Famous 18th Century Spiritual & Religious Leaders

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 1 

Guru Gobind Singh
7
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
(Cleric)

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
5
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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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.

Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab
4
Birthdate: 1703 AD
Birthplace: Al Uyaynah, Saudi Arabia
Died: June 22, 1792

 6 

Usman dan Fodio
3
Birthdate: December 15, 1754
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Gobir, Nigeria
Died: April 20, 1817

 7 

Jean Vianney
3
Birthdate: May 8, 1786
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Dardilly, Lyonnais, France
Died: August 4, 1859

Jean Vianney was a French Catholic priest active in the first half of the 19th century. Venerated in the Catholic Church as a saint and as the patron saint of parish priests, he is also referred to as the "Curé d'Ars."  He was devoted to St. Philomena, who he regarded as his guardian. His feast day is 4 August.

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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. 

 9 
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. 

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 
Increase Mather
(Clergyman)

Increase Mather
3
Birthdate: June 21, 1639
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Massachusetts Bay Colony, United States
Died: August 23, 1723

Puritan clergyman Increase Mather was educated at Harvard and Trinity and preached his first sermon the day he turned 18. The son of Puritan minister Richard Mather, he penned An Essay for the Recording of Illustrious Providences, which is said to have influenced the Salem witch trials.

 12 
Richard Allen
(Minister)

Richard Allen
3
Birthdate: February 14, 1760
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: March 26, 1831

Born to slave parents, American clergyman Richard Allen became a Methodist convert at 22. He later founded the African Methodist Episcopal Church and served as its first bishop. Apart from establishing the first church for Blacks in the U.S., he worked on various aspects to improve the lives of Blacks.

 13 

Pope Pius VI
3
Birthdate: December 25, 1717
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Cesena, Italy
Died: August 29, 1799

 14 
Jemima Wilkinson
(Religious leader)

Jemima Wilkinson
3
Birthdate: November 29, 1752
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Cumberland, Rhode Island, United States
Died: July 1, 1819

Jemima Wilkinson was an American preacher who later became known as the Public Universal Friend after becoming a genderless evangelist. The Public Universal Friend preached throughout the northeastern US. The Friend's teachings attracted several followers who became part of the Society of Universal Friends.

 15 

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.

Emmanuel Joseph Sieyès
3
Birthdate: May 3, 1748
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Fréjus, France
Died: June 20, 1836

Emmanuel Joseph Sieyès, also known as the Abbé Sieyès, was a French Roman Catholic Abbé, clergyman, and political writer. He was a chief political theorist of the French Revolution and held offices in the French Consulate government. He is credited to have coined the term sociologie in an unpublished manuscript. He led a rather uninvolved social life.

 17 

Hannah Emerson Duston
3
Birthdate: December 23, 1657
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Haverhill, Massachusetts, United States
Died: March 6, 1736

Hannah Emerson Duston was a Puritan who was taken captive during King William's War by the Abenaki people. She is best remembered for killing and scalping 10 of the Native American family members with the help of two other captives. She later became a folk hero and was honored with a statue.

 18 

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.

 19 
Ann Lee
(Religious leader)

Ann Lee
4
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.

 20 
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.

 21 

Alphonsus Liguori
3
Birthdate: September 27, 1696
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Marianella, Naples, Italy
Died: August 1, 1787

Catholic bishop Alphonsus Liguori was the man behind the formation of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, also known as the Redemptorists. He stepped into his spiritual life after an 8-year stint as a lawyer. He is also remembered for his works on moral theology and equiprobabilism.

 22 
Tenskwatawa
(Political leader)

Tenskwatawa
3
Birthdate: September 27, 1696, 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.

 23 

Henry Benedict Stuart
3
Birthdate: March 6, 1725
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Palazzo Muti, Rome, Italy
Died: July 13, 1807

 24 

Pope Pius VII
3
Birthdate: August 14, 1742
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Cesena, Italy
Died: August 20, 1823

 25 

Pope Pius VIII
3
Birthdate: November 20, 1761
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Cingoli, Italy
Died: November 30, 1830

 26 

Pope Leo XII
3
Birthdate: August 2, 1760
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Genga, Italy
Died: February 10, 1829

 27 

Pope Clement XI
3
Birthdate: July 23, 1649
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Urbino, Italy
Died: March 19, 1721

 28 
Sidney Rigdon
(Religious Leader)

Sidney Rigdon
3
Birthdate: February 19, 1793
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: St. Clair Township,Pennsylvania, United States
Died: July 14, 1876

Sidney Rigdon was a leading figure of the Latter Day Saint movement during its early history. He became a member of the Peter's Creek Baptist Church of Library following his baptism. He was close friends with Adamson Bentley, with who he jointly preached for years. Besides preaching, he also worked as a journeyman tanner.

 29 

Samuel Seabury
3
Birthdate: November 30, 1729
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Ledyard, Connecticut, United States
Died: February 25, 1796

Samuel Seabury was an Episcopal bishop who became the second Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church in the United States of America. A leading Loyalist in New York City during the American Revolution, he was known for his rivalry with Alexander Hamilton. After the revolution, he played a key role in the evolution of Anglican liturgy. 

 30 

Pope Clement XIV
3
Birthdate: October 31, 1705
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Santarcangelo di Romagna, Italy
Died: September 22, 1774

 31 

Pope Gregory XVI
3
Birthdate: September 18, 1765
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Belluno, Italy
Died: June 1, 1846

 32 

Edmund Ignatius Rice
3
Birthdate: June 1, 1762
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Callan, County Kilkenny, Ireland
Died: August 29, 1844
Irish businessman Edmund Ignatius Rice was a successful trader of livestock and other supplies. After his wife’s death, he devoted himself to several charitable causes, especially those related to the education and health of the poor. He later founded the Congregation of the Brothers of the Christian Schools of Ireland.

 33 

Pope Clement XII
3
Birthdate: April 7, 1652
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Florence, Italy
Died: February 6, 1740

 34 

Pope Clement XIII
3
Birthdate: March 7, 1693
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Venice, Italy
Died: February 2, 1769

 35 
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.

 37 
Hakuin Ekaku
(Buddhist priest)

Hakuin Ekaku
2
Birthdate: January 19, 1686
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Numazu, Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan
Died: January 18, 1769

 38 
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.

Madeleine Sophie Barat
2
Birthdate: December 12, 1779
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Joigny, France
Died: May 25, 1865

 40 

Pope Innocent XIII
2
Birthdate: May 13, 1655
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Poli, Italy
Died: March 7, 1724

 41 
Gideon Blackburn
(Evangelist)

Gideon Blackburn
3
Birthdate: August 27, 1772
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Augusta County, Virginia, United States
Died: August 23, 1838

Part of the second Great Awakening, Presbyterian clergyman Gideon Blackburn had been a missionary to Cherokee areas. Apart from establishing schools for Cherokee children, he had also introduced the communities to new farming methods. He later retired to Nashville, where he taught, and also founded the Blackburn Theological Seminary in Illinois.

 42 
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.  

 43 
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.

 44 
Tuanku Imam Bonjol
(Religious leader)

Tuanku Imam Bonjol
2
Birthdate: 1772 AD
Birthplace: Bonjol, Indonesia
Died: November 6, 1864

 45 
David Brainerd
(Missionary)

David Brainerd
3
Birthdate: April 20, 1718
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Connecticut
Died: October 9, 1747

 46 
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.

 47 
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.

 48 

William Ellery Channing
2
Birthdate: April 7, 1780
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Newport, Rhode Island, United States
Died: October 2, 1842

William Ellery Channing was an American preacher. One of the most important Unitarian preachers in the early-19th century, Channing was also one of Unitarianism's most prominent theologians. Remembered for his impassioned and articulate public speeches and sermons, Channing had a major influence on the New England Transcendentalists. In 1903, he was honored with a statue at the Boston Public Garden.  

 49 

Francis Asbury
2
Birthdate: August 20, 1745
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Hamstead Bridge, England
Died: March 31, 1816

Francis Asbury was a bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church. He played an important role during the Second Great Awakening, popularizing Methodism in British colonial America. He is credited with establishing many schools and his journal is deemed important by scholars due to its account of frontier society; his journal has descriptions of the functioning of towns in Colonial America.

Rose Philippine Duchesne
3
Birthdate: August 29, 1769
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Grenoble, France
Died: November 18, 1852