The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History

Revised and Updated for the Nineties
by Michael H. Hart

Mr. Hart’s very interesting book contains biographies of all the following people, ranked in order from most influential to less influential, along with the author’s reasons for so ranking them. The book is available at most bookstores and libraries.

The links will take you to a site on the Web about the person named
(not to a chapter in the book).

Rank Name Religious Affiliation Influence
1 Muhammad Islam Prophet of Islam; Hart recognized that ranking Muhammad first might be controversial, but felt that, from a secular historian's perspective, this was the correct choice because Muhammad is the only man to have been both a founder of a major world religion and a major military/political leader.
2 Isaac Newton Anglican (rejected Trinitarianism, i.e.,
Athanasianism; believed in the Arianism
of the PrimitiveChurch)
Physicist; Theory of universal gravitation; Laws of Motion
3 Jesus Christ Judaism; Islam Prophet of Islam; Most revered figure amongst the Christians
4 Buddha Hinduism; Buddhism Founder of Buddhism
5 Confucius Confucianism Founder of Confucianism
6 St. Paul Judaism; Christianity Founder, proselytizer of Christianity
7 Ts'ai Lun Chinese traditional religion Inventor of paper
8 Johann Gutenberg Catholic Developed movable type; printed Bibles
9 Christopher Columbus Catholic Explorer; Led Europe to Americas
10 Albert Einstein Jewish Physicist; Relativity; Einsteinian Physics
11 Louis Pasteur Catholic scientist; pasteurization
12 Galileo Galilei Catholic Astronomer; Accurately described heliocentric solar system
13 Aristotle Platonism / Greek philosophy Influential Greek philosopher
14 Euclid Platonism / Greek philosophy Mathematician; Euclidian geometry
15 Moses Judaism; Islam Major prophet of Judaism; Christianity; Islam
16 Charles Darwin Anglican (nominal); Unitarian Biologist; Described Darwinian evolution, which had theological impact on many religions
17 Shih Huang Ti Chinese traditional religion Chinese emperor
18 Augustus Caesar Roman state paganism Ruler
19 Nicolaus Copernicus Catholic (priest) Astronomer; Taught Heliocentricity
20 Antoine Laurent Lavoisier Catholic Father of modern chemistry; Philosopher; Economist
21 Constantine the Great Roman state paganism; Christianity Roman emperor who completely legalized Christianity, leading to its status as state religion. Convened the First Council of Nicaea that produced the Nicene Creed, which rejected Arianism (one of two major strains of Christian thought) and established Athanasianism (Trinitarianism, the other strain) as "official doctrine."
22 James Watt Presbyterian (lapsed) developed steam engine
23 Michael Faraday Sandemanian Physicist; Chemist; Discovery of magneto-electricity
24 James Clerk Maxwell Presbyterian; Anglican; Baptist Physicist; electromagnetic spectrum
25 Martin Luther Catholic; Lutheran founder of Protestantism and Lutheranism
26 George Washington Episcopalian (Deist) First president of United States
27 Karl Marx Jewish; Lutheran;
Atheist; Marxism/Communism
Founder of Marxism, Marxist Communism
28 Orville and Wilbur Wright United Brethren inventors of airplane
29 Genghis Kahn/td> Mongolian shamanism Mongol conqueror
30 Adam Smith Liberal Protestant economist; expositor of capitalism; religious philosopher
31 Edward de Vere Catholic; Anglican literature; also wrote 6 volumes about philosophy and religion
32 John Dalton Quaker chemist; physicist; atomic theory; law of partial pressures (Dalton's law)
33 Alexander the Great Greek state paganism conqueror
34 Napoleon Bonaparte Catholic (nominal) French conqueror
35 Thomas Edison Congregationalist; agnostic inventor of light bulb, phonograph, etc.
36 Antony van Leeuwenhoek Dutch Reformed microscopes; studied microscopic life
37 William T.G. Morton - pioneer in anesthesiology
38 Guglielmo Marconi Catholic and Anglican inventor of radio
39 Adolf Hitler Nazism; born into but rejected Catholicism; allegedly a proponent of Germanic Neo-Paganism conqueror; led Axis Powers in WWII
40 Plato Platonism / Greek philosophy founder of Platonism
41 Oliver Cromwell Puritan (Protestant) British political and military leader
42 Alexander Graham Bell Unitarian/Universalist inventor of telephone
43 Alexander Fleming Catholic penicillin; advances in bacteriology, immunology and chemotherapy
44 John Locke raised Puritan (Anglican); Liberal Christian philosopher and liberal theologian
45 Ludwig van Beethoven Catholic composer
46 Werner Heisenberg Lutheran a founder of quantum mechanics; discovered principle of uncertainty; head of Nazi Germany's nuclear program
47 Louis Daguerre - an inventor/pioneer of photography
48 Simon Bolivar Catholic (nominal); Atheist National hero of Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia
49 Rene Descartes Catholic Rationalist philosopher and mathematician
50 Michelangelo Catholic painter; sculptor; architect
51 Pope Urban II Catholic called for First Crusade
52 Umar ibn al-Khattab Islam Second Caliph; expanded Muslim empire
53 Asoka Buddhism king of India who converted to and spread Buddhism
54 St. Augustine Greek state paganism; Manicheanism; Catholic Early Christian theologian
55 William Harvey Anglican (nominal described the circulation of blood; wrote Essays on the Generation of Animals, the basis for modern embryology
56 Ernest Rutherford - physicist; pioneer of subatomic physics
57 John Calvin Protestant; Calvinism Protestant reformer; founder of Calvinism
58 Gregor Mendel Catholic (Augustinian monk) Mendelian genetics
59 Max Planckk Protestant physicist; thermodynamics
60 Joseph Lister Quaker principal discoverer of antiseptics which greatly reduced surgical mortality
61 Nikolaus August Otto - built first four-stroke internal combustion engine
62 Francisco Pizarro Catholic Spanish conqueror in South America; defeated Incas
63 Hernando Cortes Catholic conquered Mexico for Spain; through war and introduction of new diseases he largely destroyed Aztec civilization
64 Thomas Jefferson Episcopalian; Deist 3rd president of United States
65 Queen Isabella I Catholic Spanish ruler
66 Joseph Stalin/td> Russian Orthodox; Atheist; Marxism revolutionary and ruler of USSR
67 Julius Caesar Roman state paganism Roman emperor
68 William the Conqueror Catholic laid foundation of modern England
69 Sigmund Freud Jewish; atheist; Freudian psychology/psychoanalysis founded Freudian school of psychology/psychoanalysis (i.e., the "religion of Freudianism")
70 Edward Jenner Anglican discoverer of the vaccination for smallpox
71 Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen - discovered X-rays
72 Johann Sebastian Bach Lutheran; Catholic composer
73 Lao Tzu Taoism founder of Taoism
74 Voltaire raised in Jansenism; later Deist writer and philosopher; wrote Candide
75 Johannes Kepler Lutheran astronomer; planetary motions
76 Enrico Fermi Catholic initiated the atomic age; father of atom bomb
77 Leonhard Euler Calvinist physicist; mathematician; differential and integral calculus and algebra
78 Jean-Jacques Rousseau born Protestant; converted as a teen to Catholic; later Deist French deistic philosopher and author
79 Nicoli Machiavelli Catholic wrote The Princeb(influential political treatise)
80 Thomas Malthus Anglican (cleric) economist; wrote Essay on the Principle of Population
81 John F. Kennedy Catholic U.S. President who led first successful effort by humans to travel to another planet
82 Gregory Pincus Jewish endocrinologist; developed birth-control pill
83 Mani Manicheanism founder of Manicheanism, once a world religion which rivaled Christianity in strength
84 Lenin Russian Orthodox;bAtheist; Marxism/Communism Russian ruler
85 Sui Wen Ti Chinese traditional religion unified China
86 Vasco da Gama Catholic navigator; discovered route from Europe to India around CapeHood
87 Cyrus the Great Zoroastrianism founder of Persian empire
88 Peter the Great Russian Orthodox forged Russia into a great European nation
89 Mao Zedong Atheist; Communism; Maoism founder of Maoism, Chinese form of Communism
90 Francis Bacon Anglican philosopher; delineated inductive scientific method
91 Henry Ford Protestant developed automobile; achievement in manufacturing and assembly
92 Mencius Confucianism philosopher; founder of a school of Confucianism
93 Zoroaster Zoroastrianism founder of Zoroastrianism
94 Queen Elizabeth I Anglican British monarch; restored Church of England to power after Queen Mary
95 Mikhail Gorbachev Russian Orthodox Russian premier who helped end Communism in USSR
96 Menes Egyptian paganism unified Upper and Lower Egypt
97 Charlemagne Catholic Holy Roman Empire created with his baptism in 800 AD
98 Homer Greek paganism epic poet
99 Justinian I Catholic Roman emperor; reconquered Mediterranean empire; accelerated Catholic-Monophysite schism
100 Mahavira Hinduism; Jainism founder of Jainism

If you find better sites about these people (more informative, more artistic, more exhaustive) than the ones listed here, let me know and I may change the links.

Read about the Religious Affiliation of the 100 Most Influential People in History.