Famous German Historical Personalities

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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.
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 1 
Charlemagne
(Holy Roman Emperor (800-814))
Charlemagne
26
Birthdate: April 2, 0747
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Aachen, Germany
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
(German Emperor and King of Prussia (1888 - 1918))
Wilhelm II
35
Birthdate: January 27, 1859
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Berlin, Germany
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.

 3 
Anne of Cleves
(Former Queen Consort of England (January 1540 - July 1540))
Anne of Cleves
7
Birthdate: September 22, 1515
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Düsseldorf, Germany
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.

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 4 
Frederick The Great
(Former King of Prussia (1740 - 1786))
Frederick The Great
8
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.
 5 
Empress Elisabeth of Austria
(Empress of Austria and Queen of Hungary (1854-1898))
Empress Elisabeth of Austria
5
Birthdate: December 24, 1837
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Munich, Germany
Died: September 10, 1898

Empress Elisabeth of Austria was Queen of Hungary and Empress of Austria from 1854 to 1898, making her the longest-reigning Austrian empress. Often visiting Hungary for its relaxed environment, Elisabeth developed a deep kinship with Hungary, which in turn helped her influence the rise of the dual monarchy of Austria–Hungary in 1867.

 6 
Alexandra Feodorovna
(Empress Consort of Russia (1894 - 1917))
Alexandra Feodorovna
7
Birthdate: June 6, 1872
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Darmstadt, Germany
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.

 7 
Victoria, Princess Royal
(German Empress and Queen of Prussia (1888))
Victoria, Princess Royal
6
Birthdate: November 21, 1840
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: London, England
Died: August 5, 1901

Victoria, Princess Royal was the Queen of Prussia and German Empress from 9 March 1888 to 15 June 1888. Victoria, Princess Royal had an opportunity to influence the German Empire's policy, but the death of her husband German Emperor Frederick III, just 99 days after his accession, ruined her opportunity. Victoria has been portrayed in several movies and TV series.

 8 
Empress Matilda
(Former Holy Roman Empress (1114 - 1125))
Empress Matilda
6
Birthdate: February 7, 1102
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Sutton Courtenay, England
Died: September 10, 1167

Empress Matilda was the daughter of King Henry I of England and one of the claimants to the throne of England during the 'Anarchy'. Her participation in the civil war and tales of bravery have been the subject of historical fiction. She has also been depicted in films, stage shows, and TV series.

 9 
George I of Great Britain
(Former King of Great Britain and Ireland (1714 - 1727))
George I of Great Britain
12
Birthdate: May 28, 1660
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Hanover, Germany
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. 
 10 
Frederick III, German Emperor
(Former German Emperor and King of Prussia (1888))
Frederick III, German Emperor
6
Birthdate: October 18, 1831
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: 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.

 11 
Wilhelm I
(King)
Wilhelm I
5
Birthdate: March 22, 1797
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Berlin, Germany
Died: March 9, 1888
 12 
Leopold I of Belgium
(First King of the Belgians (1831 - 1865))
Leopold I of Belgium
6
Birthdate: December 16, 1790
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Coburg, Germany
Died: December 10, 1865
Leopold I, the youngest son of Duke Francis of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, was the first king of Belgium and reigned from 1831 to 1865. He fought against Napoleon during the Napoleonic Wars. He rejected the throne of Greece. His reign is known for establishing Belgium's first railway and for its modernization.
 13 
Louis The Pious
(King of Aquitaine, King of Franks & Co-Emperor (Holy Roman Empire))
Louis The Pious
5
Birthdate: April 16, 0778
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Chasseneuil-du-Poitou
Died: June 20, 0840
Son of Charlemagne, Louis The Pious, became the king of Aquitaine at age 3. He crowned himself the emperor of the Franks immediately after his father’s death. His reign was riddled with three civil wars, while his death caused another civil war, which finally culminated in the Treaty of Verdun.
 14 
Otto I, Holy Roman Emperor
(Holy Roman Emperor (962-973))
Otto I, Holy Roman Emperor
4
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.

 15 
Ernest I, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
(Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld (1806 - 1826))
Ernest I, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
5
Birthdate: January 2, 1784
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Coburg, Germany
Died: January 29, 1844

Ernest I, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha reigned as the Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld from 9 December 1806 to 12 November 1826. He oversaw the construction of many projects, including a court theatre, in Coburg. Ernest is also remembered for the educational, constitutional, and economic development of his territories.

 16 
Francis I, Holy Roman Emperor
(Holy Roman Emperor (1745 - 1765))
Francis I, Holy Roman Emperor
4
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.
 17 
Sigismund, Holy Roman Emperor
(Holy Roman Emperor (1433 - 1437))
Sigismund, Holy Roman Emperor
4
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.   

 18 
Charles the Fat
(Emperor of the Carolingian Empire)
Charles the Fat
3
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.

 19 
Viktoria Luise of Prussia
(Former Duchess Consort of Brunswick (1913 - 1918))
Viktoria Luise of Prussia
3
Birthdate: September 13, 1892
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Potsdam, Germany
Died: December 11, 1980
 20 
Queen Silvia of Sweden
(Queen Consort of Sweden)
Queen Silvia of Sweden
3
Birthdate: December 23, 1943
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Heidelberg, Germany
 21 
Frederick William I of Prussia
(Former King of Prussia (1713 - 1740))
Frederick William I of Prussia
3
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.

 22 
Ludwig II of Bavaria
(King of Bavaria (1864 - 1886))
Ludwig II of Bavaria
8
Birthdate: August 25, 1845
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Nymphenburg Palace, Munich, Germany
Died: June 13, 1886

Ludwig II of Bavaria reigned as the King of Bavaria from 10 March 1864 until his death on 13 June 1886. He is best remembered for overseeing the construction of lavish palaces like Linderhof Palace, Neuschwanstein Castle, and Herrenchiemsee. This extravagance brought about his downfall as he was declared insane, which remains a subject of discussion.

 23 
Ernest II
(Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha)
Ernest II
6
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.

 24 
Frederick I, Holy Roman Emperor
(Holy Roman Emperor (1155 - 1190))
Frederick I, Holy Roman Emperor
5
Birthdate: 1122 AD
Birthplace: Haguenau, France
Died: June 17, 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.
 25 
Claude of France
(French Princess and Former Duchess Consort of Lorraine (1559 - 1575))
Claude of France
3
Birthdate: November 12, 1547
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Fontainebleau, France
Died: February 21, 1575
William I, German Emperor
5
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.

 27 
Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen
(Former Queen Consort of the United Kingdom and Hanover (1830 - 1837))
Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen
3
Birthdate: August 13, 1792
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Meiningen, Germany
Died: December 2, 1849
 28 
Sophia of Prussia
(Princess of Prussia and Former Queen consort of the Hellenes (1913 - 1917))
Sophia of Prussia
3
Birthdate: June 14, 1870
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: New Palace, Potsdam, Germany
Died: January 13, 1932
 29 
George V of Hanover
(Former King of Hanover (1851 - 1866))
George V of Hanover
3
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.

 30 
Frederick William II of Prussia
(Former King of Prussia (1786 - 1797))
Frederick William II of Prussia
3
Birthdate: September 25, 1744
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Berlin Palace, Berlin
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.

 31 
Frederick I of Prussia
(Former King of Prussia (1701 - 1713))
Frederick I of Prussia
3
Birthdate: June 11, 1676
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Königsberg, Germany
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.

 32 
Princess Elisabeth of Hesse and by Rhine
(German Princess Who Married Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich of Russia and Eventually Became a Nun)
Princess Elisabeth of Hesse and by Rhine
3
Birthdate: November 1, 1864
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Bessungen, Darmstadt, Germany
Died: July 18, 1918
Henry IV, Holy Roman Emperor
3
Birthdate: November 11, 1050
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Goslar
Died: August 7, 1106
Charles Edward, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
3
Birthdate: July 19, 1884
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Claremont House, Surrey, England
Died: March 6, 1954
Charles Edward, a grandson of Queen Victoria, was the Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, part of Germany, since age 13. Named a traitor for fighting in the German Army during World War II, he was stripped of his British wealth and charged with war crimes. He died a poor man.
 35 
Frederick William IV of Prussia
(Former King of Prussia (1840 - 1861))
Frederick William IV of Prussia
3
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.

 36 
Frederica of Hanover
(German Princess and Former Queen Consort of the Hellenes (1947 - 1964))
Frederica of Hanover
3
Birthdate: April 18, 1917
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Blankenburg, Germany
Died: February 6, 1981
 37 
Elizabeth Charlotte, Madame Palatine
(German Princess and Later Duchess of Orléans by Her Marriage to Philippe I, Duke of Orléans)
Elizabeth Charlotte, Madame Palatine
3
Birthdate: May 27, 1652
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Heidelberg Castle, Heidelberg, Electoral Palatinate, Holy Roman Empire
Died: December 8, 1722
 38 
Brunhild
(Norse Mythological Figure Who Is Known for Her Beauty and Heroic Strength)
Brunhild
3
Birthplace: Germany
 39 
Edmund the Martyr
3
Birthdate: 0841 AD
Birthplace: Nuremberg, Germany
Died: November 28, 0869
 40 
Augustus II the Strong
(Elector of Saxony)
Augustus II the Strong
3
Birthdate: May 12, 1670
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Dresden, Germany
Died: February 1, 1733
 41 
Frederick William III of Prussia
(King of Prussia (1797 - 1840))
Frederick William III of Prussia
3
Birthdate: August 3, 1770
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Potsdam, Germany
Died: June 7, 1840
 42 
Louise of Hesse-Kassel
(Queen Consort of Denmark from 1863 to 1898)
Louise of Hesse-Kassel
3
Birthdate: September 7, 1817
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Kassel, Electorate of Hesse, German Confederation
Died: September 29, 1898

Louise of Hesse-Kassel was the Queen consort of Denmark from 1863 until her demise in 1898. Although she did not take an active part in state affairs, Louise's intelligence, psychological strength, and judgment were of prime importance as King Christian IX was dependent on these qualities of his wife. She also supported 26 different charitable organizations during her reign.

 43 
Jean-Christophe, Prince Napoleon
5
Birthdate: July 11, 1986
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Saint-Raphaël, Var, France
Louis, Prince Napoleon
3
Birthdate: January 23, 1914
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Brussels, Kingdom of Belgium
Died: May 3, 1997
Charles VII, Holy Roman Emperor
3
Birthdate: August 6, 1697
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Brussels
Died: January 20, 1745
 46 
Maria Feodorovna
3
Birthdate: October 25, 1759
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Szczecin, Poland
Died: November 5, 1828
 47 
Frederick III, Holy Roman Emperor
3
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.

 48 
Henry I of Germany
3
Birthdate: 0876 AD
Birthplace: Memleben
Died: July 2, 0936
Princess Marie-Auguste of Anhalt
3
Birthdate: June 10, 1898
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Ballenstedt, Germany
Died: May 22, 1983
 50 
Sophia Dorothea of Celle
(Electoral Princess of Hanover Who Was Imprisoned by Her Husband, George I of Great Britain for Infidelity)
Sophia Dorothea of Celle
3
Birthdate: September 15, 1666
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Celle, Germany
Died: November 13, 1726