Can You Name the Most Famous Rebels throughout History?

By: Khadija Leon

George Washington (1732 – 1799) was a former soldier, the first person to become the President of the United States of America and one of the country’s Founding Fathers. He was responsible for putting together the Declaration of Independence.

Fidel Castro (1926 – 2016) was a Cuban politician and communist revolutionary who served as the Prime Minster and President of Cuba until 2008. He was responsible for overthrowing Cuban President Fulgencio Batista in 1959. He also formed an alliance with the Soviet Union, an action that would lead to the beginning of the Cold War.

Abraham Lincoln (1809 – 1865) was an American lawyer who served as the 16th President of the United States of America. He led the U.S. through the Civil War, one of the deadliest wars in the history of the country and helped to abolish slavery.

Robert E. Lee (1807 – 1870) was an American soldier best known for his role as the commander of the Confederate States Army, particularly during the American Civil War from 1862 until he surrendered in 1865.

Joan of Arc (1412 – 1431) was a French heroine best known for the crucial role she played during the Lancastrian phase of the Hundred Years’ War. Joan believed that she was chosen by God to lead France to victory in its war against England.

Mahatma Gandhi (1869 – 1948) was an Indian activist who was also the leader of India’s independence movement against the British. He was best known for using nonviolent acts of disobedience, some of which have inspired civil rights movements around the world.

Malcolm X (1925 – 1965) was an African-American human rights activist and Muslim minister best known for being outspoken about topics like black nationalism and “Black Power” racial pride. Although most of his mission was centered around nonviolent acts, he instructed black people to defend themselves against aggressive whites "by any means necessary."

Mother Teresa (1910 – 1997) was an Albanian-Indian Catholic nun and missionary best known for devoting her life to taking care of the poor and spreading the word of Jesus Christ. She was also responsible for finding the Missionaries of Charity, a group responsible for helping people in need.

Nelson Mandela (1918 – 2013) was a South African political leader and philanthropist who served as the first black President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999. During his presidency, he focused on breaking down racial segregation and trying to foster conflict resolution.

Rosa Parks (1913 – 2005) was an American activist who is sometimes called “the first lady of civil rights.” In 1955, she refused to give up her seat in the “colored section” of the bus to a white passenger, which became a pivotal point in the Civil Rights Movement.

Napoleon Bonaparte (1769 – 1821) was a French military leader and statesman who is most famous for the role he played in the French Revolutionary Wars. He was the Emperor of the French from 1804 – 1814 and again in 1815.

Ernesto Che Guevara (1928-1967) was an Argentine guerrilla leader, physician and revolutionary, best known for the role he played in the Cuban Revolution. He served as a military advisor and helped to overthrow the Batista government. He attempted to do the same in Bolivia but with only a small group to support him, he was unsuccessful.

Molly Wollstonecraft (1759-1797) was an English writer best known for writing “A Vindication of the Rights of Women” (1792). She was also known for being an advocate for women’s rights and many people have called her the founding feminist. She suggested, in many of her writings, that both men and women should​ be treated equally.

Harriet Tubman (1822 – 1913) was an American abolitionist and scout for the United States Army during the America Civil War. She was born a slave and after escaping, she helped other people to escape through what was known as the “Underground Railroad."

Alexander III of Macedon, better known as Alexander the Great (356 – 323) was a Greek King known for creating one of the largest empires that the world has ever seen, stretching from Greece to northern India and for conquering kingdoms like Egypt and Persia.

Karl Marx (1818 – 1883) was a historian, philosopher and revolutionary socialist who is best known for publishing “The Communist Manifest” pamphlet (1848) and “Das Kapital.” He also developed a theory in which he believed that the human society’s transition from capitalism to socialism was inevitable.

Spartacus (111 – 71 BC) was a Thracian gladiator who after escaping slavery in the Third Servile War, was a leader in one of the largest slave uprisings against the Roman Republic. He, with the help of Gauls Crixus, led an army of 30 000 slaves to fight against the Romans led by Gaius Claudius Glaber.

Martin Luther King Jr. (1929 – 1968) was an American Baptist minister, spokesperson and civil rights movement leader best known for his “I Have a Dream” speech. He used methods of civil disobedience and nonviolent tactics much like that of Mahatma Gandhi.

Kim Il-Sung (1912 – 1994) was the leader of North Korea, holding the position of Premier from 1948 to 1972, and President from 1972 until his death in 1994. He was responsible for leading guerilla forces against the Imperial Japanese Army in the 1930s.

Susan B. Anthony (1820 – 1906) was an American woman best known for the role she played in the women’s suffrage movement. After creating the National Woman Suffrage Association, she, along with her colleagues began writing the six-volume “History of Woman Suffrage.” She was also the first woman to appear on a U.S. coin.

Pancho Villa (1878 – 1923) was a famous Mexican general and guerilla leader who played a very important role in the Mexican Revolution. In 1090, he joined Francisco Madero’s mission to bring down then President Porfirio Diaz and later Victoriano Huerta.

Rani Lakshmibai (1828 – 1858) was the queen of Jhansi, India, and is best known for being one of the main people leading the Indian Revolution against British rule in many Indian subcontinents between 1858 and 1947. Because of her efforts, she has been called the Indian version of Joan of Arc.

Angela Davis (1944 - ) is an American political activist and author best known for being a radical leader in the Communist Party USA, and for her involvement in the Civil Rights Movement through the Black Panther Party.

Muammar Gaddafi (1942 – 2011) was a Libyan revolutionary and politician who is best known for staging a coup that led to him being the ruler of Libya from 1969 until 2001. He was an authoritarian dictator for over 40 years until he was overthrown in 2011, the same year in which he died.

Tupac Amaru II, born Jose Gabriel Condorcanqui (1738 – 1781) was a Peruvian Indian revolutionary who led an unsuccessful rebellion against the Spanish rule. After his death, he became an important figure in Peru’s battle for independence and the indigenous rights movement.

Thurgood Marshall (1908 – 1993) was an American lawyer best known for being the first African-American Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States and for ending racial segregation in public schools.

Boudica was the Queen of the British Iceni tribe who was best known for leading an uprising against the Roman Empire in 60/61 AD. After the passing of her husband, Rome took possession of their land which prompted her to destroy the three Roman cities and killing more than 80, 000 of its citizens.

Martin Luther (1483 – 1546) was a German professor, priest and composer who is best known for questioning the leadership and theology of the Roman Catholic Church. These questions set the foundation of the Protestant Reformation.

Galileo Galilei (1564 – 1642) was an Italian mathematician, physicist and astronomer who is best known for proving that the Earth was not the central point of creation, thus proving the Roman Catholic Church wrong. He also discovered many of Jupiter’s rings.

Lady Trieu (225 – 248) was a Vietnamese female warrior who is best known for resisting the Chinese Imperial system and liberating her people. There have been many records claiming that she went into combat mounted on the back of an elephant.

Simon Bolivar (1783 – 1830) often called “The Liberator” was a Venezuelan political and military leader who led the revolution against Spanish rule in order for six South American countries to gain their independence.

Toussaint L’Ouverture (1743 – 1803) was a Haitian Revolutionary leader who led the Haitian Independence Movement during the French Revolution. He was responsible for the emancipation of many slaves and was also responsible for the country being governed by former black slaves.

Mary Harris Jones was an Irish – American dressmaker and schoolteacher who was the cofounder of the Industrial Workers of the World, an international labor union. As a member, she helped to coordinate major strikes, one of which was a children’s crusade, demanding that they be sent to school instead of working in factories.

James Connolly (1868 – 1916) was an Irish socialist leader and republican best known for establishing the Citizen Army in 1913 and for the leading role that he played in the Easter Uprising at the General Post Office in 1916.

Thomas Edison (1847 – 1931) was an American businessman and inventor best known for creating the phonograph, the motion picture camera, the electric light bulb and was also credited for the creation of the first industrial research lab. He might not have been a revolutionary, but his inventions revolutionized the world.

Emiliano Salazar (1879 – 1919) was one of the main leaders of the peasant revolution in Morelos, a leading figure in the Mexican Revolution, and the inspiration behind a movement called Zapatismo.

Eva Maria Peron (1919 – 1952) was the wife of Argentine President Juan Peron. She was in charge of the Ministries of Labor and Health and was a leader in the women’s suffrage movement in Argentina. She was also the founder of the first female political party and the Eva Peron Foundation.

Sir Eric Matthew Gairy (1922 – 1997) was the first Prime Minister of Grenada who served his country from 1974 to 1979 after its independence from Great Britain. He was overthrown by Maurice Bishop. Before that, he was both the chief minister and premier minister of the country.

Leon Trotsky (1879 – 1940) was a revolutionary theorist who, along with Vladimir Lenin was a significant participant in starting the Russian Revolution in 1917. He was also responsible for building the Red Army.

Meena Keshwar Kamal (1956 – 1987), better known as Meena, was an Afghan political and women’s rights​ activist and the founder of the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA). After her assassination, she was named as one of Asia’s Heroes.

Jose Maria Pino Suarez (1869 – 1913) was a Mexican jurist, statesman and revolutionary who served as the last Vice President of Mexico from 1911 to 1913 when he was assassinated. After his death, he was named a national hero for advocating against social injustices in his country.

Sandor Petofi (1823 – 1849) was a Hungarian revolutionary and national poet who played a major role in the 1848 Hungarian Revolution. His writing of the country’s national song is what was said to have inspired the revolution for the fight for the country’s independence from Austria.

Pierre-Augustin Beamarchais (1732 – 1799) was a French inventor, diplomat, musician and revolutionary. He was responsible for supplying arms and financial aid to the rebels during the American War of Independence. He was also known for his three Figaro plays.

Francisco Madero (1873 – 1913) was a Mexican statesman and revolutionary who was the 33rd president of Mexico from 1911 to 1913. He was also a social justice advocate who was best known for challenging Porfirio Diaz for the ​presidency, an act that would be a defining moment in the Mexican Revolution.

Mao Zedong (1893 – 1976), better known as Chairman Mao, was a Chinese revolutionary and founding father of the People’s Republic of China. He was responsible for the communist revolution that led to one of the greatest mass murders in the history of the world.

Vladimir Lenin (1870 – 1924) was a Russian politician and communist revolutionary who served as the head of Soviet Russia’s government from 1917 to 1924 and then the head of the Soviet Union from 1922 to 1924. He also played an important role in 1917 Bolshevik Revolution.

Sir William Wallace (1270 – 1305) was a Scottish knight best known for being one of the main leaders during the Wars of Scottish Independence between 1296 – 1328. He was also appointed as the Guardian of Scotland until his was defeated in 1298 at the Battle of Falkirk.

Josip Bronz Tito (1892 – 1980) was a Yugoslavian statesman and communist revolutionary who was the leader of the Partisans during WW II. He was also the first president of the country and has been described as a “benevolent dictator.”

Voltaire (1694 – 1778) was a French writer, historian and philosopher best known for advocating for the freedom of speech and freedom of religion from the Catholic Church and Christianity. He also advocated for the separation of church and the state during the French Enlightenment.

William Wilberforce (1759 – 1833) was an English politician who is best known as the person who led the movement to stop the slave trade. He spear-headed his campaign for more than twenty years, until 1808 when the Slave Trade Act was passed.

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About This Quiz

According to, the word rebel is defined as "a person who refuses allegiance to, resists, or rises in arms against the government or ruler of his or her country" or "a person who resists any authority, control, or tradition."

Throughout history, we have heard of or encountered many different types of rebels; peaceful ones like Martin Luther King Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi, scientific ones like Thomas Edison and Galileo Galilei, former slave rebels like Harriet Tubman and Toussaint L'Ouverture, civil rights activists like Mary Harris Jones and Rosa Parks or political rebels like Che Guevara and Eva Peron. 

Without them, the world as we know it might not have existed. They stood up for what they believed to be right and just, and although some of them did not have good intentions, they were rebels nonetheless. 

How well can you identify some of the world's most important/significant rebels? Were you paying attention during history class? If someone asked you who Martin Luther was, would you be able to identify him from a picture and do you know what he did? There is only one way to find out, and that is by taking this quiz! When you're done, get your fellow historians to take the quiz. 

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