Take another quiz >

40 Historical People that Everyone Should Know

Were you paying attention in history class? Name these famous historical figures!
Last updated: September 01, 2018
Rate:
5:00
Enter answer here:
0
 / 40 guessed
The quiz is paused. You have remaining.
Scoring
You scored / = %.
This beats or equals % of test takers
The average score is
Your high score is
Your best time is remaining
Keep scrolling down for answers and more stats ...
Clue
Person
Wrote "Hamlet"
William Shakespeare
Killed on the Ides of March
Julius Caesar
Christian Messiah
Jesus
"Moonlight Sonata" composer
Ludwig van Beethoven
Invented the printing press
Johannes Gutenberg
"Mona Lisa" painter
Leonardo da Vinci
His "Great Leap Forward"
killed over 30 million
Mao Zedong
First female Prime Minister of the UK
Margaret Thatcher
"Discovered" the New World
Christopher Columbus
First deaf and blind college graduate
Helen Keller
Greek who conquered Persia
Alexander the Great
Started the Protestant Reformation
Martin Luther
Lord Protector of England, 1653-1658
Oliver Cromwell
Led his elephants across the Alps
Hannibal
Father of the nation of India
Mohandas Gandhi
Called the Liberator of Latin America
Simón Bolívar
French woman who led troops
in the Hundred Years War
Joan of Arc
"Discovered" the east coast of Australia
James Cook
Gave the "I Have a Dream" speech
Martin Luther King, Jr.
New Deal President
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Clue
Person
First U.S. President
George Washington
First man on the moon
Neil Armstrong
"Discovered" evolution
Charles Darwin
Wrote "Great Expectations"
Charles Dickens
"Tao te Ching" author
Laozi
"Discovered" gravity
Isaac Newton
UK Prime Minister during WWII
Winston Churchill
Wrote "Pride and Prejudice"
Jane Austen
First Soviet leader
Vladimir Lenin
Founder of Islam
Muhammad
Virgin Queen of England
Queen Elizabeth I
Supposedly wrote "The Iliad"
Homer
Aviatrix who disappeared
over the Pacific
Amelia Earhart
French Emperor, 1804-1815
Napoleon
Creator of Huckleberry Finn
Mark Twain
German WWII leader
Adolf Hitler
Battle of Trafalgar admiral
Horatio Nelson
U.S. Civil War President
Abraham Lincoln
Light bulb inventor
Thomas Edison
Refused to give up her
bus seat, in Alabama
Rosa Parks
+1
level 65
Jun 24, 2016
There is no good historical evidence that this Jesus guy actually existed - you should either not lump him in there with people who definitely existed, or add a caveat like you did for Homer.
+10
level 57
Jan 2, 2017
Jesus definitely existed. There is no dispute about that.
+1
level 47
Jan 4, 2017
That's a big, fat lie. There's no proof of a historical Jesus. Here's one article on the subject: https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2014/12/18/did-historical-jesus-exist-the-traditional-evidence-doesnt-hold-up/?utm_term=.a634379f1e50
+4
level 52
Jan 26, 2017
He existed all right.
+4
level 26
Feb 2, 2017
And mister...Halebopp, is it? I would advise that you check the source links in your article. The scripture references are farcical, and the other references are all to various scholarly accounts affirming the existence of Jesus. The author obviously banked on the average person not checking their sources.
+9
level 52
Apr 14, 2017
Even secular scholars will admit there was a person called Jesus. Even if His claims were incorrect (but that's a topic for another day) there's no way a religion as big as Christianity could have come out of thin air. Much like Muhammed, the claims are what's disputed, not the person's existence.
+2
level 26
Feb 2, 2017
For the record, the existence of Jesus was repudiated by several secular sources-try this URL: http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/jesus/nonchristianaccounts.html.
+5
level 54
Feb 17, 2017
Jesus the person existed. If you don't believe all the other religious stuff, then he was just a prophet who defied the Romans.
+2
level 39
Feb 24, 2017
Yeah, like I'm really going to put more credence in some latter-day "scholastic" thesis than in the Holy Bible. (And, now I'll just stand back for all of you who are going to dispute the veracity of the Bible as well... to each his own)
+2
level 55
Mar 8, 2017
^ LOL What about every other religious text that contradicts the bible? Are those just stories made up by someone for the purpose of wanting people to believe their story over others? Could the same be said of the bible? And yes, you should put more credence in all scholastic theses than any unverifiable document.
+4
level 74
Mar 3, 2018
Yeah, like I'm going to believe some educated people who are highly credentialed and spent years or lifetimes studying in their respective fields before they could publish a scholarly work that would be peer reviewed by hundreds of publicly identified professionals all with the deepest commitment to truth and academic integrity over the totally anonymous authors of a large collection of weird, superstitious, factually inaccurate, internally contradictory, questionably collated and translated, obviously altered and redacted religious texts about whom we know absolutely nothing other than the fact that they lived thousands of years ago in an age when superstition and ignorance prevailed and modern science was unknown. Ha!
+3
level 40
Mar 20, 2017
It is a well-accepted fact that Jesus existed. Whether or not he was the son of God, or if he was born in Bethlehem, or that he was resurrected, is another matter.
+1
level 26
Oct 30, 2018
I find it hard to believe that the New Testament was written about a guy who didn't exist. You'd think there would be some evidence it's a made up book? Theres not by the way. What about St Peter? He was crucified upside down because he didn't believe he was worthy to be crucified like Jesus, you think a man died upside down because he believed in a man who didn't exist? Pretty sure most Historians believe Jesus Christ was a real person, if they believe he performed miracles and was the son of God or not.
+2
level 74
Jun 24, 2016
Kudos to QuizMaster for fixing the Jesus clue! (well, most of the way, his existence and historicity still being a point of contention)
+2
level 52
Apr 14, 2017
I think the way it's done is perfect. No 'supposed' and no 'real', just an acknowledgement that He is, indeed, the Messiah of the Christian faith.
+1
level 74
Mar 4, 2018
yeah that's fine. More accurate than the old clue which said he was the founder.
+1
level 48
Jun 24, 2016
My knowlege of history must be okay – got everything first time with 2:11 remaining.
+16
level 37
Jun 24, 2016
It has nothing to do with being to americentric, but Hellen Keller being in this quiz is an absolute joke.
+2
level 57
Jun 24, 2016
I agree she does not have the same significance as the other people on this list. What she accomplished is extraordinary, for sure, but it didn't have national or global ramifications the way everyone else's actions did. Even the writers on the list made works that are still studied and read the world over. Hellen Keller is inspirational, and the work she did in her adult years was important, but she is not on par with everyone else here.
+4
level 74
Jun 25, 2016
I wouldn't say that she is less significant than Thatcher (not such a good PM, notable mostly for lacking a penis), Cromwell, Hannibal (good general, sure, but as Yoda said, wars not make one great), Parks (inspirational figure but the civil rights movement would have happened without her), Earhart (quite similar to Keller. She achieved a lot. She's inspirational. But lasting global ramifications? Also noteworthy in part for not having a penis), or Austen. At least Keller is not less significant than some of these others by a large margin, if at all.

Besides, this quiz is not titled "40 People Whose Achievements Had Global Ramifications." It's just "40 Historical People You Should Know." Is Keller noteworthy? Worth knowing? Yes. You admit her achievements were extraordinary.
+1
level 74
Oct 9, 2016
Were those achievements so great that they warrant a spot on a list of historically important people only 40 spaces long? I think not. At least not any more than Helen Keller's.
+3
level 74
Jan 5, 2017
Jane Austen is considered one of the greatest female writers. She took the novel from being melodramatic drivel to a realistic account of life peppered with wit and humor. She changed literature and certainly deserves to be on this list. Margaret Thatcher? I'm with you on that one. We probably wouldn't have remembered Earhart as much if she had actually succeeded, which is sad.
+1
level 74
Mar 6, 2017
Earhart succeeded at many things. She broke a lot of records and made several aviation firsts (mostly having to do with being the first female to do something, though, not in every case). She only got lost somewhere in the Pacific once.
+1
level 52
Apr 14, 2017
Isn't that kind of a double standard? Praising Amelia Earhart for her 'first female' accomplishments while disparaging the same for Margaret Thatcher?
+1
level 74
May 7, 2017
I'm not sure how you read my comment and came up with unqualified praise.
+1
level 45
Jun 13, 2017
I reckon i could come up with a list of 50 people more noteworthy than Thatcher of being on this list. But as Kal says, it's household names it's going with, not whether history deserves to recognise them. But as far as Thatcher's achievements: regressing global tensions of the cold war, invading the Falklands, decimating the miners.... Dude, that chick was a tyrannical war criminal. You're just waxing tory patriotism to try and argue otherwise. Next you'll be saying Theresa May is a role model... Just because someone's the first of something doesn't immediately make them cool. Barack Obama was the first black president and he was really cool... But he is still a war criminal...
+2
level 39
May 27, 2018
I mean if it was solely chosen who are the biggest household names, then Laozi with only 12% clearly isn't. No place outside of North America studies Huckleberry Finn. George Orwell, Rasputin and Cleopatra to name a few would all be better fits! But the creator has chosen these ones
+1
level 74
May 28, 2018
The head of HR at my first employer in Saudi Arabia was an old Tunisian guy who pretended to be Saudi. He told me his favorite book was the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Don't need to blame your ignorance on geography!
+1
level 59
Apr 19, 2018
I read a book about her achievements just recently, I just couldn't remember her last name...
+2
level 26
Jun 24, 2016
I feel like this list should be bigger, I mean no Benjamin Franklin come on..
+2
level 56
Jun 15, 2017
I'm sure anyone could come up with alternatives who they think are "worthy". Why should you be special and get to tell others what should be in their quiz?
+3
level 43
Jul 2, 2018
Debate is healthy, y'all!
+1
level 18
Nov 8, 2018
yeah this list is painfully strictly-western
+1
level 71
Jun 24, 2016
Shouldn't "man on the moon" be in quotes too?
+1
level 65
Jun 24, 2016
Chamberlain and Attlee were also Prime Ministers of the UK during WWII.
+1
level 47
Jun 25, 2016
Attlee wasn't there was an election just after
+1
level 56
Mar 22, 2017
The war was still going on in the Pacific when Atlee became PM.
+1
level 23
Jul 11, 2018
Churchill is known for WW2 and the UK wasn't involved in the Pacific, Chamberlain is known more for appeasment.
+2
level 74
Jul 12, 2018
The UK was VERY involved in the Pacific war - both the UK proper and the empire: India, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong, etc. They lost several capital ships and thousands of men, they helped in the construction of the Ledo road, and were vitally important in disrupting shipping to the Japanese home islands especially from the oil fields of Sumatra and Indonesian rubber suppliers. After the end of hostilities in Europe, they threw their full weight into the Pacific. SOAP-BOX ALERT: One of my pet peeves is the conviction of many in the USA that we single-handedly won WWII. I blame it on a combination of excessive pride and the limited/inaccurate education of the actual facts of the war. No one made more important contributions than countries like Canada, Australia, New Zealand, or Poland and yet most of us know nothing about their sacrifices.
+1
level 66
Jun 27, 2016
In the interests of being very pedantic, you should maybe allow Goebbels for the German leader, as he was Chancellor for a couple of days near the end of the war, but then admittedly you end up with a load of problems with Donitz being President etc. Good quiz though- and that's probably going to be the more controversial statement by the looks of things.
+1
level 50
Jun 27, 2016
FREAKING LAOZI
+1
level 71
Apr 9, 2018
infreaking deed. Don't know how many times he has to come up on a quiz for me to remember, but I never do. Resort to typing a few simple Chinese names (Wang, Wong, Tang, etc.) before thinking "I know I've had/done this before and it never works"
+1
level 42
May 22, 2018
Ha he was one I could remember! Also known as Lao tzu. Certainly didn't learn that from school though, was just through following my interests
+3
level 41
Jul 4, 2016
Sorry, but edison did definitely not discover the lightbulb, by any definition. His workers did, he just patented it.
+18
level 74
Jul 24, 2016
whether or not this is true, the take-away here for me is... you believe that Alexander the Great conquered most of the known world and defeated the Persian Empire by himself? Wow. No wonder he was called Great. Also, you think that Mao Tse Tung killed 30 million people directly, in person, perhaps bare handed? His social calendar must have been even busier than Wilt Chamberlain's.
+6
level 70
Aug 26, 2016
By my estimate he would have had to kill someone every 87 seconds from the moment he was born till the moment he died. Busy man indeed.
+6
level 66
Jan 8, 2017
The first electric light was made in 1800 by Humphrey Davy, an English scientist. He experimented with electricity and invented an electric battery. When he connected wires to his battery and a piece of carbon, the carbon glowed, producing light. This is called an electric arc. Much later, in 1860, the English physicist Sir Joseph Wilson Swan (1828-1914) devised a practical, long-lasting electric light. He found that a carbon paper filament worked well, but burned up quickly. In 1878, he demonstrated his new electric lamps in Newcastle, England. The inventor Thomas Alva Edison and his employees (in the USA) experimented with thousands of different filaments to find just the right materials to glow well and be long-lasting.
+3
level 74
Jan 30, 2017
^ right. Thus inventing the common, modern, practical lightbulb.
+4
level 66
Feb 3, 2017
I'd call it "Improving" rather than 'Inventing.'
+3
level 74
Feb 6, 2017
The common, modern, practical lightbulb did not exist before Edison and his employees invented one. But I know what you're trying to say.
+4
level 52
Apr 14, 2017
The clue doesn't say 'Inventor of the first common, modern, practical lightbulb'. We'd all be happy if it did, I think.
+1
level 45
Aug 12, 2017
The Dipper didn't kill more than 25 million.
+5
level 45
Aug 12, 2017
Also, Mao's "Great Leap Forward" killed over 30 million? He must have been an enormous man.
+9
level 74
Mar 3, 2018
It was one hell of a belly flop. You should have seen it.
+1
level 71
May 26, 2017
Also, the 'Edison' lightbulb was just an improvement on previous designs.
+4
level 24
Jun 15, 2017
Nikola Tesla
+2
level 58
Jul 23, 2018
Didn't General Electric invent it for his army?
+7
level 42
Jul 26, 2016
Yuri Gagarin - The first man in space and Chamberlain was also the british PM for the first couple of years of WWII, and not Stalin? Castro? Abraham (the old testament and the leader of the monotheism religion before Jesus and Mohammed was born) ? ...
+2
level 56
Mar 22, 2017
Forty people - in the history of the world, that's a small number. There is always going to be individuals that are missed off such a list. Why on earth do people carp on so much on these such lists? It's not definitive, and it's not to be taken too seriously either. Get some perspective! If you want a list with people you think are worthy, why not make one yourself?
+3
level 44
Aug 3, 2016
Such a shame that no notable Africans (good or bad) were included on the list. Pretty sure everyone at least knows Mandela
+5
level 55
May 4, 2017
Hannibal was born in Carthage which is now located in Tunisia (Africa).
+1
level 45
Aug 12, 2017
I think Oscar Fitzhugh played the Mandela in a jug band.
+2
level 43
Sep 19, 2016
Just typed Zedong and got it wrong
+1
level 64
Sep 24, 2016
Because that's his first name, all you need is Mao.
+1
level 52
Mar 16, 2017
Bah bah bah-dah-daaah
+1
level 62
Sep 21, 2016
Darwin received a joint credit for the theory of evolution along with Alfred Russel Wallace. Wallace should be an acceptable answer for this question.
+1
level 44
Sep 21, 2017
He actually plagiarized the work of Ibn Khaldun, an Arab scholar who developed the theory of evolution 500 years prior.
+1
level 54
Oct 6, 2016
I am surprised Cromwell is guessed so infrequently...
+2
level 40
Mar 20, 2017
The clue is perhaps a little ambiguous...
+1
level 37
Aug 22, 2017
No, I understood it perfectly. I suppose it is something Americans don't know very well. I don't suppose they learn about the English Civil Wars...
+1
level 45
Oct 9, 2016
Damn it; second attempt (though i dint remember the first); Amelia Earheart was the only one i missed; and i did a project on her in primary school! I mean that was 20 years ago... I could remember Charles Kingsford Smith but it helps when you've got an airport named after you
+1
level 39
Oct 14, 2016
Darwin did not discover evolution, what he discovered was "evolution through natural selection". Before Darwin, there were other scientists who were working on evolution, like Lamarck.
+1
level 55
May 4, 2017
The ideas regarding natural selection and evolution were surfacing throughout science during that time. However, the theories were not well supported. Darwin and Wallace were the first to present direct and observable evidence.
+2
level 52
Oct 17, 2016
Edison borrowed, stole, or bought patents from a lot of other inventors - Joseph Swan invented a light bulb several months before Edison (it just didn't catch on because it was less efficient)
+5
level 65
Oct 21, 2016
Keller, Earhart and Thatcher are definitely not someone that everyone should know about. The effect of their deeds and popularity is mostly limited to their respective countries. I'd say that the rest are reasonably famous historical figures, although as usual, the choice is very skewed (Cook but not Magellan or Vasco da Gama. Dickens, Austen or Twain but not Dante, Moliere or Ghoethe. Elisabeth I but not Louis XIV or Catherine the Great). It's very telling that out of those 40 historical people, only 19 did not have English as their language. The World is bigger than that. four writers in English, four US Presidents, two UK Prime Ministers,... . I'd say that Dante, Moliere, or Ghoethe would have made for a more diverse setup. It would also have been nice to include figures such as here are four presidents from the UK and two prime ministers of the UK.
+4
level 74
Oct 22, 2016
It doesn't say anywhere that these are the only 40 people you should know.
+3
level 65
Dec 18, 2016
rocamorar: I get it - 1) too many women; 2) replace some Europeans and Euro-Americans with other Europeans. And this adds up to greater diversity.
+1
level 53
Sep 25, 2017
Keller was an important person in history because of what she contributed to the millions of people with ailments. Personally, I think helping millions of blind and deaf people is a decent thing to do, and might deserve a bit of recognition.
+1
level 62
Nov 12, 2017
I think Thatcher is famous almost everywhere, and 68% correct answers suggest so. I agree with the two others, I've never heard of them outside of this website.
+1
level 15
Aug 19, 2018
Moreover we got Beethoven but not Mozart, which is as important as his colleague. Considering the amount of not so important American/English politicians present, few more artists would have been nice. Like Mozart, Picasso, Michelangelo and of course Dante. And August/Louis Lumiere as well. Jane Austen, Dickens and Twain are not that important... No idea who Keller was. And to be honest I'd never heard of Rosa Parks before, but that's probably because I'm from Europe.
+1
level 33
Oct 29, 2016
But Adolf Hitler wan't German
+5
level 63
Nov 1, 2016
That's not the point. It means he was the leader of Germany, not that he was German. But even at that, he still was German. He was born in Austria, yes, but in case you did not know, people can become citizens of other countries. Which he did.
+1
level 74
Nov 1, 2016
and German can also be an ethnicity.
+3
level 74
Nov 1, 2016
and ethnicity and naturalization aside, it doesn't matter, because the clue could just as easily be read to mean "leader of Germany" as "leader who was German."
+2
level 57
Dec 12, 2016
"Germany" was a pretty new concept at the time anyway - when Hitler was born, the German Empire was only a couple of decades old, and for centuries before that Austria had been the leading German power. Someone looking at the situation in 1750 would have more than likely guessed that if a unified German state was formed, Austria would be the place it would happen. National identity has historically been pretty fluid - German-speaking Pan-Germanist Adolf Hitler leading Germany is much less ironic than Italian-speaking Napoleone di Buonoparte becoming Emperor of France.
+2
level 74
Dec 25, 2016
^exactly. It's such a common source of errors that people just assume that these fabricated divisions like nationality, race, or contemporary nation states existed forever and go back for all time. They certainly did not.
+1
level 31
Nov 13, 2017
But I mean, you should know who led the Germans through WWII. That's the whole point of the quiz...
+1
level 39
Jun 10, 2017
He was born in Austria. But you can become a citizen of another country, and Austria is german, so it doesn't really matter.
+1
level 71
Aug 20, 2017
Ever heard of Anschluss?
+1
level 47
Nov 24, 2016
Missed the messiah question
+1
level 45
Nov 30, 2016
mandela*
+1
level 45
Aug 12, 2017
I knew a guy who played mandela in a blue grass band.
+4
level 47
Dec 15, 2016
The only reason I know Laozi is because of an Epic Rap Battles of History
+3
level 36
Dec 16, 2016
Where's Sun Tzu, Ghengis Khan, George Patton, Joesph Stalin, Fidel Castro, Pol Pot, Nelson Mandela, Asoka, Franklin Roosevelt, Leaf Erickson
+4
level 57
Dec 21, 2016
Roosevelt is on the list. The rest of them are playing poker in Heaven's smoking room.
+1
level 31
Nov 13, 2017
Haha
+9
level 49
Mar 20, 2017
They're on the follow up quiz you are going to write. I propose making it more comprehensive, say 'Twenty Thousand People Everyone Should Know'. Please allow adequate time.
+2
level 56
Mar 22, 2017
Will ten minutes be enough time...? ;-)
+2
level 56
Mar 22, 2017
Write a quiz with the people you want to see then, if you don't like this one. Everyone is a critic, aren't they.
+1
level 45
Nov 21, 2017
I think Roberto Clemente said, "Asoka home run."
+2
level 33
Dec 19, 2017
I don't think the list is claiming completeness - Its '40 people everyone should know' NOT 'The ONLY 40 people everyone should know'
+1
level 49
Mar 30, 2018
On another quiz...?
+1
level 65
Jul 28, 2018
I think they're all dead.
+1
level 27
Dec 21, 2016
I study at Johannes Gutenberg University :)
+1
level 56
Mar 22, 2017
?
+1
level 48
Dec 30, 2016
Missed one. That was Laozi
+4
level 16
Jan 9, 2017
I wish I could spell!
+1
level 14
Jan 25, 2017
i feel you brother
+5
level 49
Feb 20, 2017
The Earth has been around for 4.5 billion years but history is pretty much the accomplishments of a few American and British men in the last 300 years. We're really living right at the start of history relatively speaking.
+1
level 43
Mar 2, 2017
However, humans weren't civilised if you like until about 10000 years ago and no 'history' really begins until the Roman time, just before and after 0 A.D.
+2
level 59
Mar 6, 2017
There's no such date. What you call 0 A.D. is actually 1 B.C.
+1
level 31
Jan 19, 2018
what about ancient egypt, and Alexander the Great.
+6
level 44
Sep 21, 2017
You mean American and British men who took credit for the work of others.
+1
level 39
Nov 7, 2017
Amen to that!
+4
level 34
Feb 26, 2018
Only 14 of the 40 are American or British men. Good try, though.
+2
level 47
Feb 22, 2018
Would you accept Triceratops?
+1
level 43
Feb 25, 2017
Really fun puzzle - great job. But I am gonna nag for more time!
+2
level 30
Feb 26, 2017
who are the 9% who didnt get george washington and the 12% who didnt get hitler?
+2
level 26
Mar 6, 2017
I spelled Helen Keller wrong. Your kidding me...
+7
level 51
Feb 11, 2018
In your defense, had she used a computer she would have probably done the same.
+2
level 54
Feb 27, 2018
donut u mien "you're"
+1
level 37
Mar 14, 2017
Surprised to see no Harriet Tubman
+2
level 49
Mar 20, 2017
Yeah, right? In fact there are several thousand people I'm surprised didn't make the list.
+1
level 45
Nov 21, 2017
I didn't see Harriet Tubman till I was 31. A good reason for February being Black history month (but why is it the shortest month?).
+1
level 67
Mar 22, 2018
Are you asking why February is the shortest month, or why the shortest month was chosen for Black history month? For the first question, you can blame the Romans. For the second, it's because a black historian named Carter G. Woodson picked a week in February to be "Negro History Week," (he picked that week to be near the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass) and it was later expanded to the whole month.
+1
level 24
Mar 21, 2017
I got 31 first try. I missed 3 I SHOULD HAVE GOT! Great quiz though
+1
level 43
Mar 31, 2017
Christopher columbus didnt discover the new world, a group of norsemen found it in the 6th century.
+5
level 53
Sep 25, 2017
That is why the quotation marks are there, bud.
+3
level 67
Nov 9, 2017
I'm pretty sure all the people already living here knew about it as well.
+7
level 57
Apr 8, 2017
My knowledge of tao te ching is pretty laozi
+1
level 51
Jul 20, 2017
Very funny!
+1
level 46
Apr 9, 2017
I got Laozi but missed Martin Luther King Jr. ???????
+5
level 41
Apr 19, 2017
Not to toot the America centric horn, but the Rosa Parks clue is really mostly important as it pertains to American history, not world history...Sure civil rights movements are important everywhere. But in the rest of the world, they happened at different times, and had different figureheads...Rosa Parks is the American symbol.
+1
level 58
Apr 22, 2017
Everyone learns about Rosa Parks at school in New Zealand. My kids know who she is.
+1
level 56
Nov 22, 2017
So wouldn't Abel Tasman be on there instead of James Cook
+1
level 46
Jan 31, 2018
I learned about Rosa Parks at school too, and I live in the UK.
+1
level 42
May 22, 2018
I wonder when you learnt that/how old you are now. Its good they taught that and I hope they taught about a few more people on this list. I finished school in 2000 and got good grades but I wasn't taught about many of the people on this list and what they did including Rosa parks. I have learnt that since though, from the Internet. Think I saw her name crop up with a few others on this list so looked her up - or maybe she came up on a similar quiz to this but on Sporcle.
+1
level 30
Apr 21, 2017
The lamest quiz ever! Hitler is there, but Nelson Mandela is not. Terrible! (just to mention ONE example)
+1
level 55
May 4, 2017
Mandela was a typical freedom fighter of the era. If South Africa didn't have white people then Mandela's cause would have been lost in history books as one of several African conflicts.
+1
level 45
Nov 21, 2017
F W de Klerk should be there too.
+5
level 57
May 14, 2017
You mention Hitler's inclusion like it's a mistake. Is there any one person who had a bigger influence on the 20th century? I don't think there was.
+1
level 24
Nov 12, 2017
Hmmm Lenin or Stalin maybe? Or maybe all three had an equal influence on 20th century history
+1
level 42
Jan 28, 2018
jmellor13: Mao, Gavrillo Princip (started WWI leading to WWII), Lenin, Stalin, FDR and his work with the depression, Truman for dropping the bombs... Hitler had an impact be it's debatable to say he had the biggest impact
+1
level 56
Jun 16, 2017
Why are you placing so much importance on this quiz? This isn't something that children are going to have to know in schools around the world, it's just a small quiz meant for some fun and maybe for people to learn a little, not to get all angry about it.
+1
level 55
Nov 8, 2017
Do you think, Mandela would also get 88%? I don't...
+1
level 55
May 1, 2017
Pedantry I know but Soviet is a bit dodgy as demonym for USSR; first Soviet leader made me think of the Petrograd Soviet first. Perhaps Bolshevik or USSR leader might be better.
+2
level 55
May 4, 2017
I mostly agree with this list but not having Aristotle, Plato and Stalin on this list is a mistake. I have to disagree with having Hannibal and Nelson on this list. Great generals but Hannibal didn't conquer Rome and Nelson, well why?? He is a footnote in history if you are not from the UK. Aristotle and Plato's influence on our modern ideas of politics and science can still be seen. Stalin rapidly transformed an agrarian county into a industrial world superpower. Omitting them is foolish.
+1
level 56
Jun 15, 2017
What do you mean "you mostly agree"? This isn't some definitive list that EVERYONE should know, it's a lighthearted quiz. I think you're taking this far too seriously - perhaps a bit of perspective is in order.
+1
level 44
Sep 21, 2017
Yes. As the greatest leader in history, Stalin should definitely be on the list.
+1
level 74
Nov 14, 2017
Greatest by what metric? If we're going by how many people he killed then he is 2nd to Mao.
+2
level 74
Nov 14, 2017
This quiz is not entitled "the only 40 people everyone should know" or even "the 40 most relevent people in history." You look foolish.
+1
level 22
Apr 24, 2018
-Nelson helped save Britain. -Britain become a global Superpower. -Said superpower influenced billions of laws and teaching around the Globe. If it was not for Nelson, the entire planet would be much more heavily focused on Spanish laws and rulings (nothing against Spain btw. Just that it's fairly different from Britain). On another note, why the heck am I not on this list??? Clearly an awful oversight.
+1
level 39
Jul 26, 2018
...the world would have been influenced by french laws rather than spanish and then we'd all be in the sh*t...
+1
level 37
May 30, 2017
Everyone needs to quit being so disrespectful to the people on this list. Just because someone wasn't as great of an influence to you, doesn't mean they weren't to someone else.
+1
level 54
Jun 11, 2018
Surely you can't mean that is true of everyone on the list?
+1
level 68
Jun 2, 2017
Shouldn't Jefferson Davis be added as an option for Civil War President?
+1
level 39
Nov 27, 2017
Yes. To be historically correct, his name should be added. During the Civil War Lincoln was President of the Union and Davis President of the Confederate States.
+2
level 56
Jun 15, 2017
I wonder if they'll rename this quiz "40 Historical People Whose Very Inclusion Is Reason Enough For Many To Whinge and Complain About"...
+1
level 49
Jul 6, 2017
That name is about as accurate as they come.
+2
level 15
Jun 19, 2017
please accept shakespear
+3
level 45
Jun 30, 2017
Shakespear is not correct though.
+1
level 65
Jul 28, 2018
That's right, we should spell "Shakspeare" the same way that Shakspere himself spelled it: "Shaksper."
+1
level 66
Jun 29, 2017
I have 27 General Knowledge quizzes in jetpunk and none of them get the comments like this and many others. Maybe my questions are too factual and not as controversial and contentious as these.
+1
level 35
Jul 8, 2017
Humphrey Davy was not English, he was Cornish from Penzance in Cornwall. I think the inventor of the steam locomotive Richard Trevithick (another Cornishman) is more worthy of knowing about than the great industrial destroyer Thatcher.
+2
level 23
Jul 17, 2017
Could you accept Lenon instead of Lenin?
+4
level 56
Aug 1, 2017
Seriously?
+4
level 74
Aug 12, 2017
I saw his corpse in Moscow. He looked great for having been married to Yoko Ono.
+2
level 45
Nov 21, 2017
Or V. L. Or Lenny.
+1
level 17
Jul 27, 2017
That was harder than i thought
+1
level 40
Jul 29, 2017
Someone tell me why I should be expected to know who Helen Keller is. The others I can just about see why they're on the list, but not her
+1
level 56
Aug 1, 2017
It's called general knowledge. Quizzes are meant to test you, not to so easy that you get everything right all of the time. If you didn't know it, then you do now. It's not as though you haven't got a way of finding things out quickly afterwards.
+1
level 53
Sep 25, 2017
Well, for starters, she helped raise awareness for millions of people with natural ailments. So, unless you have something against the blind and deaf, I personally think helping millions of people around the world would be a decent thing to do, wouldn't it?
+1
level 34
Jul 30, 2017
31/40. Nice!
+1
level 45
Aug 12, 2017
Where was Babe Ruthl........OK, too American. Roger Bannister? Pele?
+5
level 74
Aug 12, 2017
Given the title, I concur completely with the number of athletes that appear on this quiz.
+1
level 38
Aug 20, 2017
i only guessed Leonerdo da Vinci... But Cool Quiz!
+1
level 22
Aug 25, 2017
I made a quiz similar to this. If you enjoyed this quiz, please check mine out.
+1
level 23
Sep 1, 2017
Darn, forgot about Lenin. I just did a WWII quiz and all I could think about was Stalin.
+3
level 54
Sep 2, 2017
Not everyonez should know but americans... USA is not center of the world. Rosa Parks isnt very know outside.
+1
level 45
Nov 21, 2017
The world should worship at the USA's altar.
+1
level 74
Jan 10, 2018
Only one-fourth of the people named here are Americans. Who are the ten people you would replace them with on your own quiz? (Which you are quite welcome to make.)
+1
level 58
Sep 18, 2017
Basically 50% England and english people, historical people nobody should know.
+1
level 41
Mar 21, 2018
You're right. Nobody should know the name of the man who started WW2 and committed a genocide of Jews. No one should know the first leader of the most powerful nation in the world. Not a single human should know the "father" of the soon to be most populous nation in the world. Discoverer of huge scientific theory? Nah.
+1
level 44
Sep 21, 2017
40/40 with 4:30 remaining, and I'm a 3-year-old from Lesotho.
+4
level 43
Oct 16, 2017
Can Nikola Tesla be an acceptable answer for inventor of the lightbulb?
+3
level 48
Oct 20, 2017
That awkward moment when more people know Hitler than they know Jesus.
+1
level 42
Oct 29, 2017
Wow, no Nelson Mandela? Also, Koreans invented the movable metal type hundreds of years before Gutenberg...
+1
level 55
Nov 8, 2017
Their types were wooden and I guess, it wasn't a printing press, then
+1
level 56
Jan 4, 2018
The list isn't definitive. You can't include every single important person in history. What is wrong with all you people?
+5
level 45
Nov 9, 2017
I bet the author of this quizz is from the USA. There are way too much US citizens in this quizz. Except in the US, who cares about the US President during the New Deal ? Why the first US President and no other countries one ? There plenty of books far better than Huckleberry Finn, so why this one in particular (except the nationality I mean) ?
+2
level 57
Jan 4, 2018
The authors of the Tao Te Ching and Great Expectations are also included. FDR is considered by many to be the greatest of all American presidents, except maybe Lincoln and Washington (both included), and was the American counterpoint to Hitler, who, along with Churchill (also included), steered America through World War II. Washington was not just the first president. He is considered the father of the United States. You mean to tell me that the founding figure of the most influential country in the world is not important enough to make this list? The first presidents or prime ministers of countries like France, the UK, Australia, Argentina, etc. are not as significant because their countries existed before they did. Great Britain was a sovereign state long before Sir Walpole came along. This is not an exhaustive list. It's just a list of 40 very famous people. Get over it.
+1
level 19
Mar 12, 2018
Some countries fell into the Great Depression because they depended to heavily on our economy's success. When FDR brought relief to the U.S., he brought a little relief to other countries as well. Also, U.S. citizens are this site's number one demographic, so it is highly probable that the author of this quiz is a U.S. resident.
+1
level 71
Apr 9, 2018
Fair guess, but fairly short odds; it is a US site after all.
+1
level 10
Nov 12, 2017
Alexander the Great wasn't a Greek, please check your facts before you make such statements. Thank you.
+1
level ∞
Nov 13, 2017
https://www.jetpunk.com/quizzes/april-fools-quiz-4
+2
level 74
Dec 21, 2017
What's a Greek? Do you believe that there was a Greek nation state in existence at the time of the ancient kingdom of Macedonia? Speaking of checking your facts...
+2
level 56
Jan 4, 2018
There was no one Greek nation state but the ancient Greeks all thought of themselves as part of a Greek culture and Greco-linguistic community: there is nothing wrong with using the term "Greek" in this context.
+1
level 74
Mar 3, 2018
Then you're agreeing with me.
+1
level 56
Nov 22, 2017
Only 88% got Jesus
+2
level 58
Dec 6, 2017
Edison is not the inventor of the light bulb
+1
level 38
Dec 6, 2017
I believe Alexander was the son of Philip of Macedonia
+3
level 25
Dec 8, 2017
Edison did NOT invent the lightbulb, Nicholas Tesla did. Edison just stole the idea and marketed it.
+1
level 74
Dec 21, 2017
no
+1
level 34
Dec 13, 2017
Just missed Keller and Laozi. Not bad!
+1
level 8
Dec 15, 2017
Finished with 0:33 remaining......
+3
level 67
Dec 15, 2017
The glorification of Rosa Parks is misdirected; she was just a prop used by civil rights activists. Claudette Colvin is actually the person who resisted bus segregation almost an entire year before the Rosa Parks incident, but civil rights leaders knew they couldn't use Claudette to promote the cause because she was an unmarried pregnant teen. So they coached and used Rosa Parks instead because she was a gentle old lady. Claudette Colvin gets no credit
+1
level 74
Dec 21, 2017
60 years later and Claudette would have been given her own MTV reality TV show. She was ahead of her time in more ways than one.
+1
level 57
Jan 4, 2018
You are correct, but the crime is not that Rosa Parks gets credit. It's that Claudette Colvin does not *also* get credit. What Rosa Parks did took a lot of courage, even if she wasn't the first person to do it, and she deserves recognition. But you're right that Claudette Colvin deserves recognition too.
+1
level 47
Jan 17, 2018
Why Colvin but not Bayard Rustin?
+2
level 60
Dec 21, 2017
I am pretty sure Buddha is a lot more important than some people here.
+1
level 56
Jan 4, 2018
No one said that he wasn't.
+1
level 17
Dec 30, 2017
I mean, considering I'm twelve and haven't learnt most of these in school yet, I'm pretty proud of the 16 I got
+1
level 14
Jan 2, 2018
I thought Odeysseus wrote the iiliad
+1
level 57
Jan 4, 2018
Odysseus is a character in the Iliad, and is also the main character in the Odyssey (hence the name and the origin of the word). Both were written by Homer.
+3
level 43
Jan 24, 2018
This quiz should be called 40 people that all Americans should know. So many great people in worlds history but of course half have to be American or british
+1
level 47
Feb 22, 2018
Yea exactly and especially some who lived in paleolithic times.
+1
level 64
Feb 23, 2018
The quiz didn't claim that these were the top 40. But to please you, perhaps the quiz should be called "40 of the Many Important People You Should Know." Quit complaining
+2
level 19
Mar 12, 2018
I'm not religious, but I'm marginally concerned about Jesus being called "Christian Messiah" while Muhammad is called "Founder of Islam". My suggestion is to change Jesus' description to "Founder of Christianity", because that is a title that is literally true, while it cannot be proven that Jesus was actually a messiah, let alone THE messiah.
+1
level 74
Mar 16, 2018
It used to say "founder of Christianity," which is actually less accurate. Jesus, if he was a real person, did not found Christianity. Jesus was Jewish. So were his followers. According to Christian tradition, Jesus and his followers believed him to be the messiah. To Christians- he is the messiah. Therefore it's accurate to say he's the Christian messiah. He's definitely not the founder of Christianity. The man most directly responsible for founding the religion of Christianity, as distinct and separate from Judaism, is probably Paul.

A similar argument could be made for Muhammad, and it would probably be more accurate to call Muhammad the "last Muslim prophet" rather than the founder of Islam; even putting aside whether he was or was not a legitimate prophet, and the fact that Islamic tradition holds he had more to do with founding a religion than Jesus did. The Quran supposedly came straight from Muhammad's mouth. Jesus did not write the Bible.
+1
level 22
Apr 24, 2018
Right from the start, Adam (the first man on earth) was influenced and knew God. Therefore Christianity was present before Man. The beginning of the Bible says "In the beginning God created the Heavens and the Earth".
+2
level 74
May 28, 2018
yeah yeah yeah... Muslims say the same thing when they argue that Adam was the first Muslim, you know? Now, back to reality...
+1
level 74
Mar 16, 2018
Look up the definition for messiah. It doesn't even necessarily have to have any supernatural or religious overtones.
+2
level 71
Apr 9, 2018
Looked it up. Says "Not a very naughty boy"
+3
level 44
Mar 21, 2018
If you wanted to add more women, you could have added famous and significant women like Maria Curie, Eva Peron, Florence Nightingale, Catherine the Great, Cleopatra, Dolores Ibarruri... Helen Keller, Jane Austen and Amelia Earhart, with all due respect, absolutely don't belong in this list. Not to mention Rosa Parks, nobody outside US knows who she is, or should even care.
+1
level 71
Apr 9, 2018
What an absolutely ridiculous final comment
+1
level 54
Jun 11, 2018
I am outside the USA and I know who Rosa Parks is. There is nothing wrong with learning the history of a country other than your own, particularly such an influential country as the USA.
+1
level 19
Aug 22, 2018
Yes you do, but a quiz about global history shouldn't be so US-oriented.
+1
level 58
Jul 6, 2018
"absolutely don't belong on this list"? I think the Quizmaster did a good job.
+1
level 73
Sep 1, 2018
Nobody wanted to add more women.
+1
level 32
Mar 26, 2018
One I didn't know altogether—Oliver Cromwell—and one I could only come up with the first name for—Horatio Nelson. But other than that, I guess I know my important historical figures!
+1
level 66
Mar 30, 2018
Why is it when someone goes to the trouble of making a little quiz for jetpunkers many people try and pick fault or choose alternatives for the quiz. Make your own quizzes and then we can all pick holes in yours.
+1
level 56
Mar 30, 2018
Because it causes people to believe things that are simply not true. Fact checking is not a bad thing.
+1
level 56
Mar 30, 2018
What does 'supposedly wrote the Iliad', mean? Homer DID write the Iliad. Please remove the 'supposedly' from the quiz
+1
level 71
Apr 9, 2018
Interesting that you have incontrovertible proof of this, going back a few years where records are shady and claims are exaggerated. "Supposedly" is not denying it, so don't be so offended; it's merely implying that it isn't proven and some uncertainty exists. I don't think merely stating this as fact using capital letters will change many minds
+1
level 11
Apr 25, 2018
32 of these people are white
+1
level 74
May 28, 2018
No, they aren't. Race is a social construct. None of these people are "White." And none of them are white, either.
+3
level 50
Apr 28, 2018
Very american-centered
+1
level 42
May 22, 2018
Yes I did pay attention in history lessons (UK) but I only learnt 10 of these facts at school (and I couldn't remember all of those) and they were mostly in geography or science lessons! Many of the other facts I have learnt since although I couldn't remember their names. Some I only learnt in my late 20s.
+1
level 48
May 25, 2018
Perhaps replace Helen Keller with Louis Braille? For actually inventing the Braille alphabet/reading/writing system?
+1
level 58
Jul 6, 2018
Helen Keller was a prolific author, and speaker in over 40 countries, advocating for people with disabilities, and also women's rights.
+1
level 43
May 30, 2018
Can you accept 'Zedong' instead of having to type his full name?
+1
level 46
May 31, 2018
I have always felt that although what Rosa Parks did was brave and nobel, never was really that important. The civil rights movement would have happened without her, and a man like MLK was really who pushe the movement. Did her act affect the movement? Absolutley, but there have been thousands of people who have had a bigger affect on the world.
+1
level 47
Jun 28, 2018
-Edison didn't invent the light bulb, he improved it. -Bolivar isn't the only one called Liberator in Latinamerica. -Hellen Keller, Cromwell, Cook, Nelson, Parks, none of these I would consider part of basic general knowledge everyone should have. - Austen, Dickens and Twain but no Cervantes, writer of one of the most influential books ever? This list is heavily anglocentric. No suprise, of course.
+1
level 43
Jul 2, 2018
Mark Twain, really?
+1
level 74
Jul 10, 2018
You missed that one? Really?
+2
level 28
Jul 20, 2018
Don't include Jesus in something HISTORICAL!!!!!
+1
level 43
Jul 21, 2018
Hold up, quiz is called historical people that everyone should know, therefore my concern is why isn't Cyrus The Great on the list? Wrote the first human bill of rights, which is incorporated in the Constitution of the USA. He freed the Jews and his name is mentioned in the Bible, Torah and the Quran.
+1
level 41
Jul 22, 2018
Wouldn't say Cromwell, Keller or Parks are more notable than Galileo, Genghis Khan, Plato, Socrates, Aristotle, Stalin, Dante, Cervantes or Marx...
+1
level 39
Jul 26, 2018
...and alexander wasn't greek...he came from macedonia...
+1
level 11
Sep 10, 2018
Is it bad I don't know half the people here and some I do know I don't know the listed accomplishments (I have never heard of Moonlight Sonata) or was only being able to think robert downy jr?
+1
level 34
Sep 29, 2018
That quiz is way too much US-oriented. Neil Armstrong but not Yuri Gagarin, the freaking first man is space ?
+1
level 19
Oct 18, 2018
Nikola Tesla actually invented the lightbulb. Edison stole all his paperwork and stole everything from him. I would change Thomas Edison to Nikola Tesla.
+1
level 25
Oct 21, 2018
Guttenburg did not invent the printing press. This is common knowledge at this point, people really need to stop repeating this nonsense. The first printed book was made in 849 AD. He didn't even invent moveable metal type. Various versions of this were made in China and Korea over the three or four centuries before Guttenburg made his. His only legitimate claim to fame is printing the Christian bible. Tesla also didn't invent the light bulb. This is even taught in schools nowadays. Also, Lao Tzu is about as "supposed" as Homer. His existence is not verified by any evidence other than there is a book credited to an "Old Master."
+1
level 41
Oct 25, 2018
Why is Zedong not accepted for Mao Zedong??
+1
level 23
Oct 26, 2018
There are many different spellings for the name of the inventor of Islam. I tried several, but still didn`t get it right.
Similar Quizzes by Tag