It is thought that some people are born to be leaders. Over the course of human history, there are have been many great men and women that have shaped the path of humanity.
They are responsible for establishing civilizations and bringing about major changes. Leaders can be presidents, promoters of civil rights, military generals, or anyone else that is capable of organizing and leading a mass of people for a united cause.
The following list attempts to rank the top 15 greatest leaders in history. Browse this list and see if you agree with the names that you find.
#15 – Richard I of England
Richard I of England lived from 1157 to 1199 and was King of England from 1189 until his death. He is also known as Richard the Lionheart, due to his reputation as a great military leader and general. He took command of his first army at the age of just 16 and was responsible for expanding the size of the English empire.
#14 – Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson is one of the founding fathers of the United States of America. He made the list at number fourteen due to the fact that he was the principal author of the Declaration of Independence. Thomas Jefferson was the first United States Secretary of State, the second Vice President, and the third President of the US.
#13 – Martin Luther King Jr.
Martin Luther King Jr. was a crucial figure in the civil rights movement of the 1960’s in the United States. He used nonviolent civil disobedience and demonstration to bring the African-American civil rights movement into the public’s eye and bring about major change and reform. Sadly, he was assassinated on April 4, 1968 at the young age of 39.
#12 – Peter the Great
Peter the Great reaches number twelve on the list of greatest leaders. Peter the Great was a Russian czar during the late 17th century that is mostly remembered for his massive reforms and his efforts at establishing the Russian country as a great nation. He replaced many medieval social and political policies and system with modern concepts, bringing about a lasting change to the Russian government.
#11 – Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill is the eleventh greatest leader. Serving as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom during two different periods, 1940 to 1945 and 1951 to 1955, Winston Churchill was a major figure in British politics. He was one of the first military leaders to warn the country about the growing threat of Nazi Germany and his leadership is thought to have been a significant force between the British war efforts during World War II.
#10 – Mahatma Gandhi
Mahatma Gandhi was born in 1869 in British India, which is now Gujarat, India. He lived until 1948 when he was assassinated. Gandhi was the leader of the Indian independence movement against the British empire that ruled India. He believed in non-violent civil disobedience in order to inspire movements and change.
#9 – Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln (1809 – 1865) was the 16th President of the United States of America. Lincoln was a Republican and took office in 1861. He led the United States during the Civil War and is credited with abolishing slavery in the country and strengthening the federal government while modernizing the economy.
#8 – Elizabeth I of England
Queen Elizabeth I of England (1533 – 1603) was the daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. The reign of Elizabeth I is referred to as the Elizabethan era. This was a period of advancement in arts and culture. This is the same period that saw Shakespeare write his major plays. During Elizabeth I rule, England also began placing a focus on the development of a strong navy, which continues to this day.
#7 – William the Conqueror
William I of England (1028 – 1087), or William the Conqueror, was a King of England from 1066 to 1087. He was the first Norman King of England and was descended from Viking raiders. When he became King of England in 1066, he began the Norman conquest of England and spent the rest of his life consolidating power and the hold of the empire over the land of England.
#6 – Charlemagne
Charlemagne (742 – 814) is the sixth greatest leader in history and is known for uniting much of Western Europe during the early Middle Ages. He was the first Holy Roman Emperor and the first recognized emperor of Western Europe. Through strong military command and leadership, Charlemagne consolidated power and expanded his kingdom.
#5 – Otto von Bismarck
Otto von Bismarck (1815 – 1898) was responsible for unifying the German states and building the modern German Empire under Prussian rule. He became the first Chancellor Germany and is therefore considered a founding figure in German history. Some historians consider his work to be among the greatest diplomatic and political achievements of his time.
#4 – Napoleon Bonaparte
Napoleon Bonaparte (1769 – 1821) is often regarded as one of the greatest military generals in the history of the world. The tactics and strategies that he developed are still used and taught in modern warfare. He was the Emperor of the French and vastly expanded the empire.
#3 – George Washington
At number three on this list is George Washington (1732 – 1799) – the first President of the United States of America. He was a military leader during the American Revolution and is considered the father of the United States.
#2 – Julius Caesar
Julius Caesar (100BC – 44BC) was a Roman general and statesman that commanded massive armies and military campaigns. He is responsible for growing the size of the Roman Empire and helping it become one of the largest empires in history. This included expansion into Africa, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East.
#1 – Alexander the Great
Alexander the Great tops the list of the greatest leaders in history. He was the king of the Ancient Greek kingdom of Macedon. By the time he was just thirty years old, he had built one of the largest empires of the ancient world. This was the result of unprecedented military campaigns into Asian and Africa. Alexander the Great is recognized for achieving massive success with his military campaigns and is widely considered one of the greatest military minds of all time.
A leader is defined as the person who leads or commands a group, organization, or country. Millions of people have fallen into this category of the centuries, but this list contains those that have had some of the biggest impacts on human history. These people helped to shape the world that we know today.
This list of the top 15 leaders in history covers a range of the most notable people in human history. If you have the time – learn a little more about each of the names on this list.