Famous Scottish Leaders

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 Scottish Leaders

 1 
William Wallace
(Military Leader, Knight)

William Wallace
18
Birthdate: April 3, 1270
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Elderslie, Renfrewshire, Scotland
Died: August 23, 1305

William Wallace was a Scottish knight who played an important role in the First War of Scottish Independence. Since his death, Wallace has been viewed as an iconic figure whose story of bravery and valor has inspired several works of art, including the Academy Award-winning film Braveheart. Wallace has also inspired video games and brewery companies, such is his popularity.

 2 
Dan Crenshaw
(Politician)

Dan Crenshaw
63
Birthdate: March 14, 1984
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Aberdeen, Scotland

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.

 3 

John Paul Jones
7
Birthdate: July 6, 1747
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Arbigland, Kirkcudbrightshire, Scotland
Died: July 18, 1792
John Paul Jones was an American Revolutionary War naval commander. Named the Father of the American Navy, he was part of the Continental Navy against the Kingdom of Great Britain. He later joined the Imperial Russian Navy and became a rear admiral. His life later inspired an Alexandre Dumas novel.
Recommended Lists:

 4 
Nicola Sturgeon
(First Minister of Scotland)

Nicola Sturgeon
15
Birthdate: July 19, 1970
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Irvine, Ayrshire, Scotland

Nicola Sturgeon is a Scottish politician. Since 2014, Sturgeon has been serving as the leader of the Scottish National Party and first minister of Scotland. Being the first woman to serve in these positions, Nicola Sturgeon is seen as a major inspiration to women across Scotland.

 5 
James IV of Scotland
(King of Scotland (1488-1513))

James IV of Scotland
7
Birthdate: March 17, 1473
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Stirling, Scotland
Died: September 9, 1513

James IV of Scotland reigned as the king of Scotland from 1488 until his death in 1513. Although his reign ended at the Battle of Flodden, where he was defeated, James is widely considered the most successful monarch of Scotland from the House of Stewart

 6 
James II of Scotland
(King of Scots)

James II of Scotland
6
Birthdate: October 16, 1430
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Holyrood Palace
Died: August 3, 1460

James II of Scotland reigned as the king of Scotland from 1437 to 1460. One of the most popular kings of Scotland, James socialized often with the commoners. Renowned for his restless energy, he traveled around the country and proved to be an active king. Thanks to his popularity, James is often depicted in historical novels, plays, and short stories.

 7 
Robert the Bruce
(King of Scotland)

Robert the Bruce
14
Birthdate: July 11, 1274
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Turnberry Castle, Scotland
Died: June 7, 1329
King of Scots Robert I, better known as Robert the Bruce, is revered as a Scottish national hero. He successfully led his country against England in the First War of Scottish Independence. Legends state he was inspired by a spider’s relentless effort to spin a web, to ultimately defeat England.
You May Like

 8 

David Stirling
3
Birthdate: November 15, 1915
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Lecropt, Perthshire, Scotland
Died: November 4, 1990

Scottish-born British Army officer David Stirling was known for his exploits in World War II, during which he formed and led the British Special Air Service (SAS). Following the war, he focused on combating racism in colonial Africa and even formed a foundation for animal conservation. He was knighted for his achievements.

 9 
Liam Fox
(Politician)

Liam Fox
5
Birthdate: September 22, 1961
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: East Kilbride, Scotland, UK

British politician Liam Fox has held important posts, such as that of the Secretary of State for International Trade and has also chaired the Conservative Party. He is also a qualified general physician and a former civilian army medical officer. He is married to a fellow doctor.

John Balliol, King of Scotland
6
Birthdate: 1249 AD
Died: November 25, 1314

Scottish king John Balliol, also known as Toom Tabard, was successful in taking over the reins of the kingdom out of 13 competitors for the crown, following Margaret, the Maid of Norway’s death. He eventually surrendered to the English king Edward I and was imprisoned at the Tower of London.

Thomas Cochrane, 10th Earl of Dundonald
4
Birthdate: December 14, 1775
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Hamilton, Lanarkshire, Scotland
Died: October 31, 1860

One of the best-known seamen from Britain, Thomas Cochrane, 10th Earl of Dundonald had also been an MP. He is also remembered for his conflict with Admiral James Gambier. Though expelled from the Parliament for spreading a death hoax about Napoleon I along with his uncle, he was later proved to be innocent.

 12 
J. Keir Hardie
(Politician)

J. Keir Hardie
3
Birthdate: August 15, 1856
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Newhouse, United Kingdom
Died: September 26, 1915

Scottish-born labor leader and trade unionist J. Keir Hardie is best remembered for establishing the Labour Party of the UK. He also supported the suffragist revolt organized by activist Emmeline Pankhurst. A pacifist, he objected to Britain’s participation in World War I but eventually ended up being sidelined by his party.

 13 
Henry Campbell-Bannerman
(Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (1905-08))

Henry Campbell-Bannerman
4
Birthdate: September 7, 1836
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Glasgow, Scotland
Died: April 22, 1908

 14 
John Witherspoon
(Politician)

John Witherspoon
3
Birthdate: February 5, 1723
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Gifford, Scotland
Died: November 15, 1794

John Witherspoon was a Scottish American slaveholder, Presbyterian minister, and Founding Father of the United States. A signatory to the Declaration of Independence, Witherspoon also signed the Articles of Confederation. He also played a crucial role in shaping public policy in the United States of America.

 15 
Hugh Dowding
(Air Chief Marshal)

Hugh Dowding
3
Birthdate: April 24, 1882
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Moffat, Scotland
Died: February 15, 1970

A RAF officer, Hugh Dowding is best remembered for his exploits in the Battle of Britain during World War II, in which he defended the UK against the German air attacks. He later earned the Knight Grand Cross and was also awarded a baronetcy. Interestingly, he was part of the Fairy Investigation Society.

Andrew Moray
5
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Died: October 31, 1297

Legendary Scottish patriot Andrew Moray is remembered for his exploits in the Scottish Wars of Independence. He is believed to be the man responsible for William Wallace’s victory at Stirling Bridge and died in battle, though history seems to have been mostly ignorant of his sacrifice.

 17 
Malcolm Rifkind
(Politician)

Malcolm Rifkind
3
Birthdate: June 21, 1946
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Edinburgh, Scotland

 18 
Charles Kennedy
(British Leader of the Liberal Democrats (1999-2006))

Charles Kennedy
6
Birthdate: November 25, 1959
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Inverness, Scotland
Died: June 1, 2015

At 23, Charles Kennedy won the Ross, Cromarty and Skye seat, thus beginning his 32-year political career. The Liberal Democrats leader apparently had to hire someone to delete the continuous deluge of abusive comments on social media before the 2015 election. He died due to alcohol-related issues at 55.

 19 
Stephen Crabb
(Politician)

Stephen Crabb
3
Birthdate: January 20, 1973
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Inverness, Scotland

British politician Stephen Crabb, who represents the Welsh Conservatives, had initially worked as a marketing consultant and had also been associated with the London Chamber of Commerce. The first elected MP from Preseli Pembrokeshire, his home constituency, he was named the 2014 Welsh Politician of the Year.

 20 
Sir Mortimer Wheeler
(Archaeologist)

Sir Mortimer Wheeler
3
Birthdate: September 10, 1890
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Glasgow, Scotland
Died: July 22, 1976

Sir Mortimer Wheeler was a British archaeologist who served as the director of the London Museum as well as the National Museum of Wales during his illustrious career. He is credited with developing the Wheeler–Kenyon method of archaeological excavation. Wheeler is also remembered for his association with the Archaeological Survey of India where he served as Director-General.

 21 

Simon Fraser, 11th Lord Lovat
3
Birthdate: January 5, 1667
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: England
Died: April 9, 1747

 22 
John Murray, 4th Earl of Dunmore
(Governor of the Province of New York 1770 - 1771)

John Murray, 4th Earl of Dunmore
3
Birthdate: 1730 AD
Birthplace: Scotland, United Kingdom
Died: February 25, 1809

 23 
Edward Bruce
(High King of Ireland (1315–1318))

Edward Bruce
3
Birthdate: 1275 AD
Birthplace: Scotland
Died: 1318 AD

Archibald Douglas, 6th earl of Angus
3
Birthdate: 1489 AD
Birthplace: Lanarkshire, Scotland
Died: January 22, 1557

 25 
Reginald Johnston
(Commissioner of Weihaiwei (1927–1930) ,Former diplomat who served as the tutor and advisor to Puyi, the last Emperor of China)

Reginald Johnston
3
Birthdate: October 13, 1874
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Edinburgh, Scotland
Died: March 6, 1938

 26 
James Graham, 1st Marquess of Montrose
(Poet, Viceroy and Captain General of Scotland)

James Graham, 1st Marquess of Montrose
3
Birthdate: October 25, 1612
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Edinburgh, Scotland
Died: May 21, 1650

Known as The Great Montrose, James Graham, 1st Marquess of Montrose was not just a Scottish nobleman and military leader but also a talented poet. He won many battles for Charles I but was defeated in the Battle of Carbisdale, following which he was hanged to death in the Edinburgh marketplace.

 27 
John Moore
(General)

John Moore
3
Birthdate: November 13, 1761
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Glasgow, Scotland
Died: January 16, 1809

 28 
John Comyn III of Badenoch
(Military commander)

John Comyn III of Badenoch
4
Birthdate: 1274 AD
Birthplace: Badenoch
Died: February 10, 1306

 29 

Donald Campbell Dewar
3
Birthdate: August 21, 1937
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Glasgow, Scotland
Died: October 11, 2000

 30 

Edmund Ironside, 1st Baron Ironside
2
Birthdate: May 6, 1880
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Edinburgh, Scotland
Died: September 22, 1959

 31 
Ian Hamilton
(Army General)

Ian Hamilton
4
Birthdate: January 16, 1853
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Corfu, Greece
Died: October 12, 1947

 32 

John Stuart, 3rd earl of Bute
3
Birthdate: May 25, 1713
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Parliament Square, Edinburgh, Scotland
Died: March 10, 1792

 33 
Alexander Mackenzie
(Former Prime Minister of Canada)

Alexander Mackenzie
0
Birthdate: January 28, 1822
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Logierait, Scotland
Died: April 17, 1892

 34 
Jackson Carlaw
(Politician)

Jackson Carlaw
2
Birthdate: April 12, 1959
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Newton Mearns, England

Jackson Carlaw is a Scottish politician best known for his association with the Scottish Conservative & Unionist Party where he served as the leader from February to July 2020. From 2011 to 2019, he had served as the deputy leader of the party. Since 2007, Jackson Carlaw has been serving as a Member of the Scottish Parliament.

 35 
James Macpherson
(Poet, Translator, Writer)

James Macpherson
2
Birthdate: October 27, 1736
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Ruthven
Died: February 17, 1796

 36 
Thomas Sutherland
(Founder of The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation)

Thomas Sutherland
0
Birthdate: August 16, 1834
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Aberdeen, Scotland, United Kingdom
Died: January 1, 1922

Thomas Sutherland was a British politician and banker best remembered for founding The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC),  the founder member of HSBC Group. After his demise, a street in Sheung Wan was named after him.

 37 
Jo Grimond
(Politician)

Jo Grimond
2
Birthdate: July 29, 1913
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: St. Andrews, Scotland
Died: October 24, 1993

 38 
Gavin Esler
(Journalist)

Gavin Esler
0
Birthdate: February 27, 1953
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Glasgow, Scotland

Award-winning Scottish journalist and broadcaster Gavin Esler is best known for presenting BBC programs such as Dateline London, The Film Review, and Hardtalk. He has also penned novels such as The Blood Brother and non-fiction works such as Brexit Without the Bullshit. He also contested as election as a Change UK candidate.

 39 
Lord George Murray
(Scottish general)

Lord George Murray
2
Birthdate: October 4, 1694
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Huntingtower, Scotland
Died: October 11, 1760

 40 
John Ross
(Navy Officer)

John Ross
2
Birthdate: June 24, 1777
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Balsarroch, Scotland
Died: August 30, 1856

Sir Leander Starr Jameson, Baronet
2
Birthdate: February 9, 1853
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Stranraer, Scotland
Died: November 26, 1917

Jennie Lee, Baroness Lee of Asheridge
2
Birthdate: November 3, 1904
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Lochgelly, Fife, Scotland
Died: November 16, 1988

 43 
James Wilson
(Businessman)

James Wilson
2
Birthdate: June 3, 1805
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Hawick, Roxburghshire, Scotland
Died: August 11, 1860

Born to a hat manufacturer, James Wilson initially wished to study law but later joined his father’s business. Over the years, he established what is now the Standard Chartered Bank. Sent to Kolkata by Queen Victoria to introduce tax reforms, he introduced paper currency in the country, but died of dysentery.

 44 
James McGill
(Businessman)

James McGill
2
Birthdate: October 6, 1744
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Glasgow, Scotland
Died: December 19, 1813

James McGill was a Scottish Canadian politician, philanthropist, and businessman best remembered for founding McGill University in Montreal, Canada. One of the most important members of the Château Clique, McGill was also one of the founding members of the famous gentleman's dining club, The Beaver Club.

 45 

Mountstuart Elphinstone
2
Birthdate: October 6, 1779
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Dumbarton, Dumbartonshire, Scotland
Died: November 20, 1859

James Hamilton, 1st earl of Arran
2
Birthdate: 1475 AD
Birthplace: Scotland
Died: 1529 AD

 47 
Robert Morrison
(Former Presbyterian preacher, is most notable for his work in China)

Robert Morrison
2
Birthdate: January 5, 1782
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Morpeth, Northumberland, England, United Kingdom
Died: August 1, 1834

Better known as the pioneer of Protestant missionary work in China, Robert Morrison was the first missionary from the London Missionary Society to visit China. Apart from translating the Bible into Chinese, he also enriched Anglo-Chinese literature with his dictionaries and books on Chinese grammar.

Archibald Campbell, 9th Earl of Argyll
2
Birthdate: February 26, 1629
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Dalkeith, Scotland
Died: June 30, 1685

Henry Brougham, 1st Baron Brougham and Vaux
2
Birthdate: September 19, 1778
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Cowgate, Edinburgh, Scotland
Died: May 7, 1868

Richard Haldane, 1st Viscount Haldane
2
Birthdate: July 30, 1856
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Edinburgh, Scotland
Died: August 19, 1928

Richard Haldane, 1st Viscount Haldane was a British philosopher, lawyer, and politician. Between 1905 and 1912, he served as the Secretary of State for War and was instrumental in implementing a series of reforms of the British Army called The Haldane Reforms. He also served as the Lord Chancellor twice during his illustrious career. Richard was also an influential writer.