The 50 Most Important Historical Characters

Great jobs and feats have to be done working as a team, one person cannot defeat the crowd. However, in my opinion there will always be leaders who are the ones who drive change, people who get out of the way followed by the crowd and try to achieve very ambitious goals.

There are hundreds of famous and illustrious historical figures  who have made a significant difference in the world, be it with their ideas, actions, inventions or discoveries. Unfortunately, others influenced the evil of humanity.

I am going to make a list of the most famous and important characters, and I will mention their most relevant aspects. I’m sure I’m missing some, so I encourage you to leave in the comments those that escape me.

As a curiosity, note that some are on the list I made of famous psychopaths. You may also be interested in this list of the most important scientists .

The most prominent and important characters in history

Charles Darwin

  • He was an English naturalist who postulated that all species of living things have evolved over time from a common ancestor through a process called natural selection.
  • His theory forms the basis of modern evolutionary synthesis and constitutes a logical explanation that unifies observations about the diversity of life.


  • He was a polymath: Ancient Greek philosopher, logician, and scientist whose ideas have had an enormous influence on the intellectual history of the West for more than 2,000 years.
  • He wrote approximately 200 treatises on logic, metaphysics, philosophy of science, ethics, political philosophy, aesthetics, rhetoric, physics, astronomy, and biology. 
  • He is recognized as the founder of logic and biology.
  • He formulated the theory of spontaneous generation, the principle of non-contradiction, the notions of category, substance, act, power and immobile prime mover.

Marie Curie

  • She was a Polish physicist, mathematician and chemist, nationalized French.
  • A pioneer in the field of radioactivity, she was, among other merits, the first person to receive two Nobel Prizes in different specialties, Physics and Chemistry, and the first woman to be a professor at the University of Paris.

Napoleon I Bonaparte

  • He was a French military and ruler, republican general during the Revolution and the Directory, French emperor from 1804 to 1815.
  • For 10 years it acquired control of almost all of Western and Central Europe through a series of conquests and alliances.
  • Napoleon is considered one of the greatest military geniuses in history.
  • He established the Napoleonic Code. 
  • He is judged as the key character who marked the beginning of the 19th century and the subsequent evolution of contemporary Europe.

Julius Caesar

  • He was a military and political leader of the late republican era.
  • He established the Julian calendar.  
  • He was the first living Roman leader whose face appeared on a coin in circulation.
  • Regardless of his political and military career, César stood out as a speaker and writer. He wrote at least one treatise on astronomy, another on the Roman republican religion and a study on Latin


  • He was a Greek philosopher follower of Socrates and teacher of Aristotle.
  • In 387 he founded the Academy, 4 an institution that would continue its march for more than nine hundred years.
  • He wrote on the most diverse subjects, such as political philosophy, ethics, psychology, philosophical anthropology, epistemology, epistemology, metaphysics, cosmogony, cosmology, philosophy of language and philosophy of education.
  • His influence as an author and systematizer has been incalculable throughout the history of philosophy.

Cleopatra (about 69 BC – 30 BC)

  • Cleopatra, the famous pharaoh woman was an icon in ancient times. Its imposing beauty caused figures like Julius Caesar or Marco Antonio to fall at her feet, causing coups and divisions within the Roman Empire.
  • Her pride got the better of her and she died by committing suicide after learning that she would be turned into a slave.

William Shakespeare 

  • He was an English playwright, poet, and actor.
  • He is considered the most important writer in the English language and one of the most famous in world literature.
  • He was a revered poet and playwright already in his time, but his reputation did not reach its current high levels until the 19th century.
  • In the 20th century, his works were adapted and rediscovered many times by all kinds of artistic, intellectual and dramatic art movements.

Albert Einstein

  • He was a German physicist, later nationalized Swiss and American. He is considered the best known and most popular scientist of the 20th century.
  • In 1905, when he was an unknown young physicist, employed at the Bern Patent Office, he published his theory of special relativity.
  • In 1915 he presented the theory of general relativity, in which he completely reformulated the concept of gravity.

George Washington 

  • He was the first President of the United States between 1789 and 1797 and Commander-in-Chief of the revolutionary Continental Army in the American War of Independence (1775-1783).
  • In the United States he is considered the Father of the Nation.

Christopher Columbus

  • He was a navigator, cartographer, admiral, viceroy and governor general of the West Indies in the service of the Crown of Castile.
  • He is famous for having made the discovery of America, on October 12, 1492, when he reached the island of Guanahani, currently in the Bahamas.

Isaac Newton

Isaac Newton made great contributions to the world of science and society.

  • He was an English physicist, philosopher, theologian, inventor, alchemist, and mathematician.
  • He is the author of the Philosophiæ naturalis principia mathematica, better known as the Principia, where he describes the law of universal gravitation and established the foundations of classical mechanics through the laws that bear his name.

Sigmund Freud

  • He was an Austrian neurologist of Jewish origin, father of psychoanalysis and one of the greatest intellectual figures of the 20th century.
  • Despite the hostility faced by his revolutionary theories and hypotheses, Freud would eventually become one of the most influential figures of the 20th century.
  • Many limit their contribution to the field of thought and culture in general, there is a wide debate about whether or not psychoanalysis belongs to the field of science.

Louis Pasteur

  • He was a French chemist whose discoveries were of enormous importance in various fields of natural science.
  • He owes the technique known as pasteurization.
  • He definitively refuted the theory of spontaneous generation and developed the germ theory of infectious diseases.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

  • He was an Austrian composer and pianist, master of Classicism, considered one of the most influential and outstanding musicians in history.
  • Mozart’s work encompasses all musical genres and includes more than six hundred creations, most of which are recognized as masterpieces of symphonic, concertant, chamber, piano, operatic and choral music, achieving universal popularity and diffusion.


Archimedes made many contributions to humanity and science

  • He was a Greek physicist, engineer, inventor, astronomer, and mathematician.
  • He is considered one of the most important scientists of classical antiquity.
  • Among his advances in physics are his foundations in hydrostatics, statics and the explanation of the principle of the lever.

Galileo Galilei

  • He was an Italian astronomer, philosopher, engineer, mathematician, and physicist, closely associated with the Scientific Revolution.
  • His achievements include the improvement of the telescope, a wide variety of astronomical observations, the first law of motion, and a decisive support for Copernicanism.
  • He has been considered as the “father of modern astronomy”, the “father of modern physics” and the “father of science”

Jesus of Nazareth

  • Also known as Jesus, Christ or Jesus Christ, he is the central figure of Christianity and one of the most influential in Western culture.
  • He is probably the most studied religious character in the entire history of mankind.
  • The religious movement that he started was transformed into a new religion, Christianity, which currently numbers more than 2.1 billion Christians.


  • He was the founding prophet of Islam.
  • Muhammad is considered “the seal of the prophets” for being the last of a long chain of messengers sent by God to update his message
  • There are currently an estimated 1,157 million followers of Islam

Gautama Buddha 

  • He was a sage on whose teachings Buddhism was founded.
  • Due to some very common misinterpretations, it must be emphasized that Gautama Buddha is not a god.
  • Traditional biographies on Sidarta Gautama generally include numerous miracles, prophecies, and supernatural events.
  • Buddhism has approximately 500 million practitioners.

Alexander the Great

  • He was the king of Macedonia from 336 a. Until his death.
  • In his 13-year reign, he completely changed the political and cultural structure of the area when he conquered the Achaemenid Empire and began a time of extraordinary cultural exchange, in which the Greeks expanded throughout the Mediterranean and near-eastern areas.


  • He was an Italian Renaissance architect, sculptor and painter, considered one of the greatest artists in history both for his sculptures and for his paintings and architectural work.
  • He triumphed in all the arts in which he worked, characterized by his perfectionism.

Mahatma Gandhi

  • He was an Indian Hindu lawyer, thinker and politician.
  • Once independence was achieved, Gandhi tried to reform Indian society, beginning by integrating the lower castes, and by developing rural areas.

Nelson Mandela

  • He was an anti-apartheid activist, politician and philanthropist who served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999.
  • His government dedicated itself to dismantling the social and political structure inherited from apartheid by combating institutionalized racism, poverty and social inequality, and promoting social reconciliation.

Abraham Lincoln

  • He was an American politician, 16th President of the United States and first for the Republican Party.
  • During his tenure, he helped preserve the United States by defeating the secessionist Confederate States of America in the American Civil War.
  • He introduced measures that resulted in the abolition of slavery, with the issuance of his Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 and the promotion of passage of the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution in 1865.

Martin Luther King 

political speech

  • He was an American pastor of the Baptist church who did crucial work in the United States at the head of the Civil Rights Movement for African Americans and who also participated as an activist in numerous protests against the Vietnam War and poverty in general.

Thomas alva edison 

  • He was a prolific American inventor and businessman who patented more than a thousand inventions.
  • It helped to give both the United States and Europe the technological profiles of the contemporary world: the electrical industries, a viable telephone system, the phonograph, the films, etc.

Nicholas Tesla

  • He was an inventor, mechanical engineer, electrical engineer and physicist of Serbian origin. It is considered to be the most important promoter of the birth of commercial electricity.
  • He is best known for his many revolutionary inventions in the field of electromagnetism, developed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.


Among the contributions of Pythagoras we find the Pitogárica school

  • He was a Greek philosopher and mathematician considered the first pure mathematician.
  • He contributed significantly to the advancement of Hellenic mathematics, geometry and arithmetic, derived particularly from numerical relationships, and applied for example to the theory of weights and measures, the theory of music or astronomy.


  • Hypatia a (Alexandria, 355 or 370-March 415 or 4161) was a Greek Neoplatonic philosopher and teacher, a native of Egypt, who excelled in the fields of mathematics and astronomy, member and head of the Neoplatonic School of Alexandria at the beginning of the 5th century.

Frida Kahlo (1907 – 1954)

  • Famous Mexican painter. Framed in surrealist painting, Frida devoted most of her works to self-portraits.
  • Likewise, her political activity was also news in the artist, being a famous communist.

Joan of Arc (1412 – 1431)

  • Joan of Arc was a soldier at the head of the French royal army, under the command of King Carlos VII, who expelled the English. Her end was tragic since she died at the stake condemned for heresy because of her wisdom.
  • In 1920, Pope Benedict XV would grant her the title of saint.

Ludwig van Beethoven

  • He was a German composer, conductor and pianist.
  • He is one of the most important composers in the history of music and his legacy has had a decisive influence on later music.
  • His musical legacy ranges, chronologically, from the classical period to the beginning of musical romanticism.

Karl Marx

  • He was a German philosopher, intellectual and communist militant of Jewish origin.
  • In his vast and influential work, he ventured into the fields of philosophy, history, political science, sociology, and economics.
  • Together with Friedrich Engels, he is the father of scientific socialism, modern communism, Marxism, and historical materialism.


  • He was a renowned Chinese thinker whose doctrine is called Confucianism.
  • His ideas were based on a spiritual inheritance that the ru or learned school, and more specifically Confucius himself, had compiled and systematized in a sublime way.

Nicolaus Copernicus

  • He was a Renaissance astronomer who formulated the heliocentric theory of the Solar System, first conceived by Aristarchus of Samos.

Bill gates 

  • He is an American businessman, computer scientist and philanthropist, co-founder of the software company Microsoft together with Paul Allen.

Henry Ford

  • He was the founder of the Ford Motor Company and the father of modern production lines used for mass production.


  • He was a Russian politician, revolutionary, political theorist, and communist.
  • Leader of the Bolshevik sector of the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party, he became the main leader of the October Revolution of 1917.

Simon Bolivar

  • He is considered the liberator of several Latin American countries. He fought against the Spanish Empire to help liberate today’s Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Panama, Peru, and Venezuela.

Mao Zedong 

He was the top leader of the Communist Party of China (CCP) and the People’s Republic of China.

Under his leadership, the Communist Party seized power in mainland China in 1949, when the new People’s Republic was proclaimed, after the victory in the Civil War against the forces of the ROC.

Adolf hitler

  • He brought to power the National Socialist German Workers Party or Nazi Party, and led a totalitarian regime during the period known as the Third Reich or Nazi Germany.
  • He led Germany during the Second World War, started by him with the main purpose of fulfilling his expansionist plans in Europe.
  • Under Hitler’s leadership, German forces and their allies occupied most of Europe and North Africa in 1941.
  • Hitler was the cause of the death of seventeen million people, including six million Jews and between half and a million and a half Gypsies, in what was later called the “Holocaust.”

Anna Frank

anne frank phrases

  • She is the author of the well-known Diary of Anne Frank, which she wrote while taking refuge in Amsterdam from the Nazis.

Margaret Tatcher (1925 – 2013)

  • Margaret Thatcher is a former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. Known as “the iron lady” due to her toughness, determination and firmness when leading the country.
  • He supported the privatization of state-owned companies, the means of education and social aid to be framed within a conservative ideology known as “Thatcherism.”

Marilyn Monroe (1926-1962)

  • Marilyn Monroe is probably one of the most famous along with Cleopatra. Noma Jean Mortenson has been one of the greatest actresses who have passed through Hollywood with such famous titles as With Skirts and Crazy .
  • His romance with the two Kennedy brothers and his physique, made his fame obsess more than one.

Amelia Earhart (1897 – 1937)

  • Amelia Earhart is nothing more and nothing less than the first woman to fly across the Atlantic Ocean. She became a figure that represented the rights and struggle of women in society at that time.
  • Her disappearance during the feat of going around the world in 1937 definitely made her a legend.

Diana of Wales (1961 – 1997)

  • Diana of Wales was the wife of Charles of England. She was popularly known as the “princess of the people” due to her solidarity with those most in need.
  • His death, after suffering a car accident, was very popular. To this day, he is still the subject of various conspiracy theories.

Indira Gandhi (1917 – 1984)

  • Like her father, Indira was a reputed Prime Minister of India, coming to power up to two occasions.
  • Her death came in 1984 after being assassinated.

Rosa Parks (1913 – 2005)

  • Rosa Parks’ action of not leaving her seat to a man on a bus, led to the burning of what would lead to protests in favor of the civil rights of African Americans in the United States.

Eva Perón (1919 – 1952)

  • Eva Perón was a multifaceted woman who came to work as both an actress, a model and a broadcaster to finally marry Perón, president of Argentina.
  • It was as a result of this link that a crusade for the rights of workers and women began.

Catherine the Great 

  • Catherine the Great of Russia continued the legacy of Peter the Great and the course towards the Europeanization of the country. Her government was noted for important reforms, in addition to its support for science and art.
  • Catalina maintained personal correspondence with prominent figures of the time and was a highly enlightened woman who triumphed ruling a country that was not her own. She had to face the rebellion of Yemelián Pugachov and the Turks.
  • The Russian empire extended during his mandate reaching the Crimea. He introduced vaccination and created Lomonosov State University, which to date remains the largest in the country.

Johannes gutenberg

  • He was a German goldsmith, inventor of the modern movable type printing press.

Victoria I of England (1819 – 1901)

  • Queen Victoria I of England gave rise to what is known as the “Victorian” era. She led the country during its industrial boom, making it the world’s leading power.
  • His policies were conservative and consolidated the middle class as well as succeeding in colonial expansion.

Maria Antonieta (1755 – 1793)

  • Marie Antoinette is one of the causes of hatred of the French people in the French Revolution due to her waste of public money. Her meticulousness and refined hobbies would arouse the anger of Paris.
  • His end was death by guillotine.

Genghis Khan

  • He was a Mongol warrior and conqueror who united the nomadic tribes of this ethnic group in North Asia, founding the first Mongol Empire, the largest contiguous empire in history.
  • Under his leadership as Great Khan, the Mongols began a wave of conquests that extended their rule over a vast territory, from Eastern Europe to the Pacific Ocean, and from Siberia to Mesopotamia, India, and Indochina.

Wright Brothers 

  • They are collectively named and known worldwide for being pioneers in the history of aviation.

Isabel I of Castile (1451 – 1504)

  • Together with her husband, Fernando II of Aragon, they were known as the Catholic Monarchs.
  • Under his mandate the reconquest was completed and the order was issued to Columbus to leave Spain for the new continent among other things.

What characters do you think are missing? I am interested in your opinion. Thank you!

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