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The Top 100 Leaders in History

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  Quote Zagros Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: The Top 100 Leaders in History
    Posted: 19-Nov-2008 at 00:14
Jahan Ara - took Khorramshahr back from the marauding  - internationally funded and equipped  - Arab horde of Saddam Hussain.  Think about the odds, it was literally Jahan Ara vs the world and Jahan Ara won.
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  Quote DSMyers1 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-Nov-2008 at 04:24
Originally posted by Red4tribe

 
What do you think of adding William the Silent? The father of the Netherlands? He led the Dutch provinces together for 20 years against the Spanish, protecting them from Religious persecution until his assasination in 1584.


Yes, William the Silent is a very good addition to the list.  I went ahead and added him and Prince Maurice of Nassau.  William ranks 25th in my initial evaluation, and could be higher.  Maurice came in at 87th.

Originally posted by konstantinl

Surprised the lack of prominent Greeks.

No Pericles?

No Alcibiades?

No Themistocles?

Themistocles should DEFINITELY be on the list of great leaders in my opinion, and the other two are worthy of consideration also.


I was very surprised, also, about the lack of Greeks in my initial evaluation of the best leaders.  To be honest, though, I haven't researched Greece's leaders yet....I was working on Genoa (and going alphabetically) when I stopped working on this much last summer, so almost ready for Greece.  I had done Athens, so Themistocles was already rated; he came out at #140.  I will reevaluate and make sure of my rating of him.

Originally posted by Penelope

King Gustavus The Great of Sweden. Single handedly responsible for the "Golden Age of Sweden" which also earned him the epithet "The Golden King". During his reign, Sweden rose from the status as a mere regional power to one of the most powerful countries in europe.



Gustav II Adolph added.  He comes in only 44th, because he simply used the structure built by Gustav I--he did not build the country, per se, simply put it in motion.  (Is that right?)

Originally posted by Count Belisarius

What about Joan of Arc?


#122

Originally posted by Al Jassas

Hello to you all
 
About the leaders, here are some notes that need to be taken about the Arabs:
 
1- Al-Saffah: He doesn't deserve to be on the list, he was just a puppet for his uncles, brother and henchmen. Abu Jaafar Al-Mansur should be on the list, he is the one who really founded the dynasty and stengthened it by ending all external and internal threats and he also built Baghdad and started the translation movement.
 
2-Saladin: He also doesn't deserve to be on the list either. His legacy was limited to a part of the world and was not lasting, unless you count the Mamelukes.
 
3-Khalid Ibn Al-Walid: He was a military genious but that is it.
 
AL-Jassas


Al-Saffah off the list (well, to #319), and Mansur on at #50.  I don't know the history of the Abbasids that well!

I think I disagree with you on Saladin, though it is not my area of expertise.  He took a totally disjointed collection of tribes, peoples, etc. and welded an effective "empire" able to halt the crusaders and other threats, for some 75 years.  I don't see how I can rate him any differently, really...  It's just the way the formula works for him.

I dropped Khalid's impact rating from 3 to 2, since you seem to feel his impact on what the Arabs accomplished was rather secondary.  That drops him from 16th out of the top 100 (yes, the algorithm is a little hyper sensitive to impact percentage--essentially, "3" means 60% of the credit belongs to him; "2" means 40%).

Originally posted by Zagros

Jahan Ara - took Khorramshahr back from the marauding  - internationally funded and equipped  - Arab horde of Saddam Hussain.  Think about the odds, it was literally Jahan Ara vs the world and Jahan Ara won.


I've never heard of Jahan Ara....  Any more information?
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  Quote Penelope Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29-Nov-2008 at 04:11
Peter III the Great of Aragon. He was one of the greatest of medieval Aragonese monarchs.
The direct use of force is such a poor solution to any problem, it is generally employed only by small children and large nations.
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  Quote DSMyers1 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29-Nov-2008 at 14:40
Originally posted by Penelope

Peter III the Great of Aragon. He was one of the greatest of medieval Aragonese monarchs.


He is the highest ranked leader of Aragon, but still only #246--right behind #245 Edward III and right ahead of #247 Eisenhower. 
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  Quote Penelope Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30-Nov-2008 at 06:34
Originally posted by DSMyers1

Originally posted by Penelope

Peter III the Great of Aragon. He was one of the greatest of medieval Aragonese monarchs.


He is the highest ranked leader of Aragon, but still only #246--right behind #245 Edward III and right ahead of #247 Eisenhower. 
 
Oh good.Clap
The direct use of force is such a poor solution to any problem, it is generally employed only by small children and large nations.
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  Quote Sintergeorge Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-Dec-2008 at 20:15
My friends and I do "leadership rankings" on the basis of influence on subsequent history-- which is more or less the only semi-objective criterion that people from different cultures/backgrounds can agree on-- something along the lines of what Michael H. Hart did with his own famous list.

That being said-- even though influence can be destructive as well as constructive, I still sense that overall, influence rankings won't have mega-villains anywhere near the top, for the simple reason that it's much harder to create something (a new administration, a scientific or artistic advance), and thus to establish an innovative and durable legacy and institutions, than to just be a mass-killer.  That's why history's big killers, like Hitler, Stalin, Genghis Khan, Lord Lytton (the British administrator whose policies helped bring about the mega-famines in India late 19th-century), Pol Pot-- I just don't see them having a big impact long-term.  Even Genghis Khan, who did after all, establish what would become the world's biggest-ever empire (under Kublai Khan)-- he had some institutional accomplishments, like the first "pony express" and stable roads that helped communications across Eurasia, plus the Mughals (with an enormous impact on Indian history) were descended from the Mongols and their historical example. 

But most of what Genghis and his successors did was to take a wrecking ball to other, established and culturally advanced civilizations (like China and Baghdad), who ultimately defeated and mostly assimilated the Mongols culturally by the 13th and 14th centuries.  Genghis's influence is limited simply because the Mongols, while militarily strong, left comparatively little in terms of lasting cultural, political and administrative institutions.  That's one of the reasons why the only durable Mongol state is a rather small (geographically large but small in population and economy) country in northeastern Asia.

In comparison, people like Alexander the Great, Augustus Caesar, Constantine, St. Paul, Qin Shi Huang Di (founder of the Chinese state as a unified political entity), Muhammad all created extremely durable and influential institutions, that still have an enormous impact across the world today.  It's not that they were altar boys by any means-- most of them were involved in some bitter conflicts of their own, and Alexander in particular was involved in sanguinary conquests.  But all of them are influential for the cultural and administrative legacies they provided, and this constructive tendency also means that, while they often lived in war-torn and brutal periods, they (for their times) also demonstrated an unusual degree of moral consideration and tolerance. 

Alexander for example, could have gone scorched-earth on the Persian lands (Aristotle himself said the Persians were barbarians), but he came to greatly respect the Persian civilization and even to partially identify himself and his soldiers with the Persian element.  That's why the crucial Hellenistic civilization came about.  Even as the Near East came under the Greek cultural sway, Persian and other Eastern influences remained strong, which is a big part of why so many of us in the West today are members of a religion founded in the East (Christianity)-- in a region conquered by Alexander and brought into the Hellenic world, thence into the Roman and Byzantine Empires.   Alexander was also an explorer, and many pillars of modern civilization got their start because East and West had that great (and largely unparalleled) exchange as Alexander moved his armies and administrators throughout what was then "the civilized world."

Constantine abolished slavery even as he brought Christianity to prominence (though he himself was more tolerant in general of various religions than many of his successors were), and Augustus, despite his own bloody path to power, introduced humane laws (again, for their time) which helped to stitch together the Roman Empire as a unified polity with the character of a nation.  Qin Shi Huangdi was a tough leader, but he also introduced an administrative system and unifying factors (such as a code of writing, weights and measures, coinage, even road diameters) that have persisted to the present day 2,000 years later-- the reason that China is really the only ancient power to remain intact as a political/administrative state, not just a cultural sphere, today.

IOW, the most influential leaders became so in part because they had a moral, constructive element that actually created something innovative, a durable institution that lasted. 




Edited by Sintergeorge - 06-Dec-2008 at 23:08
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  Quote Sintergeorge Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-Dec-2008 at 22:08
So with those criteria up, I'll just give my own 2 cents on some of the rankings suggested here.  Lots of interesting thoughts on this thread.  I kinda like Ikki's rankings (both for general and Muslim world rankings) though I'd differ in some places:

Originally posted by Ikki



General:
 
1. Muhammad: no other man leadering a people, an state, have influeced the history like him.
2. Augustus: the man who built the more important empire of western world, who transformed the face of the Roman Empire.
3. Franklin D. Roosevelt: the perfect man of the democracy, a leader of the free world who took his country from the black depth and put it in the edge of an unsurpassed supremacy.
4. Napole�n Bonaparte: his changes couldn't be seen in five years, in fact his work changed France and Europe for at least two centuries.
5. Ghandi: he represent wich no represent any other leader before him.


My own Top 10:
1. Muhammad
2. Qin Shi Huangdi
3. Augustus Caesar
4. Constantine the Great
5. Alexander the Great
6. George Washington
7. Umar (Omar) Ibn al-Khattab
8. William the Conqueror
9. Emperor Asoka of India
10. Thomas Jefferson
(FWIW, this list is pretty close to Hart's-- I'd put Napoleon pretty close there, he's at #11 or #12 for me.  Julius Caesar, Peter the Great similar.  Then Queen Isabella, Charlemagne a notch below them.  Maybe one day even Otto von Bismarck and João II-- John II-- might be high up in this dignified "second tier," depending on how important Germany and Brazil become in the coming century.  All of these figures would be more or less right below the Top 10.)

(For the moment I'm not considering extremely influential historical figures who had some leadership positions but were influential for mostly other reasons.  For example, Confucius, Gutenberg, Luther, Newton, St. Paul, Christopher Columbus, Cortes and others all had positions of political and administrative leadership, guiding populations in one form or another-- but these were either small-scale or their leadership/administrative duties were generally secondary to the main source of their influence.  Jesus is obviously of great importance-- he wasn't really a political leader, though.  Same with Siddhartha Gautama.)

Muhammad, I agree on Ikki with 100%-- no other historical figure did anything close (for better or worse-- again, this ranking is about influence on subsequent events).  He founded one of the world's great religions and cultural spheres, while also founding-- virtually from scratch-- an administration and a political nation-state that became the root of great medieval empires and, despite the fragmentation of the Arab and Muslim world, still continues in many respects (in the policies of the various countries of the region) today.  And this was so radically unlikely-- Muhammad didn't come from a cultural center, and he did this as a merchant at a time when power was basically transmitted across hereditary lines.  He was also amazingly vigorous-- IIRC he suffered from epilepsy and was in his 50's when he was doing most of his work as a political, religious and military leader.  Plus negotiating treaties, handling finances and other strenuous work.  Yet he stayed remarkably on-the-ball throughout it.  In fact, when he died from a fever brought on by some desert infection in his 50's, it was actually a major problem for the Muslims since it came as such a surprise, and they hadn't plans for succession-- Muhammad was still in vigorous health before he contracted the infection.  (Those desert fevers can be nasty-- even today with modern medicine, if you're not careful, those infections can send you downhill fast.)


I also basically agree with Caesar Augustus-- he's the major founding figure when it comes to Western civilization (along with Constantine and Alexander).  It doesn't matter which European country one comes from, or whether one hails from South America, Australia, North America, wherever.  People from Brazil, Chile, USA, Germany, Denmark, Russia, Romania, whatever-- we'd never agree on a leader from any particular one of our countries (which arose after Rome's fell in 476 A.D.), but all of us no matter what our Western country, have drawn heavily from the cultural and administrative legacy of Augustus, Constantine and Alexander.

The one difference here is that I put Qin Shi Huangdi, basically the leader who founded China (as a political state), just a bit ahead of Augustus.  That's because the Roman Empire, despite its tremendous cultural and administrative impact, did fall apart as a political system in 476 A.D. (and the Byzantine Empire in the centuries thereafter).  In comparison, Qin Shi Huangdi's China held together as not only a unified, and extremely important, cultural and administrative unit, but even as a political entity that's basically persisted even to today.  The current Chinese state still uses the same basic infrastructure and administrative divisions as Qin Shi Huangdi instituted in his first empire creating China as a state.  (Shi Huangdi benefitted from the Han Dynasty that succeeded his own-- the Han basically used everything that Shi Huangdi started, but toned down some of the harshest elements.)

Now, as for the others-- I have great respect for Gandhi, and FDR was obviously an important figure for the 20th century.  But I wouldn't put them anywhere near the Top 10 (or even Top 100) as far as influence.  Gandhi was an inspirational figure, no doubt, and he managed to break the British economically in India, finding a creative and remarkable way to oust a recalcitrant imperial power. 

Still, the British were decolonizing everywhere at that point and before it in the wake of WWI, and the main driving force was that the British had been bloodied and bankrupted so badly (losing millions of soldiers and civilian casualties, plus loss of shipping, crippling debt and physical damage to Britain itself) as a result of the World Wars and other conflicts.  They just couldn't afford an empire.  In fact, India was not the first British colony to oust the British, and British decolonization collapsed in varying ways in different places-- sometimes through consent (as in India), in other places after violent wars like the French in Algeria (Kenya, Aden, Palestine/Israel, Suez). 

After World War I, the Irish defeated the British in the Anglo-Irish War in 1921 (despite a lack of ammo), becoming the first British colony to become independent.  (The Afghans also defeated the British in the Third Anglo-Afghan War in 1919 before the Irish did, gaining full control over their own affairs in the Treaty of Rawalpindi-- but Afghanistan was never a British colony, it was just a region where the Russians and British were vying for control over trade and alliances and interfering in Afghanistan's foreign policy.)  The Iraqis rebelled and forced out the British by 1930.  Australia more or less took on an independent entity in part because of the bitter memory of the Gallipoli campaign-- I realize that people still argue vigorously over whether Churchill or other British politicians/officers were culpable for Gallipoli (and the British in fact had more casualties at Gallipoli than the Australians did), but what matters is that Australian perception as an independent polity was heavily molded after 1917, which helped to impel Australia to go its own way.  (It had been self-governing since 1901, though.)

On top of these early decolonizations, Britain was smashed at Singapore in 1942 by the Japanese, which permanently broke the perception of Western superiority over non-Western powers (even though this had happened before-- e.g. Italy in Ethiopia, the French in Mexico Battle of Puebla, the British defeats in Afghanistan in 1840's and 1880's, Liniers in 1806, and against Muhammad Ali in 1807 Alexandria Expedition).  The UK also took part in other conflicts (such as the failed intervention for the White forces in the Russian Civil War, and brief expeditions in Indonesia and Vietnam in 1945 to prop up the Dutch and French there-- which were also unsuccessful) that, on top of the World Wars and the post-WWI wars of decolonization, killed off an entire generation (their cream of the crop) and drained away British resources. 

The irony is that the British were probably the one big power that could have stayed out of WWI or just been a "side combatant," or at least taken an early armistice-- they weren't targeted by either side, and Wilhelm II, for all his blustering, was no Napoleon on the Continent-- and if they'd done that, the British Empire would probably still be intact today.  The British desperately wanted to hold onto the empire even after the bloodying of the World Wars-- Churchill himself was vociferous about this-- and in any case, Gandhi and others like him had many predecessors, violent or not, who tried to oust the British.  (Read about the British reprisals in India after the 1857 rebellion, to get a taste of what they did to Indians who revolved-- and even those who didn't.  And yes, I'm part-British-- gotta accept the good and the bad, just like for the other countries involved in the colonial business.)  The mindset of people back then was very different from today-- imperialism had its own logic to justify it, and it could be portrayed as a "humane empire," a "necessary evil," an "essential administration"-- and people like Gandhi would just be dismissed, or worse depending on how dangerous they were perceived.  But the British were too devastated economically, militarily, socially, demographically and just in terms of their morale to continue to hold an empire. 

Gandhi was a brilliant person and of my personal heroes, and I hope his examples continues to inspire future generations.  But as far as his influence-- decolonization was already occurring, mostly for other reasons.  Gandhi came about at the right time.

For the same reasons, I wouldn't put FDR anywhere near so high.  He's one of the major figures of the 20th century no doubt, but I feel like this is making the classic error of putting too much emphasis on recent events-- what will historians 5 centuries from now think about Roosevelt?  He was a skilled and capable leader, and he more than anyone else forged the political and economic system that the USA still has today, while helping to establish many important post-WWII institutions.  But in the same league as people like Constantine, Alexander, Asoka and others who founded entire civilizations, or who began social/religious movements that stretch across much of the world? 

Even as far as American Presidents go, I'd put George Washington and Thomas Jefferson way above FDR.  Washington was more or less the founder of the USA-- not only defeating the British on the battlefield, but presiding over the Constitutional Convention and setting the standard for the Presidency and US leadership in general.  Washington was more or less the chief executive who got the current chief global superpower off the ground in the first place.  Jefferson was the chief intellectual figure involved in crafting basic American standards of government (not just in the Bill of Rights and Declaration of Independence, but also in the Kentucky/Virginia Resolutions, separation of Church and State), and as President, Jefferson doubled American territory with the Louisiana Purchase and the Lewis and Clark expeditions, which would culminate in the further expansion under James K. Polk-- Oregon, war with Mexico.  (Jefferson may have been somewhat of a hypocrite on slavery, but even here, his views and actions were complex-- times were very different then, and if anything, Jefferson was much more disapproving of the institution than his contemporaries.)

So while FDR was a key figure for 20th-century history, he didn't have the foundational impact of Jefferson or especially Washington, and he's nowhere near the same league as pivotal ancient figures-- like Augustus, Muhammad, Constantine, Asoka or Qin Shi Huangdi, who founded durable and powerful institutions that are still fundamental to many nations and cultures, across the world, today.  I'd suspect that 1,000 years from now, historians will still be very much focusing on Augustus, Muhammad and the others (including Washington and Jefferson, whose institutions transcend the USA itself), but I doubt FDR would be in the same circle.  Still an important figure, just not at the same level.

As for the others on my Top 10 list:
Umar (Omar) Ibn al-Khattab was the caliph after Muhammad, who was instrumental as a military and political leader in expanding the Islamic world into the Byzantine and Persian Empires, and beyond.  Umar's conquests were among the few that have had a durable and more-or-less permanent impact both culturally and administratively, and radically changed the course of history.  Remember that the Persians and Byzantines were really the military powers of their time, and in defeating them both, Umar was able to spread the Muslim faith (as well as the Arabic language and cultural customs to varying extents) not only in their territories, but eventually into North Africa and South Asia (where it had a Persian flavor to it).  If it hadn't been for Umar, Islam would probably be just a small minority religion in a section of the Arab world today.

William the Conqueror is also up there as one of those "changed the course of history" guys, mainly for the administration he instituted.  William was the first to introduce what became the bureaucratic state system in northwest Europe, which would be the basis for subsequent imperial expansion.  He introduced this first into Normandy, then brought England within the same administrative sphere-- things like the Oath of Salisbury, the Domesday Book, the Norman ecclesiastical revisions, even the castles and architecture of England, all flowed from William's reforms at his work to generate a centralized bureaucracy.  Culturally, William also had an impact on England, although I think this is sometimes overstated.  French culture was more or less predominant throughout Europe then and for many centuries afterward (it's why French has been a global lingua franca for many centuries), and French cultural practices and French vocabulary also entered Dutch, German, even Danish, Swedish and other Germanic civilizations, even though they never suffered a Norman Conquest (though some of them also experienced varying degrees of French occupation).  Still, the political unification of England with Normandy/Anjou made the cultural impact more deep-rooted.

I put William in the Top 10 b/c his impact was truly multinational.  Most people would hesitate to put any European king into the Top 10, since strictly national figures really can't compare in influence with the international, global impact of ancient figures like Augustus or Muhammad (or innovators like Washington and Jefferson, whose institutions have already had such a major global impact).  Also, as I guess Britain's power and influence decline (and possibly the USA as well in coming years), many people like to knock William down a few more notches.  Still, William wasn't just a key figure for England.  His bureaucratic state was at the heart of northwest Europe, and it spread into France (after Normandy got conquered by France in the 1200's), and was also imitated by authorities in other Norman kingdoms and even outside of them.  William IOW was a key figure in what would later become European imperial expansion.

Finally, Asoka: He was a skilled conqueror, and under him India reached its greatest territorial extent.  But he was also the figure chiefly responsible for spreading Buddhism.  And he was a skillful and surprisingly humane administrator, especially given his time-- many durable institutions in South Asia are a result of Asoka, who's a world figure both for his administrative accomplishments and for his importance in spreading Buddhism internationally. 

Napoleon and Julius Caesar are obviously still important.  (Despite his defeat at Waterloo, the impact of Napoleon's institutions are still in Europe.  Julius Caesar, in conquering Gaul and introducing a new power center into Rome, obviously had a major impact.)  And they're still up there, just not quite at the same level as people like Augustus, Muhammad or Qin Shi Huangdi.  I'd suspect, if Napoleon hadn't lost at Leipzig and Waterloo, and if he hadn't sold off the Louisiana Territory (both of which prevented him from fostering truly lasting institutions globally), he'd easily be in the Top 5.  Peter the Great is still a towering foundational figure and Russia still an important nation-- again, he just doesn't have quite the same international influence as the others on the list.  Same with Otto von Bismarck.  If Germany becomes something like an EU leader, and a political/administrative/cultural center (it already is the economic center, more or less) in Europe in the 21st century, then Bismarck will have been the crucial facilitator.  (Maybe some recognition, too, of Frederick the Great and that Emperor Otto guy in the medieval period who consolidated power-- though they had nowhere near the impact of Bismarck, who was the one who finally unified Germany after almost 1,500 years of fragmentation among the German principalities.)  If Brazil becomes a big power, João II (began the actual settlement and imperial expansion of Portugal-- the first to actually found a European colony outside of Europe, in fact) would require the same consideration.

It's interesting that Bismarck's case, in particular, shows how important it is for strong leaders to have good successors so as to have a big influence.  Bismarck was supremely unlucky to have fools like Kaiser Wilhelm II (let alone the Nazi thugs after him) as his successors.  But Adenauer, Brandt, Kohl and the others in the past 60 years have been pretty good, and if anything it's surprising Germany's done as well as it has in the past few decades.  So who knows.  Bismarck, maybe Peter the Great and João II might be moving up in the list, depending on how well Germany, Russia and Brazil do in the coming years.


Edited by Sintergeorge - 06-Dec-2008 at 22:50
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  Quote Sintergeorge Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07-Dec-2008 at 01:14
I'm part-British, so as far as national leaders go this (and the USA one) are maybe the only ones I'm much interested in:

Originally posted by DSMyers1

Here's my attempt at

British/English/Saxon Leaders

1. Queen Elizabeth I
2. King Alfred the Great
3. Robert Clive
4. William Pitt the elder
5. Winston Churchill
6. Sir Francis Drake
7. John Churchill, Duke of Marlborough
8. Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington 
9. Oliver Cromwell 
10. Edward III

Again, this is comparing the trajectory of the nation before to after.

I'm not British, so make sure and have your own list of the top 10 leaders of the British.


That's very interesting.  A pretty good list IMHO and I'd probably agree with most choices-- with a couple very big exceptions.  First of all, here's my list FWIW:

1. William the Conqueror (yeah, I know, technically not British but he had a bigger impact than anyone else)
2. King Alfred the Great
3. William Pitt the Elder
4. Oliver Cromwell
5. Robert Clive
6. King Henry VII
7. King Henry V
8. King Henry II
9. Queen Elizabeth I
10. Sir Winston Churchill
(Some caveats-- figures like Lord Nelson, Wellington, Drake I considered to be more military than political figures so I didn't consider them for this list.  Also, some figures such as Sir Isaac Newton-- who actually had some political leadership, as an important Parliamentary member and an instrumental figure in the Glorious Revolution-- were more influential than all 10 of the above, but I didn't consider them since their main influence was for other reasons.)

If you take these caveats in mind, my list is actually pretty close to yours overall-- except at the top.  I was a little surprised to see QEI at the top of your list-- they do these rankings on British radio and newspaper periodically, and QEI is never that high.

Personally, I'm a big fan of Queen Elizabeth I and she's one of my favorite historical figures (I'm a Renaissance Faire geek, I'll happily admit it here.)  It's just that as far as influence, Elizabeth didn't really have that much, certainly not compared to other rulers-- especially as far as innovations and durable institutions go.

As far as what became the British Empire, Elizabeth I basically didn't contribute much to that at all (in its expansion or its founding).  The first permanent English settlements started during the Stuart period (in 1607, with the Jamestown settlement under James I) and from there grew at a glacial pace in North America.  It really wasn't until British victory in the Seven Years' War against France in 1763 (and even more so after Napoleon's defeat), that anything resembling the powerful British Empire that we recognize of the 1800's, comes into focus.  Granted, Elizabeth did make settlement attempts with the Roanoke Colony and Gilbert's expedition to Newfoundland, but these both failed.  They did contribute something as far as exploration goes-- the problem is, Elizabeth's grandfather (King Henry VII) had already gotten that started with the John Cabot expedition in 1497, which explored Newfoundland and Labrador, made the first English land claim overseas and started an intermittent fishing settlement there (for cod).  As far as colonization goes, it really wasn't until 1607 that much of anything happened to build on that foundation-- despite the fact that Elizabeth was in power for over 40 years.

As for why not much happened during that intervening period, this gets to the second point of why Elizabeth probably shouldn't be ranked so high in terms of influence. 

People often mention the Spanish Armada's defeat-- the problem is, the Armada was just a battle, not a war, and in fact it was one of the early battles (and not a decisive one) in a really long war that lasted until 1604, which Spain basically won, not England.  There were more than a half-dozen naval battles in the Spain-England war of the late 16th century, and Spain won nearly all of those naval battles after the Armada (plus most of the land battles too)-- the Azores (X2), the Drake expedition to Panama (both Drake and Hawkins were killed, in fact that's one of the biggest naval disasters ever in English/British history), the Drake-led invasion of Portugal in 1589.  The Spaniards even successfully invaded western England in 1595 IIRC, some Spanish commander (Amesquito? Amesquita? can't quite recall the spelling) landed and burned down much of the region around Penzance, stole some supplies and then took off.  That has hasn't happened very often since 1066.  Plus, Spain basically shut down all the privateers after about 1591 or so (the famous fanned convoy of the galleons), and Spain boosted their gold/silver shipments after the Armada about three-fold, while increasing their stranglehold over the Atlantic sailing lanes.  (Spain IOW basically accomplished most of its war aims, even though the Netherlands did continue to slip free.  The Spaniards weren't trying to conquer England with the Armada-- heck, they couldn't even control Holland, where they had a land connection and a big army already in place, plus legal backing from dynastic law and support of other Hapsburgs.  They chiefly wanted the English out of the Spanish colonies, to stop the privateering and especially out of the Netherlands.  For the most part, Spain succeeded on these.)

That's actually why Elizabeth wasn't involved in founding the first permanent English settlements, and why Roanoke in particular failed (the Roanoke colonists were starved of crucial supplies)-- the English were defeated pretty severely in that Spain-England War and just lacked the naval power to sustain settlements while Spain controlled the seas.  (Spain maintained that control until the 30 Years' War-- the Dutch broke Spanish sea power, not the English, at the Downs Battle, while the French demolished Spanish land power at Rocroi.) 

It wasn't just England's defeat in that Spain-England War though-- it was Elizabeth who lost England's last territorial claim on the Continent (at Calais) in 1563-1564 when French troops defeated the English.  Plus, Elizabeth's policy in Ireland was a fiasco-- it angered the Irish so much that they launched the Hugh O'Neill rebellion in 1594 that lasted for over nine years, devastated the Irish countryside when Mountjoy went scorched-earth (proportionally more Irish died in the 1590's famine than the potato famine), and utterly bankrupted the English treasury, which is how Ireland became the "sink of the English treasury."  (Elizabeth's debt when James I took the throne in 1603 was even worse than Mary I had, plus the English crown had sold off much of its collateral-- a big reason for Charles I's troubles later.)

On the plus side I guess, Elizabeth was a patron of the arts of course-- though I'm cautious about ascribing "influence" to a leader simply because they had great artists, writers, musicians and so forth in their reign, unless they did something fundamental to enable it (such as bringing about a hard-won peace, or an economic transformation allowing for the arts to flourish).  Bacon, Shakespeare, Marlowe were undoubtedly impressive-- but how much did Elizabeth have to do with this?  It was Henry VII, Elizabeth's grandfather, who brought unity and stability (not to mention fiscal solvency, the only Tudor to do that) to the English crown.  And Henry VIII had begun the tradition of English monarchs both patronizing the arts (and getting results) while participating in them themselves.  Spain was having its own period of literary brilliance at the same time (with Cervantes in particular), but Philip III isn't generally credited for this, and rightfully so IMHO.  Same with the rulers of the various German or Austrian states when Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, Schubert, Brahms, Goethe, Schiller and the others were doing their thing.  Same for France and Pasteur.  Even though the English playwrights were writing during the "Elizabethan period," I'm just as skeptical about assigning influence for that as I'd be about giving James I credit for the accomplishments of Jacobin authors and musicians, or Victoria credit for the Victorian authors.

Elizabeth did do a lot to buttress the English navy (with John Hawkins as the shipbuilder in charge), but once again-- she wasn't foundational in this, her father Henry VIII was.  It was Henry VIII who began the technological innovations and the long-range guns (not to mention the sheer number of warships) that made him "the father of the Royal Navy."  (Even before Henry VIII, Henry VII had made some important improvements, while beginning the merchant marine, but Henry VIII was the key innovator here.)

The one area where Elizabeth really was important, was in instituting the Anglican reforms (with something like a compromise between the Protestants and the Catholics) that held the Church of England together.  This is why I've still ranked Elizabeth I #9 on here-- even though she didn't begin these reforms, she did a good job of making sure the country didn't fall too much into radicalism on the religious issue, and this probably helped to protect England from becoming enmeshed in religious wars as France did.

Again, I have to emphasize that I personally find Elizabeth to be a fascinating and attractive historical figure in many ways-- it's just as far as influence on her part, I don't really see it. 

The truth is, when you take a cold and analytical look at the record, Queen Elizabeth I was probably one of England's least successful military leaders.  She lost Calais (and English Continental possessions) permanently.  England under her was basically defeated by Spain, and this has had a tremendous historical impact-- since Spain consolidated its sea power and naval strength in the Atlantic, the Spaniards were able to rapidly advance their colonization and more or less keep the English out.  (That's why it was another 150 years, in 1763, before the English really became much of a big naval power and were able to ramp up their own colonization.)  The whole map of the Western Hemisphere is the way it is today because the English couldn't break Spanish sea power in the late 1500's, even though they came tantalizingly close-- if Drake had just done a couple things differently in that invasion of Portugal (and gotten artillery support, which Elizabeth was withholding due to concerns about expenses), and/or been more successful in Panama (a disastrous intelligence failure on the part of the Elizabethan government), then the Spanish would have suffered a severe loss in naval power.  But Latin America grew so large basically because Spain prevailed there.  (Heck, the Spaniards went all the way up into what's now the US Southwest-- California, Texas, Arizona et al. were never within the British Empire, the USA acquired them in the Mexican War, long after the United States had become independent and that's in part why they still have such a Latin cultural flavor today.)

There was nothing at all that made "Latin America" inevitable, and England seriously coveted the rich lands in the Americas that Spain was administering and colonizing.  In fact, England/Britain made several more attempts to conquer them, for example the British invasion under Beresford/Auchmuty/Whitelocke to conquer the heart of Spanish South America in 1806-1807 and colonize them (defeated by Pueyreddin and Liniers), as well as British attempts to seize Spanish Caribbean possessions.  (Mostly unsuccessful, except for Jamaica, which did become British under Cromwell's rule.)  What's now South America and Latin America in general could easily have become part of the English/British Empire.  But Britain was totally unsuccessful in this, and it's largely because Elizabeth's navies, truthfully, performed quite poorly against Spain from 1589 onwards.

In other realms, Elizabeth really wasn't much of an innovator-- and not just in the lack of colonization, but also in terms of the governmental and social institutions of the English state, despite being in power for almost 45 years.  (IIRC Hart made the same point.)  So much as I love Renaissance Faires and Elizabethan pageants, I just don't see any way to rank her higher than around #9 in terms of influence.

The rest of the list, I'll just go through quickly since I've focused so much on the top:

1. William the Conqueror-- gave the reasons in my previous post
2. Alfred the Great-- agree with you totally on ranking him highly: The first leader under whom the fractious and dispersed Germanic tribes in Britain unified within something like a nation.  Saved England from total conquest and possibly ethnic displacement by Guthrun's forces (a far greater threat than the Normans later on, who were mostly just a few thousand members of the aristocracy).  Personally brought about a massive flourishing in the arts and culture on a par with Charlemagne (one of the few cases when a leader really can be credited as being foundational in stimulating a great period in the arts).  Early naval defenses and fortifications.  To the extent that there's a "founder of England," Alfred's as close as they come.
3. William Pitt the Elder-- titanic influence on modern world, it was he, George II and Frederick the Great who led the Anglo-Prussian alliance into victory during the Seven Years' War, i.e. one of the first true world wars.  It's thanks to Pitt that North America became predominantly a region of British sway rather than the French, and it was he who launched the major explorations of Australia/New Zealand and India, while instituting political authority there.  The closest Britain has to a single "founder of the British Empire," and the figure most responsible (outside of Lord Nelson himself) for Britain's sea power and importance in the subsequent century, and for starting so many other English-speaking countries.
4. Oliver Cromwell-- England took a very different path from absolutist Spain and France largely due to Cromwell, and he was a major factor in building up England's naval power to compete with the Dutch (even though the Netherlands was still the main sea power after defeating the British in the 2nd and 3rd Anglo-Dutch Wars).  Even after the Restoration, Cromwell's institutions limited royal power so that Parliament was an acknowledged "co-ruler" with the king, and eventually superior to royal authority itself.  The closest precedent within England itself (along with the Glorious Revolution in 1688) to the drive to limit royal power which contributed to the American Revolution.
5. Robert Clive-- probably same reason as you have him up there so high, given his seminal role in starting the British Empire in India, and because it wasn't inevitable.  England actually controlled only about half of what's now India even at the Empire's peak.  (The other half was either independent of foreign rule, under Indian princelings, or it was under Portuguese or French control in various enclaves.)  So without Clive, India in the late 18th and 19th centuries could have evolved quite differently.  Clive was an interesting guy also, beset by his own personal demons, but he was remarkably effective as a military figure and an administrator.
6. King Henry VII-- this poor guy always seems to get short shrift, but he was probably the most influential of the Tudors (aside from founding the dynasty itself).  He was the only one to build up and hand off a solvent English treasury, and he started the English merchant marine, the basis for the East India Company and its Russian and other counterparts, so important for spreading English power abroad.  Henry VII began the English naval revitalization (with which his son is most identified), boosted the wool trade-- benefiting from work already done from Richard III, who was a more capable leader than he's often been portrayed-- and he was the one who began the period of English naval exploration and land claims (sponsoring John Cabot and the English claim and fishing settlement in Newfoundland) in 1497.  Henry VII was following in the footsteps of Portugal and Spain, but he was the first person to successfully launch English overseas exploration and settlement, and (until the Jamestown settlement in 1607) the last one as well.
7. King Henry V-- although England ultimately did lose its French possessions, it was under Henry V that England really gelled as a distinct nation, from nobles to commoners, and not just because of Agincourt.  Henry V was the first ruler since William the Conqueror to demand that English be the language of the royal court, of pleadings in law courts and of administration instead of French (and Latin), which had been the case since William the Conqueror in 1066.  He was not only a popular ruler but an able administrator, and the first person since Alfred the Great to really unify England as a nation.
8. King Henry II-- mainly because he introduced the common law, one of the most durable institutions in England and its colonies from 1607.
9. Elizabeth I-- helping to stabilize England with the Anglican reforms and avoid religious warfare as was plaguing France.
10. Winston Churchill-- sorta like FDR, a central figure of the 20th century who nonetheless, I suspect, won't be that pivotal a figure a century from now.  Churchill's military record is actually mixed-- he was the one chiefly responsible for the Gallipoli fiasco and the draining guerrilla war by Iraqi rebels against British forces in Iraq in the early 1920's (the United Kingdom was soon expelled), and of course the disaster of Singapore permanently damaged British prestige and administrative authority in SE Asia, which could never be re-established.  Churchill was actually an intense British imperialist who wanted to retain the British Empire-- he bitterly opposed the dissolution that Attlee and others undertook after 1945.  Also, Russia (as well as China in the East) was the member of the Allies that did the most fighting in the war.  Still, Churchill was an important war leader and participated with FDR in helping to establish seminal postwar institutions.  A lesser-known aspect of his influence: Churchill was the chief instigator for the removal of Muhammad Mossadekh (the democratically-elected leader of Iran) in 1953-1954, since he was worried that Mossadekh might nationalize Iranian oil supplies and deprive the British of billions.  (John Foster Dulles carried out Churchill's intentions here.)  Iran was actually on its way to being a more-or-less democratic state-- Churchill's decision to oust him was, therefore, the fundamental factor in the Iranian Revolution, and many of our current troubles in the Middle East.

Finally-- ah, what the heck, I'll quickly put my Top 10 French leaders here too.  I'm on shakier ground in terms of historical background here, so curious about folks' comments.

1. Napoleon
2. Charles Martel (oh, my, to think of how history would have changed...)
3. Clovis (he was the founder of the Frankish kingdom itself, and the reason that it-- and Europe in general-- became Catholic rather than Arian Christian up until Martin Luther's 95 Theses.  Like Martel, a major figure in Europe, not just in France.)
4. Charlemagne
5. King Louis XIV
6. Joan of Arc (the English were basically in control and the French demoralized-- I don't see the English getting ousted, and their Burgundian allies subdued, without Joan's courage and leadership)
7. King Philip Augustus (Philippe Auguste-- conquered Normandy and Anjou from King John, created the French state we more or less recognize today)
8. Catherine de Medici (she was the regent during the formative mid-16th century for France and its painful religious transitions, also a major figure in instigating the French period of exploration)
9. Napoleon III (responsible for modernizing and industrializing France with the French rail and building projects, first President of the French Republic, major imperial forays into North Africa)
10. Charles de Gaulle (more or less the father of the modern French republic, took France out of NATO)


Edited by Sintergeorge - 07-Dec-2008 at 08:20
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  Quote DSMyers1 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Dec-2008 at 01:29
Wonderful information, Sintergeorge, and I will get into it in more depth later.  For the moment, though, I wanted to give you my updated top 10s (overall, British, and French).  I have switched to a numerical pseudo-quantitative system now, rather than the totally subjective listing you quoted.

Overall Top 10 (not finalized):
Rank Name
1 George Washington
2 Mohammed
3 Augustus Caesar
4 Cyrus the Great
5 Ghengis Khan
6 Zhu Yuanzhang (Hongwu)
7 Salāh ad-Dīn Yūsuf ibn Ayyūb 
8 Chandragupta Maurya
9 Hammurabi
10 King Alfred the Great
(I wanted to remind you that Qin Shi Huangdi was a blood-thirsty tyrant equal to Genghis Khan and the worst of the others).

Top 10 British:
10 King Alfred the Great
12 Queen Elizabeth I
37 Winston Churchill
93 Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington 
119 William III
123 Henry V
126 Horatio Nelson
150 Robert Clive
151 John Churchill, Duke of Marlborough
153 William Pitt the Elder

Top 10 French:
23 Cardinal Richelieu
27 Henri IV
57 Philip Augustus
114 Louis XIV
121 Jean d'Arc
145 Charles V
155 Charles VII 
156 Yolande of Aragon
166 Napoleon Bonaparte
184 Cardinal Mazarin

As you can see, I was more stringent in my definition of British and French.  I also note that my French don't line up with your French at all!  Confused

It is wonderful to have another person who has thought so much about this topic!
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  Quote Bernard Woolley Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11-Dec-2008 at 02:50

Originally posted by Sintergeorge

all of us no matter what our Western country, have drawn heavily from the cultural and administrative legacy of Augustus, Constantine and Alexander.

Sorry, but while your list of leaders is admirably comprehensive, one of these things does not belong here. Alexander’s cultural and administrative legacy is practically non-existent. He did nothing to improve on the social and administrative structure of the Persian Empire, nor did he do anything to ensure the stability of the state he created.

I don’t mean to dump on Alexander, who was certainly one of history’s greatest conquerors. But I find that, because of his status as a romantic hero, he is often made out to have been many things he wasn’t. For instance:

Originally posted by Sintergeorge

Alexander for example, could have gone scorched-earth on the Persian lands (Aristotle himself said the Persians were barbarians), but he came to greatly respect the Persian civilization and even to partially identify himself and his soldiers with the Persian element. That's why the crucial Hellenistic civilization came about.

I’m not sure you can credit Alexander for allowing Persian civilization to continue existing. Cultures always mixed after conquests, this case was not exceptional.

Having defeated the Persian armies, Alexander recognized that the Persian Empire’s infrastructure worked well, so he left it alone. This shouldn’t be surprising, since he had no appropriate system to replace it with anyway. It’s equally unsurprising that Alexander developed an appreciation of Persian culture, seeing as that the wealth and majesty of Persia was what drew him to attack it in the first place.

To suggest that everything that happened to the peoples of the Persian Empire after Alexander’s conquest was because of Alexander is to ignore the fact that he was one in a long series of imperial adventurers in that region, picking up where the Persians had left off and inheriting the benefits of their experience. Basically, you’re falling into the trap of thinking about Alexander’s empire and the successor states only in terms of their relationship to Greek history. The peoples conquered by Alexander weren't passive receptacles waiting for him to tell them how to order their societies going forward.

Originally posted by Sintergeorge

Even as the Near East came under the Greek cultural sway, Persian and other Eastern influences remained strong, which is a big part of why so many of us in the West today are members of a religion founded in the East (Christianity)-- in a region conquered by Alexander and brought into the Hellenic world, thence into the Roman and Byzantine Empires. Alexander was also an explorer, and many pillars of modern civilization got their start because East and West had that great (and largely unparalleled) exchange as Alexander moved his armies and administrators throughout what was then "the civilized world."

All of the above is a very big stretch. Trade between Greek peoples and many of the nations in the Persian Empire predated Alexander, and the greatest flowerings of Hellenism came after his death. As for Christianity, Rome and Byzantium, unless you’re arguing that Alexander worked to foster these things, I’m not sure how you can say they were testaments to his leadership.

I also have to say that your evaluation of Genghis Khan's leadership shows something of a double-standard:

Originally posted by Sintergeorge

But most of what Genghis and his successors did was to take a wrecking ball to other, established and culturally advanced civilizations (like China and Baghdad), who ultimately defeated and mostly assimilated the Mongols culturally by the 13th and 14th centuries. Genghis's influence is limited simply because the Mongols, while militarily strong, left comparatively little in terms of lasting cultural, political and administrative institutions. That's one of the reasons why the only durable Mongol state is a rather small (geographically large but small in population and economy) country in northeastern Asia.

Much the same can be said of Alexander. In my view, Alexander and Genghis Khan were very close equivalents to each other. If anything, the state Genghis created was more stable and longer lasting than Alexander’s, and he was a far more responsible leader. One could also ague that his empire was more influential in world history – particularly through its role in facilitating the transfer of technology between different parts of the world.

Further, while it’s true that the Mongols would gradually be absorbed into the local populations they conquered, the same is very much true of the Macedonians – to paraphrase you, that’s one of the reasons why the only durable Macedonian state is a rather small country in Southeastern Europe.

Originally posted by Sintergeorge

His bureaucratic state was at the heart of northwest Europe, and it spread into France (after Normandy got conquered by France in the 1200's), and was also imitated by authorities in other Norman kingdoms and even outside of them. William IOW was a key figure in what would later become European imperial expansion.

William is the other leader on your list that doesn’t seem to make the cut. You’ll have to explain to me what great reforms William was responsible for, or how it was that he inspired other leaders of his time.

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  Quote Sintergeorge Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-Dec-2008 at 20:34
Bernard: Where Alexander's administrative influence is important, is chiefly in the sheer *fact* that he brought the Near East within the Greek-speaking (and thus Western fold), inaugurating the Hellenistic culture that shaped so much of what we take for granted. 

I agree that he didn't add much on top of Persian administrative structures, and he wasn't an administrative innovator as Augustus or Qin ShiHuangdi were (frankly, he died too soon to introduce anything like that)-- what mattered is that he brought the cultural and religious hotbed of the Near East under the rule of Greek magnates, such as the Seleucids and other successors.  And while Alexander's empire didn't stay united as a single unit, it *did* remain under the Hellenic cultural sway for centuries, evolving into the Eastern Roman Empire and ultimately the Byzantine Empire.  Without Alexander doing that, what became Christianity-- such a fundamental identifying characteristic of the West-- just would have stayed, most likely, as nothing more than a curious and somewhat isolated Eastern cult (perhaps within a still-hegemonic Persian state, or something replacing it in the region).

Also, Alexander's cities (such as Alexandria) became intellectual centers in large part directly due to his patronage.  An awful lot of our modern intellectual heritage (Euclid being the best exponent, perhaps) came directly out of what Alexander was trying to do in his conquered territories, both in establishing a personal legacy and Hellenizing them. 

Moreover, in carrying all those Babylonian and Greek scholars east, Alexander helped to diffuse things like e.g. Babylonian timekeeping that are standard today.  (Somebody wrote a really good article on that that I don't have at the moment, but it points that out in detail.)

So in summary, this is where Alexander's tremendous legacy for the modern world lies.  He was not much of an administrator himself-- he's not an Augustus or a Qin Shi Huangdi, and he didn't add much over and above what the Persians had already established in terms of administration.  What he did do, was to 1. firmly establish that East-West conduit that shaped both East and West (the Hellenistic world) and 2. be so central in establishing ancient intellectual centers-- which we sometimes take for granted in our own technological world today but which, in Alexander's ancient time, were not the sort of thing that rulers necessarily did as a standard procedure. 

The Judeo-Christian cultural impact of today depended crucially on the successor states to Alexander's conquests, and that Near Eastern-Hellenic hybrid that grew up in the Levant at the time (and which, again, was in no way inevitable).  The Babylonian ideas and the way Alexander so firmly ensconced much of their intellectual heritage as far as India (their mathematical and timekeeping systems for example), plus so much of what we consider "classical architecture" throughout the Mediterranean-- Alexander's victories had a world-changing impact on that.  His successors may have been responsible for actually setting up the administration, but it was Alexander who actually established that East-West conduit in the first place.
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  Quote Sintergeorge Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-Dec-2008 at 23:12
Both your list and the discussion you've provided on this are fascinating, DSMyers, and I thank you for helping to promote it like this.  It's a rare chance to actually delve into analytical history rather than just fact-citation, and I find that in discussing this topic with my own friends and students, it's the kind of thing that gets them thinking!  I checked your revised list, and overall, I think it's outstanding-- I'd agree with most of the placements, and even for those in which I'd differ, for the most part the changes wouldn't be too much.

I'll just list a couple of the placements in your list where I really would introduce some major changes.

Just as a quick caveat, to elaborate on my criteria a bit-- I do two things to "semi-objectivize" this process a bit.  The first, is that I have discussions on this with people from other countries and cultures who have a different national background and a different historical perspective.  (And again, we make sure to focus on actual objective influence of a figure, not on how likable or subjectively appealing they are.)  This is valuable, because it helps provide a somewhat quantifiable sense of the true international reach of certain historical figures as opposed to others who are more national (or confined to a particular civilizational subgrouping)-- and thus figures who've had a truly global, as opposed to national or regional, influence.  I've had this kind of discussion with Latin Americans, various Europeans, even South and East Asians to get a broad gauge of this.

In the process, I've found that Muhammad, Augustus Caesar, Constantine the Great and Alexander (and Umar ibn al-Khattab) all rank very, very highly on everybody's list, no matter what the country or culture.  The middle 3, obviously, were fundamental for all of Western civilization, while Muhammad and Umar introduced a crucial cultural force that was in no way inevitable, into one of the major cultural forces of modern society.  George Washington also ranks highly-- even though he was responsible for founding the USA in particular, the revolution in Constitutionalism, which he brought about, is of vast international consequence and changed the world.  Qin Shi Huangdi also ranks very, very highly on everyone's list once folks find out who he is, simply because his achievement in statecraft is unparalleled-- he unified and founded and ancient and now re-emerging modern superpower that has held intact as a continuous political entity for over 2,000 years, assimilating even Mongol and Manchu conquerors.  (Genghis Khan is just somewhat behind, though still high.)  This is more or less consistent with these figures' rankings on other famous lists, such as Michael H. Hart's and the millennium lists that were cropping up around 2000 (including A&E's, which was laughably foolish in its bottom half but had a decent top half-- that part being assembled more by professional historians).

OTOH-- Richelieu, Churchill and especially Queen Elizabeth I rank much, much lower in general, on everyone's list when we do these discussions, which I'll get into a bit more below.  (As I'll explain, my first lists with these figures looked a lot like yours, until people with more expertise on them and their periods gave me a sharp correction!)

The second technique I use is to try to imagine historians doing these evaluations 500 years from now.  This is obviously imperfect, except as a tool to kind of pry us away from being too "blinded" by recent historical events, producing institutions that, in fact, may not be all so durable.  It's one of the reasons why Muhammad, Augustus, Washington, Constantine, Qin Shi Huangdi and others rank so highly-- they were fundamentally innovators who introduced durable institutions, and all except Washington are ancient figures with a powerful international impact in what they innovated, so much so that they're still very relevant today.

Again, just want to emphasize that your list is great overall, well thought-out and in general quite well-informed and thought-provoking, and I could make a good argument for the vast majority of your placements. 

The following would be my suggestions for the few major changes, to help iron out anything that might raise too many eyebrows:

1. Queen Elizabeth I should be moved way, way down-- probably no higher than #90 or so.  I mention this one first because I've personally gotten burned badly on this when trying to draw up these lists in the past myself, and for reasons that I had to learn the hard way, from others pointing out my mistakes and confusions about the late Tudor period.  As I mentioned I'm a Renaissance Faire devotee, and in prior discussions on these historical rankings with people from various countries, I also used to try and argue for putting Elizabeth somewhere high up there as you did.  I got shot down every single time by people more knowledgeable than myself (which wound up damaging the credibility of my entire list), and I eventually realized that 1. I didn't understand the late 16th century nearly as well as I thought I did and 2. I simply could not make a single coherent argument for durable, fundamental institutions that Elizabeth innovated-- or even for her being that successful a ruler. 

As I detailed in the post above, Elizabeth not only did not found the British Empire-- she had almost nothing to do with it, despite 45 years on the throne.  This was what I didn't realize, until an Australian friend of mine-- followed by others-- spelled it out for me in detail: Henry VII planted the first seed of the British Empire with the 1497 Cabot Expeditions, land claims and fishing grounds in Newfoundland.  And then it wasn't until 1607-- during James I's reign, not Elizabeth I's-- that the first permanent English settlement got going at Jamestown, which is the closest we have to a start for the British Empire (and a very slow one at that, since it wasn't until 1763 that things really picked up in this regard).  This was obviously an important institution (certainly in our recent history at least), but Elizabeth herself contributed very little to founding it. 

And the main reason for this fact, is that Elizabeth was overall, spectacularly unsuccessful in a military sense-- in fact, one of the least successful English/British leaders from a purely military standpoint-- which is the second lesson that I learned the hard way, when quite a few people pointed it out to me.  I used to bring up the Spanish Armada and talk about the way Elizabeth had laid the foundations for English and British sea power with the royal navy (or so I had thought), but some people who actually know about this topic (naval experts and otherwise) corrected me to an extent that it was almost embarrassing how badly I messed up the facts. 

I always used to think that Spanish sea power was broken by the Spanish Armada, with England ruling the seas afterward.  Turns out, it was totally the opposite: The Armada in 1588 turned out to be only a temporary setback for Spain, and the Spaniards utterly demolished the English in about a half-dozen naval battles afterward: In the Drake expedition in 1589 to Portugal, the Azores in 1591 and 1597, Amesquita's successful invasion of western English shores in 1595, and especially in the utter demolition by the Spaniards of the Drake-Hawkins expedition to Central America in 1595, among others up to the conclusion of Elizabeth's reign in 1603.  (This last one-- the Drake-Hawkins expedition in 1595, in which both were killed in the endeavor-- was, in fact, probably the worst naval defeat that the English/British ever suffered: you can find pretty good Web and published references on the Anglo-Spanish War of 1585-1604 for more detail.)

So as it turns out, England was badly weakened and damaged as Spain got the upper hand in the war in the 1590's, Spain essentially ended the privateers attacking the Spanish fleets, and the Spaniards in fact increased their silver/gold shipments tremendously-- by 3-4 fold-- while consolidating and extending their New World Empire.  And Spain had a chokehold on the Atlantic ocean that more or less bottled up the English, which is specifically *why* Elizabeth was unable to start what would become the British Empire-- England had been far too battered navally by Spanish successes, and Spain would control the seas for another 50 years, until the Dutch crushed them at the Downs around 1640 (while the French took them down in land battles).  In fact, it was only because James I made peace with Spain in 1604-- and pretty much accepted Spanish demands-- that James was able to start the Jamestown colony at all in 1607.  (As far as founding the Royal Navy itself, Henry VIII got that rolling-- and as far as what QEI added to it, again, ultimately the navy's performance was quite poor against Spain, losing almost every battle after 1588.)

On top of this, again in part because the war against Spain became so disastrous for Elizabeth in the 1590's, the English treasury sank deeply into debt, plus the crown sold off most of its collateral, which weakened the throne in the years hence.  And all of this had occurred in the context of QEI losing English possessions in France permanently, and getting stuck in a nearly decade-long and disastrous quagmire in Ireland, "the sink of the English treasury," which continued until James I took the throne.

IOW, when you tally things up, not only did Elizabeth not start the British Empire, fail with colonization and thus fail to lay down durable international institutions-- Elizabethan England was actually a wreck by the conclusion of her reign, with its navy devastated, Spain consolidating its chokehold on the Atlantic, *and* deeply in debt with the crown's collateral severely depleted.  IOW a mixed record at best, and certainly not an influential one.  Interestingly, in my experience with this discussion, it's mostly historians from Britain, Australia and Canada who've been insistent on pointing this out (they all rank Elizabeth much, much lower on lists of England/Britain alone), while history-minded folks from other countries just don't consider Elizabeth on the level of other modern European figures as Napoleon or Queen Isabella (who's around #50 in the list I ultimately drew up after corrections-- Isabella, despite the not-so-positive impact of the Spanish Inquisition on world history, was more militarily successful and actually did succeed in founding an overseas empire while laying down permanent international institutions, which Elizabeth was unable to do). 

Hart actually ranked Elizabeth at around #96 for these sorts of reasons, and most lists (of world history and British-specific history) tend to do the same. 

So I'd suggest that Queen Elizabeth I is maybe one of the rankings to revise the most substantially downward on your list, if for no other reason than the current placement brings the whole list into question-- as it did for me in the past, when I used to do draw up these lists, (initially) rank QEI highly, then have the credibility of the entire list jeopardized (not to mention my own basic historical knowledge called into question) when others laid out the above facts for me in detail.

2. Alfred the Great at #10, one can definitely make a good case for, and IMHO that's an inspired choice.  (Probably William the Conqueror in a similar ballpark-- both he and Alfred were more or less influential in establishing what became the state system in northwestern Europe.)  As for Churchill-- I put him a little higher than Elizabeth, but not in the #30-40 range (probably #60-70).  This is partly out of caution at ranking recent historical figures too highly, but also because I've also been shot down in my attempts to put him high up there, if not quite as embarrassingly as I've been burned with an unjustifiably high QEI ranking.  Churchill was a pivotal 20th century figure of course-- but WWII was an extremely complex matter, and it's hard to know how it's going to be regarded a century from now.  (While it was the biggest war in terms of scale, it wasn't like e.g. Cortes' conquest of the Aztecs, the Qin unification, or the American Revolution-- which created entirely new nations and cultural spheres, though the postwar institutions are certainly important.)  Also, as far as roles played in WWII, Russians will always give you grief if you put Churchill up so high there-- plus there's Churchill's disastrous failure in Gallipoli that Australians always gave me grief about (and certainly doesn't say much for his influence).

Furthermore-- Britain emerged in pretty terrible shape after WWII as well, since the British saw their own empire collapse and their power stripped away (and sometimes violently-- British colonies in Cyprus, Kenya, Palestine, Aden and the Suez all collapsed in the wake of violent insurrections against British rule, more like the French in Algeria and quite unlike the case in India, not to mention the ongoing bloodshed in N. Ireland).  Churchill very much wanted to maintain the Empire even well into and after WWII, so that particular turn of events, which destroyed the British Empire, was if anything the opposite of the influence Churchill was trying to have on the world.  So overall, I still think Churchill will stay an important figure a century from now, just not in the league of the really fundamental (and usually ancient) institution-builders.  And as far as British figures, I'd certainly put both Henry VII and William Pitt the Elder above him without hesitation.  Henry VII started English exploration and the merchant marine, while giving England the solvent treasury that enabled it to become a seafaring power (and to initiate its own literary Renaissance) in the first place.  William Pitt is the closest Britain has to the founder of the British Empire-- it was his leadership and British victory over France in the Seven Years' War that enabled Britain to become a truly global power.

(Just as an unrelated aside, it's not only Russians and Aussies who gave me grief about Churchill, in their cases mostly on the "amount of influence" front-- I've had Indian history buffs come close to strangling me for praising Churchill for quite different reasons.  I honestly know very little about this particular part of history, but for at least many Indians, they hate Churchill as much as Poles hate Uncle Joe Stalin-- Churchill apparently despised the Indian people, or so a couple old colleagues related to me, and they hold him responsible for a deadly famine in India during the 1940's.  I know about the "Lytton famines" in the late 1800's, far less about the 1940's one, so I tend to shy away from arguing with them.) 

3. Replace Genghis and Zhu with Qin ShiHuangdi at the #5 or 6 spot.  I'd still place both of them highly (maybe in the #12-18 range or so), but not at ShiHuangdi's level in the Top 10.  This is pretty much borne out by every conversation with Chinese and Asian historians I've had, as well as some Western historians who are more into Asian history.  The Asians in particular, place Confucius in the Top 5. (We're naturally not considering him because he was mostly a philosopher, but in Asia in particular, they also give him the "leadership" label from his administrative duties, which did inform his philosophy).  Aside from Confucius though, it's definitely Qin Shi Huangdi as far as influence, even though he's not necessarily popular among them.  I agree that Shi Huangdi was quite bloodthirsty and definitely had a repressive streak to put it mildly, if not quite on the same scale as Genghis (who wiped out entire societies, as in Merv and Nishapur). 

However, while Shi Huangdi's campaigns were very bloody, his primary interest was in creating a unified empire (and the nucleus of a nation), which he succeeded in by dint of his administrative skills following his military operations.  Again, his administrative accomplishment is unparalleled in world history-- by unifying the currency, script, weights and measures, roads, and administrative bureaucracy of the East Asian plain like that, he effectively created China as a nation, and his administrative innovations have largely endured to the present day in the state he founded.  Even the successor dynasties-- who by their nature criticized their predecessors like the Qin-- adopted Shi Huangdi's innovations and used them because they were so useful in unifying the nation.  Thus, while Rome fell apart as a unified political entity, the unified Chinese nation that Qin Shi Huangdi founded, has endured some incredible tests for over 2,000 years.

It's notable in fact, when comparing Qin Shi Huangdi and Genghis, that ultimately Genghis Khan's Mongol Empire not only collapsed a century after it had been initiated-- Mongol power was essentially pushed back to a small region in the nomadic steppes (corresponding more or less to Mongolia today), and the Mongol conquerors were overthrown and ultimately absorbed into the Chinese state that Qin Shi Huangdi had initiated, rather than the other way around.  Whereas Qin Shi Huangdi's institutions in China were ultimately so durable (both administratively and culturally), Genghis left much less behind in terms of durable institutions.  Genghis still ranks highly simply because he was more or less the engine for so many Eurasian developments later (transmitting much Chinese technology to the West, the safe roads that Marco Polo traveled on to Cathay, the Golden Horde and Il-Khanates, the Mughals themselves), but Qin Shi Huangdi-- who after all, for his time, was also an extraordinary conqueror in his own right-- innovated far more in the way of effective administrative structures and durable institutions.

IIRC Hart and most other list-compilers have focused on that aspect too, and given that essentially unparalleled achievement-- really a historical phenomenon, considering how well Shi Huangdi's institutions have endured-- it just seems that Shi Huangdi should be high up in the Top 10 on any list.  Again, most Chinese I've talked to don't necessarily like him, because he was repressive and more or less a megalomaniac-- but he was a genius of administration, and it's in large part because of him that China has remained a unified power like this for centuries, rather than falling apart and squabbling as the Western countries did.

4. Replace Salāh ad-Dīn Yūsuf ibn Ayyūb with Umar Ibn al-Khattab-- this isn't one I came up with on my own, it was purely on the advice of some specialists in Muslim and Arab history, both Muslim and non-Muslim, who suggested this revision for my own list.  Saladin is still an important and crucial force in world history, and as with Genghis and Zhu above, he probably wouldn't move too much (maybe down to #15 at most).  Saladin is indeed a pivotal figure in ensuring that the Middle East has the character it does today, as well as for a lesser-known (but also very important) contribution in unifying most of the Muslim lands under a coherent Sunni banner, and fighting some apostasies at the time (different from the Sunni-Shiite rift).

But while Saladin was crucial for preserving and re-establishing Muslim rule in the region, Umar was (after Muhammad himself) chiefly responsible for instituting it in the first place.  He was the political and military leader who managed to conquer both the Byzantine and Persian domains, establishing the core of what we know as "the Muslim world" today.  So Umar is one of those critical "if not for him, history would have been extremely different" types of historical figures.  The Arab Islamic state when Umar took power was tiny, and a cultural backwater compared to the Byzantines and Persians-- and if Umar had been defeated (which history suggests was the most likely outcome for a small and untested power, as was the case for the Mecca-Medina state that Muhammad had founded), then Islam would have been largely squelched, as perhaps a little southern Arab faith, modeled on Judeo-Christian lines, but little in the way of regional (let alone global) impact.  So as the specialists told me when I was drawing up this kind of list myself, Saladin was an outstanding and pivotal figure for the faith, but Umar was pivotal for helping to establish it in the first place.

5. I'd probably have Emperor Constantine somewhere in the Top 10-- the fact that he prevailed against his rivals, and effectively established Christianity as the state religion of the Roman Empire (even if inadvertently in some ways), and its major tenets at the Nicaea Council: Just of massive and almost incomparable importance.  Prior to Constantine, Christianity had been spreading throughout the Roman Empire, but it was still a small minority religion overall, and largely disdained as an "Eastern mystery cult" especially by the upper classes.  By Constantine's time, central Roman authority is weakening, and if Constantine is defeated (or doesn't re-restablish a strong authority with the Christian faith as a central element), then the entirety of Western Civilization looks radically different today.  Rome soon falls apart, and we probably wouldn't be Christian-- there wouldn't be anything like "Christendom," no papacy and thus no Protestant Reformation later on (since there's no unified Catholic Church to rebel against in the first place).  Even though there still might be "Christianity," it wouldn't be so firmly identified with the West-- which sprang from the ruins of Rome after 476.  Plus, without Constantine, no fortified Constantinople like that, which effectively protected the West for many centuries against invasion, and served as a storehouse for consolidating the Greek-speaking intellectual heritage from many centuries before (thenceforth transmitted to the West after 1453). 

6. Finally-- not sure where I'd put Asoka, though I'd be inclined to place him somewhere in the range of Chandragupta Maurya.  He was sort of like Constantine in ensuring the spread of Buddhism (which, again, would have probably just languished as a mystery cult otherwise), and he did help to stitch together India at its biggest extent, while introducing a novel code of laws for the country.  Among Indians, he's if anything even more venerated than Gandhi is (his wheel is on the Indian flag).  Still, I think you can make a good case for putting Chandragupta Maurya very high up there as you do, since he was probably more foundational in establishing a centralized, unified Indian state than Asoka was.

Anyway, as I said, great list overall.  These would just be my suggestions for the small number of major changes-- especially for Queen Elizabeth I (and for Qin Shi Huangdi and Umar ibn al-Khattab), which would definitely raise a lot of skeptical eyebrows.  (Something that I myself have direct and unpleasant experience with.)
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  Quote DSMyers1 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23-Dec-2008 at 12:30
Excellent work, Sintergeorge!

I agree about Elizabeth I, sort of.  She presided over the era that laid the foundation for the later power of the English, but she was not the one who created that greatness.  Rather, it seems to have been her laissez-faire approach to governance in general that allowed this socio-economic foundation to be laid.  So what did she do better than others?  Simply created a stable and relatively free society that allowed people to take advantage of their talents.  Was this on purpose?  I would say no....  She was simply very parsimonious and had other characteristics, personally, that created this climate.  I agree; I will reevaluate the numerical factors I have assigned to Elizabeth I.

I absolutely disagree with William the Conqueror being placed highly.  In my opinion, he was the catalyst of the restructuring of the British society, but by no means was he a great leader because of this.  Rather, it was something of an unintended consequence of the great trials into which he brought the British people.  The British society was already emerging before his attack...  I don't think he can be granted many accolades from being the greedy and skillful general who happened to put the British through the right trial at the right time to shape their national character...

Again, we differ on the Chinese.  Truly, that is not my area of expertise, but nevertheless I disagree with Shi Huang Di moving up very high.  In my opinion, that would be like moving Hitler up high had the Nazis won WWII.  Right place, right time, right force of character--but he simply took advantage of the situation and brutally enforced his will.  I think the Chinese did not stay united because of him at all, but rather because of the skill of the Han emperors--without Liú Bāng bang, I think it would have come crashing right back down.  Liú Bāng had to totally rework Shi Huang Di's Legalist governmental philosophy since it simply didn't work!  Remember, Shi Huang Di only ruled united China for 12 years, and it came apart quickly afterwards.  I think it is the fault of Western Scholars to look on China as a united entity to the extent they do---For a long time, it was no means united or homogenous...  It was simply a case of geopolitics, of the geography of the river valleys, the dominance of the Han ethnicity, and the particular philosophical bent of the Han that allowed the unification to remain--I think you cannot chalk it up to Shi Huang Di.  (In fact, I think whoever ruled the Qin at that moment was going to pull off the unification, unless they were total idiots.)

I have struggled somewhat with my rankings of the Arabs; here they are:
Rank Name Born Died Country Before After Duration High Pt Impact Opposition Good/Bad Rating
2 Mohammed 570 632 Arabs 0 4 5 4 5 2 2 41.45
53 Ali ibn Abu Talib  599 661 Arabs 0 5 5 5 2 4 2 22.65
117 Abū Bakr  572 634 Arabs 1 5 5 5 2 4 2 18.87
125 Umar 581 644 Arabs 3 5 5 5 3 4 2 17.96
139 Khālid ibn al-Walīd 592 642 Arabs 1 5 4 5 2 4 2 17.49
157 Amr ibn al-'Ās 583 664 Arabs 1 5 5 5 2 3 2 16.51
255 ‘Uthmān ibn ‘Affān  580 656 Arabs 4 5 5 5 3 4 2 11.34

I have Ashoka at #56 because he inherited an empire already...  I look at the difference in the nation/people between when the leader took power/gained influence and when they died/ended influence.  The difference in trajectory.  I don't think he did that much to change the trajectory of the Mauryan empire for the long-term better.  Have you looked at how I am doing these ratings?  If you can help me figure out numbers to assign to these different values for some of these leaders I know less about, that would help out a lot.

Thanks for your input!

EDIT:  The more I read about Churchill, the less positively I think of him...


Edited by DSMyers1 - 23-Dec-2008 at 12:36
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  Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23-Dec-2008 at 13:25
On the question of Elizabeth, you miss the most important contribution she made to the future of England - the establishmen of the Church of England as an institution almost anyone could belong to. Granted there was a backlash under the Commonwealth, but the tolerance of religious variation that marks subsequent English history began under Elizabeth. And I think she worked deliberately to make it so, though probably from secular rather than religious motives.
 
Additionally Sintergeorge's account of the naval situation in the 1590s is absurd, and nonetheless so because English romantics have overglamorised the perion. "Amesquita's successful invasion of western English shores in 1595" was a small raid by four galleys that succeeded in burning three timy Cornish villages, far from London. It contrasts for example with the English capture of Cadiz in 1596, which brought home as booty two new warships, 1200 guns, and twenty million ducats worth of miscellaneous goods and chattels. As an immediate result of the raid and other losses the Spanish government was again forced to repudiate its debts that year - so much for the English being in debt: at least the English c rown paid them.
 
Incidentally,
And all of this had occurred in the context of QEI losing English possessions in France permanently
What English possessions did Elizabeth lose in France? She had none to start with unless you count the Channel Islands, which she didn't lose.
 
There's so much anti-Churchill propaganda and false information about him floating around the internet these days that I'm tired of refuting it.
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  Quote Al Jassas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23-Dec-2008 at 21:03
Hello to you all
 
Well I promised to return to Arabs in the list but I forgot.
 
Anyway I was surprised to see that Omar was ranked so low, lower than Abu Bakr and Ali.
 
While Abu Bakr reestablished Islam after the apostate wars which nearly ended Islam, the conquests, the organization of religion and society and the final codification of religion all happened during Omar's time. Arabic as we know it today was codified during his time. It was he who authorized settlement in conquered lands and left most of it to the local people rather than confiscating it, and thus keeping the economy and not distroy it by giving the most productive land in the world to bedouins who knew nothing about agriculture.
 
As for Salah Addin, I am sorry to distort you romatic picture of him but he was simply nothing of what you said. He came from a family that belonged to the militaristic-aristocratic Kurdish family. He was a rebel all his life, he even rebelled on his own lord (Zengi) and formed his own state in Egypt. He had a goal, to end the crusader states and he persued every possible way to do this. His achievement wasn't that extraordinary either. The plan and method he used to persue his goal was the same as his master Zengi. Zengi did exactly what Saladin later did but died early before completing the conquest. After Saladin died his empire was divided to the same divisions they were before. When you look now for a legacy you really can't find any except a few forts here and there nothing more. Politically he was just like the kings who came before and after.
 
Mahmud of Ghazni should be on the list, Islam would not have entered India and reshaped that country for ever if it wasn't for that guy. He was the first real muslim conquerer of that country.
 
Another man who should be added is Al-Hajjaj ibn Yusuf. Although he was only a viceroy, this guy was the right hand of the Ummayyads. It was him that ended all the rebellions and brought the 40 year old civil war (2nd Fitnah) to an end. Umayyads were on the verge on giving up power but he, the former children teacher and Damascus policeman did not approve and reasserted Umayyad power with blood. He and Abdul-Malik ibn Marwan were a duo that reaffirmed the unity of Islamic states for the next 150 years with their policies and administrative skills. It was he who advised the caliphs to conquere central Asia, Sindh, north Africa and Iberia. He sometimes was the real ruler from his base at Wasit.
 
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  Quote DSMyers1 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24-Dec-2008 at 12:37
My issue with the Salah Addin and some of the other Moslem leaders is whether to distinguish their political entity, their nation/people from others.  If it is separate, then they presided over tremendous growth (Power of the Ayyubids from 1 to 4, for Salah Addin).  If I consider them "Arabs", well, they weren't.  If I consider them "Moslems", well, they just ruled parts of the moslem world.  How should I differentiate the entities?

As I said, I am looking at how the specific leader impacted the trajectory of his nation/people.  That is easy for some parts of the world, hard for others...  Because it is sometimes difficult to identify the edge between the same nation/people/country, with a different dynasty, and a different nation/people/country.  Here are the nations/peoples/countries I have been using for the Moslem world (well, those that I have gotten to):
Abbasid Caliphate
Aceh
Adal
Afghan
Almohads
Almoravids
Arabs
Ayyubids
Buyid
Cordoba
Fatimid
Kashgar
Pashtun/Suri
Uzbekh

In your opinion, Al Jassas, should I indeed split all of those out?  (I'm using "Arabs" for the era up to the Umayyads, who I haven't studied yet.)  Do you understand what I'm meaning?  The selection of how to split out these peoples/nations/countries determines what numerical result Salah Addin will get (did he start something new, a new people/nation/country?)

Edited by DSMyers1 - 24-Dec-2008 at 12:38
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  Quote Al Jassas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24-Dec-2008 at 14:12
well, from the criteria, Mahmud of Ghazni fits them quite well.
 
He was an  Afghan, he established Afghanistan as we know it into what we know it. Before that it was a bunch of provinces and under him a united nation. His invasions to India and Pakistan firmly established Islam there and forever as I mentioned. There were muslims in India and particularly Sind area in Pakistan but he made sure these would become provinces under his authority. His rule was the foundation on which the Ghurids, also an Afghan dynasty, which made Delhi their capital and moved muslims there. He changed the faces of 1/6th of today's world population and he is in the top 10 in my list.
 
As for Iran, I think there are three contenders come to mind but Cyrus and other Iranians could justify or deny them. The first is Nasr I Samani. He revived Persian as the cultural and administrative language of Iran and when I ay Persian I mean Farsi. Before that Pahlavi was still widely spoken but the new language was gaining popularity and he revived it. Muradvij also is on the list and should be considered for similar reasons. Shah Ismael Safavi is the third man. He turned Iran from the center of Sunni scholarship into the center of shia scholarship. Forced Iran to become shia and for the first time in centuries united the country under one ruler, a legacy continuing till today.
 
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  Quote Bandeirante Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24-Dec-2008 at 16:29
Portuguese and Brazilian Top Leaders
 
Afonso Henriques - First King of Portugal, Conqueror of Lisbon, defeated the Arabs and Moors
D. João I - Consolidator of the Portuguese Kingdom, Defeated the Castilians at the Battle of Aljubarrota
Prince Henry the Navigator - Expansionist idea
Pedro Álvares Cabral - Discoverer of Brazil
Tibiriçá - Tupi Chief, Founder and Lord Protector of São Paulo, Genearch of the Bandeirantes' Families
Henrique Dias - First Brazilian Black Leader and Hero in the Dutch War (1630-1654)
Antonio Felipe Camarão Poti - Brazilian Amerindian Leader and and Hero in the Dutch War
Pedro Teixeira - Conqueror of the Amazon - Defeated and expelled other Europeans powers from the region
D. João IV - Restaurator of the Portuguese Independence
Tiradentes - The idea of the Independence
D. João VI - Survived to and defeated Napoleon and moved the capital of the Empire to Rio de Janeiro
D. Pedro I - First Brazilian Emperor - Kept the Unity of Portuguese America as a Single Country
D. Pedro II - Good Emperor
Luís Alves de Lima e Silva, Duque de Caxias - The Sword of the Brazilian Empire. Defeated internal rebellions and defeated Uruguay, Argentina and Paraguay to keep the Constitution, law and order in South America
Getúlio Vargas - President (1930-1945, 1950-1954)
Luís Inácio Lula da Silva (2003-2010) - Development, democracy, social justice in Brazil, Future Superpower in the 21st Century
 
 
 


Edited by Bandeirante - 24-Dec-2008 at 16:37
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  Quote DSMyers1 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24-Dec-2008 at 22:04
Thanks, Bandeirante!

I've already been through Brazil, but you've mentioned a few I didn't research.  The Portuguese listing will be helpful when I get to them.
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  Quote Al Jassas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25-Dec-2008 at 14:15
Hello DS
 
I think that those belonging to the Umayyad period and before should be put under Arabs. After the Umayyad well it depends. Abu Muslim Al-khurasani for example helped build the Abbasids and turn Persians to their support though he was Persian. So his position is tricky, he didn't exactly help Persians get independence but affected the Arab and Islamic world by his achievement. I would put him in Islamic which is more suitable.
 
Tughrul Beg should be put under Turks however since his achievements affected them only despite he saved the Abbasids from annihilation under the Buyihids and kept Arab countries.
 
Saladin I think should be put among the muslims. Though Kurdish by ethnicity he was Turkish by culture. He preferred them to Kurds and of course totally ignored Arabs and distroyed the last of their principalities. He preferred Bedouins over urbanised Arabs because they were more wieldy and demanded not much.
 
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