Biographies of the famous, influential, and inspirational.

gorbachev 100 people who changed the world

People throughout history who influenced and changed the world, from Socrates and Plato to Sir Winston Churchill and John F. Kennedy.

women Famous women who changed the world

Over 50 influential women who helped to shape the world in which we live. Including; Sappho, Malala Yousafzai, Indira Gandhi, Susan B. Anthony, Helen Keller, Princess Diana, Joan d’Arc, Greta Thunberg and Mother Teresa.

mandela Inspirational people

A selection of inspirational people who have helped create a better world. Includes Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu and Albert Einstein.

Civil and human rights

Famous men and women who have campaigned for, and promoted human and civil rights. Includes Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks.

art Artists and great paintings

Great artists such as Van Gogh, Rembrandt, Leonardo da Vinci and Pablo Picasso.

Greatest works of art: Mona Lisa, Statue of David

scientists Scientists

The great scientists who have changed our world from Archimedes to Albert Einstein and Marie Curie. Also; list of famous inventors.

jrr-tolkien Writers

Famous poets and authors. Great writers including J. R. R. Tolkien, George Orwell, Ernst Hemingway, J.K.Rowling and C.S. Lewis

spiritual Spiritual biographies

Saints and sages from different religious and spiritual traditions. Including The Buddha, Jesus Christ, Muhammed and the Dalai Lama.

sport Sporting personalities

100 great sporting personalities from the fields of football, athletics, tennis, gymnastics, boxing and more.

Famous Africansafrica

A list of famous Africans, including Nelson Mandela, Haile Selassie, Kofi Annan, Tegla Laroupe, and Wangari Maathai.

military Great military leaders

Famous military leaders from Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan and Napoleon to modern military commanders.

Featured biographies

mandela Nelson Mandela (1918 – 2013 ) Campaigned for justice and freedom in his South Africa. Spent 20 years in jail for his opposition to apartheid. After his release, he became the first President of democratic South Africa.

lincoln-100 Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) 16th President of the US from 1861-1865. He led the Union forces during the American civil war. Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation and passed an amendment to abolish slavery.

Rosa Parks (1913–2005) Civil Rights activist. Parks started the Montgomery bus boycott (1955). She became a prominent spokesperson and figurehead for the American civil rights movement.

Albert Einstein (1879 – 1955) German/US physicist. Einstein revolutionised modern physics with his general theory of relativity. Won Nobel Prize in Physics (1921) for his discovery of the Photoelectric effect, which formed the basis of Quantum Theory.

Helen Keller Helen Keller (1880–1968) Deaf-blind from early childhood, Keller overcame her disability to campaign tirelessly on behalf of deaf and blind people.

gandhiMahatma Gandhi (1869 – 1948) Foremost political leader of the Indian Independence movement. Gandhi adopted a policy of non-violent resistance. Sought to alleviate the plight of women and the ‘untouchable’ caste.

Benjamin-Franklin Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) Author, politician, diplomat, scientist and statesman. Franklin urged the colonies to join together and one of the strongest supporters of the idea for the United States.

Mother Teresa (1910-1997) – Albanian Catholic nun. Mother Teresa devoted her life to the care and service of the poor, especially in India where she founded her Missionaries of Charity organisation.

  • Tenzing Norgay – (1914 – 1986) Nepalese-Indian climber who was first to climb Mount Everest.
  • Herbert Hoover (1874 – 1964) the 31st US president during the Great Depression
  • Sir Edmund Hillary (1919 – 2008) New Zealand climber who became first to climb Mount Everest.
  • Simone Weil – Philosopher, mystic and member of French Resistance.
  • James Joyce – Irish contemporary writer.
  • George R.R. Martin (1948 – )- Best selling fantasy author of “Game of Thrones”
  • Sadhguru (1957 – ) Indian Guru and founder of Isha yoga foundation
  • Charles Lindbergh (1902 – 1974) US air pilot who flew from NY to Paris.
  • Simon Bolivar (1783–1830) Venezuelan military and political leader who was instrumental in helping Latin American countries achieve independence.
  • Diego Maradona (1960 – ) Argentinian footballer. Voted greatest player of 20th Century.
  • Franz Schubert (1797 – 1828) Austrian composer of the late classical period.
  • Prophet Muhammad (570–632) Founder of Islam.
  • Anne Frank (1929-45) Diarist and writer who perished in the Holocaust.
  • Karl Marx (1818-1883) Political philosopher and founder of Marxism
  • James Watt – inventor of a more powerful steam engine
  • 100 most influential people – Influential figures of world history.
  • Sappho Biography – The enigmatic poet of Lesbos.
  • Sojourner Truth (1797 – 1883) Civil rights campaigner
  • Harriet Tubman (1822 – 1913) Escaped slave who helped others to escape on the Underground Railroad.
  • Grace Kelly (1929–1982) American film actress and Princess of Monaco.
  • Meister Eckhart – (1260–1327) German mystic, philosopher and religious administrator.
  • People who promoted religious tolerance – Timeline of religious tolerance.
  • People who changed their minds – Some of the greatest u-turns in beliefs and opinions.
  • Martin Niemöller (1893–1984) German pastor, imprisoned for opposing Hitler.
  • Germans who resisted Hitler – Including: Dietrich Bonhoffer, Claus von Stauffenberg.
  • Mozart (1756 – 1791) – Classical composer and musical genius
  • Famous historical figures – from the age of the Ramayana to the present day.
  • Frederick Douglass (1818–1895) African American, anti-slavery campaigner.

About Biography Online. A collection of biographies about famous, inspirational and influential people, who have helped to shape and change the world. We are continuing to add more biographies over time. The main author of Biography Online is Tejvan Pettinger from Oxford, UK. The site was founded in April 2006.