Historical Personalities

Historical Figures are the famous people in history who have played a significant role in shaping human progress. Philosophers over the past several centuries have debated upon the roles played by historical figures in influencing the history of human civilization and progress. While Scottish philosopher Thomas Carlyle felt that the study of legendary figures is a key to understanding history, English philosopher Herbert Spencer was of the belief that historical individuals were of little importance. Irrespective of the philosophical debates on the subject, it cannot be denied that studying about the famous men and women in world history is truly an enriching experience. Jesus of Nazareth, the founder of Christianity, is often regarded as the most important historical figure. While most modern scholars of antiquity agree that Jesus existed historically, several facts about his life are shrouded in mystery. Another important religious historical figure is Muhammad who unified Arabia into a single religious polity under Islam. Many historical figures are believed to have greatly influenced world politics and the major ones among these are Napoleon, Alexander the Great, Abraham Lincoln and Adolf Hitler. Read on to discover about the life and works of various famous historical figures from all over the world.

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

Vote for Your Favourite Historical Personalities

 1 Queen Elizabeth II

Queen Elizabeth II
7
Famous As: Queen of the United Kingdom
Birthdate: April 21, 1926
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: British

The Queen of the United Kingdom and 15 other Commonwealth realms, Queen Elizabeth II is the world's oldest living monarch and longest-reigning current monarch. The first child of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother , she ascended to the throne in 1952. Despite the press criticism of the royal family, she continues to be a popular figure in UK.

 2 Cleopatra

Cleopatra
21
Famous As: Queen of the Ptolemaic Kingdom
Birthdate: 0069 BC
Nationality: Egyptian, Greek
Died: August 12, 0030

The last active ruler of the Ptolemaic Kingdom and the last true pharaoh of Egypt, Cleopatra is described as an extremely beautiful woman who was also intelligent and educated with command over numerous languages. Her romance and military alliances with Julius Caesar and Mark Antony have inspired numerous art works.

 3 Queen Victoria

Queen Victoria
14
Famous As: Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
Birthdate: May 24, 1819
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: British
Died: January 22, 1901

The Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland for over six decades, Queen Victoria reigned for longer than any of her predecessors. Her rule witnessed the vast expansion of the British Empire and ushered in a period of industrial, cultural, political, scientific, and military changes. Her Golden and Diamond Jubilees were celebrated with great pomp and show.

 4 Alexander the Great

Alexander the Great
32
Famous As: Emperor of the ancient Greek kingdom of Macedon
Birthdate: July 20, 0356
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: Macedonian
Died: June 10, 0324

Counted amongst the greatest military commanders of all times, Alexander the Great successfully created one of the largest empires—from Macedonia to Persia and India—of the ancient world. The son of King of Macedonia, Philip II, he ascended the throne at the age of 20 and achieved unprecedented success before he died at the age of 33.  

Recommended Lists:

 5 Julius Caesar

Julius Caesar
12
Listed In: Emperors & Kings
Famous As: Former Roman dictator
Birthdate: July 13, 0100
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: Ancient Roman
Died: March 15, 0044

Julius Caesar is considered one of the greatest military commanders in history and played an important role in the events that led to the downfall of the Roman Republic and the rise of the Roman Empire. He assumed control of the government after a civil war. He was assassinated by rebel senators on the Ides of March, 44 BC.

 6 Napoleon Bonaparte

Napoleon Bonaparte
18
Famous As: Emperor of the French
Birthdate: August 15, 1769
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: French
Died: May 5, 1821
French military leader Napoleon Bonaparte ruled as the French emperor from 1804 to 1814 and again in 1815. He strengthened France’s position in Europe through the Napoleonic Wars and extended his kingdom. However, he was eventually defeated by the Seventh Coalition at the Battle of Waterloo and sent to exile. 

 7 Genghis Khan

Genghis Khan
29
Famous As: Khagan of the Mongol Empire
Birthdate: 1162 AD
Nationality: Mongolian
Died: August 18, 1227

The founder and first Great Khan and Emperor of the Mongol Empire, Genghis Khan is often considered to be the greatest conqueror of all time. A brutal ruler, he enjoyed exceptional military successes and occupied a substantial portion of Central Asia and China. Besides his military accomplishments, he is also credited with revitalizing the Mongol Empire's writing system.

You May Like

 8 Joseph Stalin

Joseph Stalin
10
Famous As: Communist Revolutionary & Ruler of former USSR
Birthdate: December 18, 1878
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: Russian
Died: March 5, 1953

Controversial Russian dictator, Joseph Stalin, ruled the Soviet Union for around 25 years from 1929 to 1953 and is credited for making it a prominent industrial and military power of the world. During the Second World War, his army defeated the Nazis too. However, his regime was also one of terror and brutality where numerous Soviet citizens lost their lives.

 9 Marie Antoinette

Marie Antoinette
10
Famous As: Queen of France
Birthdate: November 2, 1755
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: Austrian, French
Died: October 16, 1793
The last queen of France before the French Revolution started, Marie Antoinette was married to Louis XVI of France and came to be linked with everything that was wrong with the French monarchy including ignorance and extravagance. Her policies aggravated unrest that eventually led to the abolishment of the monarchy and finally the execution of both king and queen.

 10 Ashoka

Ashoka
21
Listed In: Emperors & Kings
Famous As: Indian emperor of the Maurya Dynasty
Birthdate: 0304 BC
Nationality: Indian
Died: 0232 BC
Ashoka the Great of the Maurya Dynasty was the grandson of Chandragupta Maurya and ruled the Indian subcontinent from c. 268 to 232 BCE. Following the death and destruction caused by the Kalinga War, which was part of his expansion plan, he converted to Buddhism and propagated the faith.

 11 Shivaji

Shivaji
19
Listed In: Emperors & Kings
Famous As: King
Birthdate: February 19, 1630
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: Indian
Died: April 3, 1680

Shivaji was an Indian warrior-king. He is credited with founding the Maratha Empire, which became a force to reckon with during the 18th century. He is also credited with creating his own navy. Considered one of the most important Indian kings and a hero of the Hindus, Shivaji's life and work have inspired several works of art, including films.

 12 Charlemagne

Charlemagne
7
Listed In: Emperors & Kings
Famous As: King of the Frank
Birthdate: April 2, 0742
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: German
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.

 13 Catherine the Great

Catherine the Great
14
Famous As: Empress of Russia
Birthdate: May 2, 1729
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: Russian
Died: November 17, 1796

The Empress of Russia for almost 35 years, Catherine the Great was the country's longest-ruling female leader. An ambitious ruler, she rapidly expanded the Russian Empire and is credited with modernizing the country along Western European lines. She supported the ideals of the Enlightenment and the period of her rule—the Catherinian Era—is considered the Golden Age of Russia.

 14 Vladimir Lenin

Vladimir Lenin
7
Famous As: Former Premier of the Soviet Union
Birthdate: April 22, 1870
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: Russian
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.

 15 Augustus

Augustus
24
Listed In: Emperors & Kings
Famous As: Roman roman emperor
Birthdate: September 23, 0063
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: Ancient Roman
Died: August 19, 0014

Augustus, the first Emperor of the Roman Empire, ruled from 27 BC to 14 AD. He transformed Rome from a republic to an empire after Julius Caesar’s assassination. He annexed new territories, brought about peace and prosperity and laid the foundation of an empire that lasted for nearly 1500 years. Historians regard him as an effective but controversial leader.

 16 Benito Mussolini

Benito Mussolini
4
Famous As: Former Duce
Birthdate: July 29, 1883
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: Italian
Died: April 28, 1945

The dictator of Italy from 1925 to 1945, Benito Mussolini founded the Fascist Party in 1919. It opposed class discrimination and supported nationalism. But when in power, Mussolini crushed rival political parties, trade unions, free press and free speech. He was overthrown by his former colleagues in the Fascist government in July 1943 and ultimately shot dead in April 1945.

 17 Henry VII of England

Henry VII
11
Listed In: Emperors & Kings
Famous As: King of England
Birthdate: January 28, 1457
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: British
Died: April 21, 1509

Henry VII of England played an important role in popularizing the House of Tudor by becoming the first monarch of the house; he ruled as the king of England from 1485 until his death in 1509. He is credited with several economic, diplomatic, and administrative initiatives.

 18 Rani Padmini

Rani Padmini
4
Famous As: Queen of Chittor
Birthdate: 1303 AD
Nationality: Indian
Legendary Indian queen Padmini, or Padmavati, wife of 13th–14th century king Ratan Sen, was the queen of the kingdom of Mewar. Smitten by her beauty, Alauddin Khalji beseiged Chittor Fort to gain her. However, Padmini and the other women of her kingdom immolated themselves to protect their honor.

 19 William the Conqueror

William the Conqueror
7
Famous As: King of England
Birthdate: 1028 AD
Nationality: French
Died: September 9, 1087

William the Conqueror was the first Norman King of England who ruled from 1066 to 1087. William's conquest had a profound impact on England; his government merged elements of the Norman and English systems that laid the foundations of the medieval English kingdom. He is credited with building castles, mottes, and keeps, including the White Tower and Tower of London.

 20 Marcus Aurelius

Marcus Aurelius
5
Listed In: Emperors & Kings
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: April 26, 0121
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: Italian
Died: March 17, 0180

Marcus Aurelius played an important role in the Roman Empire. A Stoic philosopher, Marcus was part of the Five Good Emperors and the last emperor of the Pax Romana—a 200-year-long period of relative peace in the Roman Empire. Also a writer, his work Meditations is regarded by many as one of the greatest works of philosophy.

 21 Wilhelm II

Wilhelm II
8
Listed In: Emperors & Kings
Famous As: Emperor of Germany
Birthdate: January 27, 1859
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: German
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.

 22 Attila

Attila
9
Famous As: Ruler
Birthdate: 0406 AD
Nationality: Ancient Roman
Died: February 29, 0453

 23 Kublai Khan

Kublai Khan
4
Famous As: Founder of the Yuan dynasty in Mongolia and China,
Birthdate: September 23, 1215
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: Mongolian
Died: February 18, 1294

Also known as the Emperor Shizu of Yuan, Kublai Khan served as the fifth khagan of the famous Mongol Empire. After the division of the empire, Kublai Khan founded the Yuan dynasty in China and ruled as the first Yuan emperor from 1271 until his death in 1294. Hence, he played an important role in re-creating a militarily powerful China.

 24 Chandragupta Maurya

Chandragupta Maurya
9
Listed In: Emperors & Kings
Famous As: Founder of the Maurya Empire
Birthdate: 0340 BC
Nationality: Indian
Died: 0298 BC

Chandragupta Maurya established the Maurya Empire in India. He was mostly advised by philosopher Chanakya. He conquered the Nanda Empire and fought the Seleucid-Mauryan War, too. His reign was marked by religious tolerance, and cultural and economic prosperity. He later relinquished his throne and became a Jain monk.

 25 Catherine of Aragon

Catherine of Aragon
7
Famous As: Ambassador
Birthdate: December 16, 1485
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: British
Died: January 7, 1536

Catherine of Aragon was one of the most popular English royal consorts of all time. A patron of Renaissance humanism, she gained widespread admiration for starting a program for the relief of the poor. A woman who was ahead of her time, Catherine commissioned The Education of a Christian Woman, a controversial book promoting women's right to education.

 26 Gilgamesh

Gilgamesh
2
Listed In: Emperors & Kings
Famous As: 5th king of the Sumerian city-state of Uruk
Birthdate: 0000 BC
Nationality: Iraqi
Mesopotamian hero Gilgamesh is the leading character in the 2nd millennium B.C. Akkadian Epic of Gilgamesh. Experts believe he was a Sumerian ruler from 2900-2500 B.C., who became a legendary figure in the Third Dynasty of Ur. Gilgamesh’s tale is said to have inspired the Iliad and the Odyssey.

 27 Maharana Pratap

Maharana Pratap
2
Listed In: Emperors & Kings
Famous As: Ruler of Mewar
Birthdate: May 9, 1540
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: Indian
Died: January 19, 1597
Maharana Pratap, son of Maharana Udai Singh, ruled the Indian region of Mewar, in modern-day Rajasthan, from 1572 to 1597. Also known as “Mewari Rana,” he is best remembered for his exploits at the Battle of Haldighati, against the Mughal army of Akbar, led by Man Singh I of Amer.

 28 Moses

Moses
3
Famous As: Hebrew Religious Leader, Lawgiver, Prophet
Birthdate: 1391 BC
Nationality: Egyptian, Jordanian
Died: 1272 BC

A prominent prophet in Islam, Christianity, and the Baháʼí Faith among other Abrahamic religions, Moses is also the most important prophet in Judaism. One of the most important biblical characters, Moses received the Ten Commandments from God on Mount Sinai. The Ten Commandments are fundamental to both Christianity and Judaism. The authorship of the Torah is also attributed to Moses.

 29 Anne Boleyn

Anne Boleyn
11
Famous As: Marquess of Pembroke
Birthdate: 1501 AD
Nationality: British
Died: May 19, 1536

The queen of England from 1533 to 1536, Anne Boleyn played an important role in the political and religious upheaval that led to the beginning of the English Reformation. She is widely regarded as the most important and influential queen consort of England. She was charged with adultery, incest, and treason and was executed by beheading in 1536.

 30 Alfred the Great

Alfred the Great
5
Listed In: Emperors & Kings
Famous As: King of Wessex
Birthdate: 0849 AD
Nationality: British
Died: October 26, 0899

Alfred the Great, king of Wessex, cemented his place in history as a legendary ruler who led his kingdom to victory in wars that seemed hopeless. He is known for his brilliant strategies and defensive measures. He prevented England from falling to the Danes during his rule from circa 871 to 886. He’s also credited with promoting learning and literacy and curbing corruption.

 31 Charles II

Charles II
5
Listed In: Emperors & Kings
Famous As: King of England, Scotland & Ireland
Birthdate: May 29, 1630
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: British
Died: February 6, 1685
Charles II, son of King Charles I of England, ruled England, Scotland, and Ireland from 1660 to 1685. He was initially defeated by Oliver Cromwell and forced to go into exile, but returned to England after Cromwell’s death. He introduced the Clarendon Code and later sided with the Tories.

 32 Sambhaji

Sambhaji
4
Listed In: Emperors & Kings
Famous As: Ruler
Birthdate: May 14, 1657
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: Indian
Died: March 11, 1689

 33 Cyrus the Great

Cyrus the Great
7
Listed In: Emperors & Kings
Famous As: Founder of First Persian Empire
Birthdate: 0590 BC
Nationality: Iranian
Died: 0530 BC

Cyrus II, or Cyrus the Great, founded the first Persian empire, the Achaemenid Empire. His kingdom extended from Western Asia to Central Asia. He advocated centralized administration, with the help of local governors. The biblical Edict of Cyrus, named after him, talks about the return of the Jews to Israel.

 34 Edward VI of England

Edward VI of England
9
Listed In: Emperors & Kings
Famous As: King of England
Birthdate: October 12, 1537
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: British
Died: July 6, 1553

Edward VI of England served as the King of England and Ireland from 1547 until his death at the age of 15 in 1553. Edward VI, who took interest in religious matters, allowed Protestantism to be established in England during his reign. His reign also witnessed the introduction of written works that formed the basis for practices of the English Church.

 35 Hirohito

Hirohito
3
Listed In: Emperors & Kings
Famous As: Former Emperor of Japan
Birthdate: April 29, 1901
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: Japanese
Died: January 7, 1989
Hirohito, or Emperor Showa, the longest-reigning Japanese emperor, reigned from 1926 to 1989 and supported the Axis Powers during World War II. He also served in the Japanese military. He was not prosecuted for war crimes by the U.S. and played a major role in the post-war reconstruction of Japan.

 36 Lady Jane Grey

Lady Jane Grey
0
Famous As: Monarch
Birthdate: 1537 AD
Nationality: British
Died: February 12, 1554
Lady Jane Grey, the Nine Days' Queen, was the Queen of England and Ireland from July 10 to 19, 1553. Jane, a Protestant, was nominated to the Crown, owing to Roman Catholic Mary’s opposition to the Reformed Church of England. However, Jane was deposed, convicted of high treason, and executed.

 37 Prithviraj Chauhan

Prithviraj Chauhan
2
Listed In: Emperors & Kings
Famous As: Rajput king of the Chauhan dynasty
Birthdate: 1149 AD
Nationality: Indian
Died: 1192 AD

A king from the Chahamana dynasty, Prithviraj Chauhan ruled Sapadalaksha in present-day north-western India. The son of king Someshvara and queen Karpuradevi, he ascended to the throne when he was just a child. As a young man, he became known as a brave warrior and an excellent military commander. Various sources differ on the exact circumstances of his death.

 38 Saladin

Saladin
6
Listed In: Emperors & Kings
Famous As: Sultan of Egypt
Birthdate: 1137 AD
Nationality: Egyptian
Died: March 4, 1193
Named the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, Saladin founded the Ayyubid Dynasty. He abolished the Fatimid Caliphate and later defeated the Crusaders at the Battle of Hattin, thus taking control of Palestine. As the de facto Caliph of Islam, he controlled a vast area, including Egypt, Syria, and Yemen.

 39 Elizabeth of York

Elizabeth of York
9
Famous As: Queen Consort of England
Birthdate: February 11, 1466
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: British
Died: February 11, 1503
Elizabeth of York, daughter of King Edward IV and wife of Henry VII of the Tudor Dynasty, was the queen consort of England from 1486 until 1503. She and Henry got married after Henry won at the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1486, thus ending the Wars of the Roses

 40 Boudica

Boudica
0
Famous As: Queen of the Iceni Tribe
Birthdate: 0030 AD
Nationality: British
Died: 0061 AD

Boudica served as a queen of the Iceni tribe. She is regarded as a British folk hero for leading an uprising against the Roman Empire, which wanted to conquer her land. She has remained a prominent cultural symbol in the UK. A bronze statue named Boadicea and Her Daughters is located in London, facing the Palace of Westminster.

 41 Timur

Timur
6
Listed In: Emperors & Kings
Famous As: Monarch of the Timurid Empire
Birthdate: April 9, 1336
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: Uzbekistan
Died: February 19, 1405

Widely considered one of the greatest tacticians and military leaders in history, Timur is credited with founding the Timurid Empire, which attained its greatest extent under the leadership of Timur. His empire laid the foundation for the rise of the more prominent Islamic gunpowder empires, such as the Mughal Empire, which then ruled the Indian subcontinent for almost 330 years.

 42 Maharaja Ranjit Singh

Maharaja Ranjit Singh
2
Listed In: Emperors & Kings
Famous As: Founder of the Sikh Empire
Birthdate: November 13, 1780
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: Indian
Died: June 27, 1839
Maharaja Ranjit Singh, also known as the "Lion of Punjab" and the “Napoleon of the East,” was a Sikh leader who reigned over the northwest Indian subcontinent in the 19th century. He fought valiantly against the Afghans and introduced many modern reforms. His Khalsa Army included people of all religions.

 43 Aurangzeb

Aurangzeb
8
Listed In: Emperors & Kings
Famous As: Mughal Emperor
Birthdate: November 4, 1618
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: Indian
Died: March 3, 1707

Aurangzeb reigned over most part of the Indian subcontinent for 49 years as the sixth Mughal emperor. He helped the Mughal Empire reach its greatest extent and helped India become the biggest manufacturing power and the world's largest economy. He was known for his religious piety and led a very simple life..

 44 Elizabeth Woodville

Elizabeth Woodville
0
Famous As: British Queen (1464-1483)
Birthdate: 1437 AD
Nationality: British
Died: June 8, 1492

Elizabeth Woodville was the queen of England from 1464 until her husband King Edward IV's death in 1483. Elizabeth Woodville remained politically influential even after the demise of her husband. She also played a major role in Henry VII's accession to the throne in 1485. Her life and work have inspired several books, films, and TV series.

 45 Esther

Esther
2
Famous As: Queen of the Persian king Ahasuerus
Birthdate: 0000 BC
Nationality: Iranian
Esther from the Book of Esther was a Jewish queen of the Persian king Ahasuerus. While the king’s advisor, Haman, angered by Esther’s cousin, Mordecai, planned to kill all Jews, Esther reversed the plan with the king’s permission. The Jewish festival Purim marks the day the Jews murdered their enemies.

 46 Kösem Sultan

Kösem Sultan
0
Famous As: Ottoman sultana
Birthdate: 1589 AD
Nationality: Turkish
Died: September 2, 1651

 47 Edward II of England

Edward II of England
0
Listed In: Emperors & Kings
Famous As: King of England
Birthdate: April 25, 1284
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: British
Died: September 21, 1327
Edward II was the king of England from 1307 till his deposition in 1327. His relationship with Piers Gaveston caused the English barons to revolt against Edward, leading to the passage of the Ordinances of 1311. Edward lost to Robert Bruce at Bannockburn. Edward inspired Christopher Marlowe's play Edward II.

 48 Hatshepsut

Hatshepsut
0
Famous As: Pharaoh
Birthdate: 1508 BC
Nationality: Egyptian
Died: 1458 BC

Hatshepsut, daughter of Thutmose I, ruled as the fifth pharaoh of the Eighteenth Dynasty of Egypt and was the second female pharaoh, according to records. She was the chief wife of Thutmose II, and ruled jointly with Thutmose III, Thutmose II’s son. She also named herself God's Wife of Amun.

 49 Catherine Parr

Catherine Parr
0
Famous As: Queen of England & Ireland
Birthdate: July 31, 1512
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: British
Died: September 7, 1548
Catherine Parr, the most-married English queen, was the queen of England and Ireland from 1543 to 1547, as the last wife of King Henry VIII. She influenced the passing of the 1543 Third Succession Act. She was also the first English queen to publish a book using her own name.

 50 Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor

Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor
2
Listed In: Emperors & Kings
Famous As: Former Holy Roman Emperor
Birthdate: February 24, 1500
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: Italian
Died: September 21, 1558

Charles V served as the Holy Roman Emperor, King of Italy, and King of Germany from 1519 to 1556. From 1516 to 1556, he ruled as the King of Spain. His personal union of the American and European territories was the first collection of kingdoms that were described the empire on which the Sun never sets.

See Also