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Most Important People in History

Can you name the most influential people in world history (in the personal opinion of the quizmaster)?
Remember: evil people can be very influential
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Last updated: January 14, 2019
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#
Who They Are / What They Did
Person
1
Messiah of Christianity
Jesus Christ
2
Founded Islam
Muhammad
3
Deeply influenced Chinese thought
Confucius
4
Founded Buddhism
Buddha
5
Rediscovered the New World
Christopher Columbus
6
Started WWII
Adolf Hitler
7
Conquered most of Asia
Genghis Khan
8
Invented the printing press
Johannes Gutenberg
9
Sparked the Protestant Reformation
Martin Luther
10
Father of Communism
Karl Marx
11
Founded the Persian empire
Cyrus the Great
12
Conquered most of Europe
Napoleon Bonaparte
13
Won WWII, modernized the USSR, killed millions
Joseph Stalin
14
Led the Communist revolution in China
Mao Zedong
15
Unified China
Qin Shi Huang
16
Conquered the Persian Empire and spread Greek culture
Alexander the Great
17
Led India to independence from the UK
Mohandas Gandhi
18
Expanded the Maurya Empire to most of the Indian subcontinent
Ashoka
19
Started Taoism
Laozi
20
First Roman emperor
Augustus
21
Conquered England
William the Conqueror
22
Discovered calculus and the theory of gravitation
Isaac Newton
23
Father of Western Philosophy
Plato
24
Leader of the American revolution
George Washington
25
Expanded the Frankish empire
Charlemagne
26
Led the Communist revolution in Russia
V. I. Lenin
27
Helped Latin America achieve independence
Simón Bolívar
28
Converted the Gentiles to Christianity
St. Paul
29
Started a once-popular religion called Zoroastrianism
Zoroaster
30
Started the Crusades
Pope Urban II
31
Conquered Gaul. Became dictator of Rome
Julius Caesar
32
Improved the steam engine
James Watt
33
Made huge breakthroughs in disease prevention
Louis Pasteur
34
Discovered evolution
Charles Darwin
35
Allowed Rome to become a Christian empire
Constantine
36
Greatest pharaoh of the New Kingdom
Ramesses II
37
Discovered relativity
Albert Einstein
38
Attempted a first comprehensive system of Western thought
Aristotle
39
Father of Economics
Adam Smith
40
Helped invent the lightbulb and much more
Thomas Edison
41
Conquered Central Asia in the late 1300s
Timur
42
Greatly expanded the Russian empire
Peter the Great
43
Unified Spain (two people)
Ferdinand & Isabella
44
Led the U.K. through WWII
Winston Churchill
45
Led England to a period of great discovery and prosperity
Queen Elizabeth I
46
Led the U.S. through the Civil War
Abraham Lincoln
47
First to sail from Europe to India
Vasco da Gama
48
Invented the airplane (two people)
Wright Brothers
49
To Sunnis, the fourth caliph; to shiites, the first imam
Ali
50
Invented the smallpox vaccine
Edward Jenner
51
Preeminent mathematician of the 18th century
Leonhard Euler
52
Made discoveries about radiation
Marie Curie
53
Broke England away from the Catholic church
Henry VIII
54
Invented birth control
Gregory Pincus
55
Figured out how to make artificial fertilizer
Fritz Haber
56
Potentially saved hundreds of millions by improving crop yields
Norman Borlaug
57
Father of Geometry
Euclid
58
Emperor who led China to a golden age during the Tang dynasty
Taizong of Tang
59
Assembly line and automobile pioneer
Henry Ford
60
Led the U.S. through the Great Depression and WWII
Franklin Roosevelt
61
Made huge contributions to mathematics and philosophy in the 17th century
René Descartes
62
Discovered genetics
Gregor Mendel
63
Founded the Umayyad caliphate
Muawiyah I
64
Conquered Persia and much of the Byzantine Empire
Umar
65
Conquered Constantinople, ending the Byzantine Empire
Mehmed the Conqueror
66
First President of Indonesia
Sukarno
67
Made important discoveries about electromagnetism
Michael Faraday
68
Made important discoveries about electromagnetism
James Maxwell
69
Led Russia to become a great power
Catherine the Great
70
Discovered penicillin
Alexander Fleming
71
First post-apartheid President of South Africa
Nelson Mandela
72
Conquered the Incas
Francisco Pizarro
73
Conquered the Aztecs
Hernán Cortés
74
Founder of Jainism
Mahavira
75
Helped develop the Scientific Method
Francis Bacon
76
Unified Germany under Prussian leadership
Otto von Bismarck
77
Sometimes called the Father of Modern Science
Galileo Galilei
78
Discovered that the Earth revolves around the Sun
Nicolaus Copernicus
79
Father of Modern Chemistry
Antoine Lavoisier
80
Improved the microscope. Observed single-celled organisms
Antony van Leeuwenhoek
81
Promoted sterile surgery
Joseph Lister
82
Father of nuclear physics
Ernest Rutherford
83
Prophet who founded Manichaeism, a now extinct religion
Mani
84
Invented the radio
Guglielmo Marconi
85
Founder of Pakistan
Muhammad Ali Jinnah
86
Emperor of Ethiopia, messiah of a minor religion
Haile Selassie
87
Father of computer science
Alan Turing
88
Most prominent figure in the American Civil Rights movement
Martin Luther King, Jr.
89
Helped overthrow the Shogunate in Japan
Sakamoto Ryōma
90
Hero of Mexican independence
Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla
91
Founder of psychoanalysis
Sigmund Freud
92
Playwright
William Shakespeare
93
Important artist and "Renaissance" man
Leonardo da Vinci
94
Musical composer
Ludwig van Beethoven
95
Renaissance artist
Michelangelo
96
Probably the most influential painter of the 20th century
Pablo Picasso
97
Arguably influenced pop culture more than anyone else
Walt Disney
98
Pop musician
John Lennon
99
19th century novelist
Charles Dickens
100
20th century athlete
Pelé
+9
level ∞
Jan 11, 2019
Make sure to read the Blog Article before you complain!
+8
level 68
Jan 11, 2019
Well done. Makes me eager to compose my own, slightly differently biased Top100.
+3
level ∞
Jan 11, 2019
Thanks. It would be cool to see other people's lists as well. Warning: this was a lot of work!
+2
level 68
Mar 13, 2019
You didn't promise to much, but it was also a great mental exercise. Here is my take on the list and here is an additional list for the most important women.
+7
level 77
Jan 11, 2019
Well, for a Top 100 list, this is not too bad. A few people that I don't really know but it's nice to learn. I didn't know Sakamoto Ryoma, is he more important than Mutsuhito? Apart from that, my only complain would be Pelé... I like sport but it's hard for me to consider any athlete to be "influential".
+1
level ∞
Jan 11, 2019
I wanted to include at least one Japanese person, and after doing research I decide to include Ryoma, but I am not very confident about that one.
+4
level 64
Feb 26, 2019
I agree, a good quiz with many learning points. I too thought Pelé was a dodgy question - he was a footballer not an athlete. I was sure you must have meant Owens! Now he was influential.
+1
level 62
Mar 3, 2019
in American English any sportsman is considered an athlete. While outside of the US, athletics is what Americans would call "track and field" so athletes are specifically runners, jumpers and throwers.
+3
level 75
Mar 16, 2019
Pele could both run and jump. I saw him do it in a video once.
+1
level 58
May 11, 2019
Instead of Ryoma you could also put Oda Nobunaga, Tokugawa Ieyasu or Toyotomi Hideyoshi.
+2
level 60
Mar 16, 2019
I read the blog article, and I have a complaint! Sorry. Anyway, looking at the general trend of human history, you could argue that the Industrial Revolution was the only development that really mattered. It completely transformed the way the global economy was structured, and rapidly increased quality of life by making goods accessible to everyone. If you want to see its impact most simply, just look at a graph of human population over time. As a result, I think that there's no way you can justify putting James Watt below someone like Zoroaster.
+14
level 68
Jan 11, 2019
Still, Nikola Tesla is the man who invented the 20th century :) And yes, I have read the article. For sure my own list would be different, but your point is good, not completely :)
+2
level 77
Jan 11, 2019
Just for alternative current, he already belongs to such a list, yes.
+2
level ∞
Jan 11, 2019
Alternating current wasn't invented by Tesla, but he did invent the induction motor. (Galileo Ferraris also invented one)
+4
level 69
Jan 14, 2019
He fundamentally changed the way electricity was applied and made it possible for mass consumption. He's undoubtedly more relevant than even just a few of the scientists on the list, never mind all the others.
+1
level 75
Mar 16, 2019
He's at the very least more important than Pincus, and invented a few things by himself.
+3
level 77
Jan 11, 2019
Not complaining, Freud unfortunately belongs to this list, but he founded psychoanalysis, not psychology.
+1
level ∞
Jan 11, 2019
Fixed
+2
level 68
Jan 11, 2019
That was a far more varied and interesting selection than any equivalent quiz or list that I've seen. The only one I'd take issue with is the "athlete" - I chose different answers for a number of the clues, but could clearly see the reasoning behind each except that one. I understand their inclusion within that category, but...
+3
level ∞
Jan 11, 2019
He's there for variety. I decided to put one athlete on the list and put him at #100. I think Pelé is the most appropriate choice, although I also considered Muhammad Ali. Funny enough our list also includes Muhammad, Ali, and Muhammad Ali Jinnah.
+1
level 77
Jan 11, 2019
Btw, I must have tried ten different spellings to no avail for the latter... I just didn't think of putting two n :(.
+1
level 68
Mar 16, 2019
Ali was my first thought, actually, but then realised it couldn't be because of the answer to a different clue.
+2
level 63
Jan 12, 2019
In general a comprehensive list, thanks! But there are three major short-comings I would say: 1) Neil Armstrong is missing. 2) Robert Koch is missing. He should be at s similar rank as Flemings and Pasteur. 3) Any "athlete" is a ridiculous choice for this list.
+3
level 68
Jan 12, 2019
Why Armstrong?
+3
level 82
Jan 16, 2019
Neil Armstrong because he was the first actor to pretend to walk on the moon.
+2
level 56
Mar 6, 2019
He was not. But he still shouldn't be on the list.
+5
level 73
Jan 13, 2019
Considering how much time the humanity dedicates to playing, watching and discussing sports, someone from the field must be influential.
+5
level 75
Mar 16, 2019
I don't think it's that sports aren't influential it's more that how do you pick out just one athlete? They all have done basically the same thing (be good at sports), most will be forgotten within a few generations after their death, and all within a 150 years or so, because none of them individually were really that important and beyond inspiring the generation that was around to witness their feats (something that all of them did in roughly the same way just at different times and to different audiences), none of them made any lasting contributions to society. I would allow for some possible exceptions to that last statement to include figures like Jesse Owens or Jackie Robinson, or maybe Pele.
+3
level 42
Jan 23, 2019
I am really not sure about Neil Armstrong because while it's important that he walked on the moon. Why not include the head scientist of the team that got him on the moon? If not already included of course.
+1
level 63
Mar 24, 2019
As a scientist, I appreciate your attitude. Nevertheless, I would say it requires some bravery to depart for a new world which had been much newer than e.g. America. That said, I think that also Jury Gagarin should be on this list and probably way before Armstrong.
+1
level 63
Mar 24, 2019
I mean in a history book in 3019, almost all of these persons will be probably footnotes. None of the political leaders will be of any relevance. At most some of the philosophers (including Jesus, Mohammed et al.) will be still considered to be of particular importance for the course of history. In contrast, mankind leaving the planet is something completely different, comparable to leaving the trees some million years ago. And although it was definitively not the genius achievment of Gagarin or Armstrong alone, I bet these names will survive until the end of history.
+2
level 56
Jan 13, 2019
Can the spelling "Soekarno" be used for the Indonesian president? It is an alternate spelling and the one used for the airport in Jakarta. I tried it and when it didn't work I didn't think to try it with a u.
+6
level 68
Jan 13, 2019
Beethoven but no Mozart? Think both or neither would be appropriate.
+4
level 70
Jan 14, 2019
I agree that if there's to be a classical composer and just one, Mozart's your guy.
+4
level ∞
Jan 14, 2019
Agree to disagree
+4
level 62
Mar 3, 2019
I think many experts would say that the pre-eminent musician of western music is J.S. Bach. Bach was better at music than anyone else has ever been at any thing.
+2
level 56
Mar 6, 2019
Beethoven was more influential than Mozart because he was the inspiration for the Romantic period, whereas Mozart was just a Classical composer. Bach was also very influential, and while I prefer his music over Beethoven's I would say in terms of influence they are pretty close.
+1
level 75
Mar 16, 2019
Beethoven is my personal favorite by a big margin.
+1
level 54
Mar 18, 2019
I'm with musiclistsareus. I'm shocked that the majority guessed Beethoven based on just "musical composer." Having grown up playing and listening to classical music (though by no means an expert), I couldn't imagine it being anyone other than Bach.
+1
level 75
Mar 19, 2019
The most obvious answers to that clue are 1. Bach 2. Beethoven 3. Mozart... it's not a long list to go through.
+1
level 65
Mar 21, 2019
I think Bach and Mozart are more influential than Beethoven, just due to the impact their compositions had on society.
+10
level 47
Jan 13, 2019
I read it. And of course, Moses existed. Who else could have written the Pentateuch (and perhaps Job). But more important than that, Lennon over Elvis? Lennon would have strongly disagreed.
+3
level 56
Mar 6, 2019
Who else could have written the Pentateuch? Maybe, as is now scholarly consensus, a variety of different authors over many centuries? I would also like to point out that Moses dies in Deuteronomy 34.
+3
level ∞
Mar 16, 2019
To quote Ned Flanders: "I've done everything the Bible says - even the stuff that contradicts the other stuff!"
+1
level 75
Mar 16, 2019
And who else could have written the Book of Mormon except for the prophet Mormon, right? Someone other than what the tradition of the religion holds despite being contradicted by all archaeological evidence availble? Unthinkable!
+1
level 70
Jan 14, 2019
Wow! This was very brave of you to attempt! I have one comment about Ashoka (it was great to see him on here!). He didn't exactly "conquer India", he more or less legitimately ascended to the throne (although there was contention between him and one of his brothers, who Ashoka apparently offed). The only war of invasion he undertook after that was Kalinga, which is indeed in India, but is just a little area. Other expansions were into modern Afghanistan and Bangladesh, but didn't appear to be as bloody. Anyway, all this is neither here nor there, it's more just that "conquered India" makes it sound like he was some outsider invading, rather than the son of the emperor of what was already the vast majority of India, who then became emperor.
+1
level ∞
Jan 14, 2019
Tweaked the clue a little
+2
level 75
Mar 16, 2019
I was also pleased to see Ashoka, Umar bin Khattab, and Qin Shi Huang. I think I suggested them all before in the comments of the first quiz.
+1
level 68
Mar 16, 2019
After I looked into it, I actually disagree with Ashoka. He expanded the Maurya empire, but there were many empires in India with a similar record. His only bigger achievment seems to be the spread of buddhism, but all we know about Ashoka comes almost exclusively from buddhist sources, so there is much room for doubt. Not to mention that the places he 'converted' to Buddhism back then are predominantly not-buddhist today.
+2
level 75
Mar 16, 2019
Because Garibaldi, Mussolini, and Julius Caesar all existed does that mean we shouldn't know about Augustus? Yeah there have been other Indian empires but Ashoka was a very significant figure.
+1
level 68
Mar 16, 2019
Sure, I didn't want to say, that he wasn't important. But I don't see him in a Top100, especially so high, especially when Akbar and Nehru are not listed at all.
+1
level 75
Mar 17, 2019
Ashoka was in the Civilization video games; those other guys weren't. :D Gandhi was, too.
+4
level 70
Jan 14, 2019
Oh, and how come Stalin got credit for killing millions, but Mao, who appeared right under him, did not? :-/
+1
level 42
Jan 24, 2019
Mao did kill more of his own people then Stalin to.
+2
level 71
Jan 14, 2019
It's a cool list, and an interesting quiz. I think the only reason people might feel provoked into criticising it is because of the label "Most Important People". There's no way of being able to say that a particular 100 people are more important than another 100 or 1000 people. How about just calling the quiz "Important People in History"? That would save triggering arguments about whether Beethoven was "more" important than Mozart, Plato "greater" than Socrates, and whether any economist was more important than Enrico Fermi.
+2
level ∞
Jan 14, 2019
That's part of the fun.
+4
level 69
Jan 14, 2019
I'm not one to complain about who is included in these kinds of lists because they are subjective. I only have two issues. 1. Stalin ended WWII while Churchill and Roosevelt are only noted as leading their respective countries? Don't think so. Stalin was as much at a stalemate as UK was until US entered the war. The three of them working together won. 2. The clues toward the end were just getting lazy, especially for a subjective quiz.
+2
level 75
Mar 16, 2019
The USA was important to the European theater of WW2, and obviously had more to do with defeating the Japanese than anyone (which, surprise to many Europeans, was important)... but the Russians definitely deserve the lion's share of the credit when it comes to putting down Hitler. And your characterization of the war between the Axis and Soviets as in stalemate is inaccurate. D-Day came 16 months after the Battle of Stalingrad had concluded and the Soviets had put the Axis powers on the defensive. Hitler had lost control over Ukraine and Belarus already and the siege of Leningrad had been lifted months before the Americans landed in Normandy. I'm not trying to diminish the importance of Allied bombing efforts etc but what you said is inaccurate.
+3
level 82
Jan 16, 2019
You should accept Jim Thorpe and Jackie Robinson as type-ins for Pele.
+5
level 63
Jan 16, 2019
And Mohammed Ali.... My only real quibble with the list is perhaps John Lennon, whose significance I would never diminish, but in terms of pop musicians, I am not sure his actual influence is as profound as that of Elvis or Michael Jackson or Frank Sinatra
+3
level 62
Mar 3, 2019
The Beatles as a group were extremely important, but Lennon by himself might not surpass the singular Elvis. But since some of the other clues are two people (Wright bros, Ferdinand & Isobella), you might consider Lennon & McCartney; together they do comprise the heart of the greatest band in history.
+2
level 70
Jan 17, 2019
Pele never entered my mind. I tried Thorpe, Robinson and Babe Didrikson Zarahias.
+2
level 56
Jan 19, 2019
Quizmaster, did you mean to repeat the same hint for 67 and 68?
+1
level 44
Jan 22, 2019
I believe so – they both were responsible for the discoveries made about electromagnetism.
+1
level 54
Jan 22, 2019
QM maybe you could tweak the "athlete" question and narrow it a little more. I was thinking Babe Ruth or Michael Jordan. Good job otherwise, I widely agree
+1
level 42
Jan 28, 2019
Michael Jordan most likely but maybe Lebron as well.
+1
level 51
Mar 16, 2019
The clue asks for a 20th century athlete. Lebron is 21st century.
+1
level 75
Mar 16, 2019
I remember reading something when I was about 8 or 9 about Michael Jordan being the 3rd-most-recognized person in the world, after Mario and Mickey Mouse. Personally I don't think any athletes should be included at all but Pele or Jesse Owens maybe are semi-reasonable inclusions.

On second thought, no, no athletes should be on this quiz at all.
+2
level 42
Jan 23, 2019
I'm not complaing but why not reconsider if figures like Queen Victoria of England, Johannes Kepler and Francesco Petrarca should be in the list.
+1
level 54
Jan 23, 2019
Arguably, Gavrilo Princip could be considered the most influential person of the 20th century...
+1
level 54
Jan 24, 2019
Who?
+1
level 54
Jan 25, 2019
He assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand.
+3
level 68
Jan 31, 2019
To expand on what Kyle72211 said, Gavrilo Princip assassinated the Austrian Archduke, which started off World War I. The causes of World War II are all rooted in what happened during and after WW1, and most of the rest of the 20th century is shaped by WW2. So indeed, Gavrilo Princip is arguably the person who had the greatest influence in that century.
+4
level 39
Feb 7, 2019
He was the guy who belonged to this group who hadn't been able to assassinate him. So Princip, being very sad, decided to go buy a sandwich. Fortunately (for him, at least), Ferdinand's procession rolled by as he was eating his hoagie. So actually, whoever founded that deli shop should be on here.
+2
level 53
Feb 11, 2019
He only started a war that was inevitable. The assassination was just a convenient excuse for Europe to settle the disputes and tensions that had built up since Napoleon. There probably was no way to stop it. If WWI would not have happened if not for the assassination, I would wholeheartedly agree with you, because, undoubtedly, WWI has shaped history since then dramatically and is the foundation of the world's political landscape. However, Princip was just a match that set the fire of WWI, a war that was bound to happen.
+1
level ∞
Mar 16, 2019
Agreed. It's not the person who tips the dominos that counts, it's the person who sets them up in the first place.
+2
level 54
Mar 19, 2019
I was just quoting Dan Carlin, thought it'd make for good conversation.
+4
level 58
Jan 29, 2019
Wow, I have a lot of comments. 1) Some choices made on this quiz were very good. Norman Borlaug and Fritz Haber, e.g., are important people who can easily be overlooked. 2) With a Japanese person, I don't know who that person is, but I felt like the Meiji emperor ought to be a shoo-in for this last. 3) As acknowledged in the blog post, there is a shortage of Asians. I personally think Nehru might be more important than Gandhi - plus, Jinnah is included and Nehru is pretty important too. I think Deng Xiaoping's policies has had a massive impact on the world economy in the last decades and he certainly deserves to be included. 4) Other people I think should be added: Justinian (law code), Locke (political science), Keynes (major influence on economic policy of last century), IDK who else. 5) For pop musician I tried Elvis, Michael Jackson, Bob Dylan - I think all these artist had a pretty significant impact and legacy. It's a tough choice. I missed Disney, but I think it's good.
+1
level 62
Mar 3, 2019
Yes, Nehru is vastly underrated as the popularizer of the jacket with an upturned collar.
+1
level ∞
Mar 16, 2019
All good suggestions @Froststar101.
+2
level 75
Mar 16, 2019
yeah I would have thought Emperor Meiji, Hideki Tojo, or Tokugawa Yoshinobu.
+2
level 72
Feb 8, 2019
Have read the blog article and you said the list might evolve so just a couple of ideas in case you didn't consider them -

1. Florence Nightingale developed the nursing profession into what it is today, saving and improving countless lives around the world

2. The Manhattan Project caused huge changes all over the world, though I'm not sure which 1 person that would be attributable to (Richard Feynman was involved and also helped popularise science but maybe there would be someone else more appropriate)
+2
level 34
Mar 3, 2019
Ataturk and Magellan / Vespucci should probably be on the list but still a good quiz
+2
level 46
Mar 3, 2019
Should the UK decide to go through with Brexit, you might want to add Cameron
+2
level 46
Mar 3, 2019
You also might want to put Che Guevara on the list
+2
level 75
Mar 16, 2019
That guy is more overrated than Tesla.
+1
level 46
Mar 3, 2019
Sorry to bother, but how about Adam Ries, who implied use of the arabic numeric system in Europe. That had quite a big influence. Numbers are everywhere...
+1
level 57
Mar 6, 2019
Max Plank, Schrodinger or Heisenberg instead of Rutherford. no quantum physics = no atomic theory. And who is Pelé? only Messi could be on that short list of athletes. Al-Khwaritzmi should make the cut also. For such thing of The Numbers
+1
level 68
Mar 16, 2019
I was surprised at the omission of some of the scientists as well. I also expected to see Gauss. I would also think someone like a James Clark Maxwell might rate higher but I am quite biased given my interests.
+1
level 25
Mar 16, 2019
yay a question about zoroastianism. Reply if you are.
+2
level 48
Mar 16, 2019
lol where tesla at
+1
level 78
Mar 16, 2019
Not a bad list (and certainly impressive, both for the amount of time it must have taken and the willingness to open oneself up to criticism). Norman Borlaug is one of my favorite "incredibly important people that no one has ever heard of." I was all prepared to argue with whatever came up for "Arguably influenced pop culture more than anyone else," but then when I saw the answer, I actually thought you made a pretty good call on that one.

For the one Japanese person, I probably would have chosen Tokugawa Ieyasu (reunified Japan after centuries of regional warfare) or maaaaybe Murasaki Shikibu (author of the Tale of Genji) over Sakamoto, but I do agree with the choice to go with him over the Emperor Meiji--anyone who's studied Japanese history knows the emperor is never the most influential person.
+1
level 45
Mar 16, 2019
Agree with your point on Tokugawa.
+1
level 78
Mar 16, 2019
Also, just to be a good pedantic Jetpunker, Pincus invented the birth control pill, not birth control itself.
+1
level 57
Mar 16, 2019
Not a perfect quiz by any means, but I liked the list. A lot of people who make lists like this like to put random people at the top to be edgy. Great job putting the obvious choices (religious leaders) at the top of the chart. I think I'll make my own list/quiz (with all respect to the Quizmaster)
+2
level 75
Mar 16, 2019
I read the blog entry. I'd say it's an improvement over the old quiz. But..
you took off Moses for being a figure of mythology. (good call) You should have also taken off Jesus for the same reason. We don't even know if he was a real person let alone much about him or how influential he really was. Or at least put him below Paul. There's a growing scholarly consensus that Muhammad should fall in to the same category, as there is almost nothing written about Muhammad that actually survives from his lifetime. (though there is a lot more than we have for Jesus, aka nothing)
You left Pincus on the quiz?? He absolutely doesn't belong. This was one of the dumbest things about the original quiz. The man is the CO-inventor of combined oral contraceptives. Not even the sole inventor. Not the inventor of birth control (which had been being practiced for hundreds of years various ways). As I said on the previous quiz, you could have given his spot to Margaret Sanger, who underwrote his
+1
level 75
Mar 16, 2019
research, and was ultimately far more influential for a variety of other things she did. Upped your woman count from 4 to 5, and given credit to the person who was ultimately more responsible for influencing the world at the same time.
+1
level 75
Mar 16, 2019
If you made the smart move of removing or demoting Jesus and Muhammad, (at least) quasi-mythological figures at the center of their respective cults, and promoting figures like St Paul who we actually know were real people who had real influence on turning a backwater marginal Jewish apocalypse cult into the major world religion we actually know today, then the closest Muslim equivalent to Paul would probably be Abu Bakr, who doesn't show up on the list.
+2
level 75
Mar 16, 2019
Read this and explain to me why Pincus was more influential than Sanger. He's mentioned in the article, too.
+1
level 75
Mar 16, 2019
and for non readers
+1
level 75
Mar 16, 2019
and this article is about John Rock, who was one of the other "co-inventors" of the pill. The article also mentions Sanger. But I think I might argue that Rock deserves a place on the quiz more than Pincus, as well. Though not as much as Sanger.
+1
level 68
Mar 16, 2019
Your point regarding historicity are valid, but I think that in this format, their inclusion can be justified. It is, by design, a subjectiv list, and a certain amount of speculation is ok, if not necassary. There is case for an actual historic prefigure of Jesus, not the least because the characteristics attributed to him are wholly inside the jewish normalcy of that time (there were many messiai(?) at that time in this geographic location).

I agree, that Paulus had a bigger influence on the christian doctrine than any theoretical predecessor. That is again the question, what kind of influence is meant and to be held higher. There are also a lot of figures of early christianity with a similar record than him, that were one by one purged from the records, yet who still had influence on the legacy.

If you'd apply higher standards for historicity, that's good, but I also think it is interesting to see, how people asses that question from a more personal point of view.

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level 75
Mar 17, 2019
I can definitely see a potential point being made for figures impacting history and society in ways beyond even what they did directly. I mean, the myth of Jesus, even if he was entirely fabricated (and I don't think he was), has influenced billions of lives and continues to today. But.... do we credit the man who is the subject of the myth? Or those that created or made the myth influential? (Paul, Constantine, the anonymous authors of the gospels) If you're going to remove Moses from the quiz, then it seems to me that you are going more for the latter... and in that case I'd either remove Jesus, or rank him much lower on the list. If you were going to go by the former standard, then someone like Luke Skywalker could show up on the list, to the exclusion of George Lucas.

In short I see your point and could see it either way it just seems inconsistent to me to remove Moses from the list entirely, and then rank Jesus #1.
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level 63
Mar 24, 2019
I entirely second kalbahamut's logical derivation.
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level 73
Mar 16, 2019
I agree about Sanger being a better option. She was also my first and only guess for that question. Overall fun quiz though.
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level 41
Mar 16, 2019
edward jenner > kylie jenner
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level 35
Mar 16, 2019
Last question should be more precise
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level 55
Mar 16, 2019
Good list. I'd have included Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web
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level 42
Mar 16, 2019
Surely you should have included Tim Berners Lee? Without him we’d wouldn’t be doing this quiz
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level 46
Mar 16, 2019
I really think that Carl Linnaeus belongs on this list. One of the most influential scientists of all time and probably on par with Darwin as the most important people in biology as a whole. If people like Lavoisier made the list it should be criminal to not put Linnaeus on it. If this is not enough, he also happens to be the most mentioned person on all of Wikipedia Source: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-intersect/wp/2014/06/11/the-most-influential-person-on-wikipedia-is-someone-youve-probably-never-heard-of/?utm_term=.e07279044fda
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level 45
Mar 18, 2019
Completely agree!
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level 73
Mar 16, 2019
My version https://www.jetpunk.com/user-quizzes/42254/top-100-people-of-the-millennium
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level 75
Mar 16, 2019
I was surprised not to see Oppenheimer on this list. It seems to me that anyone who led the Manhattan Project and was known as the "father of the atomic bomb" deserves a place here.
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level 32
Mar 16, 2019
Who the heck is Pele-- I know I don't follow sports much but what makes him more influential than Mozart or Thomas Jefferson or some other people not here?
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level 75
Mar 17, 2019
Brazilian soccer player. Arguably the most famous in history, though to younger fans I'm sure Messi is better known.
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level 57
Mar 28, 2019
Although some athletes can be arguably influential on his generation, they never can be highly influential on the long run. Each generation will have his own heroes. To put the blame on a single person I would choose the reintroducer of the modern Olympic Games but I cannot think of a single athlete that cannot be bested out as the time goes on.
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level 75
Apr 3, 2019
Funny, I was just learning about a famous boxer of ancient Greece the other day. Accounts of his life and feats have survived for quite a long time. Not that anyone would know who I was talking about if I mentioned his name...
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level 45
Mar 16, 2019
Pele? I think an athelete is not appropriate in this list, considering "important" implies "contributing/damaging lots to society". Maybe Bill Gates (a contemporary) is more influential. He brought PCs closer to people and leveraged software industry. (He also "killed" some other companies, thereby changing global software development.)
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level 45
Mar 16, 2019
I second Bill Gates.
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level 45
Mar 16, 2019
I nominate for consideration to displace others: Samuel Morse, Alexander Graham Bell, and Ben Franklin. All inventors whose inventions had great impact on global communication.
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level 29
Mar 16, 2019
Great quiz even though of course subjective choices are always arguable. It's sad how few women there are (not a critic to you, it's obviously true to reality)
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level 56
Mar 16, 2019
First of all this was a great quiz with a great variation of people! The one person i feel is left out is Carl Linnaeus the botanist. After all he is the person responsible for the naming of basically all flora and fauna. No Homo Sapiens or Canis Lupus and such without Linnaeus. Also i dont know why Sukarno is so high up, but that might just be ignorance on my part.
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level 54
Mar 16, 2019
Why Muhammad Ali Jinnahand Suharto? How is founding Pakistan one of the biggest changing factors in world society? It was both Pele AND Diego Mardona, how did one contribute more than the other? By the way, that's actually a common myth that Henry Ford invented the modern automobile; it was actually Karl Benz who did that, but don't take my word for it, check it out for yourself. Also I'd include Alexander Graham Bell for the telephone and Von Bron for his contributions to modern rocket science which helped pave the way for space exploration.
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level 67
Mar 16, 2019
Henry 8th didnt exactly break England away from the Catholic Church. He went to his deathbed a Catholic. What he did was to establish a branch of the Catholic church in England with himself as its head. Later, under Edward and Elizabeth, this branch adopted Protestant theology but this would not have pleased Henry, whom the Pope gave the title Defender of the Faith as a result of Henry's answer to Luther. So the question as it stands could be a candidate for your upcoming April Fools Quiz.
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level ∞
Mar 17, 2019
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_people_excommunicated_by_the_Catholic_Church
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level 75
Mar 17, 2019
Though the Anglican church was basically Catholic in almost every way, if you don't answer to the Pope you are not really Catholic.
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level 70
Mar 16, 2019
Great quiz! Please accept Mehmet for Mehmed?
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level 45
Mar 16, 2019
I would nominate Thomas Midgley, who singlehandedly created CFCs and got the bright idea of adding lead to petrol, therefore spelling doom to millions of people and the atmosphere. Also Archimedes for his contributions.
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level ∞
Mar 17, 2019
I added an interesting fact about Midgely. The poor guy couldn't catch a break.
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level 52
Mar 17, 2019
I think that Dmitri Mendeleev should be added to this list. Definitely more influential than Pelé
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level 45
Mar 18, 2019
Somehow remembered Ashoka from 6th grade history :)
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level 45
Mar 18, 2019
Knew Lavoisier and Leeuwenhoek right away but couldn't for the life of me remember how to spell their names, ugh.
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level 57
Mar 18, 2019
Who in the world decided to describe John Lennon as a "Pop musician" as opposed to a "Rock musician"? :-\ Calling him a "pop musician" isn't exactly wrong, but it's really misleading. No wonder so few people are guessing that one correctly. (For reference, the word "pop" shows up twice on his Wikipedia page. "Rock" is used 15 times (plus another 15 in the References section.)
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level 55
Mar 19, 2019
I would agree. Even his work beyond The Beatles could hardly be called pop, if anything "Avant- Garde" would be a much better descriptor.
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level 59
Mar 21, 2019
No, it's pop. "Pop" has taken on a negative connotation because people think of it as Madonna, Britney Spears, Katy Perry, etc., but in the academic sense, it is always used to mean popular music generally -- usually songs ranging between two and six minutes, written for one to ten musicians, that operate in basic major/minor modalities with vocals and the verse/chorus/verse foundation. John Lennon, both during and after the Beatles, is definitely a pop musician.
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level 30
Mar 19, 2019
I think some of the clues are just too broad where they relate to personal preference. Thinking specifically the composer athlete and pop singer Also pedant alert. You can't invent evolution. And to be accurate Darwin didn't even "invent" the theory of Evolution. That was already around. He came up with the mechanism for it to work i.e. Natural Selection. The Theory (since proved) is Natural Selection. Evolution is a fact and always was. This is the rebuttal to intelligent designers who go Oh but Evolution is only a Theory
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level 69
Mar 20, 2019
No one is mentioning Volta (Alessandro), so I'm mentioning him. Besides that, I'm surprised by the underrepresentation of culture and certain fields of science.
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level 33
Mar 21, 2019
Only one woman?
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level 33
Mar 21, 2019
Sorry. Maybe more than one. Just browsed through the list quickly.
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level 38
Mar 24, 2019
Sorry, I didn't read the blog. I think I get the gist of what you're going for, and understand everyone would have a different list. I just want to say, if you wanted to include at least one Japanese person, Tokugawa Ieyasu is by far the most influential. He unified Japan, expelled Europeans and banned Christianity, and created what at the time was arguably the most "modern" state in the world that lasted 250 years, allowing Japan to not only thrive economically but significantly influence European art and philosophy despite being almost completely cut off from the world. I lived in Sakamoto's hometown, and appreciate his importance, but he was one of many figures who helped overthrow the system Ieyasu created. If you wanted a more modern figure, Ito Hirobumi was *significantly* more influential than Sakamoto in that time period. Either Ieyasu or Ito could easily belong on this list with or without seeking out a Japanese person especially.
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level 75
Mar 28, 2019
Minor quibble but I think I'd put Buddha over Confucius. Buddhist teachings have had a major impact in India, Nepal, SE Asia, China, Japan, Tibet... Confucius may have had a bigger impact in China (and Japan, Korea, Vietnam), but that influence didn't flow all the way back west to India. Close call either way, though.
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level 35
Apr 17, 2019
What, no Amerigo Vespucci? Trump never would've gained support if his campain slogan was "Make That Western Country Great Again" :)
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level 35
Apr 17, 2019
Also, a future quiz suggestion? Maybe Most Influential Cities In History?