This section contains information, facts, and worksheets on inspirational figures through history.
Everyone is unique with their own strengths and talents. But every once in a while, a truly exceptional individual makes an indelible mark on the human race for better or worse.
Whether it’s an impact in science, technology, medicine, literature, the arts, politics, religion, sports, civil rights, war and conflict, the world has been irrevocably changed by the voices and ideas of individuals that became ideologies and movements which fundamentally altered the world into what it is today.
Rather than fear the unknown, individuals including Marco Polo, Christopher Columbus, and Captain James Cook set out in search of unknown lands, helping us explore and map the world.
Some individuals changed the course of history through their convictions. Some notable women include Joan of Arc, a French peasant girl who rose to prominence by bravely fighting against English rule. Amelia Earhart ignored sentiment that women couldn’t be pilots and was the first female aviator to fly across the Atlantic Ocean solo. Rosa Parks defied racism and oppression of black people in America. Marie Curie pioneered research into radioactivity at great cost to her health. Helen Keller didn’t let being blind or deaf stop her pursuing a meaningful life.
In history, some famous figures have gone down in infamy for the damage they wrought with their rise to power. These include Adolf Hitler of Nazi Germany, Mao Zedong, a Chinese Communist revolutionary, and Stalin too, a Soviet revolutionary. The ideologies of these three individuals turned the world upside down and caused the deaths of millions of people.
But where there is darkness, there is also light, with strong people fighting for their convictions. Some notable figures include Nelson Mandela, who helped shepherd South Africa into a democracy without war, Ghandi, who used passive resistance as a means to protest British occupation, and Martin Luther King Jr., who became the face of the Civil Rights Movement in America.
Other individuals applied their minds to technology and innovation, like the Wright brothers, who gave us the gift of flight, and Henry Ford brought cars to the masses.
People’s minds and calculations have resulted in scientific advances that have fundamentally altered our understanding of our world and universe. Leonardo Da Vinci conceived inventions hundreds of years before they became reality, Isaac Newton discovered gravity, and the momentum over centuries by people like these saw Neil Armstrong walk on the moon and Dr Sally Ride go to space.
There are hundreds of individuals that stand out through history, and some, like Malala Yousafzai, are only getting started. Learn about these incredible people and more in our Famous Figures section.