hatshepsut, one of the few known pharaohs of ancient egypt, reigned in her own right from c1473-58 bce. However, Hatshepsut’s royal reign actually began in c1479 BC when she acted as regent for her infant stepson, Thutmose III. By the end of the seventh year of her reign, Hatshepsut had been crowned king and had adopted all the pharaonic titles and trappings, co-ruling with her stepson. In the images, she was represented with a male body wearing the traditional pharaonic kilt, crown and false beard.
During his long reign, Amenhotep III presided over a golden age during the 18th dynasty, when Egypt was the most powerful nation in the world. Although Tutankhamun’s grandson is much better known today, it is Amenhotep III who was taken as the last model to be followed by subsequent monarchs. The best Egyptian craftsmanship was created under his personal patronage, as was the ambitious building program that made him the most prolific builder in Egyptian history.
- read more about amenhotep iii
king of macedonia
when the son of Philip II of Macedonia inherited the throne in 336 BC. C., he set out to reassert Macedonian authority in Greece, with the goal of conquering the Persian Empire. By the time of his death in Babylon at the age of 32, Alexander had created an empire that spanned three continents and covered some 2 million square miles. Commenting on what makes Alexander the Great such a “great” leader, history professor Paul Cartledge said, “He combined immense personal charisma and bravery (often leading his troops from the front). In addition, he had a invaluable ability to identify the key moment in a battle and act decisively to ensure that moment is won.”
Indian emperor of the Mauryan dynasty
Ashoka the Great was an Indian emperor of the Mauryan dynasty who ruled most of the Indian subcontinent between 268 and 232 BC. Considered one of the greatest emperors of India, he also promoted the spread of Buddhism in ancient Asia. the ashoka chakra (the “wheel of justice”) appears on the flag of modern india.
Roman ruler, general and statesman
A successful politician and general who greatly expanded the extent of the Roman Republic, Julius Caesar seized power in 44 BC. c., naming himself consul and dictator. He implemented a series of far-reaching reforms, including the introduction of the Julian calendar, and is considered to have been a great military leader who conquered Gaul and invaded Britain twice. the assassination of caesar, carried out by a group of republican senators on the ides of march, would become the focal point of one of william shakespeare’s most famous historical works.
last active pharaoh of ancient egypt
Egypt’s last active pharaoh, Cleopatra helped bring prosperity to a divided country, but she is most often remembered for her relationships with Julius Caesar and Marcus Antony, her supposed beauty, and her suicide, possibly by snakebite. after being defeated by Octavian. she assumed control of egypt in 51 b.c. after the death of her father and initially co-ruled with her brother, Ptolemy XII.
considered the first Roman emperor
The man born Gaius Octavius and known as Octavius was adopted by Julius Caesar as his heir. After defeating Antony and Cleopatra at the Battle of Actium in 31 BC, he took the name Augustus and became Rome’s first emperor in 27 BC. Read more about Augustus’s bloody rise to power by Adrian Goldsworthy, author of a biography of the emperor.
religious leader fundamental to Christianity
Much of the information we have about the life of Jesus comes from the four gospels, written between 60 and 90 AD, decades after his death. we are told that jesus was the son of god, born to a carpenter’s wife in nazareth, crucified in jerusalem. Christianity, based on the teachings of Jesus, is the world’s largest religion with more than 2 billion followers. It originated in the Middle East and spread through Europe, Syria, Mesopotamia, Asia Minor, and Egypt, becoming the official religion of the Roman Empire in 380 AD.
- When did Christianity first come to Britain?
former British queen of the Iceni tribe
Queen of the Iceni people who live in what is now Norfolk and parts of Suffolk and Cambridge, Boudica (also called Boudicca or Boadicea) led a daring revolt against the Romans who invaded Britain in AD 43. her forces destroyed colchester, capital of roman britain-as well as london and st albans.
- What if… Boudica had defeated the Romans?
legendary British warrior and king
This legendary British king takes center stage in a plethora of television dramas, film adaptations and novels. Although he is largely considered a figure of folklore, some historians, notably archaeologist Miles Russell, suggest that he is a composite of several real medieval characters.
- king arthur: five men who formed the legendary king of the dark ages
emperor of china
wu zetian is the only woman to have sat as emperor of china in her own right. she ruled from 690 to 705 and was ruthless in her pursuit of power, she killed her own newborn child and framed her predecessor’s empress for her murder. “Wu Zetian was clearly a dangerous person to meet, especially if she stood in his way to power,” says Professor Frog Mitter.
- read more about wu zetian
king of wessex
Best known for his defeat of Danish King Guthrum’s Viking forces in 878 at the Battle of Edington, Alfred is also remembered for his social and educational reforms. “There are many Anglo-Saxon kings who were great military commanders; what makes alfred stand out is that he too was interested in learning and promoting english as a written language,” says barbara yorke. Emeritus Professor of Early Medieval History at the University of Winchester. Part of a pelvic bone believed to belong to the King of Wessex was discovered in a box at the Winchester Museum in 2014. He is also the only English monarch known as “The Great.”
Anglo-Saxon ruler of Mercia
There is little information about Æthelflæd’s childhood; She first appears in the historical record as an adult married to Æthelred of Mercia, who had served King Alfred as a loyal lieutenant. Her marriage united the kingdoms of Wessex and the newly regained Mercia. “Æthelflæd is one of the few known women who not only played a role within the home as mother and lady, but also wielded power on the battlefield,” says historian Janina Ramirez. she “she then she won some of the most important battle victories of the early 10th century.”
last Anglo-Saxon king of England
harold ii, also called harold godwinson, was the last crowned anglo-saxon king of england. He held the crown for nine months before he was killed by invading Normans under William the Conqueror at the Battle of Hastings.
First Norman King of England
The first Norman King of England, William the Conqueror (formerly William, Duke of Normandy) defeated the Anglo-Saxon King Harold II at the Battle of Hastings on October 14, 1066, a triumph famously recorded on the Bayeux Tapestry. William the Conqueror transformed the face of Anglo-Saxon England: he secured his rule over the lands he had invaded, replaced the English ruling class with Norman counterparts, and built defensive fortresses at strategic points throughout the kingdom. Under William, the feudal system [a hierarchical system in which people owned land in return for loyalty or service to a lord] was introduced; the church was reorganized and england’s links with europe were strengthened. But no one at the time called William ‘the Conqueror’: the first recorded use of that moniker occurred in the 1120s, and the name did not become commonplace until the 13th century.
claimant to the English throne
appointed heir to the throne by her father, henry i, matilda would have been the first queen regnant of england after his death. instead, however, her cousin Stephen of Blois took the throne. In the ensuing civil war, Ella Matilda arrived within days of the coronation before being forced to abandon claiming her. Her son was later crowned Henry II.
queen of france, queen of england, mother of richard i and john
Leonore, Duchess of Aquitaine, became one of the most powerful women in Europe when she married Louis, heir to Louis VI of France in late July 1137. The French king died the following month and Eleanor became in queen of france, a title would hold for 15 years. Her second marriage to the future Henry II saw her become Queen of England. Two of her sons, Richard and John, would go on to become Kings of England, while Eleanor herself played a key role in the successful running of Henry’s empire, administering territories in England and France. In 1189 she acted as regent for Richard I when she left for the Middle East to join the Third Crusade, despite being in her mid-sixties.
first plantagenet king of england
Empress Matilda’s son continued his mother’s fight for the English throne, winning the crown in 1154 after Stephen’s death. Henry II’s feud with Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, ended with Becket’s assassination in Canterbury Cathedral in 1170, supposedly by order of the King.
Anglo-Norman soldier and statesman
Knight, Councilor, Tournament Fighter: William Marshal (c1147-1219) had a great resume, not to mention the five kings he called patrons (Henry II, Henry the Young King, Richard, John, and Henry III) .
“Two aspects of his life stand out,” says Thomas Asbridge, author of the biography of Marshal, The Greatest Gentleman (Simon & Schuster, 2015). “First, his unprecedented rise to the heights of power and social status, and second, the abiding sense that he believed in the value of chivalry and honor.”
his services to the crown included becoming guardian to prince henry (later henry the young king) and being king john’s closest adviser. After John’s death in 1216, the marshal became regent for the nine-year-old Henry III. marshal is seen by many as the architect of the magna carta.
English king, known as ‘the lionheart’
richard i, also known as richard the lionheart, an expert in military tactics, is perhaps the most famous crusader of the middle ages (although he ultimately failed to take jerusalem). He is mostly remembered for his confrontation with the Muslim leader Saladin during the Third Crusade, as well as for rebelling against his father, Henry II (1133-1189).
- does richard i deserve his reputation as a martial genius?
founder of the Mongol empire
genghis khan was not always known as such; He was born in c1162, the son of a tribal warrior chief, and was called Temujin. Over the course of a century, the Khan and his successors built the largest contiguous empire in world history: the Mongol Empire, a 12-million-square-mile strip of land that stretched from the sea of Japan to the grasslands of Hungary. in the heart of europe.
king of england who sealed the magna carta
King John is perhaps best known as the king who sealed the historic document Magna Carta. His reign was blighted by civil war, a French invasion, and numerous acts of cruelty and betrayal, so it’s no wonder John remains a controversial monarch. “Many argue that the Magna Carta was a long time in the making, and that many of the grievances expressed in 1215 had been brewing for decades,” says Marc Morris, author of a biography of the much-maligned king. “My opinion is that King John himself is to blame more.”
- read marc morris’ article on why king john was truly a cowardly monarch
rebellious baron and principles of leicester
french-born nobleman simon de montfort arrived in england in 1229. he quickly became a favorite of king henry iii, even marrying the king’s sister eleanor, but led a revolt against henry iii during the second baronial war His victory against Henry in May 1264 at the Battle of Lewes made him the most powerful man in the kingdom.
king of england
edward i is considered one of the great medieval kings, credited with not only initiating the unification of the british isles, but also masterminding great improvements in england’s legal system. son of king henry iii, he was crowned king of england in westminster abbey on august 19, 1274.
- edward i reappraisal: battle-hungry aggressor or obedient conqueror?
emperor of mali
mansa (emperor) musa i, who ruled the empire of mali for 25 years from about 1312, has the claim of being the richest person who ever lived. He inherited an unprecedentedly rich empire and spent much of his reign enlightening himself and his people, establishing a new center of knowledge in the city of Timbuktu. “The incredible thing about his story is that Musa ruled with absolute power; however, by concentrating on learning and writing things down, he stripped away some of that power,” says gus casely-hayford, director of v&a east london.
- read more about mansa musa
queen consort of edward ii
isabella of france married king edward ii of england in bologne, northern france, on january 25, 1308 when she was 12 and he was 23. she led an invasion of england that ultimately resulted in the deposition of her king and husband in January 1327: the first abdication of a king in England.
third surviving son of edward iii
john of gaunt, third surviving son of king edward iii of england, stands out as a commander in the hundred years war. Following the deaths of his father and his brother Edward the Black Prince, John became effective Regent of England during the minority reign of his nephew Richard II. In October 1399, after overthrowing Richard II, John’s eldest son was crowned Henry IV, England’s first Lancastrian king.
third wife of john of gaunt
In 1396, John of Gaunt, the Duke of Lancaster, made the surprising decision to marry his children’s governess, Katherine Swynford. Katherine, a widow, had previously been the wife of one of Gaunt’s servants, Hugh Swynford, with whom she had two or possibly three children. She gave birth to four children with John of Gaunt, who later legitimized themselves with the name of ‘Beaufort’ and would found the most famous dynasty in British history: the Tudors.
Welsh ruler and rebel
owain glyndwr was a Welsh leader who instigated a long-running rebellion against English rule in Wales in the 14th century. On 16 September 1400, Glyndŵr was proclaimed Prince of Wales, the last native Welshman to do so. His fate is uncertain, although one chronicler recorded that he died in 1415. He is considered a Welsh national hero.
king of england and winner at agincourt
Created Prince of Wales at his father’s coronation in 1399, young Henry’s military prowess was noted at the Battle of Shrewsbury in which he fought, when he was just 16 years old. Henry V owed much of his reputation as one of England’s greatest medieval warrior-kings to William Shakespeare. Henry V (c1599) describes the young prince’s transformation from wayward youth to heroic ruler, leading England and Wales to victory against the French at the Battle of Agincourt, a significant encounter in an era of conflict between the two countries known as the hundred years war. Henry became heir to the French throne in 1420 but died, probably of dysentery, just two years later, leaving his nine-month-old son to rule as Henry VI.
French martyr, saint and military leader
joan of arc (c1412-31) became a hero of the hundred years war for her actions in the siege of orléans, only to be executed as a heretic two years later. “Her story is both deeply familiar and endlessly surprising: the peasant girl sent by God to save France, clad in armor as if she were a man; the martyr who became a legend, and then a saint, when she was burned in the stake for the English enemy,” says Helen Castor.
mother of edward iv and richard iii
cecily neville, mother of richard iii, is often overlooked in the war of the roses story. But behind the scenes, she waged her own war, using intrigue, manipulation, and the power of words to support her family’s fight for her power.
Prince of Wallachia, Romania
vlad the impaler, or vlad iii, was prince of valachia (now in romania). His methods of punishment, impaling his enemies on stakes, gained him notoriety in 15th century Europe and it is suggested that he may have served as the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s acclaimed gothic novel Dracula.
queen consort of edward iv
A widow and a commoner, Elizabeth Woodville secretly married Edward IV. she was crowned queen in 1465, after which she promoted many members of her family to positions of power. Her story was the subject of the 2013 BBC drama The White Queen, based on Philippa Gregory’s War of the Cousins series of historical novels.
first york king of england
edward iv became king in 1461 after his yorkist forces defeated the lancastrian king henry vi at the battle of towton. His reign was interrupted in 1470 when Margaret of Anjou regained the throne for her husband Henry VI. The rest of Edward’s rule was fairly peaceful, but after his death, his sons, Edward and Richard (the “Princes of the Tower”), disappeared under mysterious circumstances during the reign of his younger brother, richard iii.
- 7 things you (probably) didn’t know about the houses of lancaster and york
mother of King Henry VII
Born in 1443, Margaret Beaufort belonged to a Lancastrian noble family with royal ancestry. By age 13, she had been married twice, widowed, and given birth to a son, Henry Tudor. Ella Margaret married twice more and survived several regime changes during the Wars of the Roses, when the Lancastrian Henry VI was deposed by the Yorkist Edward IV, before Edward’s brother Richard III finally took the throne. After the Battle of Tewkesbury in 1471, her son Henry Tudor went into exile and returned to England in 1485 to defeat Richard at the Battle of Bosworth and claim the crown as Henry VII. “Margaret played the game of fifteenth-century power politics with courage and determination,” says historian Michael Jones. “On August 22, 1485, her perseverance was rewarded when her son, Henry Tudor, defeated Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth to become king.”
Italian explorer and navigator
Christopher Columbus was an Italian explorer and navigator long credited with discovering the New World (although technically the Vikings had visited North America many centuries earlier). His transatlantic adventures were sponsored by Ferdinand II and Isabella I of Spain.
Queen of Castile and Aragon
isabel de castilla was one half of a 15th century power couple that united spain and helped propel the west to global dominance. married to fernando de aragón, to whom she had been engaged since she was six years old, she became queen in december 1474. “the impact of her legacy in spain was significant and today she is considered one of the most powerful monarchs revered of Spain.
Italian Renaissance scholar
The illegitimate son of a Tuscan lawyer, Leonardo da Vinci became one of the most influential artists, sculptors, engineers, scientists, and inventors of the Renaissance. The parachute and the helicopter are just two of the many inventions credited to the Italian genius, while the painting of him known as the Mona Lisa remains one of the most recognizable and reproduced portraits in the world.
king of england
He’s been loved, he’s been loathed, he’s been unearthed and reburied: he is the divisive Plantagenet king Richard III (1452-85). Interest in the King of York peaked in 2012 when his remains were found under a car park in Leicester. Mystery still surrounds Richard, especially if he was responsible for the death of his nephews, the Princes of the Tower, who mysteriously disappeared from the Tower of London in the summer of 1483.
richard iii’s death at the battle of bosworth heralded the dawn of the tudor dynasty when henry tudor came to the throne of england and married richard’s niece elizabeth of york. five monarchs would sit on the throne for more than a century of Tudor rule.
queen consort of richard iii
anne neville was the wife of the last lancastrian heir to the throne of england and later the last king of york, richard iii. She married the latter in the spring of 1472, while she was still a teenager, and she had a son with him named Edward. In 1483, Richard was appointed Lord Protector of his 12-year-old nephew Edward V, who had become king after the death of his father. However, Edward and his younger brother were soon declared illegitimate and thrown into the Tower of London. they disappeared soon after, in what is considered one of history’s enduring mysteries. Richard ascended the throne and, with Anne, was crowned in 1483 in the first joint coronation in 175 years. Anne died at the age of 28, from tuberculosis.
first tudor king of england
Born to Lancastrian teenager Margaret Beaufort, Henry VII’s claim to the throne lay in a distant kinship with Edward III. In 1471, when Edward IV’s Yorkist forces defeated the Lancastrians at the Battle of Tewkesbury, Henry was forced to flee to France, but after Edward’s death he returned to reclaim the throne. Henry’s victory over the usurper King Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485 marked the ascent of a new dynasty to the throne of England, the unification of the Houses of Lancaster and York, and the end of the Wars of the Roses. /p>
- how edward iv regained his throne at the battle of tewkesbury
queen consort of henry vii
Eldest daughter of Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville, Elizabeth of York united the Houses of York and Lancaster with her marriage to Henry VII in 1486, helping to end the dynastic conflict known as the Wars of the Roses. elizabeth, the first tudor queen, was the mother of henry viii and founded a dynasty that ruled for 118 years. next year will be the 550th anniversary of her birth.
Tudor statesman and author
Thomas More was a Tudor statesman who rose rapidly to fame at the court of Henry VIII, where he succeeded Thomas Wolsey as Lord Chancellor. He was executed for refusing to accept Henry VIII as head of the Church of England and is recognized as a saint by the Catholic Church.
- Thomas More: Saint or Sinner?
on october 31, 1517, after witnessing corruption in the catholic church, german theologian martin luther allegedly nailed his 95 theses to the door of wittenberg castle church. in them, he condemned the practice of selling “indulgences” to absolve sin and affirmed that salvation can be achieved by faith, not works. Luther was condemned by the Catholic Church but his work triggered the Protestant Reformation.
first wife born in Spain of Henry VIII
catherine of aragon was the first wife of henry viii. her marriage was eventually annulled on the grounds that she had previously been married to her late brother, arthur, allowing the king to remarry anne boleyn. “[Catherine] was a woman of great integrity who put principle before pragmatism and, in challenging Henry VIII, she showed great courage,” says Alison Weir.
the star of wolf hall, bbc’s 2015 adaptation of hilary mantel’s award-winning novels, which focuses on his relationship with henry viii and anne boleyn, thomas cromwell went from blacksmith’s son to right-hand man of henry viii. after six years as prime minister, he was executed for treason, without trial.
“Cromwell was a fascinating man who dominated the court for a decade and forever changed the religious and political life of England,” says historian Tracy Borman, author of a 2014 biography of the controversial politician. “He planned some of the most seismic events in our history, from the break with Rome to the revolution in government. Much more than a cynical bureaucrat in search of personal gain, he was committed to reform and, without a doubt, the most faithful servant of Henry VIII”.
daughter of henry vii, sister of henry viii
margaret tudor, eldest daughter of henry vii and elizabeth of york, is almost forgotten compared to other members of her famous family. And yet, she briefly presided over a golden period in Scottish history as the wife of James IV.
king of england
one of the most famous kings in british history, henry became heir to the throne upon the death of his brother, arthur, in 1502. known for his six wives, two of whom were beheaded, henry viii is also Remembered as the father of the English Reformation, which saw the country break with the Catholic Church in Rome and establish its own Church of England. Henry’s 37-year rule also saw permanent changes in the nature and role of Parliament, wars with Scotland and France, and the creation of the Royal Navy.
wife of Henry VIII and mother of Elizabeth I
anne boleyn was the second wife of henry viii and mother of one of the greatest queens of england, elizabeth i. the king’s determination to annul his marriage to catherine of aragon to marry a woman he was in love with, triggered the english reform and the rupture with the church of rome. But after failing to give Henry the son she longed for, Anne was sentenced to death, accused of adultery, incest, and plotting to kill the king. The debate still continues as to whether she was the victim of a judicial conspiracy or whether she was really guilty.
sixth and last wife of henry viii
the sixth and last wife of henry viii, katherine parr has gone down in history as the wife who ‘survived’. But according to historian Derek Wilson, she “was the most intelligent, devoted, and passionate of Henry VIII’s bedfellows,” occupying an important place in the history of the English Reformation.
- katherine parr: the truth about the wife who ‘survived’
German-born fourth wife of Henry VIII
anne of cleves was the fourth wife of henry viii. The royal couple was married for just six months, making it the shortest reign of any of Henry’s queens. she is often referred to as the ‘ugly wife’; Henry VIII was reportedly so disgusted when he first saw Anne that he immediately instructed his lawyers to find a way to end the marriage.
Italian noblewoman and queen of France
catherine de medici was queen mother of france during the reign of her three sons: francis ii of france, charles ix of france and henry iii of france. she is remembered for being one of the most powerful French queens of the early modern period. However, none of her children were able to secure the dynasty, and Catherine was ultimately blamed for many of the atrocities that occurred during her reign.
fifth wife of henry viii
catherine howard was the fifth wife of tudor king henry viii. They were married on July 28, 1540, just three weeks after the annulment of the King’s brief marriage to Anne of Cleves. Almost 50 years old at the time of her wedding, Henry was at least 30 years older than the teenage Catherine. Their relationship ended in tragedy when Henry discovered information about Catherine’s sexual past, including an affair with Thomas Culpeper. She was accused of adultery and treason and executed in the Tower of London on February 13, 1542.
elizabeth ‘bess’ of hardwick was the richest woman in england after queen elizabeth i towards the end of her life, yet she came from comparatively humble beginnings. Born into a moderately prosperous Derbyshire gentry family, Ella Bess amassed her wealth through a series of marriages that propelled her into aristocratic and royal circles. She had a somewhat tumultuous relationship with the queen, particularly when Ella Bess began grooming Ella Arbella’s granddaughter to succeed the crown.
queen of england
elizabeth i is one of england’s most beloved monarchs. her refusal to dilute her power through her marriage earned her the nickname “the virgin queen”, while her navy’s famous victory over the Spanish navy in 1588 earned her the nation’s adulation her. Elizabeth’s reign also heralded an era of exploration and discovery in the new world.
Japanese feudal lord
oda nobunaga was born during a period when japan was divided into warring fiefdoms whose samurai fought endless battles with each other. Oda, who inherited a fiefdom in central Japan, used firearms and surprise tactics to defeat his enemies. he used the power he gained to unify japan and lived under the motto “rule the kingdom by force”. “In battle after battle, Oda proved to be a first class tactician. he defeated forces much larger than his own using surprise attacks,” says dr. christopher harding.
read more about oda nobunaga
queen of england for nine days
appointed queen on july 9, 1553 in an attempt to prevent catholic mary tudor from accessing the throne after edward vi’s death, the “nine day queen” is often seen as a victim of her family hungry for power She was charged with high treason and executed in 1554. But was Lady Jane Gray really an innocent victim? read more about her tragic story here
English admiral and navigator
One of the most famous sailors of the 16th century, Sir Francis Drake is best known for being the first Englishman to circumnavigate the earth. Sponsored by Queen Elizabeth I, Drake initially attempted the feat in November 1577, though bad weather forced him to back down. He tried again in December 1577, beginning his adventure from Plymouth and setting sail for the Pacific coast on his Pelican ship. Drake and his men returned to Plymouth, England, on September 26, 1580, after successfully circumnavigating the earth. he was knighted for his efforts.
- the forgotten role of francis drake in the english slave trade
Scottish queen and French queen consort
Having become Queen of Scotland at just six days old, Mary returned to her homeland in 1561 following the death of her husband, the French King Francis II. She became the focus of various plots to place her on the English throne and was eventually sentenced to death by her cousin, Elizabeth I.
- in profile: mary, queen of scots
akbar was the grandson of babur, founder of the mughal empire, who in 1525 invaded northern india from afghanistan. under Mughal principles, princes did not inherit the throne by birthright, but were expected to fight for it; Akbar was later crowned as a teenager in a Punjab camp in an attempt to outwit his rivals. in the course of his rule, he reconciled the majority of the inhabitants of an overwhelmingly Hindu empire with Muslim rule. “This almost exact contemporary of Queen Elizabeth I of England transformed a foreign occupation into a strong and cohesive empire of 100 million ethnically and religiously diverse people,” says historian Diana Preston. At the time of his death – October 15, 1605, a date that may also have been his own birthday – he had more than 300 titular wives.
read more about akbar
English poet, playwright and actor
william shakespeare, the most famous son of stratford-upon-avon, remains one of the world’s best-known and most enigmatic authors. His works have been translated into some 80 languages, and the Oxford English Dictionary credits him with introducing nearly 3,000 words into the English vocabulary. In addition to writing 37 plays and 154 sonnets, Shakespeare was also an established actor who acted before James VI and I.
Born in 1564, much of the playwright’s life remains a mystery. however, the feverish speculation about everything from his authorship to his sexuality is perhaps just a reflection of our fascination with the bard.
first cousin twice separated from isabel i, arbella was at one time considered possible heir to the virgin queen. She died in the Tower of London after being imprisoned there by King James VI and I for marrying without her permission.
English soldier and statesman
Oliver Cromwell burst onto the political scene in 1628 when he became MP for Huntingdon and opposed Charles I’s interpretation of Protestantism, which clashed with his own strict Puritan views. During the Civil War, Cromwell became one of the commanders of Parliament’s New Model Army, and in 1649 he was one of 59 signatories to the death warrant of Charles I. In December 1653 he became Lord Protector of England, Scotland, and Ireland; His brutal treatment of Irish Catholics remains controversial.
- oliver cromwell: hero or villain?
king of england, scotland and ireland
carlos i is remembered for his belief in the divine right of kings (the idea that a monarch’s authority is granted by god). his confrontation with parliament led to the civil wars, the conflict between monarchists and parliamentarians that shook the British Isles in the mid-seventeenth century.
king of england, scotland and ireland
charles ii was the first surviving child of king charles i and queen henrietta maria, born on 29 may 1630, the first child born as heir to the three crowns of england, scotland and ireland. The so-called “merry monarch” was restored to the throne in 1660, marking the end of 11 years of republican rule that followed the execution of his father, Charles I. His reign saw London engulfed in flames, thousands of people killed by the plague, and a financially crippling war with the Dutch.
French monarch, known as the sun king
“Louis is best remembered today for his domestic achievements,” says historian Philip Mansel. “He earned his place among the pantheon of French monarchs through his actions on the home front, ruthlessly consolidating his control of an increasingly centralized France; weakening the influence of the parliament of paris and the military might of the great nobles to give themselves a secure power base. And he was a master at projecting that power, most notably through the massive Palace of Versailles, which he completed between 1666 and 1688.”
- king of the world: how louis xiv turned france into a global power
mathematician, astronomer and physicist
Recognized as one of the most influential physicists and mathematicians in history, Isaac Newton was instrumental in the scientific revolution of the 18th century. among many achievements, his work laid the foundation for classical mechanics and calculus. “There are always new stories to tell about the Briton who invented gravity and unraveled the colors of the rainbow,” says historian Patricia Fara.
empress of russia
catherine (born sophie friederike auguste von anhalt-zerbst), the daughter of a minor german prince, became a member of russian royalty after her marriage to grand duke peter, heir to the russian throne. Ella Catherine overthrew her husband shortly after he became Tsar in 1762 and was declared empress, a title she would hold for more than 30 years. Expanding the empire was her priority: the territories gained during her reign included the Crimea, Belarus, and Lithuania. she was also a great patron of the arts and education.
founding father and first president of the united states
a founding father of the united states, george washington commanded the continental army that won independence from the british, and was the first president of the nascent united states. He chaired the Philadelphia convention that drafted the United States Constitution, once declaring that “the Constitution is the guide I will never abandon.”
founding father and third president of the united states
Thomas Jefferson is one of the greats of American history: he was the third president and main author of the Declaration of Independence, the groundbreaking document that laid the foundations of the modern United States.
queen of france born in austria
Known for her extravagant tastes and lavish spending, Austrian Archduchess Marie Antoinette became Queen of France and Navarre in 1774 when her husband, Louis XVI, ascended the throne. She met a bloody end during the French Revolution when she was executed by guillotine.
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American statesman and politician
alexander hamilton came to the attention of george washington during the american revolutionary war, becoming the general’s aide-de-camp. after training as a lawyer, he was elected to the lower house of the new york legislature and eventually won a seat in the constitutional convention as a representative from new york. Hamilton was thus one of the founding fathers of the US Constitution and had a profound influence on its ratification. When Washington was elected President, he named Hamilton the country’s first Secretary of the Treasury.
British naval commander
horatio nelson’s naval career began when he was 12 years old. By the age of 21 he had become a captain, serving in the West Indies, the Baltic and Canada. But it was during the Napoleonic Wars that Nelson’s extraordinary talents as a commander and tactician came to the fore, most notably at the Battle of the Nile in 1798, during which he completely destroyed Napoleon’s French fleet. Between 1794 and 1805, Nelson contributed to a series of naval victories against the French, losing the sight of one eye and one arm in the process, but it was the Battle of Trafalgar on October 21, 1805 that propelled him into the history books. . Victory in that battle saved Britain from the threat of invasion, but it cost Nelson his life.
British Prime Minister and military leader
arthur wesley, born in ireland (duke of wellington from 1814), joined the army in 1787 and subsequently demonstrated his military talents. He is best known for his victory against Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo in June 1815. “The victory at Waterloo ushered in decades of peace for Europe, ended the long-delayed Napoleonic Wars, and shut down forever Napoleon’s extraordinary expansionist career. ”, says historian justin marozzi, who nominated the ‘iron duke’.
French military leader and politician
Described by many as one of the greatest military leaders in history, Napoleon Bonaparte rose to fame after the French Revolution and became commander of the French army in Italy in 1796. His talents as a commander and strategist made Napoleon won a series of battles during the French Revolutionary Wars of 1792-1802, conflicts between the French Republic and various European powers. In 1799, Napoleon was appointed France’s first consul and crowned himself emperor in 1804. “He was an outstanding historical figure and a military genius,” says history professor Peter Hart.
English novelist Jane Austen’s earliest known writings date from around 1787, with the first of her novels of meaning and sensibility being published in her lifetime, in 1795. Austen, who never married, is celebrated as one of the England’s Favorite Women Authors: Her six novels, all published anonymously at first, are a window into the life of the landed gentry in the 18th and 19th centuries. She is believed to have died of Addison’s disease, an endocrine disorder.
ruler of the Sikh empire
maharaja ranjit singh, the “lion of punjab”, founded the sikh empire and presided over an era of tolerance and stability. he was also famous for owning the koh-i-noor, one of the largest cut diamonds in the world. His reign marked a golden age for the Punjab and Northwest India,” says historian Matthew Lockwood. “Under his leadership, infrastructure was improved, trade was opened and expanded, and the arts flourished.”
British Prime Minister
Twice Prime Minister, Disraeli was a key player in the creation of the modern Conservative Party. The first Prime Minister of Jewish origin (although he was baptized Christian as a child), Disraeli was a staunch opponent of the liberal William Gladstone, and their mutual hatred was well known. A firm favorite of Queen Victoria, Disraeli did much to improve public health in Britain and passed laws to prevent labor exploitation.
Mary Seacole was a Caribbean-born Anglo-Jamaican pioneering businesswoman and nurse, best known for providing comfort to wounded British soldiers in the Crimean War. Her 1857 autobiography, Mrs. Seacole’s Wonderful Adventures in Many Lands, is one of the earliest memoirs by a mixed-race woman. in 2004 she was voted the greatest black british and in 2016 a statue of her was erected on the grounds of st thomas hospital in london.
British civil and mechanical engineer
isambard kingdom brunel built the most ambitious bridges, ships and railways of the 19th century. From his office at 18 Duke Street, London, he headed an engineering empire with a professional staff of some 30 engineers, clerks and draftsmen working on multiple projects at once.
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16th president of the united states and opponent of slavery
abraham lincoln, who became the sixteenth president of the united states in 1861, led the union to victory in the american civil war from 1861 to 1865 and introduced the thirteenth amendment in 1865, which abolished slavery in the united states. But although he managed to prevent the fragmentation of the country, Lincoln saw only six weeks of peace during his tenure and was assassinated in April 1865.
British naturalist, geologist and biologist
Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection (that the variable survival of individual organisms with different characteristics in specific environments results in the promotion of those traits) brought him into conflict with the Anglican church. His groundbreaking work on the Origin of Species was published in 1859, sparking outrage among creationists. but his 1871 descent of man caused even more controversy with his claims that humans and apes descended from a common ancestor.
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British Prime Minister
Liberal politician William Gladstone served as British Prime Minister four times, more than any other, and campaigned on a variety of issues, including reforms to the justice system and the civil service. Gladstone was considered a champion of the working classes, spending large amounts of his own money on what he saw as the rescue and rehabilitation of prostitutes and speaking out against slavery. but his views provoked strong reactions and he was not always popular. Queen Victoria disliked him immensely, describing him as a “half-mad arsonist”. One of Gladstone’s major acts was the Representation of the People Act of 1884, which increased the number of men who could vote in an election. But the bills he proposed to allow a home rule system in Ireland never became law.
British writer and social critic
charles dickens is widely regarded as the greatest novelist of the victorian era. He wrote a number of best-selling novels and short stories, including The Pickwick Papers, Nicholas Nickleby, A Christmas Carol, and Great Expectations, and invented some of literature’s best-known characters. His books are still in print and have been adapted for stage and screen. he was buried in westminster abbey in london.
German philosopher and political theorist
Socialist philosopher Karl Marx’s theories on the role of class struggle in economic change have influenced intellectuals, trade unions, and political parties around the world. His 1848 work The Communist Manifesto, co-written with Freedrich Engels, has been described as one of the most important political manuscripts in history.
British Queen and Empress of India
Queen Victoria, the UK’s longest-reigning former monarch (surpassed by Elizabeth II in September 2015), ruled for more than 63 years. Her empire spanned Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and parts of Africa, and she became Empress of India in 1876. Her ties to other royal families earned her the nickname “Grandmother of Europe.” p>
founder of modern nursing
florence nightingale led the first official team of british military nurses to turkey during the crimean war between britain and russia (1853-56). More soldiers died from disease than from wounds in this conflict, and Nightingale, in addition to caring for the sick, informed the army’s medical services on how to reduce preventable deaths. Nicknamed “The Lady with the Lamp” for her nightly rounds to tend to the wounded and sick, Nightingale continued her work after the war and was instrumental in establishing a permanent military nursing service and implementing improvements to the military’s medical services. army.
Inventor and engineer Nikola Tesla first traveled to the United States in 1884 with only four cents in his pocket and began working at Edison Machine Works to improve DC generators. His invention of the induction motor that would run on alternating current (ac) is considered a milestone in modern electrical systems.
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British suffragist and political activist
in 1903, the social reformer emmeline pankhurst founded the women’s social and political union to campaign for women’s parliamentary vote in edwardian britain, her motto being “deeds not words” . A charismatic leader and powerful orator, Pankhurst encouraged thousands of women to demand, rather than politely ask for, their democratic right in a mass movement that has been unparalleled in British history. she was always in the thick of the fight, she endured 13 imprisonments, being her name and cause known throughout the world.
Colonel Cândido Rondon was an army engineer who laid more than 4,000 miles of telegraph line through the jungles of Brazil. his expeditions to the amazon included exploration of the western amazon basin, but the most famous was the roosevelt-rondon scientific expedition in 1913-14. In 1910 he was appointed director of the Indian Protection Service (SPI). he promoted the subsequent creation of the xingu national park, a territory where both the indigenous people and the environment are protected. In Brazil, Rondon is a national hero, and the state of Rondônia is named after him.
native american leader
Sitting Bull was a warrior who fought against American forces in the Red Cloud War (1866-68). He played a key political and strategic role in the Great Sioux War of 1876 and fought in the Battle of the Little Bighorn. As settlers invaded the northern plains, slaughtering herds of buffalo and irrevocably disrupting traditional nomadic life, he joined Buffalo Bill’s Wild West spectacle. Seen as a leader by the people of him to the end, Sitting Bull was killed when an attempt to arrest him ended with a gunshot to the chest and head.
Polish-French physicist and chemist
Marie Curie’s discoveries of strange, glowing radioactive elements rocked Victorian Europe. Hailed as a “famous scientist” in her lifetime, she was the first woman to win the Nobel Prize in 1903, for her pioneering research on radioactivity, and the first person to win a second Nobel Prize.
last emperor of russia
Tsar Nicholas II was the last Emperor of Russia until he abdicated under duress during the February Revolution of 1917, amid a military crisis and internal unrest. By relinquishing the throne, he ended the royal Romanov dynasty that had ruled Russia for more than 300 years. Nicholas was replaced by a provisional government until October 1917, when the country was engulfed in revolution once again, when the Bolsheviks, led by Vladimir Lenin, took control.
Born into a wealthy Hindu family in northwest India, Gandhi’s first experiences with nonviolent civil disobedience came while he was practicing law in South Africa, in response to the Indian community’s struggle for civil rights. Around 1921 he became leader of the Indian National Congress, leading campaigns for a number of social causes and to end British rule in India. one of his most famous protests was the 240-mile dandy salt march of 1930, defying the salt tax imposed by the British. gandhi was assassinated in 1948.
Russian communist revolutionary
vladimir ilyich ulianov was a fanatical marxist who brought the bolsheviks to power in 1917 and built, on the basis of war and oppression, the world’s first communist state. He envisioned the end of capitalism at the hands of the world’s working classes and, through a series of revolutions, laid the foundation for communist totalitarianism under Joseph Stalin.
British wartime prime minister
Voted the greatest Briton in a 2002 BBC poll, with just over 28 per cent of the vote, Churchill is remembered as the man who led Britain to victory during World War II. he was prime minister from 1940 to 1945 and again from 1951 to 1955, retiring as an MP in 1964 after a political career that spanned more than six decades. Churchill’s speeches, delivered during some of Britain’s darkest days, are among the most moving in history, but many of his strategic decisions, notably the general bombing of German cities, continue to divide opinion. . Churchill was also a talented artist, exhibiting some 50 works at the British Academy. An enthusiastic writer, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1953 for, in the words of the judges, “his mastery of historical and biographical description, as well as his brilliant oratory in defense of exalted human values.”
samuel coleridge-taylor was a british composer and conductor who wrote several acclaimed musical works. he entered the royal college of music when he was a teenage violinist, but soon showed great skill in composition. In 1898 he composed the cantata ‘Hiawatha’s Wedding Party’, which became a great success, and was invited to perform in the United States on several occasions. however, the royalty deal he signed for ‘hiawatha’ earned him relatively little money and his family was left impoverished when he died of pneumonia when he was just 37 years old.
revolutionary and Soviet dictator
dictator of the ussr from 1929 until his death, stalin transformed the soviet union into an industrial and military superpower. but his was a reign of terror that caused the deaths of millions through starvation or in gulags (labor camps). Soviet forces under Stalin’s leadership helped defeat the Nazis during World War II.
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German-born theoretical physicist
Theoretical physicist Albert Einstein is perhaps best known for his pioneering theory of general relativity. His work established new ideas about the formation of the universe and black holes, revolutionizing our understanding of gravity, time, and space.
32nd president of the united states. uu.
franklin d roosevelt, the thirty-second (and longest serving) president of the united states, took office in 1933 during the great depression. He served four terms in the White House and helped the United States during World War II, as well as playing a key role in the development of the United Nations.
British Prime Minister
A leader of the Labor Party for 20 years, Clement Attlee served as Winston Churchill’s Deputy Prime Minister in Britain’s World War II coalition government before serving as Prime Minister in his own right between 1945 and 1951. He is credited with creating the nhs and grant independence to india. “Attlee showed that politics can make a difference,” says Francis Beckett, author of a biography of the former union leader.
Italian fascist dictator
benito mussolini was europe’s first fascist dictator in the 20th century. he established his regime in the early 1920s, driven by the belief that he was destined to forge a new Roman empire (with himself, a new Caesar, as its leader). he died in 1945 when he was captured by anti-fascist partisans.
dictator of Nazi Germany
adolf hitler joined the german workers party, later known as the nazi party, after the surrender of germany at the end of world war one. Identifying with the party’s nationalist and anti-Semitic beliefs, in 1921 he became its leader. In 1933 he was appointed Chancellor of Germany and began ordering the exclusion of Jews and other “undesirables” from public life, a process that would lead to the death of millions in concentration camps. In 1939, Hitler’s Germany invaded Poland, sparking World War II, a conflict that resulted in the deaths of more than 60 million people.
military dictator of Spain
Spanish General Francisco Franco ruled Spain as a dictator from 1939 to 1975, after the Spanish Civil War. He was close to both Mussolini and Adolf Hitler, who provided critical assistance to his forces during the Spanish Civil War, though he ultimately did not officially join the Axis.
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Leader of the British Union of Fascists
oswald mosley was the founder of the new party, which, under the influence of mussolini, was transformed into the quasi-military British union of fascists in october 1932. the party was noted for adopting nazi insignia and distributing anti-semitic propaganda.
minister of propaganda of Nazi Germany
Joseph Goebbels, Propaganda Minister of the Third Reich, is recognized as a key player in establishing and maintaining Hitler’s power. A master orator, he is credited with establishing what historian Ian Kershaw describes as “the Hitler myth,” the cult of personality surrounding the German leader.
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computer scientist and cryptanalyst
Alan Turing, the subject of the 2014 film The Imitation Game, is hailed as the creator of modern computing and for his crucial contribution to British code-breaking operations during World War II. In 1952, Turing was convicted of gross indecency, the charge resulting from a homosexual relationship. he chose chemical castration instead of imprisonment, but committed suicide in 1954.
American civil rights activist
Rosa Parks was an American civil rights activist best known for her pivotal role in the 1955 Montgomery Bus Boycott, when public transportation in the US state of Alabama was racially segregated. she subsequently became an iconic figure in the civil rights movement. On the 100th anniversary of her birth, then-US President Barack Obama urged all Americans to honor Rosa Parks’ “enduring legacy.”
35th president of the united states
john f kennedy, also known as jack or jfk, was the 35th president of the united states. Elected in 1960, he was assassinated in 1963 in Dallas, Texas. Lee Harvey Oswald was charged with the murder, but he himself was killed before he could stand trial. jfk’s presidency witnessed serious clashes with the ussr, which led to the bay of pigs invasion and the cuban missile crisis. Kennedy served in the United States Navy in World War II. He was married to Jacqueline Bouvier.
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activist and president of south africa
nelson mandela was an anti-apartheid activist, revolutionary, and president of south africa from 1994 to 1999. after rising to prominence in the 1952 anc defiance campaign, a protest against the country’s apartheid laws, the young lawyer was unsuccessfully prosecuted for treason (1956-61). however, in 1964 he was sentenced to life imprisonment for his opposition to the regime. he was going to serve 27 years in prison, mostly on robben island. Following his release, having been elected the first black leader of his country, the Mandela government focused on addressing the legacy of decades of apartheid.
20th century African independence fighter
In the 20th century, most of Africa was faced with the task of freeing itself from foreign colonial rule. The struggle for the independence of Guinea was led by Amílcar Cabral, who also played a prominent role in the liberation of the other Portuguese colonies in Africa. he was one of the founders of the popular liberation movement of angola, and founder and leader of the african party for the independence of guiné and capo-verde. “Under Cabral’s leadership, the people of Guinea made great strides, progress that led the government of Portugal to conspire to assassinate him. The assassination of him was carried out in 1973, just before Guinea achieved independence from Portuguese colonial rule, ”says Professor Hakim Adi.
religious activist and civil rights leader
in 1956, baptist preacher martin luther king became a leading figure in organizing the african american bus boycott in montgomery, alabama, in support of rosa parks, who had been arrested for refusing to give up her seat to a white man. King was a major figure in the American civil rights movement, leading nonviolent protests and playing a pivotal role in ending legal segregation of African-American citizens in the United States. He received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 but was assassinated in Memphis on April 4, 1968. The 1965 US Civil Rights Marches were the focus of the 2014 movie Selma.
- is martin luther king’s “i have a dream” speech the best speech ever?
German-born Jewish diarist
anneliese marie frank, known as ‘anne’ to her friends and family, was born in frankfurt-am-main on June 12, 1929. she was the second and youngest daughter of an assimilated jewish family. Her diary, which was written during World War II and covered her experience hiding from the Nazis in an Amsterdam attic, is today one of the most famous and best-selling books of all time.
Stephen Hawking was a British theoretical physicist and cosmologist, best known for his book A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes (1988), which has sold more than 10 million copies. In 1963, the Cambridge academic was diagnosed with motor neuron disease; he died at age 76, after living with the disease for more than 50 years. The life story of the twice-married father of three is told in the hit biopic The Theory of Everything (2014).