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.
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.
Remembered for her heroics against the British, the Indian Joan of Arc Rani Lakshmibai remains an icon of the 1857 Indian Rebellion. The wife of Maharaja Gangadhar Rao, she is known for leading the fight against the British after her husband’s death. She also inspired the legendary lines Khoob Ladi Mardani.
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.
11 Jacob Zuma
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.
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.
Robert Mugabe was a Zimbabwean revolutionary. He played a major role in the Rhodesian Bush War, which eventually led to the Lancaster House Agreement, resulting in the creation of the Republic of Zimbabwe. Subsequently, Mugabe served as the first prime minister of Zimbabwe and later as its president. A controversial figure, Mugabe is also often criticized for his tyrannical ways.
15 Jose Rizal
Jose Rizal was a Filipino polymath and nationalist. An ophthalmologist by profession, Rizal turned towards writing and inspired the Philippine Revolution through his writings. The revolution eventually led to Philippine independence and Rizal became a national hero. His life has inspired several biographical films and TV series.
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.
Haitian general, Toussaint Louverture, was the most prominent leader of the Haitian Revolution. A revolutionary leader, he was devoted to the cause of Haitian independence and fought hard until he was killed by the French in a treacherous manner. The revolution continued after his death, leading to Haiti’s independence. He is now known as the Father of Haiti.
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.
22 Bobby Sands
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.
Lala Lajpat Rai was an Indian politician who played a major role in the Indian Independence movement. He is credited with inspiring many young men, including Bhagat Singh and Chandrasekhar Azad, to join the freedom struggle through journalistic writings and activism. He was popularly known as Punjab Kesari.
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.
27 Fidel Castro
Serving as the Cuban prime minister from 1959 to 1976 and as president from 1976 to 2008, Fidel Castro was one of the most prominent Cuban leaders in the history. As the longest-reigning non-royal head of the 20th and 21st centuries, Castro was responsible for making Cuba a communist state.
Benito Juarez was a Mexican lawyer and politician. He served as the 26th president of Mexico from 1858 to 1872, becoming the first president of Mexico who was of indigenous origin. He died of a heart attack in 1872. To date, he is revered as "a preeminent symbol of Mexican nationalism and resistance to foreign intervention."
29 Samuel Adams
30 Birsa Munda
In spite of his short life, which ended at age 24, Birsa Munda is remembered for spearheading the tribal movement against the British. He also made the British introduce new laws for the protection of the tribal land rights. He died in prison while undergoing trials.
A significant figure of the American Revolution, Patrick Henry was the first governor of post-colonial Virginia. A skilled orator, he is remembered for his iconic words “Give me liberty or give me death!” He excelled as a lawyer and gained fame with his win in the Parson's Cause.
32 Jose Marti
Son of Spanish immigrants, Jose Marti spent his childhood in a strife-torn Cuba and attended high school on financial aid. Marti’s poems, essays, and articles were laced with his patriotic vigor to free Cuba from the Spanish rule. He died battling on the field at Dos Ríos.
Chiang Kai-shek was a Chinese revolutionary who led the Republic of China between 1928 and 1975, first in mainland China until 1949 and later on in Taiwan until his death. He is credited with successfully leading the Northern Expedition against the Beiyang government, achieving Chinese unification. He was involved in a civil war with Communist Party of China, which he lost in 1949 and retreated to Taiwan.
Irish statesman Éamon de Valera served as the 3rd President of Ireland from 1959 to 1973. An influential political leader in 20th-century Ireland, he played a key role in introducing the Constitution of Ireland. Prior to becoming the president, he served as Taoiseach on three different occasions. He was an austere, stern, and unbending figure.
36 Louis Riel
Louis Riel was a Canadian politician. He is credited with founding the province of Manitoba. He holds a significant place in the history of the Métis people as he served as their political leader in pre-Manitoba Northwest Territories. Louis Riel is regarded as a folk hero by the Métis and other Canadian minorities for his efforts to defend their rights.
37 Chief Joseph
Chief Joseph, a leader of the Nez Percé tribe of Native Americans, had initially agreed to the U.S. demand of them moving into a reservation in Idaho. However, fearing retaliation after his men killed a few whites, he attempted an escape to Canada, leading his people through an arduous trek.
38 Jiang Qing
Maulana Abul Kalam Azad was an Indian independence activist, Islamic theologian, and scholar. He played a key role in the Indian independence movement, serving as a senior leader of the Congress. His contribution to the Indian education system is recognized across India by celebrating his birthday as National Education Day.
Georges Danton was a major figure in the early stages of the French Revolution. While many historians state that he played a key role in the establishment of the First French Republic, a few scholars refute this claim. He served as the first president of the Committee of Public Safety and was beheaded by the advocates of revolutionary terror.
Jean-Jacques Dessalines was an important figure and leader of the Haitian Revolution. He went on to rule an independent Haiti, which became the first country to abolish slavery permanently. Considered one of Haiti's founding fathers, Dessalines reigned as the emperor of Haiti from 1804 until his murder in 1806. Today, he is regarded as an icon of Haitian nationalism.
Mikhail Bakunin was a Russian socialist and anarchist. He is credited with founding an anarchist school of thought called collectivist anarchism. Regarded as one of the most influential personalities of anarchism, Mikhail Bakunin has had a major influence on thinkers like Peter Kropotkin, Herbert Marcuse, Errico Malatesta, Neil Postman, E. P. Thompson, and A. S. Neill.
44 Pol Pot
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.
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.
46 Red Cloud
One of the most significant leaders of the Oglala Lakota tribe of the Sioux group of Native Americans, Red Cloud is remembered for his fearless resistance to the American plan of accessing the goldfields in Montana. He attached workers along the Bozeman Trail and eventually forced the U.S. to withdraw.
47 Ethan Allen
As a child, Ethan Allen was fond of deciphering passages from the Bible. He grew up to co-establish Vermont and led the Green Mountain Boys during the American Revolutionary War. After failing to achieve Vermont’s separation from New York, he tried to unite Vermont with Canada.
48 Ali Khamenei
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.