762
Elizabeth Petrovna, or Elizabeth of Russia, daughter of Tsar Peter the Great, was the Russian empress from 1741 to 1762. She became famous for not executing a single person during her rule and for modernizing Russia’s architecture. She was a key figure of the Russian Age of Enlightenment.
 22 
William IV of the United Kingdom
(King of the United Kingdom (1830 - 1837))
William IV of the United Kingdom
9
Birthdate: August 21, 1765
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: London, England
Died: June 20, 1837
William IV, the third son of George III, was the king of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and that of Hanover, from 1830 to 1837. His stint in the Royal Navy earned him the nickname “Sailor King.” He introduced electoral reforms, abolished slavery, and restricted child labor.
 23 
Ahmad Shah Durrani
(Founder of the 'Durrani Empire')
Ahmad Shah Durrani
9
Birthdate: 1722 AD
Birthplace: Herat, Afghanistan
Died: October 16, 1772
Ahmad Shah Durrani reigned as the first Emir of the Durrani Empire from 1747 to 1772. Credited with founding the Durrani Empire, Ahmad Shah is also considered the founder of modern Afghanistan. The Durrani Empire thrived under Ahmad Shah's reign and he was succeeded by his son Timur Shah Durrani.
 24 
Philip V of Spain
(Former King of Spain (1700 - 1724))
Philip V of Spain
6
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.

 25 
Nader Shah
(Shah of Iran (1736-47))
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.

 26 
Leopold I of Belgium
(First King of the Belgians (1831 - 1865))
Leopold I of Belgium
6
Birthdate: December 16, 1790
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Coburg, Germany
Died: December 10, 1865
Leopold I, the youngest son of Duke Francis of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, was the first king of Belgium and reigned from 1831 to 1865. He fought against Napoleon during the Napoleonic Wars. He rejected the throne of Greece. His reign is known for establishing Belgium's first railway and for its modernization.
 27 
Joseph II, Holy Roman Emperor
(Holy Roman Emperor (1765-90))
Joseph II, Holy Roman Emperor
5
Birthdate: March 13, 1741
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria
Died: February 20, 1790

Joseph II reigned as the Holy Roman Emperor from 1765, and as the sole ruler of the Habsburg lands from 1780, until 1790. Son of Empress Maria Theresa and Emperor Francis I, and brother of Marie Antoinette, he laid down policies now known as Josephinism. He died without heirs.

 28 
Kangxi Emperor
(Emperor of China)
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.
 29 
Francis II, Holy Roman Emperor
(Holy Roman Emperor (1792-1806))
Francis II, Holy Roman Emperor
7
Birthdate: February 12, 1768
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Florence, Italy
Died: March 2, 1835
Francis II reigned as the last Holy Roman Emperor, from 1792 to 1806, and as the Emperor of Austria (as Francis I), from 1804 to 1835. Francis II fought against Napoleonic France in the Napoleonic Wars and lost at Austerlitz. Eventually, his daughter Marie Louise was married off to Napoleon.
 30 
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.

 31 
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.

 32 
Marie-Thérèse, Duchess of Angoulême
(Daughter of Queen Marie Antoinette of France and King Louis XVI)
Marie-Thérèse, Duchess of Angoulême
5
Birthdate: December 19, 1778
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Palace of Versailles, France
Died: October 19, 1851

Marie Thérèse of France was the daughter of Queen Marie Antoinette of France and King Louis XVI. She was married to Louis XIX of France and was technically the Queen consort of France for 20 minutes on 2 August 1830 when Charles X and Louis XIX of France signed the instrument of abdication. Marie-Thérèse has been depicted in many films.

 33 
Ivan VI of Russia
(Emperor of Russia)
Ivan VI of Russia
4
Birthdate: August 23, 1740
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Saint Petersburg, Russia
Died: July 16, 1764
The eldest child of Duke Anthony Ulrich and Duchess Anna Leopoldovna, Ivan VI of Russia, took over the throne as a 2-month-old baby, with his mother as the regent. His first cousin Elizabeth’s coup later resulted in his imprisonment for 20 years and his eventual assassination. 
 34 
Ernest Augustus, King of Hanover
5
Birthdate: June 5, 1771
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: London, England
Died: November 18, 1851
 35 
Tipu Sultan
(Ruler of the Kingdom of Mysore (1782-99))
Tipu Sultan
33
Birthdate: November 20, 1750
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Devanhalli, Karnataka, India
Died: May 4, 1799
Tipu Sultan, or the “Tiger of Mysore,” ruled the Kingdom of Mysore from 1782 to 1799. Apart from improving his kingdom’s military arrangements, he also established a new calendar, a new land-revenue system, and a coinage system. He died while defending the fort of Seringapatam in the Fourth Anglo-Mysore War.
 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 
Louis XVIII of France
(King of France (1814-1824))
Louis XVIII of France
3
Birthdate: November 17, 1755
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Versailles, France
Died: September 16, 1824

Louis XVIII of France was the king of France from 1814 to 1824, except for the duration of the “Hundred Days” in 1815.  He was the son of Louis, Dauphin of France, and his wife Maria Josepha of Saxony. He ruled for slightly less than a decade. He was not popular as a king.

 38 
Jean-Jacques Dessalines
(Haitian General)
Jean-Jacques Dessalines
4
Birthdate: September 20, 1758
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Guinea
Died: August 17, 1806

Jean-Jacques Dessalines was an important figure and leader of the Haitian Revolution. He went on to rule an independent Haiti, which became the first country to abolish slavery permanently. Considered one of Haiti's founding fathers, Dessalines reigned as the emperor of Haiti from 1804 until his murder in 1806. Today, he is regarded as an icon of Haitian nationalism.

Abigail Masham, Baroness Masham
4
Birthdate: 1670 AD
Birthplace: London, United Kingdom
Died: December 6, 1734
 40 
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.

 41 
Maharaja Ranjit Singh
(Maharaja of the Sikh Empire (1801-39))
Maharaja Ranjit Singh
16
Birthdate: November 13, 1780
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Gujranwala, Pakistan
Died: June 27, 1839
Maharaja Ranjit Singh, also known as the "Lion of Punjab" and the “Napoleon of the East,” was a Sikh leader who reigned over the northwest Indian subcontinent in the 19th century. He fought valiantly against the Afghans and introduced many modern reforms. His Khalsa Army included people of all religions.
 42 
Peter II of Russia
(Emperor of Russia (1727 - 1730))
Peter II of Russia
4
Birthdate: October 23, 1715
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Saint Petersburg, Russia
Died: January 30, 1730
Peter II Alexeyevich, the only son of Tsarevich Alexei Petrovich, ruled as the emperor of Russia from 1727 to 1730. He became a Tsar as a child but died an untimely death due to small pox at 14, on the day that he had planned to marry Ekaterina Dolgorukova.
 43 
Baji Rao I
(Peshwa of Maratha Empire (1720-40))
Baji Rao I
3
Birthdate: August 18, 1700
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Sinnar, Maharashtra, India
Died: April 28, 1740

Baji Rao I was a peshwa, or chief minister, of the Maratha empire in India. His conquests led a massive blow to the Mughal Empire. In spite of being married to Kashibai, he took a second wife, half-Muslim Mastani, a story that was retold in several movies later.

 44 
Joséphine de Beauharnais
(Empress of the French)
Joséphine de Beauharnais
3
Birthdate: June 23, 1763
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Les Trois-Îlets, Martinique
Died: May 29, 1814
Empress Joséphine de Beauharnais spent her initial years in poverty and was shunned by her first husband for her lack of manners. She eventually learned the ways and means of the Parisian high society and married a young Napoleon Bonaparte. She survived a rocky marriage but enjoyed a lavish lifestyle.
 45 
Anna of Russia
(Empress of Russia (1730 - 1740))
Anna of Russia
6
Birthdate: February 7, 1693
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Moscow, Russia
Died: October 28, 1740

Daughter of Ivan V and niece of Peter I, Anna of Russia did not have much interest in the governance of her kingdom and left it in the hands of her beloved Ernst Johann Biron and her advisors. Her “dark reign” witnessed costly wars such as the Russo-Turkish War.

 46 
Ernest I, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
(Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld (1806 - 1826))
Ernest I, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
5
Birthdate: January 2, 1784
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Coburg, Germany
Died: January 29, 1844

Ernest I, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha reigned as the Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld from 9 December 1806 to 12 November 1826. He oversaw the construction of many projects, including a court theatre, in Coburg. Ernest is also remembered for the educational, constitutional, and economic development of his territories.

 47 
Mahmud II
(Sultan of Ottoman Empire)
Mahmud II
3
Birthdate: July 20, 1785
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: İstanbul, Turkey
Died: July 1, 1839

Mahmud II reigned as the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 1808 to 1839. His reign was marked by the extensive military, administrative, and fiscal reforms which he initiated. The reforms that he initiated eventually led to the formation of the modern Turkish Republic. He is also credited with rebuilding a strong naval force for the empire.

 48 
Francis I, Holy Roman Emperor
(Holy Roman Emperor (1745 - 1765))
Francis I, Holy Roman Emperor
4
Birthdate: December 8, 1708
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Nancy, France
Died: August 18, 1765
Married to Maria Theresa, Francis I, Holy Roman Emperor, was often outshone by his wife. Their marriage was a political step of Maria’s father, Emperor Charles VI. An art connoisseur, Francis was not as much interested in the administrative affairs of his kingdom as he was in the cultural aspects.
 49 
Caroline of Brunswick-Lüneburg
(Queen of United Kingdom)
Caroline of Brunswick-Lüneburg
3
Birthdate: May 17, 1768
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Braunschweig
Died: August 7, 1821
Charles VI, Holy Roman Emperor
4
Birthdate: October 1, 1685
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: The Hofburg, Vienna, Austria
Died: October 20, 1740

Much before his daughter Maria Theresa’s birth, Emperor Charles VI’s Pragmatic Sanction enabled his future daughter to succeed him, due to the lack of male heirs. Though he was always busy fighting, he apparently did it all to bring about peace. He had also unsuccessfully attempted to conquer Spain.