Throughout history, there have been many famous leaders who have left their mark on the world.
Some are remembered for leading their country to victory in war, while others are most well-known for their changes to society and government.
- This blog post will look at 20 of the most famous leaders throughout history and examine what made them so important.
Alexander the Great
Even though he only ruled for a short time, his conquests have everlasting impacted world culture and politics. He spread Greek culture across much of Asia Minor and Egypt through military force, contributing to these areas’ development in later centuries.
His most impressive achievement was conquering Persia, which led him to extend his empire from Greece into India founded over 70 cities.
- He died when still very young at age 33 during a campaign against Persia but set up a legacy that most world leaders would do well to emulate.
- Alexander the Great is known for having conquered most of what was then known as “the civilized world,”
He is most famous for his dictatorship and reforms of Rome. When he had complete control, he made many changes in government which led to an enduring form of it even after his death.
One significant reform was moving away from elections held by a vote among citizens because they were not representative enough. Instead, those who wanted power could run for office if they met specific qualifications.
- He also made the Senate more powerful and expanded voting rights to most free citizens who were male before they could only vote if they had certain social status or property ownership qualifications.
- He instituted many laws still used today, like the Julian calendar, which is generally considered one of his most important achievements.
He was Julius’s adopted son and co-ruler. This ruler took over after his father died but, unlike him, did not have absolute power because there were other men in the Senate whom he had to convince to give up certain powers before they would do so.
Since most Romans weren’t used to having a single powerful individual running their government like Alexander the Great or Julius Caesar once did.
- He made many reforms through military force, just like his father, and most famous for this was the Pax Romana, which is almost 200 years when most areas that were part of Rome’s empire were at peace.
Pope Sylvester I
During his time on Earth, his most important contribution has been overseeing a religious council where they decided certain aspects about the Christian religion.
Most importantly, it established that Jesus Christ wasn’t just an ordinary human. Still, God himself came down from Heaven to live among us because he believed such claims would make Christianity more credible.
- Many people still consider him one of their favorite popes to this day, even though most of his other accomplishments weren’t quite as crucial to world history.
He was a spiritual and political leader in India during the 20th century who helped end British rule over their nation by leading nonviolent protests against them.
Even though not everyone agreed with everything he said, they generally admired how committed he was to always follow through on certain ideals no matter what it took.
In most peoples ‘ opinions, his speeches and sermons are the most famous thing about him, which encouraged African Americans living during the Civil Rights Movement to consider their options more carefully.
Even though some felt this approach made things worse because it put too much responsibility onto each individual without addressing any more significant issues or putting pressure on public officials.
Nelson Mandela, another highly famous civil rights leader of the 20th century, does not need an introduction. Born in 1918, Mandela served as the first Black elected President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999.
- He fought against racial discrimination throughout his life and led the Anti-Apartheid movement against South Africa’s racist government.
- Mandela was awarded Nobel Prize in 1993 for his struggles to end the apartheid.
All in all, he was so determined to end racial segregation in South Africa that even 30 years of detention did not stop him from his mission.
Martin Luther King Jr.
Martin Luther King Jr., an advocate of peaceful social change in America, was born in Georgia. In addition to chasing his magnificent vision of change throughout his life. He showed the people a picture of better tomorrow where all men are equal.
- Luther’s exceptional oratorical skills and passion did not let him staggered for a single moment during his movement against racial discrimination.
- He was the first to boycott Montgomery’s transportation company, which forced Blacks to stand by giving their seats to Whites.
- He was honored with the Nobel prize in 1964 for his courageous fight to protect African-Americans’ rights.
Abraham Lincoln, one of the most famous leaders throughout American history was the 16th President of the USA, is an emblem of liberty, democracy, quality, and unification. He was a lawyer and a statesman, born in 1809 in Kentucky, United States.
- Abraham united Americans during the Civil War era; otherwise, America would be divided into many smaller states.
- He terminated slavery in the United States by signing Emancipation Proclamation and inspired the southern slave states to establish the Confederate States of America.
His splendid leadership, excellent oratory skills, and passion made him one of the most famous leaders in the world’s history.
Mao Zedong, a Chinese communist revolutionary leader, was born in December 1893 in China’s Hunan province.
- He was a soldier and statesman who led the Chinese Communist Party from 1935 to 1976 and protected the country from foreign exploitation.
- He is regarded as the founder of China we see today. Mao’s policies helped China become a superpower by boosting its economy and suppressing the Japanese invasion.
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Joan of Arc
Joan of Arc, also known as Saint Joan of Arc, is one of history’s best-known female military leaders. She was given a field command by her king at seventeen and led forces in several victorious battles.
- Her family had long been connected to nobility and military service; she emerged as a figure living in her father’s castle. Her intelligence, piety, and charisma have led many to hail her as a saint for these actions.
- Joan’s image has become intertwined with French nationalism because she is held up as an example of female military leadership that was extreme even by medieval standards.
Quaid-e -Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah
It takes a lifespan to achieve what this famous leader did. But to accomplish the goal of millions is a feat that only a few can perform. Quaid-e -Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah was one of them who transformed the Muslim’s long-cherished vision of freedom into reality.
- Born on December 25th,1876, Jinnah united Indian Muslims and helped them get freedom from the British Empire. Unlike the other leaders, he rejected the tactics of violence and Civil disobedience to achieve his goals.
- Jinnah’s peaceful strategies and remarkable leadership helped the Muslims get a separate homeland, “Pakistan.”
- He is regarded as a hero for his excellent services to Muslims of the subcontinent.
Franklin D Roosevelt
Franklin D Roosevelt, commonly known as FDR, was an American statesman and political leader. Born on Jan 30th, 1882, at Hyde Park, he served as 32nd President of the United States.
- FDR assumed the Presidency in the midst of the Great Depression of the 1930s. But his effective policy helped the Americans regain faith in themselves during the challenging time.
- He implemented a “New Deal” policy during the Great Depression, which recovered the country from economic decline.
- FDR’s remarkable leadership and extraordinary presentation skills made him one of the most famous leaders who successfully led the country in most of World War II.
Queen Cleopatra VII
In 1840, the Great man theory was established, which stated; history is written around the Greek men, who left a historical imprint on history. But when it comes to Egyptian Queen Cleopatra VII, her honor and leadership skills left the men far behind.
- She took unprecedented steps to strengthen and stabilize Egypt and was regarded as “Queen of the Nile”.
- Her unique ideas, principles, and decision-making ability made her an epitome of a “Great Man” in the world’s history.
Relatively few women could secure their place in history books, and British queen Boudica was one such woman who incorporated her name in history as a freedom fighter.
- Born into Celtic royalty, Boudica stood against Roman oppression.
- She led a successful military campaign against the Romans in 60/61 AD, who disliked the concept of women rulers.
- She fought valiantly with her people to force the Roman Empire out of their lands.
- Her legendary courage serves as an inspiration to oppressed women to fight for what is right.
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Leadership is a complex skill and one that’s hard to define.
It would be safe to say that leadership requires: empathy for others (especially those who are leading), the ability to inspire people with an idea or cause, as well as an understanding of how humans behave when faced with change.
These 15 famous leaders demonstrate good qualities in spades and serve as excellent examples for any leader looking for better next time around. Check out our article on terrible leaders if you’re enjoying our leadership series.