Top 10 Greatest Leaders in World History: Inspiring Figures Who Shaped Nations

Who is a great leader? The one who influences thousands of masses to walk behind him for a Higher cause. Throughout history all great leaders of the world had some unique qualities that’s why they could sense, and explain some issue and fight for it. They had to sacrifice their whole life for it. Be it their youth, be it their freedom, be it their time with family and friends. They had a great vision or they fought for a great cause, this quality was similar in all of them. One thing was also similar in all of them, that they challenged old and crumbling ideologies or traditions. They all ‘took the bull by the horns’, taking all the responsibility to tackle the issue head-on. 

Top 10 Greatest Leaders in World History

However each leader followed a different path but their confidence and greatness empowered them to lead and influence people in innovative ways and ideologies. As Steve Jobs (Apple co-founder) said “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.” It is known for ages that only the efficient and confident leader could move the masses behind them. These great men and women shaped the world as we see it today. They could see the future and their vision was always so broad that it could even resemble the modern world. We cannot forget their contribution to society. There were many with this greatness and exceptional abilities but we cannot take them all. Here’s a list of the top 10 leaders of the history of the world. 


1. Alexander the Great king of Macedonia

Also known as: Alexander III or Alexander of Macedonia

Born: 356 BCE, Pella, Macedonia [northwest of Thessaloníki, Greece]

Died: June 13, 323 BCE, Babylon [near Al-Ḥillah, Iraq]

Title / Office: king (336 BC-323 BC), Macedonia

House / Dynasty: Argead dynasty

Notable Family Members: spouse Roxana father Philip II mother Olympias

Notable Works:

  • Created a vast empire stretching from Macedonia Egypt and from Greece to parts of the Indian Subcontinent during his less than 13 year reign. 
  • Never lost a battle. He was 30 when he spread his empire to the farthest reaches.  Spread Greek culture across the world. 


Alexander the Great is famous for his impregnable military skills and an immeasurable empire stretched from Greece to Egypt built by him. His victories spread Greek culture and ideas around the world shaping it for the centuries to come. Alexander’ ambitious nature, leadership qualities and clear vision for a unified empire elevated him to be a legend in historical events. 




  • “Whatever possession we gain by a sword cannot be sure or lasting but the love gained by kindness and moderation is certain and durable.”
  • “I am indebted to my father for living but to my teacher for living well.”

      – Alexander the Great


2. Cleopatra VII

Queen of Egypt

Also known as: Father Loving Goddess

Born: 70/69 BCE

Died: August 30 BCE, Alexandria

Title / Office: Queen of the Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt from 51 to 30 BC

House / Dynasty: Ptolemaic Dynasty

Notable Family Members: spouse Mark Antony son Ptolemy Philadelphus

Notable Works:

  •  As Queen of Egypt she influenced Roman politics actively during an important period. 
  • She was represented as the prototype of the romantic femme fatale as no other women of the ancient times did. 
  • Many movies, books and plays are inspired by the life of Cleopatra. 


Cleopatra VII is famous for her beauty, political skills and intelligence. She was the last Pharaoh of Ancient Egypt. She played an important role in Roman Politics actively during her time. She was aligned with the powerful Roman leaders. Her rule marked the ending of the Hellenistic Era in Egypt. However her legacy as a guileful and influential leader is written in history and marked in popular culture. 



  • “I will not be triumphed over.”
  • “My honour was not yielded, but conquered merely.”

– Cleopatra VII


3. Mohandas K. Gandhi

Indian leader

Category: History & Society

Byname of: Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi

Also known as: The Father of Nation

Born: October 2, 1869, Porbandar, India

Died: January 30, 1948, Delhi (aged 78)

Political Affiliation: Indian National Congress

Notable Family Members: spouse Kasturba Gandhi

Role In

  • Led India’s independence movement through nonviolent civil disobedience and protest.
  • Advocated for social justice, equality, and religious harmony across India.
  • Inspired global movements for peace, civil rights, and nonviolent resistance.


Gandhiji fought all his life for equality and non-violence. He was dedicated to his morals and not only preaching but also keeping them. He lived a simple life with harmony with everyone. He used to wear Indian traditional clothes, called Khadi which were made by him. Gandhi invented peaceful ways of protest and show dissatisfaction. He organised the salt march, which gained international attention and support for freedom. 



  • “Strength does not come from physical capacity, it comes from an indomitable will.”
  • “It is better to be violent if there is violence in our heart then to put on the clock of non violence to cover impotence.”

-Mahatma Gandhi


4. Julius Caesar

Roman ruler

Category: History & Society

In full: Gaius Julius Caesar

Born: July 12/13, 100? BCE, Rome [Italy]

Died: March 15, 44 BCE, Rome

Title / Office: quaestor (65BC-69 BC), ancient Rome curule aedile (63 BC-65 BC), ancient Rome praetor (62BC), ancient Rome consul (59 BC), ancient Rome dictator (46 BC-44 BC), ancient Rome

Role In: Battle of Alesia Battle of Pharsalus Gallic Wars Roman Civil War

Julius Caesar was the central person in Roman history. He transformed Rome’s dead political order into the Roman Empire. His victory over Gaul expanded the Roman Empire remarkably. His reforms set the framework of the Roman Empire. The Roman Republic came to an end after Caesar’s assassination and a new period of imperial power began. 



  • “It is easier to find a man who will volunteer to die than to find those who are willing to endure pain with patience.”
  • If you must break the law do it to seize power, in all other cases observe it. 

-Julius Caesar


5. Emperor Ashoka

Emperor of India

Category: History and Society

Also Known As: Beloved of Gods

Born: 304 BCE Pataliputra, Magadha, Maurya Empire (modern Patna, Bihar, India)

Died: 232 BCE (aged c. 71 – 72) Pataliputra, Magadha, Maurya Empire

Title / Office: Emperor of the Maurya Dynasty in India.

Notable Works: 

  • Ruler of the Maurya Dynasty in India. 
  • Converted to Buddhism After the Kalinga War.
  • Preached non-violence and peace.
  • His writings on pillars and rocks spread his ideas throughout the empire. 

One of India’s most renowned emperors is Emperor Ashoka. He converted to Buddhism and committed his life to promoting its ideas of nonviolence and peace after watching the massacre in the Kalinga war.  Ashoka made groundbreaking contributions to the fields of social welfare, animal welfare, and religious tolerance. His wise laws, written on pillars and stones, are still evidence of his reign.



  • “Conquest by Dharma is much better, for it is based on the welfare of all beings.”
  • “One who does good first does something hard to do.”

– Emperor Ashoka


6. Jamsetji Tata

Indian industrialist

Category: History and Society

Also Known As: Father of Indian Industries

Born: March 3, 1839, Navsari, Gujarat, India

Died:  May 19, 1904, Bad Nauheim, Germany (aged 65)

Title / Office: Indian philanthropist and founder of the TATA Group. 

Notable Works:

  • Founded Tata Steel, a pioneer in hydroelectric power generation.
  • Established Indian Institute of Science, a landmark in education.
  • His vision shaped modern Indian industry, leaving an enduring legacy.


The Tata Empire was built by the humanist and visionary Indian industrialist Jamsetji Nusserwanji Tata whose business sense provided the groundwork for the establishment of Indian Industries. Tata’s business now manufactures Steel, textiles, electricity, agriculture equipment, locomotives, trucks and cement. Tata was one of the world’s top philanthropists of the 20th century who made the foundation of the vast Tata Empire. Now 66% of Tata sons shares is held by Tata trust to support philanthropic work. 



  • “In a free enterprise, the community is not just another stakeholder in business, but is in fact the very purpose of its existence.”
  • “With honest and straightforward business principles, close and careful attention to details, and the ability to take advantage of favourable opportunities and circumstances, there is a scope for success.”

-Jamsetji Tata


7. Nelson Mandela

President of South Africa

Category: History & Society

In full: Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela

Byname: Madiba

Born: July 18, 1918, Mvezo, South Africa

Died: December 5, 2013, Johannesburg (aged 95)

Title / Office: President (1994-1999), South Africa

Political Affiliation: African National Congress Umkhonto we Sizwe

Awards And Honors: Nobel Prize (1993)

Notable Works:

  • First black president of South Africa.
  • Spent 27 years in prison for fighting apartheid.
  • Mandela is a global symbol of the struggle against racial oppression.


Nelson Mandela gave his entire life to fighting against apartheid in South Africa. He got imprisoned for almost 30 years because of this. Even after this he emerged as a leader of reconciliation and forgiveness. Mandela became a beloved figure around the world because of his leadership and commitment to peace and his people. His work to destroy the legacy of apartheid by fighting racism in institutions and poverty and inequality. He became president of South Africa. 



  • “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
  • “Everyone can rise above their circumstances and achieve success if they are dedicated to and passionate about what they do.”

-Nelson Mandela 


8. George Washington

President of United States

Category: History & Society

Also called: Father of His Country

Born: February 22 [February 11, Old Style], 1732, Westmoreland county, Virginia [U.S.]

Died: December 14, 1799, Mount Vernon, Virginia, U.S. (aged 67)

Title / Office: presidency of the United States of America (1789-1797), United States Continental Congress (1774-1775), United States

Political Affiliation: Federalist Party

Awards And Honors: Hall of Fame (1900)

Notable Works: 

  • Served as the first President of the USA.
  • Led American troops to victory in the Revolutionary War.
  • Known as the “Father of His Country.”
  • Refused to become a king, setting a precedent for democratic leadership.


George Washington played an important role in the foundation of the United States. As the first president of the United States, George Washington oversaw the colonies’ victory over British control. The two-term restriction on presidential terms is just one of the significant precedents that Washington set for the new government.


  • To be prepared for war is one of the most effective means of preserving peace.
  • The basis of our political system is the right of the people to make and to alter their constitutions of government.

-George Washington


9. Martin Luther King, Jr.

American religious leader and civil-rights activist

Category: History & Society

Original name: Michael King, Jr.

Born: January 15, 1929, Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.

Died: April 4, 1968, Memphis, Tennessee (aged 39)

Awards And Honors: Grammy Award (1970) Nobel Prize (1964)

Notable Family Members: spouse Coretta Scott King

Notable Works:

  • Leader of the American civil rights movement.
  • Famous for his “I Have a Dream” speech.
  • Advocated for non-violent protest.

Martin Luther King Jr. is honoured for his contribution to the peaceful protest movement’s advancement of civil rights in the US. Important turning points in the struggle against racial injustice and segregation occurred as a result of his leadership during the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the March on Washington, where he gave his famous address. King’s commitment to justice, equality, and peace had a profound impact on American culture. 


  • “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin, but by the content of their character.”
  • “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

– Martin Luther King Jr.


10. Vladimir Putin

President of Russia

Category: History & Society

In full: Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin

Born: October 7, 1952, Leningrad, Russia, U.S.S.R. [now St. Petersburg, Russia] (age 71)

Title / Office: president (2012-), Russia prime minister (2008-2012), Russia president (2000-2008), Russia prime minister (1999-2000), Russia

Political Affiliation: United Russia

Role In: Beslan school attack Strategic Arms Reduction Talks Syrian Civil War

Vladimir Putin is a well-known Russian politician. He has accomplished important goals during his tenure. He is credited with bringing Russia’s economy back to stability and increasing its strength internationally. Russia’s global trajectory has been shaped by Putin’s leadership, which has witnessed advances in military modernization, economic growth, and power consolidation.



  • Nobody and nothing will stop Russia on the road to strang the name democracy and showing human rights and freedom. 
  •  Our aims are absolutely clear: they are, a very high living standard in the country and a secure, free, comfortable life. 

-Vladimir Putin


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