Born into a poor peasant family, Mikhail Gorbachev went on to become one of the most influential figures of the Soviet Union. He served in various positions, most notably as the General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. He is regarded as one of the most prominent personalities of the 20th century.
Chester W. Nimitz was part of the United States Navy where he served as a fleet admiral. He played a key role during World War II, commanding the US Pacific Fleet and the Allied air, sea, and land forces. He also played a crucial role in acquiring approval to develop USS Nautilus, the first nuclear-powered submarine in the world.
America’s first president, George Washington led the country with integrity, firmness and prudence that made him one of the greatest presidents in American history. He became a national hero before assuming presidency, when he led the Continental Army to victory against the British during the American Revolution.
Andrew Jackson was the 7th President of USA. His presidential reign has been termed as Jacksonian democracy and witnessed the shift of political power from established elites to ordinary voters. Coming from humble beginnings, Jackson knew the struggle of the masses and thus, worked towards creating a more inclusive country. His picture has been featured on the front side of $20 bill since 1928.
James Madison played an important role in drafting the US Constitution and the US Bill of Rights and is hailed as the Father of the Constitution. He also co-wrote The Federalist Papers, considered to be a seminal work of political science. As president, he led the country into the 1812 war and historians place him as an above-average president.
Constantine the Great served as the Roman emperor between 306 and 337. During his reign, he enacted financial, administrative, military, and social reforms to strengthen the empire. Constantine the Great is also credited with introducing the solidus, a gold coin which became the standard for European and Byzantine currencies for over a thousand years.
Grover Cleveland, a Democratic Party member, was the President of the United States from 1885 to 1889 and then again from 1893 to 1897. He is known for his campaign for political reform and fiscal conservatism. However, he was unable to deal with the economic depression in his second term as President, which led to massive decline in his popularity.
The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom for two non-consecutive terms, Harold Wilson was a British Labour politician. Historians commend him for leading his party through difficult political issues with considerable skill. With a moderate approach to socialism, he was a popular politician during his first tenure as the prime minister; his second tenure wasn’t as successful.
A war veteran who lost both her legs during the Iraq War, Tammy Duckworth is a symbol of courage and resilience. Her never-say-die spirit enabled her to become the first woman with a disability and the first Thai-American woman to earn a seat in Congress. She is the first member of Senate to give birth while in office.
Mark Kelly is a businessman, politician, retired U.S. Navy captain, and former astronaut. He is the current junior US Senator from Arizona. As a naval aviator, he played a major role during the Gulf War where he flew combat missions after which he was chosen as a NASA Space Shuttle pilot. In 2008, he commanded the Space Shuttle mission STS-124.
Japanese samurai and daimyō Toyotomi Hideyoshi of the Sengoku period, also known as the second Great Unifier of Japan, became the Chancellor of the Realm (Daijō-daijin) and Imperial Regent (kampaku). He constructed the Osaka Castle, banned slavery, and established the Tokugawa class system and the Council of Five Elders.
Former US Navy Seal officer Dan Crenshaw is now a Republican politician and a US Representative from Texas’s 2nd District. The Harvard alumnus now wears an eye patch, having lost his right eye in an explosion in Afghanistan. In late 2021, he came under fire for stating his party had liars.
Tecumseh was a Shawnee chief, diplomat, orator, and warrior. He is best known for promoting resistance to the United States' expansion onto Native American lands. He also promoted tribal unity and is credited with forming a Native American confederacy. He died trying to unite Native Americans and is considered an iconic folk hero in Canadian, Indigenous, and American history.
John C. Calhoun was an American political theorist and statesman. From 1825 to 1832, he served as the seventh vice president of the US. Before becoming the vice president, Calhoun served as secretary of war, a position which he used to modernize and reorganize the United States Department of War. He was played by Arliss Howard in the film Amistad.
Israeli politician, statesman, and general, Yitzhak Rabin, served two stints as the prime minister of Israel. As a young man, he joined the military and served for nearly three decades. He had an extensive political career as well and played a key role in embracing the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. He was assassinated in November 1995.
Rezā Shāh was a military colonel who founded the Pahlavi dynasty and reigned as the Shah of Iran from December 1925 to September 1941. He was also the prime minister of Iran from October 1923 to November 1925. His tenure saw the introduction of many social, economic, and political reforms, and he is regarded as the founder of modern Iran.
Francisco Pizarro was a Spanish conquistador best remembered for his expeditions that eventually paved the way for the Spanish conquest of Peru. Along with Vasco Núñez de Balboa, Pizarro became the first European to reach the Pacific Ocean after crossing the Isthmus of Panama. After two failed expeditions to Peru, Pizarro led a third and successful campaign to conquer Peru.
Popularly known as one of the Big Six—leaders of six important civil rights organizations who masterminded the Great March on Washington in 1963—John Lewis played an important role in the civil rights movement that eventually ended racial segregation in the US. Also a statesman, Lewis was honored with many awards, such as the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Jens Stoltenberg is a Norwegian politician who served as the Prime Minister of Norway between 2000 and 2013 in two separate terms. An influential politician, Stoltenberg also served as the Minister of Industry and Energy from 1993 to 1996 and Minister of Finance from 1996 to 1997. Jens Stoltenberg is the current Secretary General of NATO.
Zhou Enlai served as the People's Republic of China's first premier. He played a major role in the Communist Party's rise to power, serving under the founder of the People's Republic of China, Mao Zedong. Since his death, Zhou has been widely considered a skilled negotiator and a devoted revolutionary.
Vyacheslav Molotov was a Soviet diplomat and politician. An Old Bolshevik, Molotov played a key role in bringing the Bolsheviks to power. He also played a major role during the Great Purge, signing 373 execution lists. Molotov was portrayed by actor Michael Palin in the 2017 political satire black comedy film The Death of Stalin.
John of Gaunt was an English prince, statesman, and military leader. An influential figure, John of Gaunt is credited with founding the royal House of Lancaster, which would later produce men to ascend the royal throne. Early in his career, John spent considerable time in Spain participating in the Hundred Years' War.
Muhammad Ali of Egypt was the de facto ruler of Egypt from 1805 to 1848. He was also the Albanian Ottoman governor and is considered the founder of modern Egypt. He implemented drastic reforms in the military, economic and cultural spheres in Egypt. He established the Muhammad Ali dynasty that ruled Egypt until the revolution of 1952.
John Graves Simcoe was a British Army general best remembered for founding York (present-day Toronto, Canada). Simcoe, who served as the first lieutenant governor of Upper Canada, was responsible for introducing institutions like trial by jury, courts of law, freehold land tenure, and English common law. John Graves Simcoe also played a key role in abolishing slavery in Canada.
Brian Mulroney is a Canadian politician who served as the 18th prime minister of Canada. He was in office from September 1984 to June 1993. He is a lawyer by qualification. As the prime minister, he implemented major economic reforms and championed immigration. His tenure also saw the addition of significant new national parks.
Better known as the father of renowned golfer Tiger Woods, Earl Woods had initially been a U.S. Army lieutenant colonel. He excelled in baseball in college and learned to play golf much later, at 42. Addicted to the sport, he taught it to his son, who later became a golf legend.
Neville Chamberlain was a British politician. A member of the Conservative Party, Chamberlain served as UK's prime minister from 1937 to 1940. Known for his signing of the Munich Agreement, which is also called the Munich Betrayal, Neville Chamberlain is regarded by many as one of the most controversial prime ministers of the UK.
Kazimierz Pułaski was a Polish nobleman, military commander, and soldier. Dubbed the father of the American cavalry, Pulaski is credited with creating the Pulaski Cavalry Legion and reorganizing the American cavalry. He played an important role in the American Revolutionary War and is remembered for fighting for the independence of Poland and the United States.