Remembered for her heroics against the British, the Indian Joan of Arc Rani Lakshmibai remains an icon of the 1857 Indian Rebellion. The wife of Maharaja Gangadhar Rao, she is known for leading the fight against the British after her husband’s death. She also inspired the legendary lines Khoob Ladi Mardani.
A Russian politician, political theorist, and revolutionary, Leon Trotsky developed a political ideology called Trotskyism, which eventually had a considerable impact on Russian politics. He also played a vital role in leading the Red Army to victory in the Russian Civil War.
Jose Rizal was a Filipino polymath and nationalist. An ophthalmologist by profession, Rizal turned towards writing and inspired the Philippine Revolution through his writings. The revolution eventually led to Philippine independence and Rizal became a national hero. His life has inspired several biographical films and TV series.
Italian general, patriot, and republican Giuseppe Garibaldi is remembered for the role he played in the Italian unification and the creation of the Kingdom of Italy. He is considered one of Italy's "fathers of the fatherland." A highly proficient military general, he also led the Expedition of the Thousand on behalf of Victor Emmanuel II. He died in 1882.
Vladimir Lenin played a key role in the history of Russian politics by developing a political ideology called Leninism. During and after his lifetime, Lenin had a massive influence over international communist movement. He is widely regarded as one of the most influential and significant personalities of the 20th century.
Lala Lajpat Rai was an Indian politician who played a major role in the Indian Independence movement. He is credited with inspiring many young men, including Bhagat Singh and Chandrasekhar Azad, to join the freedom struggle through journalistic writings and activism. He was popularly known as Punjab Kesari.
Maulana Abul Kalam Azad was an Indian independence activist, Islamic theologian, and scholar. He played a key role in the Indian independence movement, serving as a senior leader of the Congress. His contribution to the Indian education system is recognized across India by celebrating his birthday as National Education Day.
Benito Juarez was a Mexican lawyer and politician. He served as the 26th president of Mexico from 1858 to 1872, becoming the first president of Mexico who was of indigenous origin. He died of a heart attack in 1872. To date, he is revered as "a preeminent symbol of Mexican nationalism and resistance to foreign intervention."
16 Birsa Munda
In spite of his short life, which ended at age 24, Birsa Munda is remembered for spearheading the tribal movement against the British. He also made the British introduce new laws for the protection of the tribal land rights. He died in prison while undergoing trials.
Irish statesman Éamon de Valera served as the 3rd President of Ireland from 1959 to 1973. An influential political leader in 20th-century Ireland, he played a key role in introducing the Constitution of Ireland. Prior to becoming the president, he served as Taoiseach on three different occasions. He was an austere, stern, and unbending figure.
18 Jose Marti
Son of Spanish immigrants, Jose Marti spent his childhood in a strife-torn Cuba and attended high school on financial aid. Marti’s poems, essays, and articles were laced with his patriotic vigor to free Cuba from the Spanish rule. He died battling on the field at Dos Ríos.
20 Louis Riel
Louis Riel was a Canadian politician. He is credited with founding the province of Manitoba. He holds a significant place in the history of the Métis people as he served as their political leader in pre-Manitoba Northwest Territories. Louis Riel is regarded as a folk hero by the Métis and other Canadian minorities for his efforts to defend their rights.
21 Chief Joseph
Chief Joseph, a leader of the Nez Percé tribe of Native Americans, had initially agreed to the U.S. demand of them moving into a reservation in Idaho. However, fearing retaliation after his men killed a few whites, he attempted an escape to Canada, leading his people through an arduous trek.
Russian philosopher Peter Kropotkin was a passionate advocate of anarcho-communism. He was also an activist, revolutionary, economist, and sociologist. He was arrested and imprisoned for his activism in 1874. However, he managed to escape and lived in exile for over 40 years in different countries across Europe. He returned to Russia after the Russian Revolution in 1917.
Vinayak Damodar Savarkar was an Indian politician and independence activist. He formulated the Hindu nationalist philosophy of Hindutva and was a leading figure in the Hindu Mahasabha. He was known for his strong oratory skills and was an eloquent writer. He was initially charged as a co-conspirator in the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi but was later acquitted.
Mikhail Bakunin was a Russian socialist and anarchist. He is credited with founding an anarchist school of thought called collectivist anarchism. Regarded as one of the most influential personalities of anarchism, Mikhail Bakunin has had a major influence on thinkers like Peter Kropotkin, Herbert Marcuse, Errico Malatesta, Neil Postman, E. P. Thompson, and A. S. Neill.
Chiang Kai-shek was a Chinese revolutionary who led the Republic of China between 1928 and 1975, first in mainland China until 1949 and later on in Taiwan until his death. He is credited with successfully leading the Northern Expedition against the Beiyang government, achieving Chinese unification. He was involved in a civil war with Communist Party of China, which he lost in 1949 and retreated to Taiwan.
27 Red Cloud
One of the most significant leaders of the Oglala Lakota tribe of the Sioux group of Native Americans, Red Cloud is remembered for his fearless resistance to the American plan of accessing the goldfields in Montana. He attached workers along the Bozeman Trail and eventually forced the U.S. to withdraw.
Patrick Pearse was an Irish teacher, barrister, poet, writer, and revolutionary. He was one of the leaders of the Easter Rising in 1916. Opinionated with radical views, he decided as a boy that he would dedicate his life to Irish freedom. A relentless idealist, he was executed after the Easter Rising and was immortalized as a symbol of the rebellion.
32 Tantia Tope
Best remembered for leading the Indian Rebellion of 1857, tribal leader Tantia Tope used guerilla tactics in his fights against the British. In spite of no formal military training, he also managed to seize Gwalior temporarily with Rani Lakshmibai. He was later hanged to death by the British.
Yakov Yurovsky was a Russian Old Bolshevik. Also a Soviet Revolutionary, he acted as the chief executioner of Emperor Nicholas II of Russia and his family on the night of 17 July 1918. A watchmaker by trade, he was a Chekist for a short time. In his later life, he allegedly expressed remorse over his role in the executions.
Manuela Sáenz was an Ecuadorian revolutionary who supported women's rights. She received the Order of the Sun, honoring her services in the revolution. Today, she is widely regarded as a feminist symbol of the 19th century. In 2007, the Ecuadorian government honored her with the rank of General.
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.
Also known as Begum of Awadh, Begum Hazrat Mahal was the second wife of Nawab Wajid Ali Shah. She is remembered for rebelling against the British East India Company during the Indian Rebellion of 1857. Following her husband’s exile, she took over affairs in the state of Awadh. However, she was forced by the British to abandon Awadh.
Osceola led the Seminole tribe of Native Americans in their resistance against the U.S. attempt of moving them out of Florida and into the land west of Mississippi. He was eventually deceived by a fake truce attempt, captured, and transported to Fort Moultrie, where he passed away.
German socialist radical Karl Liebknecht is best remembered for co-founding the Spartacus League, an underground group that was declared illegal but later led to the formation of the Communist Party of Germany. He was shot to death on the orders of German commander Waldemar Pabst in the 1919 Spartacus Revolt.
Augusto César Sandino was a Nicaraguan revolutionary. From 1927 to 1933, Sandino led a rebellion against the United States occupation of Nicaragua, due to which he was lauded as a hero throughout Latin America. Although the US government labeled him a bandit, Sandino went on to become a symbol of resistance and is revered as a national hero in Nicaragua.
43 Maud Gonne
Alexandra Kollontai was a Russian revolutionary, politician, and diplomat. She served as the People's Commissar for Welfare in Lenin’s government. A powerful figure, she became the first woman in history to become an official member of a governing cabinet. She was also one of the few women to play a prominent role during the Russian Revolution.
Bolshevik revolutionary Felix Edmundovich Dzerzhinsky, also known as Iron Felix, was born into a Polish noble family. Though Lenin considered him a hero, he often disagreed with Lenin’s views. He had been the director of Cheka. He died of a heart attack after finishing a 2-hour speech.
Born to a militia officer, Sybil Ludington later made history with her fearless resistance to the British during the American Revolutionary War. Most of her statues today find her perched on a horse, in a tribute to her night-long horseback ride to inform American soldiers of an impending British attack.
Dame Christabel Harriette Pankhurst was a British suffragette who co-founded the Women's Social and Political Union. From 1912 to 1913, Pankhurst directed the organization's militant actions from France. After the war, Christabel Pankhurst settled down in the United States of America where she served as an evangelist for the Second Coming movement.
48 Hong Xiuquan
Hong Xiuquan was a Hakka Chinese revolutionary best remembered for leading the Taiping Rebellion against the much-feared and powerful Qing Dynasty. Credited with establishing the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom, Hong Xiuquan later served as an inspiration to the Communists under Mao Zedong. In 1959, China established a small museum to honor his legacy.
49 Nana Saheb
Nana Saheb, also known as Dhondupant, was a major figure of the 1857 Sepoy Munity, or the first war of Indian independence. The adopted son of Peshwa Baji Rao II, he was initially on friendly terms with the British but was later forced by circumstances to join the rebels against the British.
James Wilkinson served the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War and also revealed Aaron Burr’s conspiracy to the U.S. government. While he worked against the Spanish people as part of the U.S. army, he was later revealed to be a Spanish spy, also known as Number Thirteen.