A & E's Biography: 100 Most Influential People of the Millennium


On October 10, 1999, the American cable network A&E started counting down a list of the 100 most influential people (good or bad) of the millennium, compiled by a group of 360 journalists, scientists, theologians, historians, and scholars from all over the world. At that time, they considered these to be the 100 people who did the most to shape the world we live in today.


- Musicians on the list are bolded and marked by an asterisk [*]--


1          Johann Gutenberg (mass media--movable type for printing)   

2          Isaac Newton (physics: gravity, laws of motion)

3          Martin Luther (Protestant Reformation)

4          Charles Darwin (evolutionist writer)

5          William Shakespeare (Renaissance playwright)

6          Christopher Columbus (explorer)

7          Karl Marx (19th c. political writer)

8          Albert Einstein (physicist)

9          Nicolaus Copernicus (astromony: heliocentric solar system)

10        Galileo Galilei (astromony: perfected the telescope, confirmed Copernicus)

11        Leonardo da Vinci (for science)

12        Sigmund Freud (psychoanalysis)

13        Louis Pasteur (bacteria)

14        Thomas Edison (inventor)

15        Thomas Jefferson (3rd US president, Declaration of Independence)

16        Adolf Hitler (Nazi leader during WWII)

17        Mahatma Gandhi (led peaceful revolution in modern India)

18        John Locke (17th c. philosopher: natural rights of people)

19        Michelangelo (Renaissance artist/sculptor)

20        Adam Smith (18th c. Scottish philosopher and economist)

21        George Washington (1st US president, General of Revolutionary War)

22        Ghengis Khan (12th c Mongul conqueror)

23        Abraham Lincoln (16th US president)

24        St. Thomas Acquinas (Catholic philosopher)

25        James Watt (Scottish inventor; steam engine, industrial revolution)

*26       Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Classic composer; most influential musician)

27        Napoleon Bonaparte (French general, president and self-proclaimed emperor)

*28       Johann Sebastian Bach (Baroque composer)

29        Henry Ford (mass production of automobile)

*30       Ludwig van Beethoven (late Classic/early Romantic composer)

31        James Watson and Francis Crick (DNA)

32        Rene Descartes (philosopher)

33        Martin Luther King Jr (US civil rights leader)

34        Jean-Jacques Rousseau (great philosopher of French "Enlightenment")

35        Vladimir Lenin (Russian political revolutionary/leader/writer)

36        Alexander Fleming (penicilin)

37        Voltaire (philosopher of French "Enlightenment")

38        Francis Bacon (deductive reasoning)

39        Dante Alighieri (Medieval writer)

40        Wright Brothers (first human flight)

41        Bill Gates (computer software giant)

42        Gregor Mendel (genetics)

43        Mao Zedong [Mao Tse Tung] (1st Chairman of Chinese Communist party)

44        Alexander Graham Bell (telephone)

45        William the Conquerer (11th c. leader of Normans and English)

46        Nicolo Machiavelli (political philospher)

47        Charles Babbage (17th c. early "computer" pioneer)

48        Mary Wollstonecraft (women's rights)

49        Mikhail Gorbachev (1st Soviet premier to establish good relations with US)

50        Margaret Sanger (crusader for birth control legislation)

51        Edward Jenner (smallpox vaccination)

52        Winston Churchill (Prime Minister of Britain during WWII)

53        Marie Curie (radioactivity)

54        Marco Polo (explorer: silk road to China)

55        Ferdinand Magellan (explorer: circumnavigated the earth)

56        Elizabeth Stanton (womens rights)

*57       Elvis Presley (first major icon of Rock and Roll)

58        Joan of Arc (French religious martyr)

59        Immanuel Kant (philosopher)

60        Franklin Delano Roosevelt (longest serving US President)

61        Michael Faraday (chemist/physicist; electricity & magnetism)

62        Walt Disney (early animation)

63        Jane Austen (writer)

64        Pablo Picasso (painter)

65        Werner Heisenberg (physicist; "uncertainty principle")

66        D W Griffith (film)

67        Vladamir Zworkin (TV/RCA)

68        Benjamin Franklin (inventor, writer, statesman)

69        William Harvey (blood circulation)

70        Pope Gregory VII (separated church & state)

71        Harriet Tubman (underground railroad)

72        Simon Bolivar (great South American general and freedom fighter)

73        Diana, Princess of Wales (human rights)

74        Enrico Fermi (nuclear physicist; quantum theory)

75        Gregory Pincus (birth control pill)

*76       The Beatles (most influential band in rock history)

77        Thomas Hobbes (17th c. philosopher)

78        Queen Isabella I (Queen of Portugal, supporter of Columbus' voyages)

79        Joseph Stalin (ruthless Russian leader during WWII)

80        Queen Elizabeth I (Queen of England in late Renaissance)

81        Nelson Mandela (imprisoned leader against Apartheid)

82        Niels Bohr (atomic structure and quantum mechanics)

83        Peter the Great (Russian Czar)

84        Guglielmo Marconi (radio)

85        Ronald Reagan (40th US President)

86        James Joyce (author)

87        Rachel Carson (environment)

88        J. Robert Oppenheimer (atomic bomb)

89        Susan B. Anthony (US women's suffrage)

90        Louis Daguerre (photo)

91        Steven Spielberg (film)

92        Florence Nightingale (medicine)

93        Eleanor Roosevelt (United Nations and human rights)

94        Patient Zero (1st AIDS victim)

95        Charlie Chaplan (silent film star)

*96       Enrico Caruso (famous opera singer and early recording star)

97        Jonas Salk (polio vaccine)

*98       Louis Armstrong (jazz trumpeter and scat singer, civil rights)

99        Vasco de Gama (explorer)

100      Suleiman I (greatest Sultan of the Ottoman Empire)