Do You Know The Names Of These Historical Men?

By: Mark Laugraben
Image: WikiCommons

About This Quiz

Great leaders never go out of style! Humankind marches on to the beat of different drums, but someone has to set the tune, someone has to ensure that everyone is marching in harmony. Even in rough and tumble, freedom-loving societies like the West, leaders are needed to keep the free people from each other's throats!

But politics is not the only sphere to which we ascribe greatness. Great artists rise and force us to reexamine the nature of our humanity, either via words written on pages or paint arranged on a canvas. Great thinkers force us to reconsider the presumptions upon which we build our worlds, tearing down our foundations to help construct something better. Their words, though rooted in the cultures from which they sprang, reach higher and farther to encompass the entire human story. 

To these men of genius, we owe so much. Their labors grant purpose, give direction, and give us the tools we need to further expand the human story. We stand upon the shoulders of these giants and see further than our forebears could have possibly imagined. 

How much do you know of the great men from history? Now is the time to prove your knowledge. Click to continue and forge ever onward! 

Admiral of the British Navy, Horatio Nelson was the naval thorn in mighty Napoleon's side. Though he met his end in battle at Trafalgar, the French-Spanish naval forces were annihilated, giving Britain full command of the seas.

One of the most powerful rulers in history, Charles V ruled a massive Hapsburg empire that stretched across much of Europe. He fought Protestant rebels, Ottomans, the French, the Dutch, and many other forces at different times throughout his lengthy reign.

The 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln was the first Republican President, and his election caused a southern reaction that led to states seceding from the Union. More followed, and he soon found himself commanding the Union in a Civil War.

A symbol of non-violent civil disobedience, Gandhi's strategy of resistance saw the British withdraw and cede control of the most valuable piece of their empire. He is widely respected by accomplishing this without a horrible civil war.

Genghis Khan ruled the greatest land empire the world has ever known, encompassing much of Asia and reaching into the Middle East and Europe. His light cavalry armed with precise, powerful bows were essentially invincible against every foe upon which they came.

An incredible polymath, famous inventor Thomas Edison brought many innovations into the world. He created the electric light, the stock ticker, motion pictures, and recorded music. The world in which we live owes a great deal to Edison!

The founder of the Protestant branch of Christianity, Martin Luther, was a monk and professor who nailed his disputes with the Catholic Church on the cathedral door in Wittenberg, triggering a religious conflagration that would sweep Europe.

JFK was the youngest man to be elected President of the United States, and the only Roman Catholic, so far, to serve as U.S. President. He vastly increased U.S. commitment in Vietnam, masterminded a failed invasion of Cuba, presided over the Cuban Missile Crisis and was assassinated in Dallas in 1963.

Famed civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. played a critical role in organizing nonviolent resistance to the Jim Crow Laws that plagued the Southern USA and the KKK who defended them. He was assassinated, but his message and dreams live on.

One of the most famous composers to have ever lived, Ludwig van Beethoven wrote nine symphonies, 32 sonatas for piano, and many other works. He spent much of his life in Vienna, which had become a fountainhead of the arts. His favorite work was his Fourteenth Quartet, op. 131 in C♯ minor, which he regarded as "perfect."

A man of the people, Julius Caesar followed the example of the slain Gracchi brothers and used the general populace, combined with the Roman army, as the foundation of his power. After winning a dramatic Civil War, he seemingly declined the throne of king, but what he would have done next is unknown, as he was murdered by nobles, setting into motion the events that would lead to the rise of the Roman Empire.

A Scottish philosopher and by some measures the first economist, Adam Smith wrote multiple treatises on morality, but was most famous for his work, The Wealth of Nations, which provided the first thorough description of the system that was to become known as Capitalism.

Brilliant, multi-talented astronaut Neil Armstrong will be forever immortalized by his being the first man to set foot on Earth's moon. It was truly "One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind."

Famed author of the Narnia stories and "Space trilogy," C.S. Lewis is also famous for writing a series of Christian Apologetics, including Mere Christianity and the Screwtape Letters. His works have been translated into several dozen languages, and continue to enthrall millions today.

One of the world's greatest geniuses and master of the science-focused Royal Society, Isaac Newton is best known for his co-discovery of calculus. His views of the laws of motion and gravitation were eventually disproven but were foundational to western science centuries after his death.

The scientist responsible for the Theory of Evolution, Charles Darwin's discovery shook the world and forced it to reconsider ideas that were thought to be irrevocable. His work with Galapagos turtles and the finch species he discovered, seemingly so simple, would bring about mighty clashes between science and religion.

Born Eric Blair, it is his pen name of George Orwell that is famous throughout the literary world. A Democratic Socialist who counted himself a foe to any and all authoritarianism, his works, including most notably Animal Farm and Nineteen and Eighty Four, are required reading for much of the West.

When Bill Gates dropped out of Harvard to found a company out of a garage in 1975, no one would have expected that company, Microsoft, to rise to become one of the most titanic corporations ever seen. Today, he and his wife oversee the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, practicing smart, informed charity across the world to make it a better place.

One of the founding members of the Beatles, John Lennon is one of the most famous musical artists to ever live. His musical virtuosity introduced the world to pop, and then evolved beyond it, changing and growing with the times. He was slain by a fan in 1980, at the entrance to his apartment building in New York City.

The British Bulldog himself, cigar-chomping Winston Churchill, was the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom during the Second World War, during which he faced the country's darkest hour. Standing firm, even in the face of possible invasion and conquest, he masterminded a grand alliance with Soviet Russia and the United States that would see Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy and Imperial Japan defeated.

The man known as Confucius is responsible for creating a massive and far-ranging system of belief that grew to encompass all of China and much of Asia beyond. His morality, focused on filial piety and self improvement, still has enormous cultural influence today.

After his father, Philip, united Macedon, Alexander strode forth to conquer an empire greater than any his people had ever seen, stretching from Macedon to India. Educated by none other than Aristotle himself, the brilliant Alexander's conquests and new cities would have great consequences for the future of much of the then-civilized world.

The first President of the United States, George Washington, led the nascent U.S. forces in a brilliant campaign of Fabian maneuver and predatory cunning. His final defeat of the British at Saratoga ensured the birth of the United States of America.

The "Lord Protector" of Britain, Oliver Cromwell, was a member of the lesser nobility who led Parliamentary forces to victory over Charles I's loyalists in the English Civil War. He ordered the execution of the king, forever changing European feudalism.

Born in peripheral Corsica, Napoleon Bonaparte won fame by crushing the Paris mob with a "whiff of grapeshot," and through brilliance and cunning, rose to the self-created position of Emperor of France. He unleashed the revolutionary - now Imperial - armies upon Europe, and for a time, held the continent in thrall.

When the Central Powers dispatched Vladimir Lenin to Russia to destabilize the regime, they could not have imagined how wildly successful - and how dangerous - Lenin would be. He would lead his Bolsheviks to total victory in the Russian Revolution, and install the world's first Socialist Totalitarian state.

Arguably the greatest basketball player of all time, Michael Jordan led the Chicago Bulls to no less than six championships. He is best known for his astonishing leaping ability, having proven himself capable of dunking a basketball from the free throw line.

The co-author of the Communist Manifesto, few individuals have changed the world more than Karl Marx. His authorship provided a blueprint and foundation for the communist movements that would blaze across the entire world in the 20th century, the first, of course, being the creation of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

The Japanese Sengoku (warring states) period saw the country torn into many feudal states, ruled by competing Daimyo. This period ended with a succession of three unifiers, but in the end, it was Tokugawa who reigned supreme. He would put into place the system that would rule a unified, stable Japan for centuries.

Qin Shi Huang was the first Emperor of a truly united China. He brought the disparate states of the Chinese world together through cunning, ruthlessness, and brute force, and created the title of Emperor. His victories extinguished the previously independent states of Haan, Zhao, Yan, Wei, and Chu.

Mao Zedong wielded together a group of disparate intellectuals and also-rans into a mighty army. He worked with the peasantry to fight the Japanese, smashed Chiang Kai-Shek back to Taiwan, and seized total control of mainland China. His economic policies resulted in staggering famine and poverty.

Kublai Khan was the founder of the Yuan dynasty and grandson of Genghis Khan. He conquered the parts of China that the mongols had hirtherto left, and was the first foreigner to create a ruling dynasty in China.

Master of an alliance of Eurasian tribes, Atilla the Hun created an empire spanning parts of Europe and Asia. Although he sacked neither Constantinople nor Rome, he was the bane of both Roman Empires, causing them irreparable damage with his incessant raids.

Known as the "Iron Chancellor," Bismarck's masterful diplomacy saw a united German state (based around his native Prussia) for the first time in history. He was able to weld the Germans into an alliance against their common foe, France, and from there created what was to be known as the second Reich.

The last Emperor of Ethiopia, Haile Selassie, was an autocratic leader who exercised great control over his country. Eventually overthrown due to a famine ravaging his country, his greatest legacy may be the conviction of the Rastafarian religion that he was the messiah returned.

Nebuchadnezzar II established a kingdom rooted around his city of Babylon. He conquered the Israelites and featured in the book of Daniel, where he had many exchanges with the titular prophet.

At the end of the 19th century, King Kamehameha I conquered the island of Hawaii and then proceeded to invade neighboring Maui and Oahu with 960 war canoes and 10,000 soldiers. His ensuing victory brought the islands together under a single ruler.

An-Nasir Salah ad-Din Yusuf ibn Ayyub, known as Saladin in the West, ruled Syria and Egypt. He battled with Richard III and the various Crusader states, and eventually regained Muslim control of the region from the Christian invaders.

The only four-term President of the United States, FDR oversaw an America wracked by a great depression and plunged into a global conflagration. He remilitarized a nation that had all but abandoned her armed forces, then waged a two-front​ war against the Axis powers, playing a critical role in their defeat.

Known to the world as the Sun King, Louis XIV was the very model of an absolute monarch. He had total control over France, and his wishes were paramount over any laws. He was known for his famous phrase, "l'etat, c'est moi," "I am the State!"

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