Famous World Figures
People from all across the world; from past and present; each excelled and/or influenced in one or more major fields such as leadership, exploration, the arts, science and technology, industry or culture. Each has had a significant influence on the development of the world as it is today.
There is also access to portals on people in specific areas of achievement such as astronauts, scientists, composers, inventors, mathematicians, Nobel Prize winners, artists, … .
The final section provides access to biographical collections of all kinds. These includes famous birthdays, ‘dead or alive’, celebrities, audio clips, quotations.
The individual listings are given in alphabetical order, using the following format - Surname, Title [if applicable], First Name[s]. An indication of area[s] and achievement[s] is provided.
This link gives access to similar information about Famous Australians, including Indigenous Australians.
|Akbar the Great||Muslim emperor of India|
|Alexander the Great||Macedonian King, conqueror|
|Amundsen, Roald||Polar explorer, first to South Pole|
|Armstrong, Neil||Astronaut, first to walk on the Moon|
|Assisi, St Francis of||Soldier, saint, founder of a religious order|
|Atatürk, Kemal||Army Officer [Gallipoli], First President of Turkey|
|Babbage, Charles||Mathematician, philosopher, inventor|
|Bach, Johann Sebastian||Composer, musician|
|New ! Bacon, Roger||Mathematician, Philosopher, Scientist|
|Battuta, Abu Abdullah Muhammad Ibn||Moroccan explorer, geographer, scholar, author|
|Beethoven, Ludwig von||Composer, musician|
|Berners-Lee, Tim||World wide web inventor|
|Bolívar, Simón||Liberator, political leader|
|Bonaparte, Napoleon||General, emperor, conqueror|
|Updated ! Boole, George||English mathematician, founder of the algebraic tradition in logic|
|Brahe, Tycho||Danish astronomer|
|Braille, Louis||Developer of Braille writing for the blind|
|Brin, Sergey||Inventor, Engineer, Computer Programmer [Google with Larry Page]|
|Caesar, Julius||Roman Emperor and general|
|Cai Lun||Inventor of paper|
|Carnegie, Andrew||Magnate, philanthropist|
|Charlemagne [Carolus Magnus]||King of the Franks, Emperor of the Romans|
|Chaucer, Geoffrey||English writer and poet|
|Christ, Jesus||Pivotal figure of both Christian and Muslim religions|
|Churchill, Sir Winston||Politician, British leader in WW II|
|Clarke, Sir Arthur C.||British novelist, science writer|
|Columbus, Christopher||Explorer to the New World|
|Updated ! Confucius||Philosopher, political figure, educator|
|Copernicus, Nicolaus||Astronomer, mathematician|
|Coubertin, Pierre Fredy, Baron de||Father of the modern Olympics|
|Cousteau, Jacques||Photographer, Inventor, Explorer, Film maker, Oceanographer|
|Crick, Francis||British molecular biologist, physicist - DNA structure [Nobel Prize with James Watson]|
|Curie, Marie||Dual Nobel Laureate [Physics, Chemistry]|
|Cuvier, Georges||French naturalist and zoologist, founded vertebrate palaeontology|
|Daguerre, Louis||Artist, chemist, links with photography|
|Dampier, William||Buccaneer, pirate, circumnavigator, hydrographer, author|
|Darwin, Charles||Scientist, Theory of Natural Selection|
|Updated ! Da Vinci, Leonardo||Artist, inventor, genius|
|Dewey, John||Academic, Educator, Philosopher|
|Dunant, [Jean] Henry||Established the Red Cross|
|Einstein, Albert||Theoretical Physicist [Relativity], Nobel Laureate|
|Edison, Thomas Alva||Inventor|
|Elizabeth I||British Monarch|
|Updated ! Erasmus, Desiderius||Famous, influential humanist|
|Fleming, Sir Alexander||Scottish biologist, pharmacologist and botanist, Nobel Laureate [Penicillin]|
|Freud, Sigmund||The Father of Psychoanalysis|
|Fröbel, Friedrich||German pedagogue, created the concept of the “kindergarten”|
|Gagarin, Yuri||Russian Cosmonaut, first man in space|
|New ! Galen [Claudius Galenus]||Roman Physician, writer, philosopher|
|Galilei, Galileo||Mathematician, astronomer and philosopher|
|Gandhi, Mohandas||Lawyer, “non-violent” philosopher, independence fighter|
|Genghis Khan||Founder of the Mongol Empire|
|Gutenberg, Johann||Goldsmith, printer. First to use movable type|
|Hammurabi||Babylonian King, established a famous Legal Code|
|Hannibal Barca||Carthaginian general|
|Heyerdahl, Thor||Writer, Academic, Archaeologist, Explorer|
|Updated ! Hillary, Sir Edmund||Conqueror of Mount Everest with Tenzing Norgay|
|Humboldt, Alexander von||Naturalist, explorer|
|Joan of Arc||“Maid of Heaven”|
|Updated ! Kepler, Johannes||Astrologer, Astronomer, Mathematician|
|King, Martin Luther||Minister, campaigner, Nobel Laureate|
|Kublai Khan||Mongol general, first emperor of Yuan Dynasty [China]|
|Lincoln, Abraham||American President at the time of the Civil War|
|Linnaeus, Carolus||Scientist, “The Father of Taxonomy”|
|Luther, Martin||Priest, Theologian, Reformer|
|Magellan, Ferdinand||Sailor, navigator, explorer|
|Mandela, Nelson||Activist, prisoner, President of South Africa|
|Mao, Zedong||Communist Chinese leader|
|Marx, Karl||Philosopher, Communist Theory [with Engels]|
|Mendel, Gregor||Priest, geneticist|
|Mercator, Gerardus||Cartographer/mapmaker, mathematician, philosopher|
|Michelangelo||Artist & sculptor [also Biography]|
|Min, Ho Chi||Vietnamese Communist freedom fighter|
|Mohammed||Prophet, Initiator of the Muslim religion|
|Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus||Musician, composer, child prodigy|
|New ! Napier, John||Mathematician,|
|Newton, Sir Isaac||Mathematician, scientist|
|Nightingale, Florence||Nurse, women’s rights proponent|
|Nobel, Alfred||Scientist, inventor, established Nobel Prizes|
|Nostradamus||Apothecary, seer, clairvoyant|
|Oppenheimer, J. Robert||Physicist, “Father of the Atomic Bomb”|
|Osman||Founder of the Ottoman Empire|
|Pascal, Blaise||Theologian, Philosopher, Mathematician, Physicist, Scientist|
|Pasteur, Louis||Chemist, inventor of vaccination|
|Petrarch||Scholar, poet, humanist|
|Picasso, Pablo||Painter A second Pablo Picasso page is found here.|
|Polo, Marco||Traveller, merchant, explorer|
|Rhodes, Cecil||Mining magnate, politician|
|Rousseau, Jean-Jacques||Writer, political philosopher, educator|
|Russell, Bertrand||Philosopher, mathematician, educator, social critic, political activist|
|Saladin||Sultan of Egypt and Syria|
|Schliemann, Heinrich||German archaeologist [Troy]|
|Schweitzer, Albert||Doctor, Nobel Laureate|
|Scott, Robert Falcon||Antarctic explorer|
|Shakespeare, William||Dramatist and poet|
|Suleyman the Magnificent [Sulieman]||Ottoman emperor, “Kanuni” [the Lawgiver]|
|Turing, Alan||Mathematician, codebreaker, pioneer of computer science|
|Twain, Mark||American writer|
|Wales, Jimmy Donal||Internet entrepreneur, founder of Wikipedia|
|Wallace, Alfred Russel||British naturalist, explorer, geographer, anthropologist, biologist|
|Washington, George||First American President|
|Wilberforce, William||Politician, helped abolish the Slave Trade|
|William the Conqueror||Norman conqueror of England|
|Wright, Wilbur & Orville||Inventors, heavier-than-air flight|
- About Famous People
Very American site but with access to other areas.
- Famous Speeches in History
Collated in topic headings from US Presidents to Crime. Also a “Popular Speeches” section.
- NPR:s Sound Library Directory
Annotated links to audio recordings and several video sites, for presentations by people from multiple fields. American emphasis.
- Vincent Voice Library
US based. 50 000 people recorded over the last century or so.
Database of more than 25 000 entries of famous people past and present.
- Biography of the Millennium
Who were the most important 100 people of the last millennium ?
- Celebrities Worldwide
Show business to politics.
- Dictionary of World
Barry Jones, ANU Press. Huge collection of both Australian and international figures. Available free online, as PDF, ePub and .mobi [Kindle format].
- Encyclopaedia of World Biography
Content is quite extensive. Emphasis is on the present and recent past. Each entry is expansive, most having links to further information, graphics , etc..
- Famous Birthdays
Find who among the famous have the same birthday as you.
- Famous People
Searchable database of famous people.
- Historic Figures
‘Biographies of historic figures featured on’ BBC History.
- Infoplease Biography
22 categories of famous people, plus related information including a perpetual calendar, special people features, today’s birthday, more.
‘The largest directory of biographies available on the Web containing information on more than 110 000 important people from antiquity to the present time’.
- Project Bartleby
[Index to Biographical Entries, Columbia Encyclopaedia]
Information on people through the ages and around the world.
- Cemetery Junction Directory
‘Linked to transcriptions entered by volunteers’. US, Canada, Australia.
- Dead or Alive ?
Information on who is still alive and who isn’t.
- Dead People Server
‘More than 4 200 inclusions’.
- Good Quotations from Famous People
‘Glory is fleeting, but obscurity is forever’. Read what these people had to say.
- Who’s Alive & Who’s Dead ?
‘The fastest way to find famous people online’.
Specific Groups of Famous People
- Astronaut Biographies
‘Providing biographical information on the members of the space flight crews and candidates for future missions in NASA’s space flight program’.
- Catholic Saints [& Angels]
Alphabetical listing of Saints, Patron Saints, female and popular Saints and more.
- Classical Composer’s Biographies
- Classical Net - Composer Master Index
Extensive listing. Biographical information and recommended recording lists.
- Eric Weisstein’s World of Science Biography
Biographies by branch of science, gender/minority status, historical periods, nationality or prize winners.
- Famous Authors
An emphasis on more recent years though there are some from the classical period and a number of authors considered amongst the major writers from several cultural backgrounds.
- Famous Scientists
‘List and Biographies of Most Famous Scientists and Inventors in History’.
- Famous Inventors and their Inventions
‘Throughout history there have been famous inventors and scientists who have brought new aspects of their fields to light. Scientific discoveries and inventions can be found from ancient civilisations to the present day’. A fine collection.
- Inventors and Inventions Index
The world’s greatest inventors and their inventions.
- Updated !
Inventors Hall of Fame
‘Search the Hall of Fame inductee library, or browse information by inventor, invention, induction date, and by decade’.
- MacTutor Biographies of Mathematicians
- Nobel Prize Winners
‘Click on any Nobel category to see an annotated, hyperlinked list of all Nobel laureates in that category’.
- Presidents of the United States
Images and information about each President. Information about all First Ladies.
- The Immortals
Provides Greek name, Roman equivalent, a brief description and keywords, with a link to a greatly expanded level of information.
- TIME 100
‘TIME presents the world’s 100 most influential people’. This is the 2015 list. Lists available for the years back to 2004.
- Updated !
Top 100 Most Influential
People of the Last Millennium
‘As many as 250 people were chosen to be on the list, but only 100 made it, these are the 100 people that did the most to shape the world we live in today’.
Women - Biographies
- 4 000 Years of Women in Science
News, introduction, biographies, references, photographs.
- Distinguished Women of Past and Present
‘Biographies of women who contributed to our culture in many different ways. Writers, educators, scientists, heads of state, politicians, civil rights crusaders, artists, entertainers, and others’.
- Female Nobel Prize Laureates
- For Women in Science
‘10 inspiring stories of women scientists who became leaders in their research fields and role models for the next generation’.
- Pioneering Women in Technology
The Ada Project. Brief biographies, many with links to further information.
- Women In Science
‘16 significant contributors’. Available as a PDF download.
- Women Mathematician’s Biographies