100 People who changed the world

This is a list of 100 people who have changed the world. This list is not a judgement about who is ‘best’.

People who changed the world

christ1. Jesus Christ (circa 5 BCE – 30 CE) Spiritual Teacher, central figure of Christianity

2. Thomas JeffersonJefferson (1743 – 1826) American President 1801 – 1809, principle author of Declaration of Independence

3. Mikhail Gorbachev Gorbachev(1931 – ) Leader of Soviet Union 1985 – 1991, oversaw transition from Communism in Eastern Europe.

4. Lord Buddha buddha (circa 563 BCE – 483 BCE) Spiritual teacher and founder of Buddhism

5. Winston Churchill Churchill(1874 – 1965) Prime Minister of Great Britain during Second World War

6. William Shakespeare Shakespeare(1564 – 1616) English poet and playwright

Muhammad_Salat7. Muhammad  (570 – 632) Founder of Islam

8. Martin Luther King christ (1929 – 1968) Civil Rights leader

9. Abraham Lincoln Lincoln (1809 – 1865) American President during civil war, helped end slavery

mandela10. Nelson Mandela (1918 – 2013) Anti-apartheid leader, first President of democratic South Africa in 1994

  1. St Paul (5 BCE – 67 CE) Christian missionary
  2. Adolf Hitler (1889 – 1945) Dictator of Nazi Germany
  3. George Washington (1732 – 1799) First President of USA
  4. Sri Krishna (circa 2000 BCE) Spiritual teacher, prominent figure in Hinduism
  5. Emperor Constantine (272 – 337) First Roman Emperor to embrace Christianity
  6. Martin Luther (1483 – – 1546) Key figure in Protestant Reformation
  7. Socrates (469 BCE – 399 BCE) Greek philosopher
  8. Mahatma Gandhi (1869 – 1948) Indian nationalist and politician
  9. Karl Marx (1818 –– 1883) German philosopher, founder of Marxism
  10. Napoleon Bonaparte (1769 –– 1821) French military and political leader
  11. Simon Bolivar (1783 – 1830) Liberator of South American countries
  12. Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882 – 1945) US President 1932-1945
  13. Charles Darwin (1809 –– 1882) Developed theory of evolution
  14. Sir Isaac Newton (1642 – 1727) English mathematician and scientist
  15. Confucius (551 BCE– – 479 BCE) Chinese philosopher
  16. Akbar (1542 – 1605) Mughal Emperor
  17. Queen Victoria (1819 –– 1901) British monarch 1837 – 1901
  18. Konrad Adenauer (1876 – 1967) German Chancellor post WWII
  19. Jawaharlal Nehru (1889 – 1964) First Prime Minister of India
  20. Ramses II (1279 BCE – 1213 BCE) Egyptian Pharoah
  21. Benjamin Franklin (1706 – 1790) American writer and polymath
  22. Alexander the Great (356 BCE –– 323 BCE) King of Macedonia
  23. Woodrow Wilson (1856 – 1924) American president during WWI
  24. Christopher Columbus (1451 – 1506) Italian explorer
  25. Marcus Aurelius (121 –– 180) Roman emperor and philosopher
  26. Galileo Galilei (1564 – 1642) Astronomer and physicist
  27. Plato (424 BCE –– 348 BCE) Philosopher
  28. Joan of Arc (1412 – 1431) French saint
  29. Charlemagne (742 – 814) King of Franks and Emperor of the Romans
  30. Aristotle (384BCE –– 322BCE) Greek philosopher
  31. Saladin (1138 –– 1193) Leader of Arabs during Crusades
  32. Babur (1483 – 1531) Founder of Mughal Empire
  33. Sir Walter Raleigh (1552 –– 1618) English explorer
  34. Voltaire (1694 – – 1778) French philosopher
  35. Catherine the Great (1729 –– 1796) Empress of all the Russias 1762 – 1796
  36. Mozart (1756 –– 1791) Austrian composer
  37. Guru Nanak (1469 – 1539) Spiritual teacher, founder of Sikhism
  38. Leonardo da Vinci (1452 –– 1519) Italian scientist, artist, polymath
  39. Louis Pasteur (1822 – 1895) French chemist and Biologist
  40. Leo Tolstoy (1828 –– 1910) Russian writer and philosopher
  41. Albert Einstein (1879 –– 1955) German physicist
  42. Ataturk (1881 – 1938) Founder of the Turkish Republic
  43. Pablo Picasso (1881 – 1973) Spanish painter and sculptor
  44. Pope John Paul II (1920 – 2005) Polish Pope from 1978-2005
  45. Margaret Thatcher (1925 – 2013) British Prime Minister 1979 – 1990
  46. Mohammed Ali (1942 – 2016) American boxer and human rights activist
  47. John F. Kennedy (1917 –– 1963) American President 1961 – 1963
  48. Boris Yeltsin (1931 –– 2007) First President of Russia 1991 – 1999
  49. Indira Gandhi (1917 –– 1984) Prime Minister of India 1980 – 1984
  50. William Tyndale (1494 – 1536)  Translated Bible into English
  51. Tim Berners Lee (1955 – ) Inventor of World Wide Web
  52. Rosa Parks (1913 – 2005) Civil Rights activist
  53. Benazir Bhutto (1953 – 2007) Prime Minister of Pakistan 1993 – 1996
  54. J.S. Bach (1685 – 1750) German composer
  55. 14th Dalai Lama (1938 – ) Spiritual and political leader of Tibetans
  56. Malcolm X (1925 – 1965) Black Civil Rights activist
  57. Lech Walesa (1943 – ) Leader of Polish solidarity movement
  58. Charles de Gaulle (1890 – 1970) French politician
  59. Joseph Stalin (1879 – 1953) Leader of the Soviet Union 1922 – 1952
  60. Marie Curie (1867 – 1934) Chemist and physicist
  61. Giuseppe Garibaldi (1807 – 1882) Independence leader in Italy and South America
  62. Johann Gutenberg (1395 – 1468 Inventor of the printing press
  63. Oliver Cromwell (1599 – 1658) British Parliamentarian
  64. Vladimir Lenin (1870 – 1924) Leader of Russian Revolution in 1917
  65. Sigmund Freud (1856 – 1939) Austrian neurologist, psychoanalyst
  66. Mother Teresa (1910 – 1997) Macedonian Catholic nun and missionary
  67. Bill Gates (1955 – ) Founder of Microsoft
  68. Ernest Hemingway ( 1899 – 1961) American author
  69. John Lennon (1940 – 1980) British musician and member of the Beatles
  70. Genghis Kahn (1162 – 1227) Ruler of Mongol Empire
  71. Haile Selassie (1892 – 1975) Emperor of Ethiopia 1930 – 1974
  72. John M Keynes (1883 – 1946) Influential economist
  73. Susan B. Anthony (1820 – 1906) American political activist
  74. George Orwell (1903 – 1950) English author
  75. Thomas Edison (1847 – 1931) Inventor and businessman
  76. Kofi Annan (1938 –  ) United Nations Secretary General 1997 – 2006
  77. Dwight Eisenhower (1890 – 1969) Supreme Allied Commander WWII
  78. Eleanor Roosevelt (1884 – 1962) helped to draft UN declaration of human rights
  79. Dr. B.R. Ambedkar (1891 – 1956) Indian political activist and social reformer who drafted Indian constitution
  80. Lyndon Johnson (1908 – 1973) US President 1963 – 1969
  81. William Wilberforce (1759 – 1833) Campaigner against slavery
  82. Nikola Tesla (1856 – 1943) Scientist, inventor
  83. Alexander Fleming (1881–1955) Scottish biologist who discovered antibiotics
  84. Samuel Johnson (1709 – 1784) British author and creator of the English dictionary
  85. Eva Peron (1919 – 1952) First Lady of Argentina 1946 – 1952
  86. Henry Ford (1864 – 1947) American industrialist
  87. Princess Diana (1961 –– 1997) Humanitarian
  88. Oscar Wilde (1854 – 1900) Irish author, playwright
  89. Beethoven (1770 – 1827) German composer
  90. Aung San Suu Kyi (1945 – ) Burmese opposition leader

Citation: Pettinger, Tejvan. “People who changed the world”, Oxford, www.biographyonline.net, First published 2008. Last updated 2! November 2016


Related pages

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

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

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

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


Book of 100 Most Influential People Book Cover

Books about people who changed the World

Related pages on events that changed the world

Other lists of people who changed the world

Note: It is hard to select a ‘top 100’. It is also even harder to rank people in terms of influence. I agree there could easily be a different order and ranking. But, hopefully, this will be of help for researching some of the famous people who have made a big difference to the world.


  • Margaret Thatcher

    • Steve Jobs, he was one of the top influential people of this world.

  • Sir,what about DR.B.R.AMBEDKAR? MASSIAHA,LIBRETER & EMANCIPATER 0f hundred thousands of low caste(Untouchables&Shudras) from HINDUS’ IRON CLUTCHES. He himself faced & fought against HINDUS ‘Oppression,Discrimination and Injustice towards low caste hindus. He fought for the rights of the women.HE ALSO FOUGHT FOR THE RIGHTS OF LABOURERS.OVER & ABOVE , HE WROTE THE CONSTITUTION OF INDIA. Kindly,include & keep his name among FIRST 10 !!! HELLO AM I RIGHT,SIR? Likewise, BUDDHA should be the FIRST in the list. R P SINGH, NATIONAL PRESIDENT-AARAKSHAN BACHAO SANGHARSH SAMITI (ABSS), JAI BHEEM……….

    • Absolutely Right , He should be among-st top 10.

  • Its sad that steve jobs is not in that list. He has s major influence on mobile technology. He invented the multibtoch phone that we all use today.

    • Woooww!!! We all would be dead if HE hadn’t invented Apple mobiles…. The greatest invention of all time….. COME ON!!!!

  • Cyprus the great was a top figure in the history of mankind.

  • what about the man who electrified the world???Nikola Tesla!

    • well now,did you know if you build a tesla coil to generate your own electricity,the government will immediately confiscate said coil? within 48 hours its gone.but the man had a wonderful idea.

  • charlie chaplin

  • sad that kermit the frog isnt in there. :'( pls put him in there

    • You spelled plz wrong btw

      • It is spelled Please

    • What the heck did Kermit the Frog do… bruh 🙂

  • Amir Temur (Temurlaran)
    The man who occupied places from 3 continent
    Great uzbek militar (1336-1405)

  • I think mark zuckerberg should be on the list, he changed the world…

    the power of social networking… ;)) thanks

  • The great leader Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah sholud be on the list

  • Um Edgar Allan Poe?

  • Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj (1630-1680) Founder Of Maratha Empire

  • Mikhail Kalashnikov definetly changed the world with his AK-47 and
    AK-47-based models.

  • If we would like to nominate anyone????? Are you serious? How could you possibly, in the name of God, forgot to sign NIKOLA TESLA? How? If he hadn’t existed, you wouldn’t be in this lucky position to post this stuff on the internet. Please, be ashamed!

  • why the hell is elvis here

  • Hippocrates. founder of medicine.

  • Dr. B.R. Ambedkar & Chatrapati shivaji Maharaj should be there in list.

  • DR. Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar in India Must be there in the list. He has change the lives of billions of people in India. He should be 1st in the list.

  • In my lifetime I can vote for you to be my leader or I can vote to watch my leader the entire time that person leads my country.

  • We miss: Augustus Caesar; Mehmed II; Cyrus the Great; Hammurabi; Archimedes; Odoacer; Frederick Barbarossa, even Doge Enrico Dandolo – It is difficult to summarize on a list, when so many little things can actually impact the way our civilzation is directed towards now. That’s the reason I’m so fed up of these top lists.

  • Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar Should be included in this list. He is the god of Untouchable people in India.

  • Oh come on…what about the Cadbury family. They did more for workplace safety, public health and reduction of infant mortality than anyone else AND they made chocolate!!!!

  • I would like to nominate Alison Jales for incredibale teaching. 1950-2007

  • Lord Buddha, teacher, founder of Buddhism.

  • B R Ambedkar must be added in list in top 10. coz he fought for human rights (shudras), He wrote constitution for worlds biggest democracy. if martin luther king is on 4th then Ambedkar must be on 1st place…. you need more research.

  • Muhammad ALI JINNAH should also be in this list

  • Dr B R Ambedkar, undoubtedly the man who dedicated his entire life for the emancipation of untouchables, and also for the rights of women and labour class and placed the foundation for Indian economy.
    He fought for the equality for people and did the same work as the Martin Luther King did for the African Americans.
    He is the greatest personality of India who changed the lifes of billions people.
    For justification read and research about his life and fight for inequality.

    Besides him, Bill Gates, because he is doing his best(with his wealth and continuous efforts to make this planet a better planet) to eradicate many disease with which poor nations are suffering with.

  • GO APPPPLLEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Even Bill Gates is on there–Steve should be way above that guy.

  • B R Ambedkar must be added in list in top 10. coz he fought for human rights (shudras), He wrote constitution for worlds biggest democracy…

  • I can’t believe Billy Graham did not make the list.

  • Founder of Pakistan Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah sholud be included in the list

  • I think you have over looked some many inspirational and heroic people like Caratacus.

  • This list doesn’t much many sense. I know somebody from the USA did this, because there are Presidents before another great important people. Why is Obama on there? How did he change the world? What about Oprah? She’s known in the States, but I know that in other countries no. Is sad man

  • leonardo da vinci

  • MLK was ASEOME WHY did the guy kill him

  • awesome to know this many people change our world

  • when was this puplished

    • updated 2014

  • you fools mahatma gandhi deserve greater position than jawaharlal nehru gandhi is head of jawaharlal nehru.

  • Mahatma Gandhi was a political figure but not a politician. Way more influential than many on the list. He moved the biggest colonial empire in the world, which is not a small feat .

    Also it’s funny how the list misses many greater names from the Indian subcontinent. The world still needs to open their eyes and see towards the countries which have existed hundreds of years before them. Which have great cultural and intellectual depth. We all can learn from each other, if we can cross the divide and treat each other as equals.

  • it was great but you could have added some more people who changed the world there are a lot more people who changed the world.

  • Good gosh golly that’s incredible

  • where is Ghenkis Khan

  • the worst thing on the earth is facebook

  • where’s steve jobs?

  • not on there

  • List of 100 leaders who really changed our course of history is exceptional but ranking them is not good there are some mythological characters that we have no evidence that they lived I think Gandhi had inspired more than goberchev Mandela and Jefferson please don’t compare and rank the leaders.

    • What mythological people do you speak of?

  • You don’t know if these ancient people were Christian. No modern people here either.

  • Please remove Jesus’ name from that list if He cannot be listed as Creator and Savior of the world. Thank you!

  • Mahatma Gandhi (1869 – 1948) – Indian nationalist and politician. first he is never been politician. second he done more than Martin Luther King christ (1929 – 1968) Non-violent civil rights leader and Nelson Mandela (1918 – 2013) Anti-apartheid leader. First President of democratic South Africa in 1994. if this is order how they changed world may be you need you check everything instead of writing down a list. or at least remove numbering in front of names. I like your work and website but can you please reconsider this list

  • Ralph Nader alone has had more influence on the world than the first 50 names on your list, and he isn’t dead yet either. And his was by saving lives, the opposite of your number one selection who supposedly did nothing more than inform us that a tree climbing monkey creature with thumbs (we were made in his image according to the scrolls) created the universe. Shouldn’t the monkey guy be number one instead?

  • Lu Tze the author of ‘Tao Tak Ching’ is the most read book next to the Bible, Confuscious used to visit him couple times; in my view, he is like Plato in the western world. He should be in.

  • alluhu akbar

  • archimedes should be on there. he inspired Galileo Galilee who is on here.

  • This is not a “Top 100” just a list of 100 influential people.

    • This is a list of 100 people who have changed the world. This list is not a judgement about who is ‘best’.

  • The thing with historic characters is that they are enhanced through centuries by researchers, professors, teachers, and through the oral tradition. Their legacy usually ends up being more important than it really was. For those of us who live in the XXI century, Steve Jobs was a revolutionary genius who brought a powerful tool to help science, education, and mankind as probably only a few more had done previously.

  • It’s impossible to not add this person to 100 People who changed the world, not only change the world it, it action changed the way the map of the world it look like and still to this day have his influences of his action vibrate in our wold.

    Many will not know his name or relate to his action, but truly he changed the wold 100%

    His name Gavrilo Princip, age 19 yrs. old

    he should be # 1 in this list

  • His name Gavrilo Princip, age 19 yrs. old

  • I think Rev. Sun Myung Moons name should be on this list.
    He helped save Korea, Japan and the Americas from Communism, save USA from immorality and family breakdown, and substantially brought races and religuions together through marrying people across lines of race, religion and social strata.
    Please read his autobiography and study objectively about his lifes work.
    Thank you.
    – Mauganai Seti Atimalala Suafa
    Universal Peace Federation

  • And what about Forrest Morton Bird
    M.D., Ph.D., Sc.D., D.S…. know him? You should!

  • John Lennon? are you joking ?

  • where isssss Michael JaaaaaaaaaaaacKKKSoooN?!!! come on!

  • I Love all these people except those whom are Military Leader

  • Why is Stalin in the group of 1000 people who changed the world? He is considered by historians as one of the worst leaders in the world, murdering his own people.
    Please research his biography before putting his name on this list!

    • “People who Changed the world” doesn’t mean “People who changed the world for the better.”

  • There is a great wrong. Prophet Muhammad is the best person than all other human. So that 1st position is him. See some great book. Thanks…

  • Guglielmo Marconi, italian inventor of radio and fisrt television system of transmit

    Alessandro Volta italian scientist discovered electric power

    Enrico Fermi italian scientist discovered nuclear fission and many other

    Pacinotti italian inventor of Pacinotti ring and of magnetic induction

    Meucci italian inventor of telephon

    Natta italian inventor of Moplen and many other type of plastic

    Duldecco italian scientist discovered first sistem of decript od DNA language, many scientist first genetic engineer

    Torricelli italian inventor of termometer

    Olivetti italian inventor of first electronic calculator

    Rita Levi Montalcini italian scientist discovered neuronic transmission system

    Ferrero italian inventor of Nutella !

    Raffaele Esposito inventor of Pizza Margherita (the base of all the Pizza of the world)

    Francesco Procopio dei Coltelli inventor of the first “italian ice store”

    • Alexander graham Bell invented the telephone

  • list is litlle bit wrong ! Prophet Muhammad s.a.w should be top on the list…

    • i agree 😉 🙂

    Democracy only supports the Classic’s base on FAITH and REASON, ,by
    Traditional Logic and Ethics , and the academic discipline of the virtue of Reason
    for the develpment of the intellectual mind for the spirit of truth and
    revelation ,,,,,, GOD wants to reason with you . ISAIAH 1:18
    Also God said seek WISDOM ( PHILOSOPHY ) and the FLESH IS WEAK
    THAT IS EMPIRICISM because it refers to the senses only for judgments
    and opposes REASON , and that what causes the downfall of all civilizations,
    History has proven the fact !

  • what ’bout the greatest kings of persua? like cyrus the great, daruis ….

  • Why isn’t Gandhi on the Top 10. I am pretty sure he was very influential to MLK

  • Ernesto “Che” Guevara

  • you missed gandhi and joseph smith

    • #18 ghandi

  • What picture is that for Jesus of Nazareth? Also Mansa Musa I should be top 3

  • Where in the Neptune is Jonas Salk!
    I’m supposed to research him, seriously.

  • Nice. Thanks, this was very helpful.

  • You forgot Rafic al hariri

  • you forgot stalin

    • steve jobs should be on the top of the list

      • no really thats kinda not the best choice

  • great post and inspiring

  • You forgot my mans Harambe.

    • lmao yes

  • You forget chanakya……

  • Toussaint Louverture

  • Where is the greatest serbian Nikola Tesla?!

    • Sincesiter,eletricman,fizicman Nikola Tesla is bring to world 9/10 julay 1856 years in city Smiljan close to Gospic republic Croatia, he goed to school in Karlovac republic Croatia how he is a serbian. Tesla gained experience in telephony and electrical engineering before emigrating to the United States in 1884 to work for Thomas Edison in New York City. He soon struck out on his own with financial backers, setting up laboratories and companies to develop a range of electrical devices. His patented AC induction motor and transformer were licensed by George Westinghouse, who also hired Tesla for a short time as a consultant. His work in the formative years of electric-power development was involved in a corporate alternating current/direct current “War of Currents” as well as various patent battles. He became a naturalized US citizen in 1891. Tesla went on to pursue his ideas of wireless lighting and electricity distribution in his high-voltage, high-frequency power experiments in New York and Colorado Springs and made early (1893) pronouncements on the possibility of wireless communication with his devices. He tried to put these ideas to practical use in an ill-fated attempt at intercontinental wireless transmission, his unfinished Wardenclyffe Tower project.[9] In his lab, he also conducted a range of experiments with mechanical oscillators/generators, electrical discharge tubes, and early X-ray imaging. He also built a wireless controlled boat, one of the first ever exhibited.

    • did you actually read it?


  • Book: MAITREYA’S MISSION, Vol. II., Author Benjamine Creme.
    Kind regards

  • Is very interesting to know for those Special People !

  • Shivaji Raje Bhonsale is not included in the list..

  • Bruce Lee!

    • bruce lee is a movie director so why should he be on the list like what the

  • What about Cyrus The Great?

    • I don’t even know who Cyrus The Great is… I wonder why 🙂

      • hi italia

  • You just don’t know the things. Steve Jobs, Warren Buffet, Mother Teresa are must mentions.

  • Surprised to find that the name of Rabindranath Tagore is not included in the list.

  • we dont give enough courage to women and men who put there life on the line to speak up for us but we keep hatred toward them

    • ugly rat

  • It’s an utter surprise that Bangabondhu (friend of Bengal) Sheikh Mujibur Rahman , founder of a new Nation Bangladesh is not in the list.The author is is either ignorant or is not impartial in making the list.

This site uses cookies. more info

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.