Famous 18th Century Military Leaders

Find out more about the greatest 18th Century Military Leaders, including George Washington, Benedict Arnold, Baji Rao I, Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson and Robert Clive.

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 Napoleon Bonaparte

Napoleon Bonaparte
Famous As: Emperor of the French (1804-1814)
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 Horatio Nelson

Horatio Nelson
Famous As: Admiral
Birthdate: September 29, 1758
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Burnham Thorpe
Died: October 21, 1805

Horatio Nelson was a British flag officer whose inspirational leadership brought about several British naval victories, especially during the Napoleonic Wars. Regarded as one of Britain's heroic figures, Horatio Nelson's legacy remains influential and several monuments, including the Nelson Monument and Nelson's Column, have been created in his memory.

 3 Simon Bolivar

Simon Bolivar
Famous As: Revolutionary & Military Leader
Birthdate: July 24, 1783
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Caracas, Venezuela
Died: December 17, 1830
After losing his parents as a child, Simon Bolivar also lost his Spanish wife to yellow fever later and thus decided to devote himself to politics. He was the first president of Gran Colombia and Bolivia, and also led Peru and Venezuela in their fight for freedom, against Spain.
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 4 John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough

John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough
Famous As: Military Leader
Birthdate: May 26, 1650
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Ash, Musbury
Died: June 16, 1722

 5 Michel Ney

Michel Ney
Famous As: Military commander
Birthdate: January 10, 1769
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Saarlouis, Germany
Died: December 7, 1815

Michel Ney was a French military commander. One of the 18 Marshals of the Empire inaugurated by Napoléon Bonaparte, Michel Ney played important roles in the Napoleonic Wars and the French Revolutionary Wars. Nicknamed the Bravest of the Brave by Napoleon himself, Ney was renowned for his valor in wars. 

 6 Marquis de Lafayette

Marquis de Lafayette
Famous As: Aristocrat and Military Leader
Birthdate: September 6, 1757
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Chavaniac-Lafayette, France
Died: May 20, 1834

Marquis de Lafayette was a French aristocrat and military officer, who  is remembered for fighting in the American Revolutionary War, as the commander of American troops in several battles. After returning to France, he played key roles in the French Revolution of 1789 and the July Revolution of 1830. Considered a hero in both America and France, he advocated the end of slavery.  

 7 Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben

Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben
Famous As: Military Officer
Birthdate: September 17, 1730
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Magdeburg, Germany
Died: November 28, 1794
At a time when homosexuality was illegal, Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben was openly gay. The Prussian military officer and hero of the American Revolutionary War, reportedly had a romantic relationship with his fellow military man Benjamin Walker. He is also known as someone who singlehandedly trained the Continental Army.
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 8 Maximilien de Robespierre

Maximilien de Robespierre
Famous As: Politician, Lawyer
Birthdate: May 6, 1758
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Arras, France
Died: July 28, 1794
Maximilien de Robespierre was a leading left-wing lawyer and leader during the Reign of Terror. He led the Committee of Public Safety and was part of the Constituent Assembly and the Jacobin Club. He was accused of establishing a dictatorship and was guillotined in 1794, thus beginning the Thermidorian Reaction.

 9 Zachary Taylor

Zachary Taylor
Famous As: 12th President of United States
Birthdate: November 24, 1784
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Barboursville, Virginia, United States
Died: June 30, 1850
Zachary Taylor was the 12th U.S. president, from March 1849 till his death in July 1850, thus spending just 16 months in office. His heroism in the Mexican–American War had earned him the title of major general. A novice in political affairs, he was the last president who owned slaves.

 10 Shaka

Famous As: Zulu Emperor
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.

 11 John Paul Jones

John Paul Jones
Famous As: Sailor
Birthdate: July 6, 1747
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Arbigland, Kirkcudbrightshire, Scotland
Died: July 18, 1792
John Paul Jones was an American Revolutionary War naval commander. Named the Father of the American Navy, he was part of the Continental Navy against the Kingdom of Great Britain. He later joined the Imperial Russian Navy and became a rear admiral. His life later inspired an Alexandre Dumas novel.

 12 Qianlong Emperor

Qianlong Emperor
Famous As: Emperor of China
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.

 13 Louis-Philippe I of France

Louis-Philippe I of France
Famous As: King of France
Birthdate: October 6, 1773
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Domaine National du Palais-Royal, Paris, France
Died: August 26, 1850

 14 Charles Edward Stuart

Charles Edward Stuart
Famous As: Military Leader
Birthdate: December 31, 1720
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Palazzo Muti, Rome
Died: January 31, 1788
Charles Edward Stuart, also known as "The Young Pretender” and “Bonnie Prince Charlie,” was the son of Prince James, and the grandson of James II. He is best remembered for his role in the 1745 Jacobite Uprising, and his subsequent failure, which became the subject of many folk songs.

 15 Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher

Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher
Famous As: Prussian field marshal
Birthdate: December 16, 1742
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Toitenwinkel, Rostock, Germany
Died: September 12, 1819

 16 Ahmad Shah Durrani

Ahmad Shah Durrani
Famous As: King
Birthdate: 1722 AD
Birthplace: Herat, Afghanistan
Died: October 16, 1772

 17 Robert Clive

Robert Clive
Famous As: British Military Officer
Birthdate: September 25, 1725
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Styche Hall, England
Died: November 22, 1774

 18 John Graves Simcoe

John Graves Simcoe
Famous As: First Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada
Birthdate: February 25, 1752
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Cotterstock, Oundle, England
Died: October 26, 1806

 19 Charles XII of Sweden

Charles XII of Sweden
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.

 20 Karl Von Clausewitz

Karl Von Clausewitz
Famous As: General
Birthdate: July 1, 1780
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Burg bei Magdeburg
Died: November 16, 1831

Carl von Clausewitz was a Prussian military theorist and general. As a theorist, Clausewitz stressed the political aspects of war. His book Vom Kriege, which talks about military strategy, has been very influential despite the fact that it was unfinished at the time of his death. His ideas also influenced personalities like Karl Marx, Mao Zedong, and Leon Trotsky.

 21 Chief Seattle

Chief Seattle
Famous As: Tribal chief
Birthdate: 1786 AD
Birthplace: Suquamish, Washington, United States
Died: June 7, 1866
Chief Seattle was a Suquamish and Duwamish chief who was a close friend of David Swinson "Doc" Maynard and is remembered for his amicable relationship with the white settlers. The city of Seattle was named after him. He is widely known for his speech on Native American land rights.

 22 William Bligh

William Bligh
Famous As: Military Leader
Birthdate: September 9, 1754
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Plymouth, United Kingdom
Died: September 7, 1817

 23 Grigory Potemkin

Grigory Potemkin
Famous As: Statesman
Birthdate: October 11, 1739
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Chizhovo, Russian Empire
Died: October 16, 1791

Grigory Potemkin was a Russian statesman, military leader, and nobleman. A favorite of Catherine the Great, Grigory Potemkin was appointed governor-general of Russia's southern provinces in 1775. An influential personality, Potemkin supervised the construction of several important edifices, such as the Tauride Palace. He is also credited with founding the towns of Ekaterinoslav, Sevastopol, Kherson, and Nikolayev.

 24 Baji Rao I

Baji Rao I
Famous As: Peshwa of Maratha Empire (1720-40)
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.

 25 Tadeusz Kościuszko

Tadeusz Kościuszko
Famous As: Statesman, Engineer
Birthdate: January 31, 1746
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Mieračoŭščyna
Died: October 15, 1817

Tadeusz Kościuszko was a Polish-Lithuanian statesman, military leader, and military engineer. Thanks to his participation in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth's fight against Prussia and Russia and his role in the American Revolutionary War, Tadeusz Kościuszko is widely regarded as a national hero in the United States, Poland, Belarus, and Lithuania.

 26 Kazimierz Pułaski

Kazimierz Pułaski
Famous As: Soldier
Birthdate: March 6, 1745
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Warsaw, Poland
Died: October 11, 1779

Kazimierz Pułaski was a Polish nobleman, military commander, and soldier. Dubbed the father of the American cavalry, Pulaski is credited with creating the Pulaski Cavalry Legion and reorganizing the American cavalry. He played an important role in the American Revolutionary War and is remembered for fighting for the independence of Poland and the United States.

 27 Jean-Jacques Dessalines

Jean-Jacques Dessalines
Famous As: Haitian General
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.

 28 Francis Marion

Francis Marion
Famous As: Military officer
Birthdate: February 26, 1732
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Berkeley County, South Carolina, United States
Died: February 27, 1795

 29 José de San Martín

José de San Martín
Famous As: Military Leader, Politician
Birthdate: February 25, 1778
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Yapeyú
Died: August 17, 1850

José de San Martín was an Argentine general who played an important role in the Spanish American wars of independence. San Martín is considered a national hero of Peru and Argentina. The Order of the Liberator General San Martín, the highest honor conferred by the government of Argentina, was created in his honor.

 30 Philippe II, Duke of Orléans

Philippe II, Duke of Orléans
Famous As: Statesman, Regent of France (1715-1723)
Birthdate: August 2, 1674
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Saint-Cloud, France
Died: December 2, 1723

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.

 31 Benjamin Tallmadge

Benjamin Tallmadge
Famous As: Military Leader
Birthdate: February 25, 1754
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: East Setauket, Brookhaven, New York, United States
Died: March 7, 1835

 32 Louis-Nicolas Davout

Louis-Nicolas Davout
Famous As: Military commander
Birthdate: May 10, 1770
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Annoux, France
Died: June 1, 1823

 33 Philip John Schuyler

Philip John Schuyler
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: November 20, 1733
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Albany, New York, United States
Died: November 18, 1804

 34 Banastre Tarleton

Banastre Tarleton
Famous As: Former lieutenant colonel at the end of the American Revolution
Birthdate: August 21, 1754
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Liverpool, Lancashire, England
Died: January 15, 1833

Banastre Tarleton was a British politician and general. He served in the American Revolutionary War where he was a lieutenant colonel. An iconic figure, Tarleton has been portrayed in several films, such as Sweet Liberty, The Patriot, and Amazing Grace. He has also been depicted in many TV series and novels.   

 35 Nathanael Greene

Nathanael Greene
Famous As: Major general of the Continental Army in the American Revolutionary War
Birthdate: August 7, 1742
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Potowomut, Rhode Island, United States
Died: June 19, 1786

 36 Benedict Arnold

Benedict Arnold
Famous As: American Revolutionary War General
Birthdate: January 14, 1741
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Norwich, Connecticut, United States
Died: June 14, 1801

Benedict Arnold was an American military officer who betrayed his country when he joined the British forces in 1780. Because of his betrayal, his name became synonymous with traitory in the United States. His story of betrayal has been depicted in popular culture and he has been portrayed by actors like Owain Yeoman and Ciarán Owens.

 37 Prince Eugene of Savoy

Prince Eugene of Savoy
Famous As: Military commander
Birthdate: October 18, 1663
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: April 21, 1736

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.

 38 Alexander Suvorov

Alexander Suvorov
Famous As: General
Birthdate: November 24, 1729
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Moscow, Russia
Died: May 18, 1800

Aleksandr Vasilyevich Suvorov was a distinguished Russian General, remembered for winning every battle that he had commanded. Known for his thumping victories at the Battle of Rymnik and Siege of Izmail during the Russo-Turkish War and for his contributions during the French Revolutionary Wars, he won many awards and tittles and wrote several military manuals, including The Science of Victory.

 39 Prince Frederick, Duke of York and Albany

Prince Frederick, Duke of York and Albany
Famous As: Duke of York and Albany
Birthdate: August 16, 1763
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: St James's Palace, London, England
Died: January 5, 1827

 40 Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn

Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn
Famous As: Military officer
Birthdate: November 2, 1767
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Buckingham Palace, England
Died: January 23, 1820

Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn was the father of Queen Victoria. His army career took him to Canada and the West Indies, making him the first royal family member to stay in North America. He was also the governor of Gibraltar and played a major role in Canada’s development.

 41 Anthony Wayne

Anthony Wayne
Famous As: Senior Officer of the United States Army (1792-96)
Birthdate: January 1, 1745
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Easttown Township, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: December 15, 1796

 42 Mikhail Kutuzov

Mikhail Kutuzov
Famous As: Military officer
Birthdate: September 16, 1745
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Saint Petersburg, Russia
Died: April 28, 1813

 43 Alexander Hamilton

Alexander Hamilton
Famous As: Founding Father of the United States
Birthdate: January 11, 1755
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Charlestown, Saint Kitts and Nevis
Died: July 12, 1804

Known as America’s one of the most influential Founding Fathers, Alexander Hamilton was a delegate to the Constitutional Convention and served as the first secretary of the treasury. He also fought in the American Revolutionary War and was considered as a leading votary of the strong central government.

 44 Joseph Warren

Joseph Warren
Famous As: Physician, Military Leader
Birthdate: June 11, 1741
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Died: June 17, 1775

 45 Tarrare

Famous As: Showman
Birthdate: 1772 AD
Birthplace: Lyon, France
Died: 1798 AD

 46 Horatio Gates

Horatio Gates
Famous As: Army General
Birthdate: July 26, 1727
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Maldon, England
Died: April 10, 1806

 47 Thomas Cochrane, 10th Earl of Dundonald

Thomas Cochrane, 10th Earl of Dundonald
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: December 14, 1775
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Hamilton, Lanarkshire, Scotland
Died: October 31, 1860

One of the best-known seamen from Britain, Thomas Cochrane, 10th Earl of Dundonald had also been an MP. He is also remembered for his conflict with Admiral James Gambier. Though expelled from the Parliament for spreading a death hoax about Napoleon I along with his uncle, he was later proved to be innocent.

 48 James Wolfe

James Wolfe
Famous As: Officer
Birthdate: January 2, 1727
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Westerham, United Kingdom
Died: September 13, 1759

 49 Henry Knox

Henry Knox
Famous As: Former United States Secretary of War
Birthdate: July 25, 1750
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Died: October 25, 1806

 50 Thomas Gage

Thomas Gage
Famous As: Military Officer
Birthdate: 1721 AD
Birthplace: Firle, England
Died: April 2, 1787