actorsActors – Famous actors , including Alec Guinness, Katherine Hepburn, Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly.

David_LivingstoneAdventurers – Famous adventurers and explorers, including Christopher Colombus, Marco Polo, Roald Amundsen and Neil Armstrong.

artArtists – A list of the great artists – Leonardo da Vinci, Claude Monet, Vincent Van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, Michelangelo and Rembrandt.

gatesBusiness people – Famous businessmen/women. Including Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey, Henry Ford and Steve Jobs.

comicsComedians – Some of the great comedians including Charlie Chaplin, Groucho Marx, Peter Sellers, Johnny Carson and John Cleese.

writerEconomists – Famous economists from Adam Smith to Milton Friedman and Paul Krugman

Entrepreneurs – Famous entrepreneurs who have set up and created successful business, including Henry Ford, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates.

womenFemale biographies – A list of famous women from Sappho and Cleopatra to Marilyn Monroe and Angela Merkel.


Humanitarians – Famous people who have offered charitable service to others, including Mother Teresa, Florence Nightingale and Princess Diana.

Inventors – Famous inventors including Cai Lun, Leonardo da Vinci, Galileo, Sir Isaac Newton, James Watt and Samuel Morse.

lawrenceMilitary figures – Famous military leaders and soldiers – Alexander the Great, Napoleon, Ataturk, Erwin Rommel, Winston Churchill and Dwight Eisenhower.

musicMusicians – Famous musicians from classical music to popular music. Including Mozart, Beethoven, Bach and John Lennon.

peaceNobel Prize winners – Winners of the Nobel Peace Prize, such as Mikhail Gorbachev, Desmond Tutu and Mother Teresa.

William_BlakePoets – The great poets. William Blake, Emily Dickinson, John Keats, Homer, R. Tagore.

gorbachevPoliticians – Politicians from across the world. Including Abraham Lincoln, Charles de Gaulle and Indira Gandhi.

Revolutionaries – People who inspired or began revolutions. Including Spartacus, Joan of Arc, George Washington, Karl Marx.

politicians Royalty – Famous Kings and Queens throughout history. Including Henry VIII, Queen Victoria and Catherine the Great.

scientisScientists – Famous scientists from Aristotle and Archimedes to Albert Einstein and Charles Darwin.

spiritualSpiritual figures – Famous saints, mystics, religious figures. Including Jesus Christ, The Buddha, Lord Krishna.

aliSports people – Famous sportsmen/women. Muhammad Ali, Serena Williams, Pele and Usain Bolt.

writerWriters / authors – Famous authors. J.R.R. Tolkien, William Shakespeare, Leo Tolstoy, John Steinbeck and Ernest Hemingway.

People by nationality

Flag_of_Africa Africans

US_flagAmerican (US)

Australia Australians


holland Dutch


europe-flag Europeans

france-flag French



Flag_of_India Indians



russia-flag Russians


sweden-flag Swedish


Inspirational people

Nelson_MandelaCourageous people – people who have overcome difficult circumstances and difficult odds.

Martin_Luther_King_JrInspirational people – People who made a difference in a positive way and left the world a better place.

lincoln-abrahamPeople who fought for human /civil rights – People who campaigned for equality, civil rights and civil justice.

Mary_Wollstonecraft_cph.3b11901Women’s Rights Activists – Women who championed the cause of women’s rights.


People by Time Period

the-histories-heroditusMajor periods in world history. A list of the major periods in world history. Including the Stone Age, Bronze Age and Iron Age. It also includes modern eras, which have lasted only a few decades, such as the Gilded Age, Progressive Age and the Information Age.

ramsesFamous historical figures (throughout history) A list of most famous figures throughout history.

Ancient Greeks (8th Century BC to 0 AD) Famous people of the classical Greek period. Poets, statesmen and the fore-runners of democracy.

leonardo-da-vinciPeople of the Renaissance (1350s to 1650s) The Renaissance covers the flowering of art and culture in Europe. Primarily in art, but also in science.

voltairePeople of the Enlightenment (1650s to 1780s) The enlightenment is a period which saw the growth in intellectual reason, individualism and a challenge to existing religious and political structures.

John_KeatsPeople of the Romantic Era (1790s to 1850s) Romantic poets (Blake, Keats, Coleridge, Wordsworth and Shelley) and Romantic artists, composers and writers.

britishIndustrial Revolution (1750s – 1900) The great inventors, entrepreneurs and businessmen of the industrial revolution. Also the social activists of the era.

giuseppe-garibaldiPeople of the Nineteenth Century (1801-1900) Nineteenth Century saw the economic boom of the industrial revolution and world-wide movements for political change.

Queen_VictoriaVictorian age (1837 – 1901) The principle figures of the Victorian age and the second half of the industrial revolution.

Famous people of the Gilded Age (1870-1900) – The great industrialists, such as J.D. Rockefeller, J.P. Morgan and Andrew Carnegie who defined the Gilded Age.

Edward_viiEdwardian Age (1901 – 1914). A period of growth in science, technology and also rising tensions between the major powers. Also saw the ‘heroic age’ of exploration.

Douglas_HaigPeople of the First World War (1914 – 1918) The principle figures involved in the First World War from Germany, Britain, US and the rest of the world.

100px-MKGandhiInter-war era (1918 – 1939) A period of peace in between the two world wars. Characterised by economic boom and bust, and the growth of polarising ideologies.

Winston_S_ChurchillPeople of the Twentieth Century (1901 – 2000) Famous people of the turbulent century.

gorbachevPeople of the Cold War (1948 – 1990) Famous people who participated in the Cold War between the Soviet block and the U.S. / Nato allies.

Barack_ObamaPeople of the Twenty First Century (2001 – ) Politicians, musicians, authors, scientists and sports figures.

lenin Famous leaders – A list of famous leaders who led their country.

Different Religions






Famous saints


Other groups of people

Animal rights activists – Brigitte Bardot, Linda McCartney, Peter Singer and Jeremy Bentham.

Vegetarians – Including Mahatma Gandhi, Abraham Lincoln, Rosa Parks.

writerPeople who changed their minds – Including, the Buddha, Ashoka, Leo Tolstoy, Martin Niemoller.

Sir_Winston_S_ChurchillPeople who changed the world. Famous people who changed the course of history including Socrates, Newton, Einstein and Gandhi.

MariecurieWomen who changed the world – Famous women who changed the world, including Sappho, Marie Curie, Queen Victoria, and Catherine the Great.

communist-manifesto-100Books that changed the world. Important books which influenced and change society and the world. Including The Republic, The Iliad, The Communist Manifesto and The King James Bible.

un-logoQuotes that changed the world –  Inspiring quotes that changed the world from some of the world’s leading minds – including Einstein, Buddha, Darwin, and Galileo.

ideasIdeas that changed the world – Scientific, political, religious and technological ideas that transformed the world. Including – democracy, feminism, human rights and relativity.

Inventions that changed the world – Famous inventions that made a great difference to the progress of the world, including aluminium, the telephone and the printing press.

People who shaped democracy – Ancient Greeks such as Cleisthenes and Colon, and modern promoters of democracy – John Lock, William Penn and Rousseau.

j.s.bachFamous Composers – A list of famous and influential composers throughout history, including the greatest composers, such as Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms and Mendelssohn.

leo-Tolstoy_1856Famous pacifists – People who refused to fight and people who supported different forms of pacifism.

gandhi People who promoted world peace – People who have made a great contribution to creating a more peaceful world.

ZarthushtraFamous Religious leaders and founders – Key people who helped to found different religions and spiritual movements.

IsaacNewton-100 most influential people – A list of 100 most influential people as chosen by Michael H. Hast, from his book ‘100 most influential people in the world’.

ThalesFamous mathematicians – A list of famous mathematicians, including Thales, Euclid, Newton, Turing and Nash.

einsteinGreat Thinkers – Influential and insightful thinkers, who have made significant contributions in fields of science, philosophy, literature and the humanities.

rene-descartesPhilosophers – Some of the world’s greatest philosophers, including Socrates, Plato, Descartes, Kant, Spinoza and David Hume.

ali100 Famous sporting personalities – 100 Famous sporting personalities, including Muhammad Ali, Nadia Comaneci, Pele and Jesse Owens.



Citation : Pettinger, Tejvan. “Categories of famous people”, Oxford, 3 Feb. 2016