Discover the 15 greatest leaders in history and be inspired by their success stories and inspirational leadership throughout the ages.
What do you need to know to be a good leader? What can you learn from the best leaders in the world? Here you will find the keys to leadership and many other interesting things on the subject.
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Greatest leaders in history
Do you know who are the greatest leaders in history? We have tried to make a very complete list with these people who made a difference, not only in their time, but in all posterity!
Those considered the greatest leaders in world history were people who performed great deeds in the past and, because of their importance, resonate to this day, creating a wide range of followers of all generations.
Great leaders of history
All the great leaders in history had something unique about them, and yet they were bound to greatness that helped them lead masses to innovation and new ideologies. We also feature female leaders, but we have a special list just about women in leadership, and there are quite a few!
List of the greatest leaders in history
Leadership has been defined as a process by which a person influences and motivates others to become involved in accomplishing a specific task.
This single definition, although universally accepted, fails to define the particular ways and manners of people who are considered great leaders in history.
This list are of leaders so charismatic that they escape the standard and common precepts, so they were also named not only as “great, but the greatest leaders in history.
Alexander – The Great
Alexandre the Great, also known as Alexander III or Alexander of Macedon, (born 356 BC, Pella, Macedonia-died June 13, 323 BC, Babylon. He was a king of Macedonia (336-323 BC ) and, if not the greatest, was most certainly one of the greatest leaders in history.
He overthrew the Persian empire , carried Macedonian weapons into India and laid the foundation for the Hellenistic world of territorial kingdoms.
Already in his life the subject of fabulous stories, he later became the hero of a large-scale legend and passed away at the age of only 30.
It was 13 years of reign and world conquests, and he became perhaps the most famous leader in the world.
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, better known as Mahatma Gandhi, was born an ordinary boy, determined to excel at what he did.
After completing the Act in London, he became the most important part of the Indian freedom struggle against colonial rule.
His policy of non-violence and protest through civil disobedience was eventually successful when he led his country to freedom in 1947. His main characteristics were resilience, knowledge, people skills, motivational approach and leading by example.
His relevance to other leaders, such as Martin Luther King, made him one of the greatest leaders in human history.
George Washington, known as the founding father of the United States of America, was the leader of the American Revolution and the first president of the USA. E
le was a true visionary whose vision persists for more than 200 years. What made Washington great was his foresight, vision, strategic planning, and his ability to lead people to success, becoming one of the greatest leaders in world history.
Ana Maria de Jesus Ribeiro, better known as Anita Garibaldi (Laguna, August 30, 1821 – Ravena, August 4, 1849) was a Brazilian revolutionary known for her participation in the Farroupilha Revolution and in Italy’s unification process, together with her husband and Italian revolutionary Giuseppe Garibaldi.
For this reason, she is known as the “Heroine of the Two Worlds”.
Ana Neri, despite not being as recognized as she should be, was one of the pioneers of nursing in Brazil, starting her noble history at the national level through the great services rendered as a nurse in the Paraguay war.
She left Salvador and was incorporated into the tenth volunteer battalion in August 1865 as a nurse.
Unfortunately she saw one of her sons die in the fighting and the Brazilian emperor honored her with the General Campaign Medal and the Humanitarian Medal of the first class. Ana died in the city of Rio de Janeiro at the age of 65, on May 20, 1880, and, at least in Brazil, is honorably listed among the greatest leaders in the history of the country.
The 16th the president of the United States is also one of the best-known leaders of all time. He was in office during the American Civil War, where he held the people together and is the only reason the country did not split into smaller parts.
He also ended slavery in the US by signing the Emancipation Proclamation.
His greatest characteristics were his determination, persistence, beliefs, and courage, bringing enormous relevance and influence over several American presidents, avowedly.
Napoleon Bonaparte was a French military general who crowned himself the first emperor of France. His Napoleonic Code remains a model for governments around the world. He was one of the greatest leaders in the history of Europe and the world.
He was the first emperor of France and one of the greatest military leaders in the world.
Napoleon revolutionized military organization and training, sponsored the Napoleonic Code, reorganized education and established the long-standing Concordat with the papacy.
Thatcher was born in 1925 and grew up in the apartment above her parents’ grocery store in Grantham – a market town in Lincolnshire, England, and probably didn’t dream of becoming one of the world’s greatest leaders. See also this article about Female Leadership in history!
One of its main strengths was communication. She always managed to communicate very well with humor and sincerity. When asked how she felt about being powerful, she said:
“Being powerful is like being a lady. If you have to tell people that you are, you are not.See other famous quotes from world leaders
Thatcher believed that great leaders never needed to declare their greatness. People know they are great by their actions.
Madame CJ Walker
Madame CJ Walker (1867-1919) was “America’s first black millionaire” and made her fortune thanks to her homemade line of hair products for black women.
Born Sarah Breedlove, the daughter of enslaved parents, she was inspired to create her hair products after an experience with hair loss, which led to the creation of the “Walker system” of hair care.
The self-made millionaire used her fortune to fund scholarships for women at the Tuskegee Institute and donated much of her wealth to the NAACP, the Black YMCA and other charities.
Nelson Mandela was the first South African president elected in a fully democratic election and is considered one of the greatest leaders in current history, as well as being one of the charismatic leaders who has attracted the most admirers.
Mandela was also the main actor in the anti-apartheid movements in the country and served a long prison sentence because of the same. This did not deter Mandela and, in fact, motivated him to dedicate his life to uniting his country, and he was able to do so after his release from a nearly 30-year prison sentence.
His main characteristics were his determination, persistence, focus and will made him a great influence for many leaders, making him one of the greatest leaders in world history.
Joan of Arc
On April 29, 1429, dressed as a soldier in full armor at the head of an army, ‘ La Pucelle ‘ (‘The Maiden’) arrived in Orléans, coming to save the French city besieged by the English.
Joan (1412-1431) declared to the English that she was “sent here by God, the king of heaven, to drive you all out of France,” and although she did not live to see it, she was the inspiration that turned the tide.
She proved to be a battle leader and campaign strategist, promising “a battle cry that will be remembered forever,” repeatedly defeating the English and leading her prince to coronation as Charles VII. Captured in May 1430, she was tried and, a year later, executed for crimes against faith in an attempt to break her powerful spell – but her work was done.
Easily one of the greatest world and military leaders of all time, Caesar was also one of the best political leaders the world has ever seen.
He led several campaigns with numerous victories and was solely responsible for the expansion of the Roman Empire.
He was also responsible for reforming the Roman government and thus laying the foundation for a great empire.
His greatest characteristics were his determination, daring, eagerness, motivation, opportunism, and strategic planning. He is on this list for having inspired several great leaders in history.
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
Sirleaf is the first woman president elected in Africa and that already makes her a strong influence on various people across the continent and the world.
Although she was banned from politics for 30 years, she ran for president, but lost to a political opponent accused of war crimes. In 2006, she won the presidential election and was re-elected in 2011.
She received a Nobel Peace Prize in the same year, shared with Leymah Gbowee and Tawakkul Karman, for their “non-violent struggle for women’s safety and women’s rights.” full participation in peace-building work”.
For her struggle and relevance, she is among the greatest leaders in history.
Prime Minister of Great Britain from 1940 to 1945, Churchill led Great Britain against Nazi Germany during World War II, being one of the great leaders in this terrible episode of human history.
He joined with allies and consequently led to Hitler’s defeat and fall. His term as British Prime Minister was at a time of fear and destruction caused by Hitler and his allies.
Churchill was known for his fearlessness, determination, unyielding perseverance, and undying devotion to his goal became one of the greatest leaders in world history.
Martin Luther King Jr.
Martin Luther King Jr. (born Michael King Jr.; Atlanta, January 15, 1929 – Memphis, April 4, 1968) was an American Baptist pastor and political activist who became the most prominent figure and leader of the civil rights movement in the United States from 1955 until his assassination in 1968.
King led the Montgomery bus boycott in 1955 and later became the first president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC).
King helped organize the March on Washington where he delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech at the foot of the Lincoln Memorial.
Cleopatra, the last pharaoh of Ancient Egypt, is known for her intelligence and political skill. She ruled Egypt for almost three decades, using her wit and charm to form strategic alliances. Cleopatra is remembered for her perspicacity in maintaining Egypt’s independence from Rome.
In addition to her political astuteness, Cleopatra was also a patron of the arts and science. His reign was marked by a cultural flourishing, demonstrating his dedication to the advancement of his kingdom.
Queen Elizabeth I
Queen Elizabeth I of England is one of the most admired monarchs in history. During her reign, she oversaw the period known as the “English Renaissance”, marked by a flowering in the arts and literature. Elizabeth was known for her sharp mind and diplomatic skills, keeping England at peace for much of her reign.
She is also remembered for her ability to navigate a political world dominated by men, defending England’s independence against foreign powers. His reign left a lasting legacy on British history and culture.
Catherine the Great
Catherine the Great was one of Russia’s most influential rulers, known for modernizing and expanding the empire. During her reign, she promoted education, the arts and legislative reforms, strengthening Russia as a great European power. His government was marked by a strong push for domestic and foreign policies.
She was also a great patron of the arts, contributing significantly to Russian culture. Catherine adopted a progressive approach to governing, pursuing Enlightenment ideas and working to improve the lives of her subjects.
Simón Bolívar, known as “El Libertador”, was a central figure in the struggles for independence in South America. He led the independence of several South American nations from the Spanish empire, including Venezuela, Bolivia and Colombia. His vision of a united and free continent was fundamental in shaping the history of South America.
Bolívar was a charismatic leader and a brilliant strategist. He is revered as a national hero in many South American countries, being a symbol of freedom and justice.
Harriet Tubman is an iconic figure in the fight against slavery in the United States. She escaped slavery and became one of the main “conductors” of the Underground Railroad, helping many enslaved people escape to freedom. His courage and determination are legendary.
In addition to her fight against slavery, Tubman also worked for the cause of women, especially for the right to vote. She is remembered as a symbol of courage and the fight for justice.
Empress Wu Zetian
Wu Zetian was the only empress in Chinese history to rule in her own name. She is known for her astute political skills and for promoting talent on the basis of merit, regardless of class or connections. Wu Zetian expanded the Chinese empire and strengthened its central government.
His era of government was marked by significant cultural and administrative reforms. She challenged the gender norms of her time and is remembered for her effective reign and her efforts to promote women to positions of power.
Who was the greatest leader in history?
The greatest leaders in history are those leaders who inspire you to become one of the example leaders. For some, Alexander was the greatest leader in history, but for others, Pastor Martin Luther King Jr. was the greatest for his contemporaneity.
For this article, the most important thing is that you can get to know several examples of leadership, get to know a little about the biographies of great leaders, and by inspiration, be able to become one of the great leaders of the 21st century.
What examples of great leaders do you know?
And you, which great leaders do you know who made a difference in their time? To help you make your list, put here the names of the people who have really changed your story:
- Your parents
- Your grandparents
- Your teacher
- Your best friend
- Your religious leader
- Your first manager
It may even seem different to insert this snippet at first, but by thinking this way, with gratitude to those who have formed your character and thinking, you are sure to encounter some of the greatest leaders in history, but, in your history.
What are the qualities of great leaders?
These are some of the qualities of great leaders we saw above:
- They lead by example,
- He has firm convictions,
- They are looking for justice,
- They learn to delegate,
- They are not procrastinators,
- Despite their fears, they move on.
Free test on women’s leadership
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PS. This is just a simple test, not intended to define you professionally, nor will it be used for a health report. For this, you should seek a professional such as a Psychologist, Psychiatrist, or other professionals legally able to help you.