QRUs Most Important People in History

Can you name the most influential people in world history, according to me.
Rank is: My rank (relation to Quizmasters Rank)
Note that I will use the names I'm most comfortable with. If you miss a type-in, please ask!
Quiz by QRU
Last updated: March 13, 2019
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First submittedMarch 13, 2019
Times taken760
Average score46.0%
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1 (+1)
Founder of Islam and the Rashidun Caliphate
2 (+1)
Deeply influenced Chinese thought
3 (-2)
Proposed Messiah of Judaism, inspired Christianity
Jesus of Nazareth
4 (0)
Main teacher and buddha of Buddhism
Siddharta Gautama
5 (+2)
Founder of Mongol Empire, promoted trade, rape and religious tolerance
Genghis Khan
6 (-)
Improved papermaking decisively
Cai Lun
7 (+5)
Conquered and modernized most of Europe
Napoleon Bonaparte
8 (-2)
Started World War II
Adolf Hitler
9 (+6)
Unified China
Qin Shi Huang
10 (-2)
Improved printing decisively
Johannes Gutenberg
11 (+27)
Father of Western Philosophy
12 (+8)
Founded the Roman Empire
13 (+64)
Astronomer, furthered the Scientific Method against major hostilities
Galileo Galilei
14 (-)
Philosopher of German Idealism, inspired Marxism and Fascism, a.e.
G. W. F. Hegel
15 (+4)
Founder of Taoism
16 (+17)
Major contributor to Germ Theory, Vaccination and mildly heated milk
Louis Pasteur
17 (+9)
Communist revolutionary, first head of the Soviet Union
Vladimir Lenin
18 (+4)
Laid the foundations of classical mechanic, advanced the Scientific Revolution
Isaac Newton
19 (+18)
Discovered Relativity
Albert Einstein
20 (+55)
Influental contributor to the Scientific Method and Empiricism
Francis Bacon
21 (-7)
Dictator of China, caused the Cultural Revolution
Mao Tse-tung
22 (-9)
Led the USSR through World War II
Josef Stalin
23 (-)
Main philosopher of Mahāyāna Buddhism
24 (-1)
Classical philosopher, founder of the Academy
25 (+3)
Reinterpreted and spread Christianity through Europe
Paulus of Tarsus
26 (+36)
Discoverer of Genetics
Gregor Mendel
27 (-17)
Writer of the Communist Manifesto
Karl Marx
28 (-4)
Revolutionary and first president of the United States of America
George Washington
29 (-12)
Fought for Indian Independence, contributed to nonviolent resistance
Mohandas Gandhi
30 (-25)
Found a sea route to the Americas
Christopher Columbus
31 (-4)
Fought for the independence of South America
Simón Bolívar
32 (+2)
Major contributor to the Theory of Evolution
Charles Darwin
33 (+47)
Revolutionized microscoping
Antonie van Leeuwenhoek
34 (-)
Pharaoh dubbed "the Enemy", contributed to Monotheism
35 (-24)
Founder of the first Persian Empire
Cyrus the Great
36 (-1)
Allowed Rome to become a christian Empire
37 (-)
Originator of Quantum theory, has a time named after him
Max Planck
38 (+40)
Rediscovered Heliocentrism, triggered a revolution named after him
Nicolaus Copernicus
39 (-)
Major contributor to early psychology
Wilhelm Wundt
40 (+12)
Pioneered radioactivity
Marie Skłodowska Curie
41 (-16)
Powerful Frankish and Holy Roman Emperor
42 (+19)
Influencal European mathematician and philosopher, known for his "Meditations"
René Descartes
43 (-)
Sunni muslim theologican, either started or ended the Islamic Golden Age
44 (-)
Inspired the Protestant Reformation
Jan Hus
45 (+27)
Conquered the Inca Empire
Francisco Pizarro
46 (+27)
Conquered the Aztec Empire
Hernán Cortés
47 (+9)
Potentially saved hundreds of millions by improving crop yields
Norman Borlaug
48 (-)
Forerunner of Epidemology and Medical hygiene
John Snow
49 (-)
Regarded as the first computer programmer
Ada Lovelace
50 (+5)
Figured out how to make artificial fertilizer
Fritz Haber
51 (+28)
Considered father of Modern Chemistry, also contributed to Biology
Antoine Lavoisier
52 (+35)
Highly influental in Computer Science
Alan Turing
53 (-14)
Called the "Father of Economy"
Adam Smith
54 (-)
Cofounder of and major contributor to Sociology
Max Weber
55 (-)
Enlightened Monarch, modernized Prussia and made it a Great power
Frederick the Great
56 (-)
Father of the modern Turkey
Mustafa Kemal Atatürk
57 (-36)
Conquered England for the Normans
William the Conqueror
58 (+7)
Conquered Constantinople and ended the Byzantine Empire
Mehmed the Conqueror
59 (-)
Discovered Galaxies and the expanding of the Universe
Edwin Hubble
60 (-)
Build the first nuclear reactor, dubbed the "architect of the nuclear age"
Enrico Fermi
61 (-)
Main figure of chinese legalism, highly influental during the Qing dynasty
Han Fei
62 (-31)
Captured Gaul, prepared the end of the Roman Republic
Gaius Julius Caesar
63 (-)
Major figure of the revival of Hinduism and Indian nationalism
Swami Vivekananda
64 (-18)
Won the American Civil War, abolished slavery in the USA
Abraham Lincoln
65 (-)
Cofounder of modern chemistry and the experimental scientific method
Robert Boyle
66 (-)
Influencal philosopher of the enlightenment, popularized the "general will"
Jean-Jacques Rousseau
67 (-)
Spanish King called "the Wise", fostered science, arts and the Castillian language
Alfonso X
68 (-)
Founder of modern bacteriology
Robert Koch
69 (+19)
Prominent figure of the American Civil Rights Movement
Martin Luther King Jr.
70 (-)
Uncertain pioneer of quantum mechanics
Werner Heisenberg
71 (-)
Proposed Messiah of Judaism, started a revolt that resulted in the jewish diaspora
Simon bar Kokhba
72 (+20)
The Swan of Avon, arguably the most influencal dramatist
William Shakespeare
73 (-64)
Major figure of the Protestant Reformation
Martin Luther
74 (-)
Tennō who led Japan into modernity
75 (-)
Homeless begger in his twenties, Emperor of China in his thirties, founder of the Ming dynasty
Zhu Yuanzhang
76 (-)
Great emperor of the mughal empire
Akbar the Great
77 (-)
Founder of geography, calculated the circumference of the Earth and the tilt of its Axis
78 (-)
Inventor of the Periodic Table
Dmitri Mendeleev
79 (-)
Controversial forerunner of the Enlightenment, Rationalism and Determinism
Baruch de Spinoza
80 (-)
Greatly expanded the Ottoman Empire and reformed its laws
Suleiman the Magnificent
81 (-32)
Successor of Muhammad, focal point of the Shia-sunni split
82 (-25)
Founder of Geometry
83 (-)
Sexologist and pioneer of LGBT activism
Magnus Hirschfeld
84 (-68)
Created an empire that reached from Macedonia to India
Alexander the Great
85 (-40)
Virgin Queen who oversaw a British Golden Age
Elizabeth I
86 (-)
Byzantine Emperor, partly restored the Roman Empire
Justinian the Great
87 (-)
Founder of modern nursing
Florence Nightingale
88 (-)
Leader of the Hunnic Empire
89 (-)
Cofounder of quantum chemistry and molecular biology
Linus Pauling
90 (-22)
Pioneer of Electromagnetism
James Maxwell
91 (-)
Founder of the Roman Republic
Lucius Junius Brutus
92 (-)
Contributed to a wide array of philosophies and sciences, most notably calculus and calculators
Gottfried Leibniz
93 (-)
Called the "Father of Arab philosophy"
94 (-)
The "perfect prince", reformed Portugal, major figure of the Age of Discovery
John II of Portugal
95 (-53)
Modernized and expandend Russia
Peter the Great
96 (-)
Influencal physicist who worked on electricity, thermodynamics and the compass, calculated the absolute zero of temperature
Lord Kelvin
97 (-)
"First citizen of Athen" and founder of the Athenian Empire
98 (-)
Most influencal physician of antiquity
99 (-)
Discoverer of Nuclear Fission
Otto Hahn
100 (-)
Pioneer of aviation and aeronautical engineering
George Cayley
Level ∞
Mar 13, 2019
Cool quiz. Some names I've never heard of here which is nice. Why is Hegel so high?
Level 74
Mar 13, 2019
Thanks! I also learned a lot while making it.

Hegels philosophy was a heavy influence on a lot of different groups. Marx, Engels and Feuerbach used a lot of his work, especially his thoughts on history, who where also shared by the Fascist movement. Isaiah Berlin called him one of the architects of modern Authoritarianism, and in fact, I can't think of a single authoritarian or totalitarian state since the 19th century, that wasn't in some way inspired by Hegel.

Of course, how big that influence finally was, is up to debate, and there are a lot of angry german philosophy minors who will tell you, that he was just some kind of spiritual grandpa to Marx. But the high ranking mirrors my personal interpretation of him and especially german history and I'm quit comfortable with it.

Level 60
Jun 14, 2019
I like your list! I only got 58, Cooldn't remember name of Linus Pauling. My best was Echnaton, I was surprised to see him in this list.
Level 65
Apr 13, 2020
Why are Muhammad and Confucius over Jesus? I'm a Christian so my view isn't objective, but there are slightly more Muslims than Christians today. Jesus also brought a radical way of thought to the world and influenced Western culture immensely (Christian life, Crusades, etc.). I'm not saying Muhammad and Confucius were not important, but I would argue that Jesus is the most influential person of all time.
Level 74
Apr 14, 2020
I thought a long time about those three and I could easily see going another way on another list. My decision to put Jesus third, however, was not due to seeing Christianity as less influential than Islam or Confucianism, but because of the effects I could attribute to the people themselves. Jesus appears less clear in historiography than the other two, and it is harder to decide, how much of our modern view of him is actually based on a real person.

Secondly, Christianity grow relativly graduatly at first. The historic Jesus only directly affected a small community, and when christianity grew into a wider phenomenon, it was already filtered through other people like St. Paul or St. Frumentius. Muhammad and Confucius had more hand-on political influence connected with their ideology, with Mohammad leading the Rashidun Caliphate and Confucius being a political advisor.

Level 32
May 30, 2020
Pretty sure Islam won’t exist w/o Jesus....
Level 74
Jun 16, 2020
And Christianity probably wouldn't exist without Salome Alexandra or Pompey the "Great". I just don't think, that that is the most important aspect in this question.

(Although I plan on updating the Quiz anytime soon and the top spots will certainly be reevaluated.)

Level 72
May 4, 2022
Yeah going with "x wouldn't exist without y" would quickly fall apart in a quiz like this if applied to everything. So many of these people stand on each other's shoulders. It would probably be just the ancients up here if QRU considered cause and effect in that way.
Level 82
Jun 14, 2021
Paul of Tarsus was more influential than Jesus.
Level 72
May 4, 2022
I have two requests for type-ins.

"Akhenaten" for number 34. That's how I've seen it spelled.

"Hongwu Emperor" for 75, though I understand if you don't accept it. My Chinese history class tended to refer to emperors, especially Ming and Qing emperors, by these titles, so that's what I remembered him by.

Level 75
Sep 26, 2022
excellent quiz. which people moved up or down the most?
Level 67
Sep 26, 2022
Galileo moved up 64 spots, and Alexander the Great moved down 68
Level 69
Sep 26, 2022
I feel that #98 (Galen) needs a little more detail; the title of "most influential physician of antiquity" could easily have been given to Hippocrates (indeed, the highly scientific test of googling the phrase receives a mix of results for both, and the top result lists the two of them). With Hippocrates being the far more well known of the two due to the Hippocratic Oath, perhaps referring to his specific contributions would be helpful in differentiating the two
Level 74
Sep 27, 2022
Thanks, that is a good idea.
Level 64
Sep 27, 2022
some rather unfair descriptions but a fantastic quiz nonetheless. thanks
Level 74
Sep 27, 2022
Thanks, I will look over the descriptions, when I find the time.