The 10 most important people in history
We've listed here our take on the 10 most important people in history. How they got on that list depends on the influence they had on their contemporaries and the rest of the world and how they influenced our history. It's not uncommon to find original and historic memorabilia documenting these famous people in museums around the world.
There is probably no question about who these people are; only their ranking may be a matter of dispute. Is Muhammad more important than Jesus Christ? That is a subject for debate, but that both influenced and continue to influence people today is undisputed. The same can be said for the other eight.
- 1. Muhammad Founder of the Islamic faith, but also a
military and political leader. Mohammed revised the social, economic
and political life of a large area of the Middle East and North Africa,
eliminating practices like female infanticide, and creating new rights
to property and autonomy for women. He received and transmitted the
Koran, the holy book of Islam. Muslims view him not as the creator of a
new religion, but as the restorer of the original, uncorrupted
monotheistic faith of Adam, Abraham, and others. He was influential in
setting up the just society that would be moral in the eyes of Allah
(Arabic for the God).
- 2. Isaac Newton Scientist who summarized all of the
findings of all great scientists before him, such as Galileo,
Copernicus, Kepler, and Tyco Brahe. The author of the revolutionary
work, Principia, he is also credited with developing
differential calculus. In addition, he wrote about optics and
gravitation. Newton's "clockwork" metaphor of the universe influenced
science for over 200 years. As the Master of the Mint (Secretary of
Treasury) in England, he set in motion how capitalism was to operate at
the national level.
- 3. Jesus Christ Founder of Christianity, a
worldwide religion that has influenced the world for over 2000 years.
His philosophy of love and acceptance was radically new in a world that
frequently feared God. Jesus made God approachable. "Love thy neighbor
as yourself" was a moral philosophy that preached equal acceptance for
all. Jesus is credited with addressing the hypocrisy that existed within
the early Common Era Jewish leadership, where attention to the rule of
law had often superceded intention.
- 4. Buddha Founder of Buddhism, an Eastern religion
that focused on man's relationship with the self. He was born to a life
of privilege and protection, but soon discovered that life also included
suffering. He left his easy life, and tried to understand the nature of
suffering and happiness. Through years of trial, he discovered that
present-minded contemplation and sincere meditation were the keys to
enlightenment. Buddha spent the reminder of his days sharing his
discovery with followers and foes alike.
- 5. Confucius Founder of the religion or philosophy by the same name, he sought to bring order and reason to human society. Through his writings and example, he created a set of social conventions whereby the society and the people worked in harmony to give order and meaning to the world.
Together, they continue to influence the lives and behavior of people all over the world.