Famous German Historical Personalities

When you talk of German history, what is the first name that strikes the mind? Without a doubt, almost everyone would come up with the name Adolf Hitler and why not, for his tyranny and totalitarianism ended up in World War II that was detrimental for the society and its people. But did you know that Hitler wasn’t a German-born? Yes, as surprising as it may seem to be, Hitler in fact was an Austrian but had such a profound influence on German history that he was counted as a German. German history is filled with such influential personalities whose contribution led to the literary, technological, spiritual and political development of the world. Imagine how far would mankind have gone without the discovery of Einstein’s theory of relativity? What if Johannes Gutenberg never existed? Who would have introduced printing to Europe? Karl Marx and his work in economics have laid the basis for the current understanding of labor and its relation to capital. He is indisputably one of the most influential figures of human history. But these names are just the handful of the numerous German figures whose immeasurable contribution transformed the way the world worked. Delve deeper into the segment and find out in details about famous German historical personalities and their contribution for the development of mankind.

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 Charlemagne

Charlemagne.
17
Famous As: King of the Frank
Birthdate: April 2, 0742
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Herstal
Died: January 28, 0814

Also known as Charles the Great, Charlemagne ruled as the king of the Franks, king of the Lombards, and emperor of the Romans at different time periods. Not surprisingly, he had a major impact during the Early Middle Ages as he went about uniting the majority of central and western Europe, for which he is called the Father of Europe.

 2 Wilhelm II

Wilhelm II.
23
Famous As: Emperor of Germany
Birthdate: January 27, 1859
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Kronprinzenpalais
Died: June 4, 1941

Wilhelm II reigned as the King of Prussia and German emperor from 1888 to 1918. He is credited with promoting scientific innovation and building a blue-water navy, which strengthened Germany’s position as a great power. However, he was also responsible for getting his country involved in World War I, which eventually brought an end to the Hohenzollern dynasty’s rule.

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 3 Anne of Cleves

Anne of Cleves.
4
Famous As: Former Queen of England
Birthdate: September 22, 1515
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Düsseldorf, Duchy of Berg, Holy Roman Empire
Died: July 16, 1557

Anne of Cleves was the Queen of England for 6 months in 1540, as the fourth wife of King Henry VIII. Their unconsummated marriage deprived led to the annulment of the marriage, following which she received a settlement and came to be known as the King's Beloved Sister.

 4 George I of Great Britain

George I of Great Britain.
9
Famous As: King of Britain
Birthdate: May 28, 1660
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Hanover
Died: June 11, 1727
George I ruled as the king of Great Britain and Ireland from 1714 to 1727. He also ruled the Duchy and Electorate of Brunswick-Lüneburg from 1698 to 1727. He was the House of Hanover’s first British monarch. George's reign witnessed the rise of Robert Walpole and the cabinet government. 

 5 Alexandra Feodorovna

Alexandra Feodorovna.
4
Famous As: Saint
Birthdate: June 6, 1872
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Darmstadt
Died: July 17, 1918

Alexandra Feodorovna, wife of Emperor Nicholas II, was the last Russian tsarina and reigned from 1894 to 1917. She suffered from hemophilia. Alexandra and her entire family were murdered by the Bolshevik revolutionaries. In 2000, the Russian Orthodox Church canonized her as Saint Alexandra the Passion Bearer.

 6 Frederick The Great

Frederick The Great.
7
Famous As: King of Prussia
Birthdate: January 24, 1712
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Berlin, Germany
Died: August 17, 1786
Prussian king Frederick II, also known as Frederick the Great and The Old Fritz, was the longest-reigning Hohenzollern king. He is known for his involvement in the Silesian Wars and the Partitions of Poland. He also supported art and culture, and reformed the judicial system of Prussia.

 7 Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld

Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld.
4
Famous As: Princess
Birthdate: August 17, 1786
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Coburg, Germany
Died: March 16, 1861

Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, mother of Queen Victoria of the U.K., was a German princess who became the Duchess of Kent and Strathearn by virtue of her marriage to Prince Edward. She was initially married to Charles, Prince of Leiningen. The Royal Chapel of All Saints was dedicated to her.

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 8 George II of Great Britain

George II of Great Britain.
14
Famous As: Former King of Great Britain & Ireland
Birthdate: October 30, 1683
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Hanover
Died: October 25, 1760
George II was the king of Great Britain from 1727 to 1760. He had negligible control over his country’s policies, as the Parliament took most of the significant decisions back then. His participation in the 1743 Battle of Dettingen made him the last British monarch to fight in a battle.

 9 Frederick III, German Emperor

Frederick III, German Emperor.
5
Famous As: King
Birthdate: October 18, 1831
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: New Palace, Potsdam, Germany
Died: June 15, 1888

Frederick III, German Emperor reigned as the king of Prussia and emperor of the German Empire from 9 March 1888 until his death on 15 June 1888. Although he played key roles during the Austro-Prussian, Second Schleswig, and Franco-Prussian wars, Frederick professed hatred for warfare and was willing to make the German Empire more liberal before his untimely death.

 10 Ludwig II of Bavaria

Ludwig II of Bavaria
8
Famous As: King
Birthdate: August 25, 1845
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Nymphenburg Palace
Died: June 13, 1866

 11 Wilhelm I

Wilhelm I
5
Famous As: King
Birthdate: March 22, 1797
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Berlin, Germany
Died: March 9, 1888

 12 Frederick I, Holy Roman Emperor

Frederick I, Holy Roman Emperor.
5
Famous As: Emperor
Birthdate: 1122 AD
Birthplace: Weingarten
Died: June 10, 1190
Frederick Barbarossa, or Frederick I, reigned as the Holy Roman Emperor from 1155 to 1190. He had been the king of Germany and the king of Burgundy, too, and had earned the name Barbarossa for his red beard. He died while fighting in the Third Crusade in 1190.

 13 William I, German Emperor

William I, German Emperor
5
Famous As: King
Birthdate: March 22, 1797
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Berlin, Germany
Died: March 9, 1888

William I, German Emperor reigned as the king of Prussia from 1861 until his death in 1888. He also reigned as the first German emperor from 1871 to 1888. He is credited with overseeing the unification of Germany and establishing the German Empire. William's reign also witnessed the brilliance of Otto von Bismarck, who served as the former's minister president.

 14 Ernest I, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha

Ernest I, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
5
Famous As: Duke
Birthdate: January 2, 1784
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Coburg, Germany
Died: January 29, 1844

 15 Francis I, Holy Roman Emperor

Francis I, Holy Roman Emperor.
4
Famous As: Holy Roman Emperor
Birthdate: December 8, 1708
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Nancy, France
Died: August 18, 1765
Married to Maria Theresa, Francis I, Holy Roman Emperor, was often outshone by his wife. Their marriage was a political step of Maria’s father, Emperor Charles VI. An art connoisseur, Francis was not as much interested in the administrative affairs of his kingdom as he was in the cultural aspects.

 16 Otto I, Holy Roman Emperor

Otto I, Holy Roman Emperor.
4
Famous As: Emperor
Birthdate: November 23, 0912
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Wallhausen, Germany
Died: May 7, 0973

Otto I, Holy Roman Emperor, known for his ruthlessness, not only united the German empire by crushing all rebellious vassals, but also put an end to the attacks by the Magyars of Hungary. His strategy of making the German bishops feudal lords helped his cause of stabilizing his empire.

 17 Princess Elisabeth of Hesse and by Rhine

Princess Elisabeth of Hesse and by Rhine
3
Famous As: Princess
Birthdate: November 1, 1864
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Bessungen, Darmstadt, Germany
Died: July 18, 1918

 18 Sigismund, Holy Roman Emperor

Sigismund, Holy Roman Emperor.
4
Famous As: King of Hungary
Birthdate: February 14, 1368
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Nuremberg, Germany
Died: December 9, 1437

Sigismund, Holy Roman Emperor reigned as the king of Hungary and Croatia from 1387 to 1437. He also served as the king of Germany, king of Bohemia, king of Italy, and emperor of the Romans. Sigismund is best remembered for playing a key role in bringing about the Council of Constance, which ended the Papal Schism.   

 19 Queen Silvia of Sweden

Queen Silvia of Sweden
3
Famous As: Queen
Birthdate: December 23, 1943
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Heidelberg, Germany

 20 Ernest II

Ernest II
6
Famous As: Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha
Birthdate: June 21, 1818
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Coburg, Germany
Died: August 22, 1893

Ernest II, the eldest son of Duke Ernest I, had been the duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. He was quite close to his brother, Prince Albert, consort to England’s Queen Victoria. Best known for his support of the German unification, he was also a skilled composer of operas and an avid sports lover.

 21 Frederick William III of Prussia

Frederick William III of Prussia
3
Famous As: King
Birthdate: August 3, 1770
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Potsdam, Germany
Died: June 7, 1840

 22 Viktoria Luise of Prussia

Viktoria Luise of Prussia
3
Famous As: Princess
Birthdate: September 13, 1892
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Potsdam, Germany
Died: December 11, 1980

 23 George V of Hanover

George V of Hanover.
3
Famous As: King
Birthdate: May 27, 1819
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Berlin, Germany
Died: June 12, 1878

Though completely blind since childhood, George V of Hanover, the only son of King Ernest Augustus, exerted his influence by constantly being at conflict with the Hanoverian parliament. His rejected of Prussia’s demands of unarmed neutrality led to Prussia’s invasion of Hanover. He spent his final years in exile.

 24 Frederick William I of Prussia

Frederick William I of Prussia.
3
Famous As: King
Birthdate: August 14, 1688
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Berlin, Germany
Died: May 31, 1740

The Soldier King Frederick William I of Prussia is remembered for transforming his nation into a prosperous state. He was known for his simple lifestyle, as opposed to his father’s kingly excesses. His experience at the War of the Spanish Succession led him to strengthen Prussia militarily, too.

 25 Charles the Fat

Charles the Fat.
3
Famous As: Emperor of the Carolingian Empire
Birthdate: June 13, 0839
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Donaueschingen, Germany
Died: January 13, 0888

Charles the Fat reigned as the emperor of the Carolingian Empire between 881 and 887. During the same time period, he also served as the king of West Francia and Aquitaine, king of Italy, and king of East Francia and Alemannia. Although he was considered lethargic, Charles managed to reunite the entire Carolingian Empire after inheriting all of West Francia.

 26 Sophia of Prussia

Sophia of Prussia
3
Famous As: Queen
Birthdate: June 14, 1870
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: New Palace, Potsdam, Germany
Died: January 13, 1932

 27 Frederick William II of Prussia

Frederick William II of Prussia.
3
Famous As: King
Birthdate: September 25, 1744
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Stadtschloss, Berlin, Prussia
Died: November 16, 1797

Though he wasn’t a politically experienced ruler, Frederick William II’s reign as the king of Prussia proved to be beneficial for the country in terms of expansion. However, his excesses and his affinity for Protestantism made him unpopular. He patronized art and culture and even played the cello.

 28 Frederick William IV of Prussia

Frederick William IV of Prussia.
3
Famous As: King of Prussia
Birthdate: October 15, 1795
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Berlin, Germany
Died: January 2, 1861

Frederick William IV of Prussia was the King of Prussia from 1840 until his death in 1861.  He was the eldest son of Frederick William III of Prussia and his wife, Queen Louise. He was a staunch Romanticist and was a patron of several great German artists. He ascended to the throne upon the death of his father in 1840.

 29 Frederick III, Holy Roman Emperor

Frederick III, Holy Roman Emperor.
3
Famous As: Holy Roman Emperor
Birthdate: September 21, 1415
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Innsbruck, Austria
Died: August 19, 1493

Frederick III, Holy Roman Emperor reigned as the Holy Roman Emperor from 1452 to 1493. He also ruled as the king of the Romans from 1440 until his death in 1493. Although he struggled to make prompt decisions, for which he was mocked during his lifetime, Frederick is now widely regarded as an effective ruler.

 30 Frederick I of Prussia

Frederick I of Prussia.
3
Famous As: King of Prussia
Birthdate: July 11, 1657
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Königsberg, Prussia
Died: February 25, 1713

Frederick I of Prussia reigned as the King of Prussia from 1701 until his death in 1713. He crowned himself in 1701 in Königsberg and proclaimed himself King in Prussia. A patron of learning and arts, Frederick I is credited with founding the Academy of Arts in 1696 as well as the Academy of Sciences in 1700.

 31 Frederica of Hanover

Frederica of Hanover
3
Famous As: Queen
Birthdate: April 18, 1917
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Blankenburg, Germany
Died: February 6, 1981

 32 Carol I of Romania

Carol I of Romania
3
Famous As: Monarch
Birthdate: April 20, 1839
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Sigmaringen, Germany
Died: October 10, 1914

 33 Ludwig III of Bavaria

Ludwig III of Bavaria
3
Famous As: King
Birthdate: January 7, 1845
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Munich
Died: October 18, 1921

 34 Henry IV, Holy Roman Emperor

Henry IV, Holy Roman Emperor
3
Birthdate: November 11, 1050
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Goslar
Died: August 7, 1106

 35 Brunhild

Brunhild
3
Famous As: Princess
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Birthplace: Germany

 36 Charlotte, Princess Royal

Charlotte, Princess Royal
3
Famous As: Queen
Birthdate: September 29, 1766
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Buckingham House, London, England
Died: October 5, 1828

 37 Augustus II the Strong

Augustus II the Strong
3
Famous As: Elector of Saxony
Birthdate: May 12, 1670
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Dresden, Germany
Died: February 1, 1733

 38 Cerdic

Cerdic
3
Famous As: King of Wessex
Birthdate: 0467 AD
Birthplace: Germany
Died: 0534 AD

 39 Maria Alexandrovna of Hesse

Maria Alexandrovna of Hesse
3
Famous As: Empress
Birthdate: August 8, 1824
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Darmstadt, Germany
Died: June 3, 1880

 40 Princess Marie-Auguste of Anhalt

Princess Marie-Auguste of Anhalt
3
Famous As: Aristocrat
Birthdate: June 10, 1898
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Ballenstedt, Germany
Died: May 22, 1983

 41 Henry I of Germany

Henry I of Germany
3
Famous As: King
Birthdate: 0876 AD
Birthplace: Memleben
Died: July 2, 0936

 42 Princess Alexandrine of Baden

Princess Alexandrine of Baden
3
Famous As: Aristocrat
Birthdate: December 6, 1820
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Karlsruhe, Germany
Died: December 20, 1904

 43 Elizabeth of Hungary

Elizabeth of Hungary
3
Famous As: Saint
Birthdate: July 7, 1207
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Pozsony county, Hungary
Died: November 17, 1231

Elizabeth, the daughter of Hungarian king Andrew II, was married at 14 but lost her husband to a plague in Italy at 20. She then joined the Third Order of St. Francis and opened a hospital for the poor. She is revered as the patron saint of the homeless.

 44 Maria Feodorovna

Maria Feodorovna
3
Famous As: Empress
Birthdate: October 25, 1759
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Szczecin, Poland
Died: November 5, 1828

 45 Sophia Dorothea of Celle

Sophia Dorothea of Celle
3
Famous As: Princess
Birthdate: September 15, 1666
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Celle, Germany
Died: November 13, 1726

 46 Alexandra Fyodorovna

Alexandra Fyodorovna
3
Famous As: Empress
Birthdate: July 13, 1798
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Potsdam, Germany
Died: November 1, 1860

 47 Charles VII, Holy Roman Emperor

Charles VII, Holy Roman Emperor
3
Famous As: Emperor
Birthdate: August 6, 1697
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Brussels
Died: January 20, 1745

 48 Henry the Lion

Henry the Lion
3
Famous As: Prince
Birthdate: 1129 AD
Birthplace: Ravensburg
Died: August 6, 1195

 49 Ferdinand I of Bulgaria

Ferdinand I of Bulgaria
3
Famous As: Monarch
Birthdate: February 26, 1861
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria
Died: September 10, 1948

 50 Wenceslaus IV of Bohemia

Wenceslaus IV of Bohemia
3
Famous As: King
Birthdate: February 26, 1361
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Nuremberg, Germany
Died: August 16, 1419