Famous 20th Century Revolutionaries

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 1 Che Guevara

Che Guevara.
19
Famous As: Revolutionary
Birthdate: June 14, 1928
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Rosario, Argentina
Died: October 9, 1967

Argentine Marxist revolutionary, Che Guevara, was a major figure of the Cuban Revolution. A physician by profession, he developed radical views upon witnessing the injustices in the world and joined Fidel Castro’s revolutionary 26th of July Movement. Assassinated in 1967, he remains both a revered and reviled historical figure.

 2 Bhagat Singh

Bhagat Singh.
11
Famous As: Revolutionary
Birthdate: September 27, 1907
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Banga, Punjab, British India
Died: March 23, 1931

Bhagat Singh is one of the most revered freedom fighters of Indian Independence movement. His execution by the British rulers at a young age of 23 inspired many young people to join the freedom struggle. His life’s mission was to free India from colonial rule and his legacy as a symbol of bravery and patriotism continues to live on.

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 3 Muammar Gaddafi

Muammar Gaddafi.
6
Famous As: Former Prime Minister of Libya
Birthdate: June 7, 1942
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Qasr Abu Hadi, Italian Libya
Died: October 20, 2011
A revolutionary, politician and political theorist, Muammar Gaddafi seized power in Libya from King Idris in a bloodless coup in 1969 and became its authoritarian dictator for more than 40 years. He initially gained popularity and support; however, later, his increased dominance, support for international terrorism, and human rights violation turned people against him. He was eventually overthrown.

 4 Mustafa Kemal Ataturk

Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.
11
Famous As: Founder of the Republic of Turkey,
Birthdate: May 19, 1881
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Thessaloniki
Died: November 10, 1938
Kemal Atatürk, known as the founding father of the Republic of Turkey, was its first president. He unified Turkey into a secular country and invested in education and women’s rights. He also popularized the Latin-based Turkish alphabet and made minorities speak Turkish in public. His policies are known as “Kemalism.” 

 5 Leon Trotsky

Leon Trotsky.
15
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: November 7, 1879
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Bereslavka, Ukraine
Died: August 21, 1940

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.

 6 Jacob Zuma

Jacob Zuma.
4
Famous As: Fourth President of South Africa
Birthdate: April 12, 1942
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Nkandla, KwaZulu-Natal

Jacob Zuma is a South African politician and fourth president of South Africa. During his presidency, which lasted from 2009 to 2018, Zuma was accused of racketeering and corruption which ultimately led to his resignation. Apart from being a politician, Zuma also runs the Jacob Zuma Foundation, which aims at building houses for the poor and sending children to school.

 7 Huey P. Newton

Huey P. Newton.
9
Famous As: American political activist
Birthdate: February 17, 1942
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Monroe
Died: August 22, 1989

Huey P. Newton was an African-American civil and political rights activist. He is credited with co-founding The Black Panther Party (BPP), which went on to become one of black movement's most influential organizations of the late-1960s. The party, under Newton's leadership, founded more than 60 community support programs, including Free Breakfast for Children, which provided food to thousands of children.

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 8 Chandra Shekhar Azad

Chandra Shekhar Azad.
4
Famous As: Revolutionary
Birthdate: July 23, 1906
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Bhavra
Died: February 27, 1931

Chandra Shekhar Azad joined India’s freedom struggle against the British after being deeply affected by the Jallianwala Bagh massacre. Born Chandra Shekhar Tiwari, he declared himself as Azad when arrested in connection with Gandhiji’s non-cooperation movement. He shot himself to death to escape being held captive by the British.

 9 Gavrilo Princip

Gavrilo Princip.
6
Famous As: Assassinator of Archduke Franz Ferdinand
Birthdate: July 25, 1894
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Obljaj
Died: April 28, 1918
Gavrilo Princip was a Bosnian Serb member of the Young Bosnia movement who wished to end the Austro-Hungarian reign in Bosnia and Herzegovina. He thus assassinated Austrian archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife, Sophie, Duchess of Hohenberg, at age 19. This eventually contributed to the start of World War I

 10 Bobby Sands

Bobby Sands.
4
Birthdate: March 9, 1954
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Newtownabbey
Died: May 5, 1981

Robert Gerard Sands, better known as Bobby Sands, was a Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) member, who died during a 1981 hunger strike, along with nine other strikers, protesting against the removal of Special Category Status from IRA prisoners. He had helped plot the 1976 Balmoral Furniture Company bombing.

 11 Thomas Sankara

Thomas Sankara.
9
Famous As: President
Birthdate: December 21, 1949
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Yako, Upper Volta
Died: October 15, 1987
Thomas Sankara, or “Africa's Che Guevara,” was a Burkinabé military leader and revolutionary who became the President of the Republic of Upper Volta after a coup in 1983, changing its name to Burkina Faso. He launched educational, ecological, and economic reforms and declared female genital mutilation and forced marriages illegal.

 12 Vladimir Lenin

Vladimir Lenin.
0
Famous As: Former Premier of the Soviet Union
Birthdate: April 22, 1870
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Ulyanovsk, Russia
Died: January 21, 1924

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.

 13 Jiang Qing

Jiang Qing
5
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: March 5, 1914
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Zhucheng, Weifang, China
Died: May 14, 1991

 14 Pol Pot

Pol Pot.
25
Famous As: Former Prime Minister of Cambodia
Birthdate: May 19, 1925
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Prek Sbov, Cambodia
Died: April 15, 1998

Pol Pot was a Cambodian politician who served as the prime minister of Democratic Kampuchea from 1975 and 1979. Widely considered a totalitarian dictator, Pol Pot was responsible for the Cambodian genocide, which resulted in the death of 1.5 to 2 million people. He was found guilty of crimes against humanity and placed under house arrest until his death.

 15 Kenneth Kaunda

Kenneth Kaunda.
3
Famous As: Teacher
Birthdate: April 28, 1924
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Chinsali

Kenneth Kaunda is a Zambian former politician. He served as the first president of Zambia from 1964 to 1991. A major figure in Zambia’s struggle for independence from British rule, he became the first president of independent Zambia. As the president, he implemented many educational and economic reforms to accelerate the rate of modernization in the country.

 16 Vinayak Damodar Savarkar

Vinayak Damodar Savarkar.
14
Famous As: Independence Activist, Reformer
Birthdate: May 28, 1883
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Bhagur
Died: February 26, 1966

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.

 17 Ali Khamenei

Ali Khamenei.
9
Famous As: Supreme Leader of Iran
Birthdate: July 17, 1939
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Mashhad
Ali Khamenei has been serving as the supreme leader of Iran since 1989 and has previously been its president. He is one of the co-founders of the Islamic Republic Party and led his country during the Iran–Iraq War. His reign has also seen extreme treatment of journalists and protestors.

 18 Nestor Makhno

Nestor Makhno.
3
Famous As: Revolutionary
Birthdate: November 7, 1888
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Hulyaipole, Ukraine
Died: July 25, 1934
Remembered for his guerrilla tactics, his Robin Hood image, and his Black Army that kept the Red and White armies away from a part of Ukraine, Nestor Makhno lost his father as an infant. He began working on farms at age 7 and grew up to be an anarchist revolutionary. 

 19 Nikolai Bukharin

Nikolai Bukharin.
3
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: October 9, 1888
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Moscow, Russia
Died: March 15, 1938
Marxist economist Nikolai Bukharin was drawn toward the Bolshevik ideology while studying economics. Though a staunch communist and a chief ally of Joseph Stalin, Bukharin was later falsely accused of spying and engaging in counter-revolutionary activities. Following his execution, he was posthumously made a party member in 1988.

 20 Constance Markievicz

Constance Markievicz
3
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: February 4, 1868
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: London, England, United Kingdom
Died: July 15, 1927

 21 Samora Machel

Samora Machel.
3
Famous As: Political leader
Birthdate: September 29, 1933
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Gaza Province
Died: October 19, 1986

Mozambican military leader and politician Samora Machel had humble beginnings and grew up facing racism. Though he initially trained as a nurse, he later got involved in the Mozambican struggle for independence against the Portuguese. He died in a mysterious plane crash in northeastern South Africa.

 22 Yakov Yurovsky

Yakov Yurovsky.
3
Famous As: Soviet Era Executioner
Birthdate: June 19, 1878
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Tomsk, Siberia, Russian Empire
Died: 1938 AD

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.

 23 Francisco I. Madero

Francisco I. Madero
3
Famous As: Revolutionary
Birthdate: October 30, 1873
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Parras de la Fuente, Mexico
Died: February 22, 1913

 24 Imre Nagy

Imre Nagy.
3
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: June 7, 1896
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Kaposvár, Hungary
Died: June 16, 1958

Imre Nagy was a Hungarian politician who served as the third chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Hungarian People's Republic. He also served as the 44th prime minister of Hungary. In 1956, Nagy played an influential role in the Hungarian Revolution of 1956 where he led the Revolution against the government, for which he was executed in 1958.

 25 Mikhail Kalinin

Mikhail Kalinin.
3
Famous As: Revolutionary
Birthdate: November 19, 1875
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Verkhnyaya Troitsa, Russia
Died: June 3, 1946

Mikhail Kalinin was a Soviet politician and an Old Bolshevik revolutionary. From 1919 to 1946, Kalinin served as head of state of the Soviet Union. After Kalinin's death, three major cities of the Soviet Union were named or renamed in his honor.

 26 Hu Yaobang

Hu Yaobang.
4
Famous As: Former General Secretary of the Communist Party of China
Birthdate: November 20, 1915
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Liuyang, Changsha, China
Died: April 15, 1989

Hu Yaobang served as the Chinese Communist Party's general secretary from 1982 to 1987. Prior to his position as the general secretary, Hu served as the party's chairman from 1981 to 1982. Under Deng Xiaoping's leadership, Hu Yaobang rose to prominence and played a crucial role in the Boluan Fanzheng program, which was initiated by Deng.

 27 Anastas Mikoyan

Anastas Mikoyan.
3
Famous As: Revolutionary
Birthdate: November 25, 1895
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Sanahin, Alaverdi, Armenia
Died: October 21, 1978

Anastas Mikoyan was an Armenian Communist revolutionary. He was an Old Bolshevik. He held several high governmental posts during Joseph Stalin’s rule but began to lose favor towards the end of his regime. He once again regained his power during Nikita Khrushchev’s rule and served as the chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet. He also wrote several memoirs.  

 28 Karl Liebknecht

Karl Liebknecht
3
Famous As: Lawyer
Birthdate: January 13, 1871
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Leipzig, Germany
Died: January 15, 1919

 29 Jonas Savimbi

Jonas Savimbi
3
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: August 3, 1934
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Munhango, Angola
Died: February 22, 2002

 30 Alexandra Kollontai

Alexandra Kollontai.
3
Famous As: Revolutionary
Birthdate: March 31, 1872
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Saint Petersburg, Russia
Died: March 9, 1952

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. 

 31 Dokka Umarov

Dokka Umarov
3
Famous As: Militant
Birthdate: April 13, 1964
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Kharsenoy, Chechnya, Russia
Died: September 7, 2013

Chechen separatist Dokka Umarov later declared himself the emir of the Islamic Caucasus Emirate. Though a civil engineer by profession, he continued to indulge in criminal activities while working in Russia. He was eventually poisoned, and his body was found in a remote Russian area.

 32 Baruch Goldstein

Baruch Goldstein
5
Famous As: Physician, Murderer
Birthdate: December 9, 1956
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Brooklyn
Died: February 25, 1994

Born in New York, Baruch Goldstein had a medical degree and later moved to Israel as a doctor for the IDF. After firing at a crowd gathered in a Muslim prayer hall in Hebron, and thus killing 29 and injuring many, he was beaten to death by the survivors.

 33 Alexei Rykov

Alexei Rykov.
3
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: February 25, 1881
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Saratov, Russia
Died: March 15, 1938

Alexei Rykov was a Russian Bolshevik revolutionary and a Soviet politician. He served as the  Premier of Russia and the Soviet Union in the 1920s. A key player in the 1905 Russian Revolution, he often came into political conflict with Vladimir Lenin. He oversaw the implementation of the "War Communism" economic policy during the Russian Civil War.

 34 Maud Gonne

Maud Gonne
3
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: December 21, 1866
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Tongham, United Kingdom
Died: April 27, 1953

 35 Agostinho Neto

Agostinho Neto.
3
Famous As: Former President of Angola
Birthdate: September 17, 1922
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Ícolo e Bengo
Died: September 10, 1979

MPLA leader Agostinho Neto was Angola’s first president. Born to school teacher parents, Neto grew up to become a poet and later studied medicine. However, while pursuing his academic career, he also participated in indigenous movements. Following his arrest and the subsequent unrest, he joined the Angolan liberation movement.

 36 Dame Christabel Harriette Pankhurst

Dame Christabel Harriette Pankhurst
3
Famous As: Militant
Birthdate: September 22, 1880
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Old Trafford, Manchester, England
Died: February 13, 1958

 37 Fanny Kaplan

Fanny Kaplan
3
Famous As: Revolutionary
Birthdate: February 10, 1890
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Volhynian Governorate
Died: September 3, 1918

Born into a poverty-stricken family of farmers, Fanny Kaplan was home-schooled. Later, while working as a milliner, she joined the Socialist Revolutionary Party and thus became part of radical politics. She developed anti-Bolshevik sentiments and attempted to assassinate Lenin. Though Lenin recovered, Kaplan was later executed.

 38 Grigory Zinoviev

Grigory Zinoviev.
3
Famous As: Bolshevik Revolutionary
Birthdate: September 23, 1883
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Kropyvnytskyi, Ukraine
Died: August 25, 1936

Born to dairy farmers in Russia, Grigory Zinoviev was homeschooled and had started working at 14. An Old Bolshevik, he joined Russian revolutionary activities and became a close aide of Vladimir Lenin. Joseph Stalin later got him ousted from the party thrice. Zinoviev was eventually arrested and executed.

 39 Ahmed Ben Bella

Ahmed Ben Bella.
3
Famous As: First President of Algeria
Birthdate: December 25, 1916
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Maghnia, Algeria
Died: April 11, 2012

Ahmed Ben Bella, Algeria’s first president, had humble beginnings, as the son of a farmer and small-time businessman. He once went to prison after robbing a post office to fund his revolutionary operations and later formed the National Liberation Front to fight against the French colonial reign.

 40 Lev Kamenev

Lev Kamenev.
3
Famous As: Revolutionary, Political Leader
Birthdate: July 18, 1883
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Moscow, Russia
Died: August 24, 1936

A communist and an Old Bolshevic, Lev Kamenev was a close aide of Vladimir Lenin. Born to revolutionary parents, Kamenev was exiled but returned to Russia after the February Revolution. At the onset of the Great Purge, he was ousted from his party, arrested, and executed by a firing squad.

 41 Chen Yun

Chen Yun
3
Famous As: Political leader
Birthdate: June 13, 1905
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Qingpu District, Shanghai, China
Died: April 10, 1995

Chen Yun was a Chinese political leader who played a major role during the Chinese economic reform. He was regarded as one of the most influential political leaders of China during the '80s and '90s. He also played an important role during the Chinese Civil War and was later counted among the Eight Great Eminent Officials of China.

 42 M. N. Roy

M. N. Roy.
3
Famous As: Indian Revolutionary
Birthdate: March 22, 1887
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Changripota, 24 Parganas, Bengal Presidency, British India (present-day West Bengal, India)
Died: January 25, 1954

Apart from being one of the co-founders of the Communist Party of India, M. N. Roy also established the Mexican Communist Party. Jailed for his political activities, he penned the nine-volume Prison Manuscripts in prison. He later joined the Indian National Congress but quit it soon after.

 43 Maksim Litvinov

Maksim Litvinov
3
Famous As: Revolutionary
Birthdate: July 17, 1876
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Białystok, Russian Empire
Died: December 31, 1951

Soviet diplomat Maksim Litvinov believed in disarmament and was behind the adoption of the Kellogg–Briand Pact and the Litvinov Protocol. He had also been the Soviet Ambassador to the US and later served as the deputy commissar for foreign affairs. He was the grandfather of Russian-American author Pavel Litvinov.

 44 Mohammad-Ali Rajai

Mohammad-Ali Rajai
3
Famous As: Prime minister
Birthdate: June 15, 1933
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Qazvīn, Iran
Died: August 30, 1981

 45 Kitty Kiernan

Kitty Kiernan
3
Famous As: Revolutionary
Birthdate: January 26, 1893
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Granard, Ireland
Died: July 25, 1945

 46 Sergey Kirov

Sergey Kirov
3
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: March 27, 1886
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Urzhum, Russia
Died: December 1, 1934

Communist leader and Bolshevik revolutionary Sergey Kirov was assassinated in Leningrad by a Communist Party member in 1934, leading Joseph Stalin to initiate the Great Purge, which was geared toward decimating anti-Stalinist Communists. However, it was later hinted that Stalin may have himself ordered Kirov’s assassination.

 47 Ali Shariati

Ali Shariati
3
Famous As: Revolutionary
Birthdate: November 23, 1933
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Kahak, Iran
Died: June 18, 1977

 48 Alexander Israel Helphand

Alexander Israel Helphand
5
Famous As: Theoretician
Birthdate: September 8, 1867
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Berazino, Belarus
Died: December 12, 1924

Initially inspired by Marxist ideals, Alexander Israel Helphand later got involved in revolutionary activities and was arrested. He escaped to Germany, where he later negotiated Lenin’s re-entry into Russia in a sealed train through Germany from Switzerland, where Lenin was exiled. Nevertheless, Helphand wasn’t allowed by Lenin to re-enter Russia.

 49 Thomas MacDonagh

Thomas MacDonagh
3
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: February 1, 1878
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Cloughjordan, Ireland
Died: May 3, 1916

 50 Georgi Plekhanov

Georgi Plekhanov
3
Famous As: Revolutionary
Birthdate: November 29, 1856
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Gryazinsky District, Russia
Died: May 30, 1918

Russian revolutionary and Marxist theorist Georgi Plekhanov is remembered for establishing Liberation of Labour, the first Russian Marxist organization. One of his best-known works was Socialism and Political Struggle. He later went against the Bolsheviks and Lenin and criticized their policies. He supported the Entente powers during World War I.