Every so often, a leader emerges whose legacy seems larger-than-life. Some of them inspire us and invite us to envision a better future, like Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks. Others had tumultuous lives and careers that read like a cautionary tale, such as Mary, Queen of Scots and Henry VIII. Still others were tyrants, politicians on the wrong side of history, and various other leaders whose examples we’d do well not to follow, like Russia’s Ivan the Terrible and Andrew Johnson, the first US president to be impeached.
If you want to know more about the people who stood out from their contemporaries, for better or worse, you’ve come to the right place. Our research on historical leaders examines not just who they were and what they did, but the lasting impact they’ve had on the world.
There are two sides to every story...
Attempts to destroy her legacy have been unsuccessful.
Russia's last empress overthrew her own husband.
He led the bloodiest civil war in world history.
By Lee D'Amato
They're impossible to forget.
By Robert Walsh
They were more than a stuffy group of old men—in fact, many of them were young and rowdy.
Politician Sir Thomas Wyatt the Younger sought to overthrow Mary I.
Sometimes the truth is stranger—and more alarming—than fiction.
In 1791, the people of Haiti rose up against their oppressors.