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10 Great People You Should Know But Don’t

Jamie Frater . . . Comments

As a child the things that most interested me were things little known by others. I am not sure what drew me to love all things obscure and unknown, but that passion remains with me to this day – and can certainly be considered the greatest motivation for making Listverse. On this list we look into the lives of ten people (or groups of people) that we should know about, but don’t. I don’t know why there is such a plethora of historical events and people that we seem to universally forget, but at least that gives good fodder for more lists like this!

Aside from sources on the Internet I also used the excellent book History’s Forgotten Milestones (Kindle edition), by Joseph Cummins, in researching the historical figures for this list. It is an excellent and interesting book that I recommend to all who like this list, as well as his fascinating History’s Great Untold Stories.

10

Nicolas Steno

Steno

Nicolas Steno (11 January 1638 – 25 November 1686) was a Danish pioneer in both anatomy and geology. In 1659, he decided not to accept anything simply written in a book, instead resolving to do research himself. The consequences of this self-study is that he is considered the father of geology and stratigraphy. He was responsible for the the recognition of geological strata, and the theory that successive layers of geological formations (strata) contained a fossil record of life in chronological order. He eventually became a tutor to the de Medici family and, ultimately, became a Bishop and a strong leader in the Catholic Counter-Reformation. He is largely unknown, despite his many great achievements, which may have been due to his religious zeal in a time that was moving away from reasoned science and towards observational science.

9

Cleisthenes

Cleisthenes1

Who is the father of democracy? Not Thomas Jefferson, as many people oddly seem to think. It was, in fact, the little known Cleisthenes. He first introduced democracy to the Greek city states (undoubtedly following some of the principles previously set forth by Solon) in 508 BC, after he gained political power in Athens. From 508 to 502 BC, he began to develop a series of major reforms, leading to the formation of Athenian Democracy. He made all free men living in Athens and Attica citizens, giving them the right to vote as part of a democratic society. He also established a council (boule). All citizens over the age of thirty were eligible to sit on the council, encouraging public involvement in the government. While the format may not be the same as the many democracies around the world today, there is no doubt that this was the first step.


8

Elisha Kane

Elishakane4

It is astounding that Elisha Kane is known to so few people – especially considering that his funeral was said to be the largest in US history, second only to that of Abraham Lincoln. Kane (28 February 1820 – 16 February 1857) was a US Navy Officer who was a member of two Arctic expeditions to attempt to rescue (without success) the explorer Sir John Franklin (a British Arctic explorer who vanished while attempting to chart and navigate the Canadian Arctic). Though suffering from scurvy, and at times near death, he resolutely pushed on and charted the coasts of Smith Sound and the Kane Basin, penetrating farther north than any other explorer had done up to that time. His ship was eventually icebound and so, on 20th May 1855, he led his party on an 83 day march across the frozen north, carrying their sick with them. They lost only one man on the journey and were eventually rescued. However, the toll on his health was too extreme and he died two years later in Havana, where he was trying to recuperate. His body was carried from New Orleans to Philadelphia, and nearly every platform on the trip was met by a memorial delegation.

7

Rabban Sauma

800Px-Voyagesofrabbanbarsauma

Rabban Bar Sauma (c. 1220–1294) is the Marco Polo of the East, and yet is relatively unknown. He was a Turkic/Mongol monk, turned diplomat, of the Nestorian Christian faith. He is known for embarking on a pilgrimage from Mongol-controlled China to Jerusalem with one of his students, Rabban Markos. Due to military unrest along the way, they never reached their destination, but instead spent many years in Mongol-controlled Baghdad. Markos was eventually chosen as Nestorian Patriarch, and later suggested his teacher, Rabban Bar Sauma, be sent on another mission, as Mongol ambassador to Europe. The elderly monk met with many of the European monarchs, as well as the Pope, in attempts to arrange a Franco-Mongol alliance. The mission bore no fruit, but in his later years in Baghdad, Rabban Bar Sauma documented his lifetime of travel. His written account of his journeys is of unique interest to modern historians, as it gives a picture of medieval Europe at the close of the Crusading period, painted by a keenly intelligent, broadminded and statesmanlike observer. His travels occurred prior to the return of Marco Polo to Europe, and his writings give a reverse viewpoint of the East looking to the West.

6

Mary Anning

436Px-Mary Anning Painting

Mary Anning (21 May 1799 – 9 March 1847) was a British fossil collector, dealer and palaeontologist who became known around the world for a number of important finds she made in the Jurassic age marine fossil beds at Lyme Regis, where she lived. Her work contributed to the fundamental changes in scientific thinking about prehistoric life and the history of the earth that occurred in the early 19th century, and yet she is barely known today, while Darwin has become a household name. Her discoveries included the first ichthyosaur skeleton to be correctly identified, which she and her brother, Joseph, found when she was just twelve years old, the first two plesiosaur skeletons ever found, the first pterosaur skeleton located outside Germany, and some important fish fossils. Because of her sex and religious rebellion, much of her work was never published and, in fact, she rarely even received credit for her scientific contributions.

5

Fighting Women of Dahomey

Dahomey Amazons

The Dahomey Amazons, or Mino, were a Fon (a major West African ethnic and linguistic group in the country of Benin, and southwest Nigeria) all-female military regiment of the Kingdom of Dahomey (now Benin), which lasted until the end of the 19th century. They were so named by Western observers and historians due to their similarity to the semi-mythical Amazons of ancient Anatolia and the Black Sea. The Mino were recruited from among the ahosi (“king’s wives”), of which there were often hundreds. They trained with intense physical exercise. Discipline was emphasized. In the latter period, they were armed with Winchester rifles, clubs and knives. Units were under female command. Captives who fell into the hands of the Amazons were often decapitated. The French army lost several battles to them due to the female warriors’ skill in battle that was “the equal of every contemporary body of male elite soldiers from among the colonial powers”. The last surviving Amazon of Dahomey died in 1979.


4

Jan Wnęk

Screen Shot 2011-04-12 At 9.36.25 Am

Since reading about Jan Wnęk a year ago, I have desperately sought an opportunity to include him on a list. I am very glad that today that opportunity has arisen, for Wnęk truly was a remarkable man who is little known outside of his native Poland. Wnęk was an illiterate carpenter, born in 1828, who went on to become a prolific sculptor, artist and aviation pioneer. All of this with only natural talent. He studied the wings of ducks to try to learn how to fly, and ultimately built a glider that allowed him to make a number of short flights. His fame was great in the towns around where he lived because of his flying ability. He died at the age of 41, when one of his flights went wrong. He left no written records or drawings of his work in aviation. Above is one of the incredible sculptures he created. You can see many more here.

3

Pope Leo the Great

Pope-Saint-Leo-The-Great-02

Most of us know Pope Saint Gregory the Great – the inventor of our calendar, but far fewer have heard of Pope St Leo the Great (400 – November 10, 461) who single handedly did what no army could do: stop Attila the Hun. In 452, when the King of the Huns, Attila, invaded Italy and threatened Rome, Pope Leo went to meet him personally to beg him to withdraw. Attila, so impressed by Leo, simply turned around and left. Unfortunately, Leo’s intercession could not prevent the sack of the city by the Vandals in 455, but murder and arson were repressed by his influence. In addition to this great achievement, St Leo is remembered for his writings on equality of all men, and the call for all to live in dignity. His feast day is April 11. Pictured above is the famed meeting between St Leo and Attila.


2

Empress Myeongseong

Purported Photograph Of Empress Myeong Seong (Not Verified)

Empress Myeongseong (19 October 1851 – 8 October 1895), also known as Queen Min, was the first official wife of King Gojong, the twenty-sixth king of the Joseon dynasty of Korea. At the age of 16 she was married to the then 15 year old King. But, instead of being the demure queen expected of her, she was assertive and ambitious. She gave up many of the royal functions such as hosting tea parties for the aristocracy, and, instead, read books reserved for men only, teaching herself philosophy, history, science, politics and religion. When her husband took full power (at 22), Queen Min took a very active role in politics, and placed her own family members into high positions, solidifying her power. It was during her so-called rule that Korea began to open to modernization – first with the help of the much despised Japanese (due to forced treaties and threats of war) and later from the West. The Queen reorganized government to deal with the influence of Westernization, and allowed freedom of religion which had previous been suppressed. This caused great upset amongst her own political leaders. The Japanese, seeing her power, decided to assassinate her – which they did, in 1895, by stabbing her multiple times. The King, despairing from the loss of his wife, began to sign treaty after treaty with the Japanese, which eventually led to their colonial rule from 1910-1945. Pictured above is a purported photograph of the Queen.

1

Baldwin IV

Baldwin The Leper

Baldwin IV of Jerusalem (1161–16 March 1185) was the King of Jerusalem, from 1174 to 1185. In his youth it was discovered that he had contracted leprosy and, due to his young age, most people thought he would not reign long. He was crowned at the age of 13, and so Jerusalem was ruled by two regents, one of whom signed a treaty of peace with Saladin. When Baldwin came of age he did not renew the treaty, and, instead, began a series of wars against him – fighting on horseback despite suffering from leprosy. He had numerous successes in his battles, which led the Muslim population to refer to him as “the pig”. Baldwin was courageous in battle and wise in politics – organizing marriages that would fortify the kingdom and his power. He ended up reigning for eleven years – the last two years of which he co-reigned with his five year old nephew, King Baldwin V. Oh – and unlike the movie Kingdom of Heaven, Baldwin IV did not wear a mask.

Jamie Frater

Jamie is the owner and chief-editor of Listverse. He spends his time working on the site, doing research for new lists, and collecting oddities. He is fascinated with all things historic, creepy, and bizarre.

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  • Wait, i think there is a movie about Empress Myeongseong

    • hanbando in ’06 was the first thing that came to mind. but……..that was a/b a korean national seal and a conspiracy, and ……kinda like national treasure and the english patient had a illegitimate love child … (read: it was an hour too long, and contained asinine jumps in logic.) — soo-yeon kang played her, and did good though.

      —in ’09 there was a flick called ?? ???? ? (the sword with no name) where su-ae played her….. i didn’t see that in english, and my korean sucks ass …. but it seemed good ….

      —somewhere between those, there was a korean — i wanna say miniseries type thing that was more about her than either movie. last empress or somehting like that — whatever that was called, that was very well done, i recommend it highly if you have any interest in the back story at all. or if you just wanna look at the pretty scenery, either way, just avoid the musical version … itll make your ears bleed.

      • The last one you mention is a Korean Drama no? I think I have seen it floating about on Korean torrent sites. I am up to episode 20 of 60 of Dae Jang Geum – once I finish that (and the best baker) I might download it. The Korean royal court is fascinating.

        • yeah, frater, it is.

          i had called it a miniseries because i know yall would know what i was talking about. more accuratly, serial drama.

          i have seen it on torrents several times, but it’s a bigass file, it comes from six dvd-9’s (the double sided ones) which is … what …… 40-45 gigabytes?

          i’m not quite sure it’s obscurity is going to lend many seeds, but there is only one way to find out, yo.

          the working title is: the last empress (myeongseong), but there is at least one other production with that title,, and it is a musical which sucks sucks sucks. i think there is another, as well.

          i have seen it with this: ????? in the title, which is her posthumous name. what you are looking for is the one with the cast consisting: li mi yein, liu dong gun, and man gun ying. you’d dig it.

  • Phani

    Hmm… All ten people are new to me. Nice to know about them

  • Rasputin

    Great list, didn’t know about a single one of these (I knew Pope Leo the Great by name, but didn’t know what he did).

    • Even as a Catholic who is relatively well versed in Catholic history I knew nothing more about St Leo the Great than his name – it is weird considering Atilla is so famous.

      • Ni99a

        Me on the contrary know someone begged Atilla to spare his city but not the person who did the begging.

  • Having read one of Cummings’ book I knew four of the people on this list. They are great stories, but ultimately prove that no matter how important, highly regarded or well known we are in our own time, we’re mere blips on the radar of history when all is said and done.

    • Jack

      Really? I’d like you to say hello to my friends Moctezuma, Martin Luther, and Pontius Pilate.

      • Dono

        the only one u just mentioned the i know of is martin luther. sounds like he’s right. btw im a young generation

        • James

          How do you know Martin Luther but not Pontius Pilate?
          Unless you thought he meant Martin Luther King…

        • avi

          Pontius Pilate was one of the guys who killed Jesus. I think Moctezuma was some Aztec Emperor, but I don’t know what he did.

  • ConVIxen

    Ah yes! Finally a good and informative list where I learned something.

    I’m so totally reppin’ numbers 2, 5, and 6. Nice to see some badass women. :D

    Wonderful list. :D

    • Thumb up . . .-i miss those little icons-

    • I was especially glad to be able to add women to this list – much easier when looking just for “great” people as opposed to military or other mainly male occupations :)

    • emmakate

      Is Queen Amidala based on# 2?

  • Matt C

    Pope Leo:
    He went out to meet with Attila because he (Leo) was sent by Emperor Valentinian III, along with two others.
    As to Attila being impressed by Leo’s persuasive begging: the enormous bribe and annual tribute Leo offered (and paid) probably didn’t hurt.

  • good list ,

  • undaunted warrior 1

    Yea I agree witht most of the comments above, all new to me as well learned something today.

    Thanks.

  • Rex

    Great list! Knew four of them in advance. As a dane i’ m glad to see Steno on the list. Honorable mention could have gone to these other scandinavians: Rasmus Rask, Emmanuel Swedenborg, Christopher Polhem, Queen Margrethe I and Carsten Niebuhr :-)

    • They will certainly be considered for a future list – thanks :)

  • Julius

    Anybody else read number 1 as “the fourth baldwin”? I was wondering what was so special about Stephen before I read the paragraph.

    • levi

      Haha yes I did:) The baldwin brothers starting with alec baldwin get less and less famous. That goes perfectly with “people you should know but dont” and than “the 4th baldwin” because i know theirs atleast 3 baldwin brothers so a 4th one would be new to me.

      • There are four baldwin brothers. Alec, Stephen, William and Daniel.

  • I am always wary of lists that state “…you did’nt know” or “…greatest ever” etc, and to be honest, I actually did not know any of the ten listed, but I must add that I will not know them tomorrow either…of the 6.5 billion people alive, only a few gain recognition, which is fine by me. Each country will have its own famous people only known within its borders (with the exception of Mr. Hasselhof who is only admired in Germany…)

    • Julius

      Where does the stereotype that germans like David Hasselhoff actually come from? Do you know? Because I’m German and know literally nobody that particularly likes him, or rather gives a damn about him. I’ve also never seen ads for a concert or w/e so where does that stereotype come from?

      • the movie Eurotrip , it has a clip of him belting a ballad in German on the beach with soft sunset light and wind blowing in his hair and a massive erection . But i think he does have a large fanbase in Germany. He also sang on the berlin wall . Back in the day he was dating an afrikaans popstar called particia lewis (she sux balls by the way) , my dad saw them in a club and recently they had a reunion thing here i think, i dunno, they were on TV . this was when he was Michael Knight not Mitch .

        • **** stiffy?

        • particia lewis bit, that is news to me(not the part where you said she sux)

          • thats right our own dumb blonde poppie took a shadowy flight into the dangerous world of a man who does not exist.

          • lmao

      • Auburn Tiger

        He had a bunch of songs that made the top 100 charts in Germany (two of them reaching number one). It was more of a late 80’s thing I think.

        • The 80s has a lot to answer for.

          • Auburn Tiger

            I’ve always said: The only good thing that came out of the 80’s was good metal. Well, also bad, hair metal, but whatever.

        • avi

          So David Hasselhoff is the German Justin Bieber?

  • g

    Had heard of Elisha Kane, and Pope Leo, but not the others. Great list, fun to read. Gotta say, I was impressed at Jan Wnek’s work.

    • I was too – I stumbled upon him by accident last year and couldn’t wait to find a list that he would suit being on. I am glad I finally managed to mention him.

  • banani

    I knew three of them by name, but not about what they did.
    I love these kinds of things.

  • Armadillotron

    Hmm.. Well the Democracy we have today it`s not exactly Ancient Greece is it? Starting wars, stealing, war-crimes.. The word Tyrant also originated in Ancient Greece you know.

    • Armin Tamzarian

      You mean there wasn’t any starting wars, stealing or war-crimes in Ancient Greece?

    • In Ancient Greece the word tyrant (????????) meant “ruler” and it had no negative connotations – it was merely the ruler of a group of people or a city – perhaps like a Mayor we have today.

      As for today’s democracy compared to then – they set the ground work but it definitely isn’t the very same system we use – but both then and now we start wars, steal, and commit war crimes.

  • Armadillo

    I would love to read a list called “10 people you know but shouldn’t” :D

    • donotknowme

      10 people I wish I could forget about because they take up valuable brain space:
      1. Roseann Barr
      2. Tara Reid
      3. Andy Dick
      4. Paris Hilton
      5. Nicole Ritchie
      6. Tila Tequila
      7. Lindsey Lohan
      8. Paul Walker
      9. Any Kardashian
      10. Fergie

      • lol, super list

      • randomizer

        Lol. Good take on the list. My list would include britney spears and justin bieber. Total waste of mind space

      • Name

        Pauly Shore.

      • g

        excellent

    • holly — no matter who else gets suggested, hasslehoff belongs on your list. although, i will say, whoever said tila tequila — couldn’t have called it better myself.

      • Armadillo

        I’ll keep that in mind ;)

    • Alas with today’s “celebrities” it would need to be a top 1,000 and I just don’t have the time! Also, my brain would probably pop having to look up the photos :)

      • Gabby

        Haha ikr

  • mordechaimordechai

    i knew the episode of Leo Magnus, and i remembered something about king Baldwin and a miracolous victorious battle he fought during his reign. But that’s just because i love to read about the crusades…

    • Here is a great book about the Crusades by the great author Hilaire Belloc :)

      • mordechaimordechai

        Thank you Jamie.

        Isn’t it odd that so many people have read “the crusades through arab eyes” yet so few have the slight idea of what the crusades really meant for christendom?

        I realized it reading Julius Evola Revolt against the Modern World.

  • sharktamer

    So Steno refused to believe anything written in a book, but was a bishop?

    • Name

      And had a bit of a problem with “his religious zeal” as well…

    • fudrick

      This is exactly what I was going to say. I guess he just ignored things written in books that have proof, but accepted things written in books as long as they had absolutely no evidence.

  • Lifeschool

    Great list JF, didn’t know any of these. I was struck by the Da Vinci element to Jan Wn?k’s work, but 1826 can’t compete with 1452! Just goes to show how far ahead Da Vinci was. I’m guessing Kane Basin was named AFTER the exploration of Elisha Kane during this trip? I’m also guessing the movie ‘Kingdom Of Heaven’ was the one alluded to in #1? Also, forgive my ignorance, but I’m guessing Korea was one country during Empress Myeongseong’s reign? If not I’m guessing she was from the south as the south seems to be more ‘Westernised’ today. Maybe someone can help me on this.

    Anyways, enjoyed the history lesson… as peter2dc said, I may not be able to recall their names tomorrow, but I will remember their stories in order to reference them later.

    @cqsteve – ‘Blips in time’ – I rapturously agree. Every life, and every day, and every single second is the first, the last, and the only. Before came nothing (the past is but a faded memory), after comes nothing (the future is but a dream), but between comes all creation; in glorious technicolour; in the hands and the hearts of men.

    • Lifeschool

      ‘Men’ is meant to imply Mankind. :)

    • Lifeschool: Queen Min (of Korea) reigned from Seoul – it was the capital of a united Korea. The country didn’t lose unity until after the second World War. The South is westernised today thanks largely to the impact of the US who are still in Korea (the war is not technically over as there is no peace treaty) in case Kim Jong Il launches a fresh attack – believe it or not in recent years (as recently as 2010) he has deliberately attacked South Korean land and vessels and attempted to dig four tunnels into Seoul for an invasion.

      Yes Kane Basin will be named after Elisha Kane :) The coincidence otherwise is too hard to believe.

  • iuuk

    Anyone else here that thinks Jesus in 4 looks like Jean Reno?

    • Otter

      I was thinking the exact same thing! I think it’s the odd look of the mouth.

  • oouchan

    I knew of 3 of them. The Empress I’ve read about previously. Amazing what she did. She reminded me of Hatshepsut of Egypt. I like the obscurity of the entries. Well-rounded and interesting.

    Cool list.

    • That is an excellent point – I hadn’t thought of how similar she was to Hatshepsut – also Elizabeth I was similar – all women reigning like men when it was not the done thing.

  • I’m still trying to figure out the connection between Jan Wn?k and Jesus, other than they were both carpenters.

    One thinks that if one would have wanted a picture of Wnek, one could’ve gone to frickin’ Wikipedia to dig one up.

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/0

    • SailorBill

      The pic is of a sculpture done by Wn?k.

    • I wanted to post an example of his skill as a sculptor – not a photo of him :)

  • Jack

    There’s a reason that people know who Darwin was and why Mary Anning is relatively unknown. Darwin is the creator of the Theory of Evolution and Mary Anning is a woman during a time of oppression for women.

  • jakeryder

    Usually when a list tells me I don’t know the things it’s about to tell me I get excited because it’s my chance to prove I am smarter than everyone else.
    This list got me though, I only knew Cleisthenes. The narrative to give me a chuckle though because I have never met anyone who thought Jefferson invented democracy.

    • I tried very hard to pick entries that would be unknown to most people – I am glad (based on the comments so far) that I managed to do that :)

  • FErnando

    someone should do a list of top ten list of events from 2000-2010′ or 11

  • Eddie

    Excellent list!

    Nice way to start the day.

    Thanks.

  • Luis

    It should be clarified that the movie in the last entry is Kingdom of Heaven.

  • Dustin

    Thank the heavens today’s list was a great one. About eveyone was new to me also and very informative. This is the kind of list I love and the reason I keep coming back

  • Canadianguy

    #2…I mean, come on. You’re glossing over the late Choson period.

    Kim Gu murdered Tsuchida not because Queen Min was adored but rather because of what her death represented, which he saw as an affront to Korea and Koreans. Kim Gu was most certainly not a monarchist.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donghak_Peasant_Revolution

  • MBoughton

    Fun (but Catholic heavy) list, but with one major issue. You wrote that “Atilla, so impressed by Leo simple turned around and left.” Forgetting the misspelling of Attila and grammatical mistakes, the fact is Leo went with an envoy of three people who bribed Attila. He wasn’t so impressed he turned and left, he was payed off! Huge difference! But I guess it doesn’t sound as good.

  • Levi

    #6 Elisha Kane’s story sound alot like the story of Sir Ernest Shackleton. Shackleton was the captain of the ship “endurance” which became stuck in the arctic ice pack and drifted with the ice for months with the ice finally crushing the boat, which than sunk. He and his men survived with no lives lost. Both are great stories and “endurance” is also the name of the book which tells the story of Shackleton and his crew surviving. Great book, my grandma read it to us all the time.

  • Jesus

    It was a great list! I really liked it! I didn’t know about any of them! Though I thing the #1 spot should of gone to someone else! Any other on the list! Great list though!:)

  • fds

    Good list; my personal favorite was Pope Leo.

  • Best list in a while. It’s always fun to file away nuggets of obscure knowledge.

  • skoalman5

    i know every single one of those people…personally

  • Adam

    He had numerous successes in his battles, which led the Muslim population to refer to him as “the pig”.

    Don’t you just hate it when success leads to being called a pig.

  • Vozhd

    I knew all these people. Although, considering I am also quite a Joseph Cummins fan that makes sense.

  • Davo

    You left me off this list by accident, Jamie ;)

  • Pedro

    Mary Anning IS well known through the nursery rhyme “Mary, Mary quite contrary…” It also explains Mary’s unique garden. I was surprised no one mentioned it.

  • Tycuza

    Ah, i actually know leo the great. In fact, he is the basis of my conformation name

  • Nice research,

    You do have an eye for the unknown.

  • the wtiter of this post is completely biased person who himself dont know who is Best amongset all humen beings …………..

    • Alfje17

      Ahahahahahaha! Learn to spell before you type such drivel!

  • ten people really new to me. nice to know it

  • Carra23

    I HATE list titles that tell us “we haven’t heard of” something or other: do list makers think we’re ALL stupid and ignorant?

    For the record – I HAVE heard of (and read about)”

    #10 Steno
    #9 Cleisthenes
    #8 Elisha Kane
    #6 Mary Anning
    #5 Fighting Women of Dahomey
    #3 Pope Leo the Great
    &
    #1 King Baldwin IV

    Only Myeongseong, Wnek and Rabban Sauma are new to me – and I am about 70% sure I have read about Sauma before

    • bigski

      you sir are full of feces….

  • Good list; my personal favorite was Pope Leo.

  • awesome list.

  • Stephen

    Great List… who are the next ten people we should know?

  • SirTainDeth

    Actually. Pope “Saint” Leo didn’t do that great a thing as regards Atilla. Atilla was asked to help a lady, Pope Leo met with Atilla and payed him off with a large chest of gold. Atilla had no interest in pillaging and rape, or even looting. He knew that he would get payed one way or another, without having to knock down any buildings

  • bigski

    great list loved it….

  • mik47

    I just read a book about the Taiping Rebellion in China that occurred around the time of the US Civil War. I never heard anything about it but it seems like it was an important historical period since 20 million people died during its fighting that lasted from approx. 1850 to 1864

  • Kingdom of Heaven just popped into my head when I read the words ‘leprosy’ and ‘King of Jerusalem’.

  • kelmcgot

    The Gregorian calendar was instituted by Pope Gregory XIII, who reigned from 1572-1585, not Gregory I (the Great), who reigned from 590-604.

  • James___uk

    Thanks for the interesting list, it’s always good to learn about important people and times in history

  • moses johnson

    Bladwin lV was the greatest king of any country in history

  • Vartanami

    Amazing effort. Most probably it’s not meant to be the first among their categories, but they might be the most unknown ones.

    Great humanity, makes us drive and lead through the ages.

  • Ahmed

    I know about Baldwin IV, i have heard about Pope Leo the Great but don’t know anything about him, all the rest are new to me, good article.

  • LongLiveAloysius

    “Most of us know Pope Saint Gregory the Great – the inventor of our calendar.”

    Actually, Aloysius Lilius was the inventor of our calendar, not Gregory. (Ironic, eh?) Also, Gregory the Great was Pope Gregory I, not XIII, who commissioned the Gregorian calendar.

  • obywatel Kane

    Ja pierdole i nasz sie trafil xD

  • Shah Wali
  • Famous Buildings
  • Will

    A good list but I myself am a bit dissapointed, I knew 9 out of 10 of these.

  • PhoebePhoenix

    This is an amazing list! I knew none of the people you talked about, aside from King Baldwin IV, and that was only from Kingdom of Heaven. It would be nice if this became a serial listing. Well done!

  • amar

    how about Nicholas Tesla??serious i like him..

  • irene therese ng

    I have been reading library books on useless information or information which the average person does not really know. So, what happens is that I have actually read about St.Leo. As for the other great persons, I have the faintest idea of who they really are and what they have done.

  • Elvina Copening

    I think this is among the most significant information for me. And i am glad reading your article. But wanna remark on few general things, The site style is perfect, the articles is really excellent : D. Good job, cheers

  • Matra

    How about Jayavarman, King of Cambodia? Just a suggestion

  • dt

    Mary Anning is also the subject of the tongue twister “she sells sea shells by the sea shore”

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  • James

    Are you able to give a reference for Baldwin not wearing a mask.I had read this in Simon Montefiore’s book “Jerusalem.A Biography”but Id given it back by the time my INCREDIBLY IRRITATING HISTORY TEACHER refused to even discuss the possibility of Kingdom of Heaven being inaccurate .

  • Bb

    Great list and gud work. I have seen a movie on d amazons of dahomey but it was poorly done. My search for more info on Baldwin iv led me to this site. He was diseased but fought till d end and mostly did what was best for his people twice riding into war on a stretcher against sahadin. I wish most current leaders will be that selfless especially in africa. Thanks J.

  • Nadia

    Oh nooo… I don’t know one person from here.

  • D

    So 10 people that were great, but knowing them is relatively unimportant. So… 10 great people I don’t know because despite being great, didn’t really contribute as much as you’d lead me to believe.
    More important people to modern society would be people like Dennis Ritchie, who you basically can thank for EVERY modern computer program. He created something you use EVERY day. Without him, this website wouldn’t exist. So, glad you included someone famous for begging (that isn’t Diogenes the Cynic) instead.