Famous 18th Century Spiritual & Religious Leaders

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 1 
Guru Gobind Singh
8
Birthdate: December 22, 1666
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Patna, India
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.
 2 
John Wesley
(English Clergyman, Theologian, Evangelist and Co-Founder of the Methodist Movement in the Church of England)
John Wesley
4
Birthdate: June 28, 1703
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Epworth, England
Died: March 2, 1791

John Wesley was an English cleric, evangelist, and theologian. He is best remembered for leading a revival movement called Methodism within the Church of England. He is credited with founding societies that eventually became the dominant form of the Methodist movement, which remains relevant today. He continues to be the main theological influence on Methodists all over the world.

 3 
Jonathan Edwards
(Preacher, Theologian, Philosopher)
Jonathan Edwards
6
Birthdate: October 5, 1703
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: East Windsor, Connecticut, United States
Died: March 22, 1758

Jonathan Edwards was an American philosopher, revivalist preacher, and Congregationalist Protestant theologian. Considered one of America's most prominent and influential philosophical theologians, Jonathan Edwards played a major role in shaping the Evangelical Revival of the 1730s and 1740s. His theological work is credited with paving the way for a new school of theology called the New England theology.

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Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab
4
Birthdate: 1703 AD
Birthplace: Al Uyaynah, Saudi Arabia
Died: June 22, 1792
 5 
Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla
(Catholic Priest, Leader of the Mexican War of Independence and Recognized as the Father of the Nation)
Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla
4
Birthdate: May 8, 1753
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Pénjamo, Mexico
Died: July 30, 1811

Spanish priest Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla is remembered as the father of Mexican independence. During the 1808 French invasion of Spain, the Mexicans demanded independence from Spanish rule. Hidalgo’s subsequent call for revolt against the Spanish is remembered as the Cry of Dolores. He was executed by a firing squad.

 6 
Denmark Vesey
(Early 19th Century Free Black Pastor and Community Leader Accused of Planning the 1822 Slave Revolt)
Denmark Vesey
5
Birthdate: 1767 AD
Birthplace: Saint Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands
Died: July 2, 1822

Sold as a slave in childhood, Denmark Vesey adopted the surname of his master. He later purchased his freedom with the money he had won in a lottery. Earning a living as a carpenter, he simultaneously launched a slave rebellion and planned a coup but was eventually hanged to death.

Louise Marie Therese
3
Birthdate: November 16, 1664
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Moret-sur-Loing, France
Died: 1732 AD

Louise Marie Therese was a French nun who lived in the late 17th and early 18th centuries. She has been mentioned in many different sources, some dubiously claiming that she was the daughter of the Queen of France, Maria Theresa of Spain. She was a black woman and a Benedictine nun in the abbey of Moret-sur-Loing. 

 8 
Swaminarayan
(Religious leader)
Swaminarayan
3
Birthdate: April 3, 1781
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Chhapaiya, India
Died: June 1, 1830

Swaminarayan, also known as Sahajanand Swami, was an Indian yogi and ascetic. He is credited to have revived several central Hindu practices of dharma, ahimsa, and brahmacharya. He was initiated into the tradition of Uddhav Sampradaya by his guru and later became the leader of the tradition. He also undertook reforms for women and the poor. 

 9 
John Witherspoon
(Scottish-American Presbyterian Minister, Educator and a Founding Father of the United States)
John Witherspoon
3
Birthdate: February 5, 1723
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Gifford, Scotland
Died: November 15, 1794

John Witherspoon was a Scottish American slaveholder, Presbyterian minister, and Founding Father of the United States. A signatory to the Declaration of Independence, Witherspoon also signed the Articles of Confederation. He also played a crucial role in shaping public policy in the United States of America.

John Baptist de La Salle
3
Birthdate: April 30, 1651
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Kingdom of France
Died: April 7, 1719

John Baptist de La Salle, also known as La Salle, is remembered as the founder of the Brothers of the Christian Schools, or the de La Salle Brothers. Apart from setting up charitable boarding schools, he also trained teachers. He is revered as the patron saint of school teachers and educators.

 11 
Pope Pius VII
3
Birthdate: August 14, 1742
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Cesena, Italy
Died: August 20, 1823
 12 
Pope Benedict XIII
3
Birthdate: February 2, 1649
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Gravina in Puglia, Italy

Pope Benedict XIII served as the ruler of the Papal States and head of the Catholic Church from 1724 to 1730. A man who was not interested in worldly matters, Benedict XIII chose to maintain a monastic lifestyle. He abolished the lottery in the Papal States and built several hospitals. He is also credited with founding the University of Camerino.

 13 
Pope Pius VI
3
Birthdate: December 25, 1717
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Cesena, Italy
Died: August 29, 1799
 14 
Ann Lee
(American Religious Leader)
Ann Lee
5
Birthdate: February 29, 1736
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Manchester, England
Died: September 8, 1784

Ann Lee is remembered as the founder of the Society of Believers in Christ's Second Appearing, also known as the Shakers, for their ritual of shaking during worshipping. Born to a blacksmith in England, she initially worked at a textile mill and later ushered her movement into the U.S.

 15 
Nachman of Breslov
3
Birthdate: April 4, 1772
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Międzybóż, Kingdom of Poland
Died: October 16, 1810

Nachman of Breslov was a Polish Rabbi best remembered as the founder of the famous Breslov Hasidic movement. He managed to revive the Hasidic movement by merging in-depth Torah scholarship with the esoteric secrets of Judaism. Nachman of Breslov attracted thousands of followers and his influence continues even today through several Hasidic movements like Breslov Hasidism.

 16 
Jacob Frank
(Religious Leader)
Jacob Frank
3
Birthdate: 1726 AD
Birthplace: Korolivka, Ukraine
Died: December 10, 1791

Jacob Frank was a Polish-Jewish religious leader. He is credited with creating Frankism, a new denomination of Judaism. Jacob Frank is also remembered for his claims; he convinced his followers that he was the reincarnation of the biblical patriarch Jacob and the self-proclaimed messiah Sabbatai Zevi.

 17 
Henry Benedict Stuart
3
Birthdate: March 6, 1725
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Palazzo Muti, Rome, Italy
Died: July 13, 1807
 18 
Tenskwatawa
(Political leader)
Tenskwatawa
3
Birthdate: 1775
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Ohio, United States
Died: October 31, 1836

Tenskwatawa was a Native American political and religious leader. Remembered for changing his ways after a near-death experience, Tenskwatawa led a purification movement that condemned the consumption of alcohol and promoted unity among Native Americans. He became known as the Prophet among his ethnic group and accumulated several followers.

 19 
Pope Leo XII
3
Birthdate: August 2, 1760
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Genga, Italy
Died: February 10, 1829
 20 
Pope Pius VIII
3
Birthdate: November 20, 1761
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Cingoli, Italy
Died: November 30, 1830
 21 
Pope Clement XIV
3
Birthdate: October 31, 1705
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Santarcangelo di Romagna, Italy
Died: September 22, 1774
 22 
Pope Gregory XVI
3
Birthdate: September 18, 1765
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Belluno, Italy
Died: June 1, 1846
 23 
Pope Clement XI
3
Birthdate: July 23, 1649
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Urbino, Italy
Died: March 19, 1721
 24 
Pope Clement XIII
3
Birthdate: March 7, 1693
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Venice, Italy
Died: February 2, 1769
 25 
Pope Clement XII
3
Birthdate: April 7, 1652
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Florence, Italy
Died: February 6, 1740
 26 
Nicolaus Zinzendorf
(German religious leader)
Nicolaus Zinzendorf
3
Birthdate: May 26, 1700
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Dresden, Germany
Died: May 9, 1760

Born into one of the noblest Austrian families, Nikolaus Zinzendorf devoted his life to the welfare of the poor. Recognized as a distinguished leader of the Moravian church and a reformer of the Pietist movement, he created a worldwide missionary network that he hoped would sustain an ecumenical Protestant movement.

 27 
John Carroll
(Catholic priest)
John Carroll
3
Birthdate: January 8, 1735
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Upper Marlboro, Maryland, United States
Died: December 3, 1815

Born into a wealthy Maryland family and educated in France and Belgium, John Carroll is remembered as the first American Roman Catholic bishop and the first archbishop of Baltimore. He also established Georgetown University. Though he owned more than 100 slaves, he advocated for humane treatment of slaves.

Catherine McAuley
2
Birthdate: September 29, 1778
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland
Died: November 11, 1841

Catholic nun Catherine McAuley is best remembered as the founder of the Religious Sisters of Mercy. Orphaned as a child, she was raised by Protestant foster parents and later built The House of Mercy, catering to orphans and homeless women, with her inheritance. Her congregation focuses on education of the poor.

 29 
Pope Innocent XIII
2
Birthdate: May 13, 1655
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Poli, Italy
Died: March 7, 1724
 30 
Hakuin Ekaku
(Buddhist priest)
Hakuin Ekaku
2
Birthdate: January 19, 1686
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Numazu, Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan
Died: January 18, 1769
Madeleine Sophie Barat
2
Birthdate: December 12, 1779
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Joigny, France
Died: May 25, 1865
 32 
Shah Waliullah Dehlawi
(Muslim Scholar)
Shah Waliullah Dehlawi
3
Birthdate: February 21, 1703
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Delhi, India
Died: August 20, 1762

Trained in Islamic education by his father, who established the Madrasah-i Rahimiyah, Shah Waliullah Dehlawi had memorized the Qur'an by age 7. He grew up to be a prominent Islamic theologian who modernized Islam with ideas such as taṭbīq and the practice of ijtihad. Asrār al-dīn remains his best-known work.

 33 
Joseph Bates
(sailor, preacher)
Joseph Bates
2
Birthdate: July 8, 1792
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Massachusetts
Died: March 19, 1872

Joseph Bates was an American revivalist minister and seaman. He is credited with co-founding and developing Sabbatarian Adventism, which later paved the way for the formation of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. An ardent advocate of temperance, Bates had given up alcohol, tea, tobacco, coffee, and meat by 1844. His health principles later influenced Seventh-day Adventists in the 1860s.  

 34 
Tuanku Imam Bonjol
(Religious leader)
Tuanku Imam Bonjol
2
Birthdate: 1772 AD
Birthplace: Bonjol, Indonesia
Died: November 6, 1864
 35 
David Brainerd
(Missionary)
David Brainerd
3
Birthdate: April 20, 1718
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Connecticut
Died: October 9, 1747
 36 
Cornplanter
(politician)
Cornplanter
2
Birthdate: 1750 AD
Birthplace: Genesee River
Died: February 18, 1836

John Abeel III, better known as Cornplanter, was a Dutch-Seneca war chief. He played an important role in the American Revolutionary War and the French and Indian War, serving as a chief warrior. He also played a major role during the post-revolutionary war years, serving as a negotiator between the Seneca and the new Americans.

 37 
Ganioda'yo
(Religious leader)
Ganioda'yo
2
Birthdate: 1735 AD
Birthplace: Ganawaugus, New York, United States
Died: August 10, 1815

Ganioda'yo, better known as Handsome Lake, was a Seneca religious leader. A leader and prophet, Handsome Lake played an important role in revitalizing traditional religion among the People of the Longhouse. His teachings aimed at popularizing the traditional religious beliefs of his people, which had been marred by colonization. His teachings were later published and are practiced even today.

Rose Philippine Duchesne
3
Birthdate: August 29, 1769
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Grenoble, France
Died: November 18, 1852
 39 
John Woolman
(American Merchant, Quaker Preacher and Early Abolitionist During the Colonial Era)
John Woolman
2
Birthdate: October 19, 1720
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Burlington, New Jersey, United States
Died: October 7, 1772

John Woolman was an American tailor, merchant, abolitionist, journalist, and Quaker preacher. He is best remembered for preaching Quaker beliefs after traveling through the American frontier. He condemned slavery, cruelty to animals, conscription, and economic injustices. He also published several essays against slavery. His journal, which he carried throughout his life, was published posthumously as The Journal of John Woolman.

 40 
Alexander Campbell
2
Birthdate: September 12, 1788
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Broughshane, County Antrim, Ireland
Died: March 4, 1866

Alexander Campbell was a Scots-Irish immigrant who went on to become an ordained minister in America. He then joined forces with his father and led a reform effort, which came to be known as the Restoration Movement. Also referred to as the Stone-Campbell Movement, it helped develop non-denominational Christian churches. 

 41 
Julie Billiart
(Religious leader)
Julie Billiart
2
Birthdate: July 12, 1751
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Cuvilly, France
Died: April 8, 1816
Moshe Chaim Luzzatto
2
Birthdate: 1707 AD
Birthplace: Padua, Italy
Died: May 16, 1746
 43 
Paul of the Cross
2
Birthdate: January 3, 1694
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Ovada, Italy
Died: October 18, 1775
 44 
Henri Grégoire
(French Catholic Priest Who Was a Defender of the Constitutional Church)
Henri Grégoire
2
Birthdate: December 4, 1750
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Vého, France
Died: May 28, 1831

Henri Grégoire, or Abbé Grégoire, was not just a Catholic priest but also a revolutionary. He first gained prominence with his Essay on the Regeneration of the Jews. A radical Jacobin, he was the first priest of the Civil Constitution of the Clergy and also presided over the National Convention.

Selina Hastings, Countess of Huntingdon
2
Birthdate: August 24, 1707
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Leicestershire, England
Died: June 17, 1791

Selina Hastings, Countess of Huntingdon was an English religious leader. She played an important role in the Methodist movement in Wales and England and in the Christian revivalism of the 18th century. She is credited with establishing an evangelical branch in Sierra Leone and England, which is now referred to as the Countess of Huntingdon's Connexion.

 46 
Eleazar Wheelock
(American Congregational Minister, Orator, and Educator)
Eleazar Wheelock
2
Birthdate: April 22, 1711
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Windham, Connecticut, United States
Died: April 24, 1779

Eleazar Wheelock was an 18th-century Congregational minister, orator, and educator in Lebanon. He was the founder of the Moor's Charity School, which he started to educate Native Americans. Later on, he founded Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, with the primary motive of educating the sons of American colonists. He was a long-term slave owner.

 47 
Jacob Emden
2
Birthdate: June 4, 1697
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Altona, Hamburg, Germany
Died: April 19, 1776

An outstanding scholar and a prolific writer, Jacob Israel Emden was a leading German Rabbi, mostly remembered for his fierce opposition to the Shabbatean movement and his bitter dispute with Rabbi Jonathan Eybeschütz. Also interested in secular works, he had 31 works to his credit, five of which were published posthumously.

Ahmad bin Said al-Busaidi
0
Birthdate: 1710 AD
Birthplace: Adam, Oman
Died: December 15, 1783
 49 
Ryōkan
(Buddhist Monk)
Ryōkan
2
Birthdate: November 2, 1758
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Echigo Province, Japan
Died: February 18, 1831
 50 
Giuseppe Caspar Mezzofanti
0
Birthdate: September 19, 1774
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Bologna, Italy
Died: March 15, 1849