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).

RankNameReligious AffiliationInfluence
1MuhammadIslamProphet 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.
2Isaac NewtonAnglican (rejected Trinitarianism, i.e.,
Athanasianism; believed in the Arianism
of the PrimitiveChurch)
Physicist; Theory of universal gravitation; Laws of Motion
3Jesus ChristJudaism; IslamProphet of Islam; Most revered figure amongst the Christians
4BuddhaHinduism; BuddhismFounder of Buddhism
5ConfuciusConfucianismFounder of Confucianism
6St. PaulJudaism; ChristianityFounder, proselytizer of Christianity
7Ts'ai LunChinese traditional religionInventor of paper
8Johann GutenbergCatholicDeveloped movable type; printed Bibles
9Christopher ColumbusCatholicExplorer; Led Europe to Americas
10Albert EinsteinJewishPhysicist; Relativity; Einsteinian Physics
11Louis PasteurCatholicscientist; pasteurization
12Galileo GalileiCatholicAstronomer; Accurately described heliocentric solar system
13AristotlePlatonism / Greek philosophyInfluential Greek philosopher
14EuclidPlatonism / Greek philosophyMathematician; Euclidian geometry
15MosesJudaism; IslamMajor prophet of Judaism; Christianity; Islam
16Charles DarwinAnglican (nominal); UnitarianBiologist; Described Darwinian evolution, which had theological impact on many religions
17Shih Huang TiChinese traditional religionChinese emperor
18Augustus CaesarRoman state paganismRuler
19Nicolaus CopernicusCatholic (priest)Astronomer; Taught Heliocentricity
20Antoine Laurent LavoisierCatholicFather of modern chemistry; Philosopher; Economist
21Constantine the GreatRoman state paganism; ChristianityRoman 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."
22James WattPresbyterian (lapsed)developed steam engine
23Michael FaradaySandemanianPhysicist; Chemist; Discovery of magneto-electricity
24James Clerk MaxwellPresbyterian; Anglican; BaptistPhysicist; electromagnetic spectrum
25Martin LutherCatholic; Lutheranfounder of Protestantism and Lutheranism
26George WashingtonEpiscopalian (Deist)First president of United States
27Karl MarxJewish; Lutheran;
Atheist; Marxism/Communism
Founder of Marxism, Marxist Communism
28Orville and Wilbur WrightUnited Brethreninventors of airplane
29Genghis Kahn/td>Mongolian shamanismMongol conqueror
30Adam SmithLiberal Protestanteconomist; expositor of capitalism; religious philosopher
31Edward de VereCatholic; Anglicanliterature; also wrote 6 volumes about philosophy and religion
32John DaltonQuakerchemist; physicist; atomic theory; law of partial pressures (Dalton's law)
33Alexander the GreatGreek state paganismconqueror
34Napoleon BonaparteCatholic (nominal)French conqueror
35Thomas EdisonCongregationalist; agnosticinventor of light bulb, phonograph, etc.
36Antony van LeeuwenhoekDutch Reformedmicroscopes; studied microscopic life
37William T.G. Morton-pioneer in anesthesiology
38Guglielmo MarconiCatholic and Anglicaninventor of radio
39Adolf HitlerNazism; born into but rejected Catholicism; allegedly a proponent of Germanic Neo-Paganismconqueror; led Axis Powers in WWII
40PlatoPlatonism / Greek philosophyfounder of Platonism
41Oliver CromwellPuritan (Protestant)British political and military leader
42Alexander Graham BellUnitarian/Universalistinventor of telephone
43Alexander FlemingCatholicpenicillin; advances in bacteriology, immunology and chemotherapy
44John Lockeraised Puritan (Anglican); Liberal Christianphilosopher and liberal theologian
45Ludwig van BeethovenCatholiccomposer
46Werner HeisenbergLutherana founder of quantum mechanics; discovered principle of uncertainty; head of Nazi Germany's nuclear program
47Louis Daguerre-an inventor/pioneer of photography
48Simon BolivarCatholic (nominal); AtheistNational hero of Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia
49Rene DescartesCatholicRationalist philosopher and mathematician
50MichelangeloCatholicpainter; sculptor; architect
51Pope Urban IICatholiccalled for First Crusade
52Umar ibn al-KhattabIslamSecond Caliph; expanded Muslim empire
53AsokaBuddhismking of India who converted to and spread Buddhism
54St. AugustineGreek state paganism; Manicheanism; CatholicEarly Christian theologian
55William HarveyAnglican (nominaldescribed the circulation of blood; wrote Essays on the Generation of Animals, the basis for modern embryology
56Ernest Rutherford-physicist; pioneer of subatomic physics
57John CalvinProtestant; CalvinismProtestant reformer; founder of Calvinism
58Gregor MendelCatholic (Augustinian monk)Mendelian genetics
59Max PlanckkProtestantphysicist; thermodynamics
60Joseph ListerQuakerprincipal discoverer of antiseptics which greatly reduced surgical mortality
61Nikolaus August Otto-built first four-stroke internal combustion engine
62Francisco PizarroCatholicSpanish conqueror in South America; defeated Incas
63Hernando CortesCatholicconquered Mexico for Spain; through war and introduction of new diseases he largely destroyed Aztec civilization
64Thomas JeffersonEpiscopalian; Deist3rd president of United States
65Queen Isabella ICatholicSpanish ruler
66Joseph Stalin/td>Russian Orthodox; Atheist; Marxismrevolutionary and ruler of USSR
67Julius CaesarRoman state paganismRoman emperor
68William the ConquerorCatholiclaid foundation of modern England
69Sigmund FreudJewish; atheist; Freudian psychology/psychoanalysisfounded Freudian school of psychology/psychoanalysis (i.e., the "religion of Freudianism")
70Edward JennerAnglicandiscoverer of the vaccination for smallpox
71Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen-discovered X-rays
72Johann Sebastian BachLutheran; Catholiccomposer
73Lao TzuTaoismfounder of Taoism
74Voltaireraised in Jansenism; later Deistwriter and philosopher; wrote Candide
75Johannes KeplerLutheranastronomer; planetary motions
76Enrico FermiCatholicinitiated the atomic age; father of atom bomb
77Leonhard EulerCalvinistphysicist; mathematician; differential and integral calculus and algebra
78Jean-Jacques Rousseauborn Protestant; converted as a teen to Catholic; later DeistFrench deistic philosopher and author
79Nicoli MachiavelliCatholicwrote The Princeb(influential political treatise)
80Thomas MalthusAnglican (cleric)economist; wrote Essay on the Principle of Population
81John F. KennedyCatholicU.S. President who led first successful effort by humans to travel to another planet
82Gregory PincusJewishendocrinologist; developed birth-control pill
83ManiManicheanismfounder of Manicheanism, once a world religion which rivaled Christianity in strength
84LeninRussian Orthodox;bAtheist; Marxism/CommunismRussian ruler
85Sui Wen TiChinese traditional religionunified China
86Vasco da GamaCatholicnavigator; discovered route from Europe to India around CapeHood
87Cyrus the GreatZoroastrianismfounder of Persian empire
88Peter the GreatRussian Orthodoxforged Russia into a great European nation
89Mao ZedongAtheist; Communism; Maoismfounder of Maoism, Chinese form of Communism
90Francis BaconAnglicanphilosopher; delineated inductive scientific method
91Henry FordProtestantdeveloped automobile; achievement in manufacturing and assembly
92MenciusConfucianismphilosopher; founder of a school of Confucianism
93ZoroasterZoroastrianismfounder of Zoroastrianism
94Queen Elizabeth IAnglicanBritish monarch; restored Church of England to power after Queen Mary
95Mikhail GorbachevRussian OrthodoxRussian premier who helped end Communism in USSR
96MenesEgyptian paganismunified Upper and Lower Egypt
97CharlemagneCatholicHoly Roman Empire created with his baptism in 800 AD
98HomerGreek paganismepic poet
99Justinian ICatholicRoman emperor; reconquered Mediterranean empire; accelerated Catholic-Monophysite schism
100MahaviraHinduism; Jainismfounder 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.