Famous Leaders in History

Who are the most famous leaders who have redefined history? Here is a list of those public figures who have played a prominent role in shaping many important events.
Historyplex Staff
Last Updated: Jun 14, 2018
"Great leaders are almost always great simplifiers, who can cut through argument, debate and doubt, to offer a solution everybody can understand." - Colin Powell
Christian Bovee marked out six qualities of a good leader. These qualities included the ability to make other people feel important, the ability to promote a vision and objective, the ability to follow a rule, acceptance of mistakes committed by themselves, avoidance of criticism of others in public, and staying true to action.
There is a reason that most leaders have a huge following. Following a good leader provides the follower the chance to imitate those qualities that we find admirable. There are many famous leaders who have inspired others by setting an example.
Famous Women Leaders in History
These women are inspirational to have fought for the various causes that they believed in and for also fighting gender prejudices along the way. There is not a single list of famous leaders that can be complete without a mention of these women. These women paved the way for us and have been pathbreakers in their own right.
Catherine II
Catherine II
Elizabeth I
Elizabeth I
Hillary Clinton
Hillary Clinton
Saint Joan of Arc
Saint Joan of Arc
Queen Isabella of Spain
Queen Isabella of Spain
Queen Victoria
Portrait of Queen Victoria
  • Angela Merkel
  • Aung San Suu Kyi
  • Benazir Bhutto
  • Cleopatra
  • Dalia Grybauskaite
  • Princess Diana of Wales
  • Eleanor Roosevelt
  • Golda Meir
  • Hatshepsut
  • Hsiao-ch'in
  • Indira Gandhi
  • Janet Jagan
  • Margaret Thatcher
  • Mary McAleese
  • Queen Beatrix
  • Queen Elizabeth II
  • Queen Margrethe 2
  • Rosa Parks
  • Sheikh Hasina Wajed
  • Sirimavo Bandaranaike
  • Vaira Vike-Freiberga
  • Wu Zetian
Famous Male Leaders in History
These men took up causes and rebellions that a majority had lost faith in. While there are also names of dictators in this list, it cannot be refuted that these men despite the widespread devastation that they caused, managed to garner huge support for their cause. These great leaders stayed true to their beliefs.
Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln
Alexander the Great
Portrait of Alexander the Great
Barack Obama
Barack Obama
Benjamin Franklin
Benjamin Franklin
Bill Clinton
President Bill Clinton
Charlemagne
Charlemagne leader
Dalai Lama
Dalai Lama teaching in Dharamsala
Francisco Pizarro
Francisco Pizarro
General Dwight Eisenhower
Dwight Eisenhower
Genghis Khan
Genghis Khan
George Patton
General George Patton
George Washington
George Washington on banknote
Hernando Cortes
Hernando Cortes
Horatio Nelson
Horatio Nelson
Jawaharlal Nehru
Jawaharlal Nehru
Joseph Stalin
Joseph Stalin
Julius Caesar
Julius Caesar
Mahatma Gandhi
Mahatma Gandhi
Mao Zedong
Mao Zedong
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Martin Luther King Jr.
Napoleon Bonaparte
Napoleon Bonaparte
Nelson Mandela
Nelson Mandela
Stonewall Jackson
Stonewall Jackson
Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson
Ulysses S. Grant
Ulysses S. Grant
Vladimir Ilyich Lenin
Vladimir Ilyich Lenin
Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Putin
Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill
  • Adolf Hitler
  • Al Gore
  • Albert John Luthuli
  • Alexander Suvorov
  • Ariel Sharon
  • Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini
  • Benito Mussolini
  • Desmond Tutu
  • Douglas MacArthur
  • Erwin Rommel
  • Fidel Castro
  • Franklin Roosevelt
  • Gamal Abdel Nasser
  • George W. Bush
  • Henri La Fontaine
  • Henry Kissinger
  • Ho Chi Minh
  • Idi Amin
  • Jacques Chirac
  • John F. Kennedy
  • Kim Dae Jung
  • Kofi Annan
  • Lech Walesa
  • Mikhail Gorbachev
  • Oscar Arias Sanchez
  • Raul Castro
  • Richard Nixon
  • Richard the Lionheart
  • Ronald Reagan
  • Saddam Hussein
  • Subhash Chandra Bose
  • Sun Yat Sen
  • Tarja Halonen
  • Theodore Roosevelt
  • Tony Blair
  • Tunku Abdul Rahman
  • Yasser Arafat
  • Yitzhak Rabin
These famous people are some of the greatest leaders that the world has seen. These world figures have motivated people and molded the place we live in. It is because of these leaders that the world has undergone the momentous changes it has witnessed. In many ways, the modern world as we know it would have been a different place without these leaders.