Posted: 23 February 2005 at 4:39am
| IP Logged
Here is the LIFE magazine
list of the "Top" 100 People who had a major impact on the Second Millennium,
ranked in order of importance. You may or may not agree with the ranking,
but it does make interesting reading.
1 THOMAS EDISON 1847-1931
Because of him, the millennium will end in a wash of brilliant light rather
than in torchlit darkness as it began. In 1879, Thomas Edison gave humans
the power to create light without fire, by inventing a long-lasting, affordable
incandescent lamp. Among life's many conveniences we can take for granted,
thanks in part to him: copiers, radio, movies, TV, phones (he improved Bell's).
On the night after his funeral, Americans dimmed their lights for the man
who lit up the world.
2 CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS 1451-1506
He failed four times to find a route westward from Europe to the Orient,
but the Italian explorer stumbled upon two giant continents rich in raw materials
and agricultural products that changed the economy of Europe. Christopher
Columbus is often criticized--principally for cruelty toward and enslavement
of Caribbean natives--but his delivery on a promise to "discover islands and
mainland in the Ocean Sea," however inadvertent, has never been surpassed.
3 MARTIN LUTHER 1483-1546
When Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door of a Wittenberg, Germany,
church in 1517 "for the purpose of eliciting truth," he began the Reformation
that transformed political and religious alliances for centuries. While some
later writings were marked by anti-Semitism, his early works stressed salvation
by God's grace and Christian spirituality. He argued against papal authority
in affairs of state, and when he refused to recant was excommunicated by the
Catholic Church in 1521--an act that gave rise to all Protestant churches.
4 GALILEO GALILEI 1564-1642
By challenging views of the natural world that had prevailed for 1,500 years,
Italian astronomer, physicist and mathematician Galileo Galilei changed the
way we think. By inventing a mathematical approach to everyday experience,
he discovered the laws of inertia, falling bodies and the pendulum. With a
telescope he built, he also made astronomical discoveries that convinced
him of the heliocentric view of the universe, which Copernicus had formulated
earlier but had been hesitant to publish. Galileo took the chance but was
forced to recant his findings before a Catholic Church tribunal in 1633.
Nonetheless, his beliefs and discoveries lived on, opening the door for modern
physics and a new approach to scientific thought.
5 LEONARDO DA VINCI 1452-1519
Renaissance man--one who knows much and can do more, whose interests are
broad and deep, whose zest for inquiry is indefatigable--was born in Vinci,
Italy, in 1452 and named Leonardo. As an apprentice he quickly showed painting
and sculptural talents. Soon after came projects in engineering, anatomy,
architecture, scientific illustration, mapmaking, mathematics, optics. While
his finished works--notably Mona Lisa and The Last Supper--are few, his copious
and disorderly notebooks continue to enthrall us. Regarded as the greatest
of great amateurs, this enduring icon of the Renaissance set a mark unequaled
by any who came after.
6 ISAAC NEWTON 1642-1727
A passionately religious man in a time of great scientific discovery, Isaac
Newton wanted to know how God's universe worked. His quest for answers gave
us the law of universal gravitation, calculus, a new theory of color and light,
and the three laws of motion that form the basis of modern mechanics. Brilliant
and creative, the English physicist and mathematician synthesized the discoveries
of Galileo, Kepler and others, formalizing and transforming physical science.
Yet, looking back, Newton said, "I seem to have been only like a boy, playing
on the sea-shore, and diverting myself, in now and then finding a smoother
pebble or prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay
all undiscovered before me."
7 FERDINAND MAGELLAN c.1480-1521
When Ferdinand Magellan headed west across the Atlantic in 1519, people
already understood the world to be round. But this expedition, under his
brave command, provided proof. The Portuguese captain, sailing for Spain,
found the strait off South America's tip to be treacherous in the extreme,
but he made it through. Having survived mutiny, desertion and shipwreck,
Magellan and his crew faced starvation as they headed into the Pacific. Magellan
died in the Philippines, but a small band of his men eventually reached home,
having sailed around the world.
8 LOUIS PASTEUR 1822-1895
Eulogized as "the most perfect man who has ever entered the kingdom of Science,"
Louis Pasteur was both practical problem-solver and theoretical genius. The
French chemist discovered that heat would kill the unwanted microorganisms
that turned wine bitter. Soon, the process of "pasteurization" was applied
to many foods and beverages. Finding and eliminating a microbe that was attacking
silkworm eggs, Pasteur is credited with saving the French silk industry. Realizing
that most diseases are caused by microorganisms, he helped establish the
germ theory. And using weakened microbes in vaccines to develop immunities
to anthrax and other diseases, Pasteur saved countless lives and advanced
the science of immunology.
9 CHARLES DARWIN 1809-1882
A child of wealth and an undistinguished student, Charles Darwin leapt at
the chance to serve as an unpaid naturalist on the H.M.S. Beagle. In the course
of his five-year adventure, he realized his genius: Though he returned a
semi-invalid, he proceeded to father 10 children--and to work out the implications
of what he had seen in the Galapagos Islands and atolls of the Pacific. His
theories of evolution and natural selection, published in 1859, still excite
10 THOMAS JEFFERSON 1743-1826
Were it not for his mind and his pen, the world might have witnessed one
more bloody revolution signifying nothing. A lawyer by trade, a pioneer of
American architecture, a president who spurred westward expansion, a slave
owner who opposed slavery, Thomas Jefferson embodied many of the aspirations
of a newborn nation. It was a self-evident truth, wrote the 33-year-old Virginian,
"that all Men are created equal." Natural law, the right to "Life, Liberty,
and the Pursuit of Happiness," became the New World blueprint. It remains
an alluring goal for democracies around the world.
11 WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE 1564-1616
William Shakespeare's masterful use of the English language has captivated
audiences for 400 years. He penned 38 plays and 154 sonnets that explored
the complexities of the human soul with unprecedented emotional range. His
subject matter, from romantic comedies to moving tragedies, was equally diverse.
But what all his work demonstrates is a facility for wordplay unrivaled by
any writer before or since. Shakespeare's ubiquity on world stages, on film,
in textbooks and in our everyday vernacular is a testament to his achievement.
12 NAPOLEON BONAPARTE 1769-1821
Already a war hero, he seized power in France in 1799 and quickly set out
to conquer the world. He treated soldiers well and promoted for reasons of
talent, not class. He said he hoped to build a federation of free governments
throughout Europe. But to the enemy, Napoleon Bonaparte looked like a tyrant.
He met his Waterloo at Waterloo, Belgium, in 1815, and spent his last six
years in exile on the British isle of St. Helena.
13 ADOLF HITLER 1889-1945
A failed artist who was gassed and wounded during World War I, Adolf Hitler
embarked on a vicious campaign of global domination. He almost succeeded.
Along with his mastery of propaganda, his ideology of racial purity and
his ruthless political skills, Hitler possessed a diabolical personal magnetism.
He secured the chancellorship of Germany in 1933, declared war on the world
in 1939, and set about systematically exterminating Jews and other "undesirables."
By the time Hitler was defeated in 1945, as many as 77 million had died,
making him responsible for more human destruction than any other man in the
history of the world. As the Allies were closing in on Berlin, Hitler committed
suicide in his bunker.
14 ZHENG HE 1371-c.1435
In the early decades of the 15th century, the seas off Asia were dominated
by the huge Chinese treasure ships of Admiral Zheng He--each one of them
five times as large as a typical European caravel. Zheng, a court eunuch
turned diplomat, led seven naval expeditions for Ming emperor Yongle between
1405 and 1433. His assignment was to extend China's political sway overseas.
His first entourage included 62 ships and 27,800 men; the others were of
similar scale, making them the most fantastic naval ventures the world had
yet seen. His journeys took him to the east coast of Africa, to Mecca and
to India. Zheng always brought back exotic souvenirs as proof of his exploits,
including, once, an African giraffe.
15 HENRY FORD 1863-1947
When Henry Ford set up shop in Detroit in 1903, all he wanted to do was
make and sell cars. For 19 years he sold only one kind, the Model T, but
he sold 15.5 million of them, half the auto output in the world. His revolutionary
assembly line enabled him to sell his cars at a price the average American
family could afford, and to double his workers' wages while cutting hours.
What had been a toy of the rich fast became a necessity of life, spawning
gas stations, superhighways and traffic jams around the world.
16 SIGMUND FREUD 1856-1939
Hearing about a colleague's successful use of hypnosis to cure hysterics,
Sigmund Freud developed free association, in which his patients simply said
whatever came into their minds. He used this technique, along with dream analysis
and other methods, to help patients express their hidden wishes and repressed
experiences. Freud's emphasis on the power of the unconscious to influence
behavior broadened our view of human nature and sexuality, and gave rise
to the age of psychotherapy.
17 RICHARD ARKWRIGHT 1732-1792
His 1769 invention of a water-powered spinning frame meant that all-cotton
cloth could, for the first time, be made in England. But because his creation
had to be housed in a large room with a water supply at the ready, Richard
Arkwright inadvertently became the founder of the modern factory system,
a system in which specialized workers, using specialized machinery, work
together in one place--very quickly.
18 KARL MARX 1818-1883
Though not one of the working-class proletarians about whom he wrote, Karl
Marx followed his own advice and renounced his bourgeois roots. Hounded from
Germany to France to England, living hand-to-mouth, he devoted his life to
political journalism, supported by his patron and writing partner, Friedrich
Engels. Marx's vision of a postcapitalist world where the working class owns
the means of production has not come to pass, but his critique of the class
system has inspired millions.
19 NICOLAUS COPERNICUS 1473-1543
The Earth was the fixed center of the universe until 16th century Polish
astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus ventured the idea that the sun is the center
of the solar system, with the earth and the planets revolving around it.
Copernicus, a systematic student of mathematics and astronomy, began to amass
evidence disputing Aristotle and Ptolemy's geocentric universe. But he was
also a cautious man--one might say a wise man--at a time when heretics were
put to death. Copernicus didn't publish On the Revolutions of the Celestial
Spheres, which revolutionized our concept of the world, until 1543, when
he was on his deathbed.
20 ORVILLE & WILBUR WRIGHT 1871-1948
The Wright brothers, who designed and made bicycles for a living, were so
distressed after hearing that the German scientist Otto Lilienthal had died
in a gliding experiment, that they determined to pursue his dream of flight.
For eight years the brothers studied flying buzzards, tested wing models in
a homemade wind tunnel, built engines, and launched gliders, most of them
doomed, on the windy bluffs of Kitty Hawk, N.C. Finally, in 1903, Orville
and Wilbur succeeded in flying the first powered airplane. Flight time: 12
seconds. By 1908, the Wrights were making warplanes. Mankind's view of the
world--and of its own power--had changed forever.
21 ALBERT EINSTEIN 1879-1955
One dreamy, academically lax German youth would follow his curiosity until
he had removed Newton from the pinnacle of physics and painted a fantastic
new picture of our universe. In the process, Albert Einstein changed the political
and scientific balance of power in our century.
22 MOHANDAS GANDHI 1869-1948
"The candle of non-violence should be able to burn even when the cyclone
of violence surrounds it." Mohandas Gandhi was explaining his philosophy,
a philosophy that drove India to independence in 1947 after nearly two centuries
of British domination. Gandhi's powerful strategy, called satyagraha, involved
non-violent non-cooperation, boycotts of all things British, civil disobedience,
marches and fasts. It has been adopted by protest movements throughout the
23 KUBLAI KHAN 1215-1294
Ruler of the Mongols from 1260, Kublai Khan completed the conquest of China
that had been started by his grandfather Genghis. In 1271 he became the first
emperor of the Yuan dynasty. Establishing Beijing as his capital, Khan boosted
agriculture and business, fostered scholarship, encouraged the arts, retained
many Chinese institutions, promoted religious tolerance and oversaw generally
prosperous times. The splendor of his court stirred the imagination of Western
travelers, including that most famous Italian venturer Marco Polo.
24 JAMES MADISON 1751-1836
Before he served as the nation's fourth President, James Madison was already
called the father of the Constitution. He supported checks and balances among
the government's branches, and clear divisions between federal and state authority.
The Virginian who once considered becoming a minister also drafted the Bill
of Rights, which prohibited the establishment of a national religion.
25 SIMON BOLIVAR 1783-1830
El Libertador devoted his life to fighting for the independence of northern
South America. In 1819 Bolivar chased the Spanish out of what is now Colombia
by staging one of the most daring attacks in military history. He led 2,500
men over terrain so rough the Spanish thought it was impassable, then surprised
the imperialists in the Battle of Boyaca. Military leader, statesman, dictator,
Simon Bolivar was also the emancipator of Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia.
26 MARY WOLLSTONECRAFT 1759-1797
A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, British author Mary Wollstonecraft's
landmark plea for women's equality, was published in 1792, at a time when
French citizens were demanding reforms and overthrowing their monarchy.
Inspired by those democratic principles, Wollstonecraft challenged Rousseau
and others, arguing for equal education and employment for women and urging
national legislation to guarantee women's rights. Wollstonecraft, who gave
birth to her first child while unmarried (her second, Mary Wollstonecraft
Shelley, wrote Frankenstein), was criticized for a lifestyle that defied
convention, but her work influenced generations of feminists.
27 GUGLIELMO MARCONI 1874-1937
In the early days of telephones and telegraphs, the thought of sending messages
through thin air (sans wires) was all but inconceivable. Then, in a bold leap
of faith, a young Italian proved it could be done. Guglielmo Marconi's transmission
of a signal--the Morse Code letter S--across the Atlantic in 1901 was a worldwide
sensation. It opened the airwaves for today's complex network of global communications--from
radio to radar to orbiting satellites. Interglobal, too, as NASA now pulls
in daily messages from the rover puttering across the surface of Mars.
28 MAO ZEDONG 1893-1976
In 1921, when Mao Zedong was one of a dozen men forming the outlaw Chinese
Communist Party, few foresaw him as leader of modern China. It was a Long
March indeed for Mao's Red Army, from resistance against the Japanese to defeat
of the Nationalists and the rise, in 1949, of the People's Republic. A brilliant
warrior, Mao was a despotic dictator. His economic Great Leap Forward failed
at a cost of 30 million peasant lives. His Cultural Revolution led to more
injustice and death. Mao cast a shadow on the world, a darker one on his
29 VLADIMIR LENIN 1870-1924
Marx was theory, Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov (pseudonym, Lenin)--a Russian revolutionary
who revered Marx's ideas--was action. Along with Leon Trotsky he led the 1917
revolution that, with its bold assault on the Winter Palace on October 25,
brought the Bolsheviks to power and started the worldwide spread of the Soviet
form of communism--a form that, though it deviated from Marx's, was nonetheless
attractive to many Marxists. Leninists called their regime a "dictatorship
of the proletariat," but in reality it was a dictatorship of Lenin and his
party. The brutal repression Russians had known under the Czar was replaced
by Bolshevik repression. This is a central irony of Lenin's life: A fighter
against authoritarian injustice laid the foundation for decades of tyrannical,
murderous Soviet totalitarianism. Nevertheless, Lenin built an economic engine
that would eventually propel the Soviet Union as a great world power--politically,
technologically, militarily. He died in 1924, but the state he founded helped
stop Hitler in World War II, forced the cold war with the U.S. and initiated
the space race--and then it finally collapsed in 1989. Before FDR, before
Churchill, before Stalin and before Hitler, Lenin shaped the 20th century.
30 MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. 1929-1968
Born into the segregated society of America's South, the Baptist preacher
from Atlanta walked a Gandhian path of nonviolence, and the Civil Rights
movement followed. Martin Luther King Jr.'s march for equality started with
a protest of the bus system in Montgomery, Ala., in 1955, and peaked in the
nation's capital. "One day this nation will rise up and live out the true
meaning of its creed," he dreamed aloud during the August 28, 1963, March
on Washington, "that all men are created equal." Five years later, at the
age of 39, he fell to a sniper's bullet. He was honored in his time and posthumously:
King won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964, and in 1986 he became only the second
American whose birthday is observed as a national holiday (the first was George
Washington). More important, King was such a force that three decades later,
his call to "let freedom ring" still inspires.
31 ALEXANDER GRAHAM BELL 1847-1922
When Alexander Graham Bell patented the telephone in 1876, he was certain
he could transmit sounds between two distant places, but he hadn't yet been
able to relay human speech. The legend goes: Three days after the patent was
issued, he spilled battery acid on his clothes while working near a transmitter
in his lab. His shout for help to his assistant became the first phone transmission
of voice. The Scottish-born Bell left the development of his invention to
others and refocused his energies on another passion: creating helpful devices
for the deaf, including his wife, Mabel.
32 RENE DESCARTES 1596-1650
A mathematician, scientist and philosopher, Rene Descartes introduced groundbreaking
concepts in each of these disciplines. Called the inventor of analytic geometry
and a founder of modern philosophy, the Frenchman also made ad-vances in the
fields of optics and physiology. He introduced what came to be called the
Cartesian method: beginning inquiry with universal doubt, as opposed to medieval
philosophy, in which faith played a prominent role. He also identified a
split between mind and body, a dualism that remains an issue in philosophy
today. But he is best remembered for a simple phrase: "I think, therefore
33 LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN 1770-1827
Arguably Western music's greatest composer, Ludwig van Beethoven was also
one of its prime disruptors. Achieving early success in the classical forms
perfected by Haydn and Mozart, inspired by the French Revolution's ideals
and afflicted with encroaching deafness and romantic sorrows, he expanded
the traditional sonata, quartet, concerto and symphony into personal expressions
both sublime and profound. To a doubting contemporary, he replied, "They are
not for you, but for a later age."
34 THOMAS AQUINAS c.1225-1274
Scholars at Europe's universities in the 13th century were arguing about
the Greek texts being translated back into Latin from Arabic. Was Christian
dogma correct or was the world explainable by the rationalism of Aristotelian
science? Both were right, said Thomas Aquinas, a Dominican priest from Italy.
Synthesizing the two traditions, he asserted that faith and reason did not
conflict, that man is rational but that his highest happiness can be found
in the contemplation of God. Aquinas taught in Naples and Paris, advised popes
and wrote the unfinished Summa theologiae, a dominant influence on Roman
35 ABRAHAM LINCOLN 1809-1865
When Abraham Lincoln took his first oath of office in 1861, he faced the
greatest crisis in his nation's history. The fabric of the American experiment,
"a more perfect Union," was being torn apart. But before an assassin's bullet
brought him down in 1865, this son of a poor Kentucky farmer led his countrymen--South
as well as North--back to union, and to an eventual understanding that "a
new birth of freedom" must be rooted in democracy. The fabric was made whole
again, this time without slavery.
36 MICHELANGELO 1475-1564
He lived to the age of 88, and all he had was his work, but the world is
full of Michelangelo's "children." He is considered the greatest sculptor
of all time (David, the Pieta); his paintings still take one's breath away
(the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel); his designs for St. Peter's Basilica
and the Campidoglio foreshadowed the Baroques. In other words, he was a
man of prodigious gifts and achievement. His unfinished work, the half-carved
stone, the unfulfilled plans, the sculpture he broke, dismayed by its imperfection,
remind us that, though his ambitions were divine, he was only human.
37 VASCO DA GAMA c.1460-1524
His mission for the king of Portugal was to break up the Muslim, Venetian
and Genoese monopolies that controlled the lucrative trade route between
Europe and Asia. In time he would achieve this goal, but it was on his first
voyage, in 1497, that Vasco da Gama rounded Africa's Cape of Good Hope--the
first European to do so--and sailed to India, opening an all-water route
from Europe to Asia.
38 SULEYMAN THE MAGNIFICENT c.1494-1566
Greatest sultan of the Ottoman Empire, Suleyman I undertook bold military
campaigns that expanded his realm and generated tremendous riches. Also
known as the Lawgiver, Suleyman imposed cohesion on a government that linked
three continents. He built fortresses, bridges, aqueducts and mosques, including
Istanbul's grand Suleymaniye Mosque. The art and literature that flowered
during his reign are still renowned.
39 SAMUEL F.B. MORSE 1791-1872
While returning from a European sojourn to study art, Samuel F.B. Morse
fell into a shipboard conversation about the electromagnet. Voila, the idea
for his first telegraph machine. Five years later, in 1837, he staged a demonstration,
transmitting signals over 1,700 feet of wire. By 1844, when he wired (in Morse
Code) the biblical verse "What hath God wrought!" from Washington, D.C.,
to Baltimore, there was no question that Morse--an influential painter and
publisher as well as an inventor--had wrought a revolutionary way to communicate.
40 JOHN CALVIN 1509-1564
French-born theologian John Calvin wrote one of the most significant works
of the Reformation and trained ministers who spread Protestant faith through
Europe and North America. His teachings shaped political and social customs
in 16th century Europe and in Puritan New England--and they continue to influence
Reform theology to this day. Calvin became a Reformation leader in Geneva,
but theological conflicts and the severe penalties he espoused for gambling,
drinking and dancing prompted riots that drove him from the city. He returned
in 1541, eventually creating a refuge for persecuted Protestants. There was
born the Calvinist movement, which included the concept of elected, representative
41 FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE 1820-1910
She became a nurse in spite of her wealthy family's opposition. A true angel
of mercy, Florence Nightingale served with the British army during the Crimean
War, turning filthy, vermin-infested camps where the wounded were brought
to die into clean wards where they could heal. She returned a hero but refused
to participate in any public celebration. Rather, she used her stature to
gain Queen Victoria's support for health-care reform in the military. Nightingale
then worked for improved conditions in hospitals and workhouses, and established
the first school for nurses. She accomplished all this despite spending the
last 40 years of her life as an invalid.
42 HERNAN CORTES 1485-1547
Eager for fame and riches, Hernan Cortes set out in 1519 for Mexico, where
gold was said to be abundant. There was no turning back for the few hundred
men who landed with him at Vera Cruz: Cortes ordered them to burn the ships.
Exploiting local resentment against the Aztecs, who used prisoners of war
for human sacrifice, Cortes negotiated alliances as he headed inland toward
Tenochtitlan, seat of the Aztec emperor Montezuma. The conquistadors gained
the capital, leveled buildings and seized vast amounts of gold before being
driven out. Returning in 1521, this time with a new force and a new strategy,
Cortes laid siege to Tenochtitlan, conquered the city and finished destroying
the Aztecs' most splendid jewel. He thus planted seeds of domination that
would continue to grow for the next three centuries.
43 JOSEPH LISTER 1827-1912
Seeking to cut the postoperative mortality rate in his Glasgow hospital,
Lister revolutionized surgery. Inspired by Pasteur, he reasoned that if microbes
could cause infection, they could be killed before reaching the open wound.
His method, employing carbolic acid as an antiseptic on dressings and instruments
as well as on surgeons and patients, resulted in stunning statistics. The
mortality rate among his amputee cases fell from 45 percent to 15 percent.
Lister's simple discovery enabled millions to undergo surgery with far less
44 IBN BATTUTA 1304-c.1377
In 1325 Ibn Battuta left Morocco for a pilgrimage to Mecca. Three decades
and 75,000 miles later, medieval Islam's most extraordinary traveler had
covered nearly the entire Muslim world. For the sheer adventure of it, Battuta
traipsed from Spain to the east coast of China. His book of travels paints
an invaluable picture of the 14th century.
45 ZHU XI 1130-1200
One of China's most influential philosophers, Zhu Xi recast Confucius's
teachings by writing more than 100 works, including commentaries on most
of the Confucian classics. His teachings--emphasizing morality and logic,
condemning popular religion and denying the existence of a personal deity--were
a challenge to the spread of Buddhism in China. Zhu's neo-Confucian writings
had such a wide influence they became required reading for China's civil
service exams for the next 600 years.
46 GREGOR MENDEL 1822-1884
He could not pass the test to be certified as a biology teacher, but Gregor
Mendel, a 19th century monk, discovered a basic principle of biology. Cross-breeding
peas in the garden of his monastery in Austria, he learned how to predict
the features of the hybrids. Knowing he had achieved a scientific breakthrough,
he presented his work to the Natural Science Society in Brunn and published
his results, but his research was ignored. Not until 16 years after his death
was he recognized for having discovered the fundamentals of genetics.
47 JOHN LOCKE 1632-1704
Enlightenment philosopher John Locke was noted for his writing on education,
science and religious freedom. But the Englishman's ideas about politics--that
people by nature have certain rights, including life, liberty and property,
and that their consent is the only legitimate basis of government--had a
more profound effect. His proposals for legislative representation and free
speech influenced the Constitution.
48 AKBAR 1542-1605
Tolerant and wise, Akbar was the greatest of India's Mughal emperors. This
Muslim leader realized that India's Hindus were too powerful to subjugate,
and during his 50 years of rule he allowed the princes to keep their lands
in return for allegiance. He offered their subjects careers, along with
religious toleration. At his glittering court in Agra, Akbar savored learned
discussions. He fostered architecture that melded Mughal and Hindu traditions
and that culminated in the building of the Taj Mahal, which was completed
by 1650 and was the vision of his grandson Shah Jahan.
49 MARCO POLO c.1254-1324
History tells of his leaving Venice at age 17 to join his father and uncle
on a journey deep into Kublai Khan's China. Marco Polo himself tells, in his
writings, how they were welcomed, and spent 20 years in Asia. Some say that
Polo's tales are products of the imagination, but whether fact or fiction,
he inspired Europeans to seek out the Orient and, in 1492, Columbus to sail
the ocean blue.
50 DANTE ALIGHIERI 1265-1321
The Divine Comedy, Dante Alighieri's epic masterpiece, is an allegorical
and literary triumph, a walk through the cultural, political and religious
landscape of 13th century Italy. Dante's writing influenced poets from Chaucer
to Byron. But his vivid depiction of the nine circles of hell terrified centuries
of ordinary readers as well with its descriptions of horrendous punishments
after death. "Dante and Shakespeare divide the modern world between them,"
T.S. Eliot said. "There is no third."
51 JOHN D. ROCKEFELLER 1839-1937
He was worth more than a billion dollars when a billion dollars meant something.
In fact, John Davison Rockefeller was the country's very first billionaire,
building his pile on the monolithic Standard Oil Co. A fierce conniver, he
slashed costs and dodged anti-trust rulings. Then, at age 58, after three
decades as an oilman, the religious robber baron turned to charity. In his
lifetime he spent $540 million--the equivalent of $5.6 billion today--on proj-
ects primarily in medical research and education. He died at 97, having never
smoked a cigar or drunk a glass of champagne, leaving behind a still active
fortune and a family active in many spheres--business, politics and, of course,
52 JEAN-JACQUES ROUSSEAU 1712-1778
An educational theorist who ranked emotional development and experience
above book learning, Jean-Jacques Rousseau abandoned his own five children
at a Paris foundling hospital. A believer in living in "a state of nature,"
where compassion and honesty could flourish, he also wrote that a good society
could improve people if they would submit their own desires to the General
Will. Both totalitarians and democrats look to the Geneva-born polemicist
as their prophet.
53 NIELS BOHR 1885-1962
The world of Niels Bohr is a strange one: Particles act like waves; looking
at something is like giving it a shove; electrons are only probably where
they ought to be. Stranger yet, his world is ours. Bohr's elucidation of quantum
theory changed how we understand the smallest components of matter and energy,
replacing the concrete predictability of classical mechanics with the mathematical
complexity and chance of the quantum. Physics and philosophy collided in
Bohr, who mentored generations of physicists; the echoes of that collision
are with us still.
54 JOAN OF ARC c.1412-1431
A young peasant who believed she was guided by the voices of saints, Joan
of Arc led the French to crucial victories in the Hundred Years War and became
a surpassing hero for her countrymen and her fellow Catholics. The teenager
who dressed in men's clothing defeated the English at Orleans in 1429; her
triumph at Reims not only earned her the nation's adulation but paved the
way for the coronation of King Charles VII. On a campaign to free Paris, she
was captured, tried for heresy and burned at the stake. Named a saint in
1920, she has been the subject of hundreds of movies, books and plays, including
Shaw's classic Saint Joan.
55 FREDERICK DOUGLASS 1818-1895
The fate of African people in America rested not on his shoulders but on
his mind. The son of a slave woman and an unknown father, Frederick Douglass
escaped the master's whip in 1838 when, disguised as a sailor, he fled north.
A self-made intellectual, he decried the ignorance and bigotry of a slave
society. Criss-crossing the Union, he testified about the bonds that held
his people's bodies and souls. He was attacked after some speeches, but won
adherents as well. His first autobiography was an overnight success; his North
Star newspaper was, like Douglass himself, a never-to-be-ignored beacon of
56 LOUIS XIV 1638-1715
His egocentrism, which would only grow, was bestowed upon him: As an infant
he was given the title the Most Attractive. In 1643, a few months shy of his
fifth birthday, he was crowned king of France. He survived a revolt by the
nobility and emerged to declare himself a divine monarch--the Sun King. Louis
XIV was an absolutist: A passport could not be issued without his permission.
He raised a mighty army, fought wars against England, Holland and the Holy
Roman Empire--and France's own Protestants--and constructed the sprawling
palace of Versailles, where he moved the royal court from Paris. There he
lived and ruled, surrounded by indulgence, spectacle and sycophancy. Louis
is credited with making France a leading power and blamed for precipitating
57 NIKOLA TESLA 1856-1943
He may be second only to his ex-boss Thomas Edison as the most farsighted
inventor of the electric age. His work on the rotating magnetic field and
alternating current (AC, as in AC/DC, the patents for which he sold to George
Westinghouse in 1885) helped electrify the world by enabling power to travel
over wires to customers great distances away. A tireless and eccentric inventor,
Nikola Tesla came up with some things--for instance, a "death ray" to shoot
down attacking aircraft--that don't seem nearly as farfetched now as they
must have in his day.
58 IMMANUEL KANT 1724-1804
His entire life was spent in Konigsberg, East Prussia, and it is said that
he was never out of earshot of the town's church bells. But Immanuel Kant
made up for his lack of adventure by traveling far in his mind. In the Critique
of Pure Reason he examined the nature and limits of human knowledge. He wrote
on aesthetics and ethics, and established the direction of modern philosophy.
59 FAN KUAN c.990-c 1030
A Taoist recluse, Fan Kuan is best known as the painter of Travelers Amid
Streams and Mountains, the greatest single example of the monumental landscape
style of painting and a model for all Chinese artists. The painting, nearly
seven feet tall, is based on the Taoist principle of becoming one with nature.
Fan's style--reducing human figures to minute proportions and dramatizing
the awesome power of nature--has led critics to compare his creative powers
with those of nature itself.
60 OTTO VON BISMARCK 1815-1898
It took Prussian statesman Otto von Bismarck nine years, three wars and
his legendary cunning to unify his homeland with other German states into
a single powerful nation. As Iron Chancellor, he instituted a social-welfare
system while crushing the social-democracy movement. Remembered by some as
a moderate, he's seen by others as a ruthless conservative who set the stage
61 WILLIAM THE CONQUEROR c.1027-1087
England as we know it began when William, Duke of Normandy, crossed the
Channel and went on to win the Battle of Hastings in 1066. Eager to increase
his power as king, he dispossessed Anglo-Saxon nobles and divided their lands
among his followers. The Norman influence was felt in every pursuit from language
to architecture to warfare. William spent his 21-year reign successfully fending
off enemies, and no one has invaded England since.
62 GUIDO OF AREZZO c.991-c.1033
Musical theorist and teacher Guido of Arezzo solved two practical problems.
Choirboys were learning new chants by listening, then--not always accurately--imitating.
Guido devised a system of musical notation--what has evolved into today's
five-line staff--that enabled certainty of pitch. He also used the syllables
that began six lines of a popular hymn (Ut, Re, Mi, Fa, Sol, La), along
with the notes on which they were sung, to perfect a method of teaching sight-singing
still in use today.
63 JOHN HARRISON 1693-1776
Scientists scoffed when clockmaker John Harrison presented his marine chronometer,
a device that allowed seamen to calculate their longitude. But in the 1760s
the chronometer's reliability was established, and in 1775 Capt. James Cook
used one to chart the South Sea Islands, a feat achieved with the aid, he
wrote, of "our never failing guide, the Watch."
64 POPE INNOCENT III c.1160-1216
Lotario di Segni was only 38 years old when he was elected Pope Innocent
III in 1198; his 18-year reign dominated the Middle Ages. Claiming the right
to guide the Holy Roman Empire, he launched two crusades to assert the church's
power. Meanwhile, he embraced the poor and saw the church's rolls swell. His
Fourth Lateran Council shaped the Catholic Church that we recognize today.
65 HIRAM MAXIM 1840-1916
He changed the way we wage war. In 1884, Hiram Maxim, an American-born British
inventor, developed a recoil mechanism that made it possible to load and eject
cartridges from a machine gun without using a hand crank. The fully automatic
magazine discharged up to 600 rounds of ammunition per minute. Recognizing
its advantages, the British army and royal navy were among the first to adopt
the new weaponry--in 1889 and 1892 respectively. Other nations soon followed,
to such an extent that World War I came to be called the "machine gun war."
66 JANE ADDAMS 1860-1935
Born to wealth, Addams founded Chicago's Hull House, one of the first settlement
houses in North America, in 1889. Two thousand immigrants a week came to eat,
to attend classes, to see plays or hear concerts. They used the nursery, gym,
dispensary and playground. Known as the mother of social work, Addams was
also a pacifist and a suffragette; she helped found the American Civil Liberties
Union and the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom. She was
awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1931.
67 CAO XUEQIN c.1715-1763
When Story of the Stone was published anonymously around 1765, it caught
the attention of the best writers in Beijing. Later, the author was identified
as Cao Xueqin, the grandson of a once wealthy minister. The book, eventually
expanded and republished as Dream of the Red Chamber, tells the story of
the rise and fall of a powerful Chinese family. Its panoramic representations
of intricate human relationships and everyday experiences have earned it
a reputation as the greatest novel written in vernacular Chinese, and its
influence on later art forms, including Chinese opera, has been enormous.
68 MATTEO RICCI 1552-1610
When he moved to China in 1582, little did Jesuit missionary Matteo Ricci
realize conversion worked both ways. The Chinese were fascinated by Ricci's
possessions: clocks, maps, Western works on science. After his death, Ricci's
manuscript on China was widely read in Europe; Enlightenment thinkers, inspired
by the concept of a state ruled by Confucian values, used those ideas to challenge
their own state and religion.
69 LOUIS ARMSTRONG c.1900-1971
Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong's improvisational verve and technical virtuosity
defined jazz. An orphan who learned the trumpet on the streets of New Orleans,
he popularized the idea of the featured soloist. His trademark "scatting"--singing
nonsense syllables to mimic a horn solo--was widely imitated. And his engaging
personality and ever-present grin made him a natural as the international
ambassador of jazz, America's greatest musical contribution to the world.
70 MICHAEL FARADAY 1791-1867
Although Michael Faraday specialized in chemistry, he laid the groundwork
for the electrical age. His discoveries and inventions dealing with magnetic
fields and electric currents showed there was promise in power; his original
model of a generator and his design of an electric motor are prototypes
of those that light the planet and drive everything from subways to vacuum
cleaners. Faraday was a humble man who declined many honors in life, including
71 IBN-SINA 980-1037
Islam's most renowned philosopher-scientist, Ibn-Sina outgrew his teachers
as a teenager and educated himself in law, medicine and metaphysics. His
intellect served him well: As a court physician in Persia, he encountered
intrigue and imprisonment but wrote two of history's greatest works, The
Book of Healing, a compendium of science and philosophy, and The Canon of
Medicine, an encyclopedia based on the teachings of Greek physicians. The
latter was widely used in the West, where Ibn-Sina, known as Avicenna, was
called the "prince of physicians."
72 SIMONE DE BEAUVOIR 1908-1986
She developed existentialist philosophy in novels and nonfiction, protested
for countless causes and wrote the most influential feminist book of the
20th century. In The Second Sex (1949) French writer Simone de Beauvoir argued
that women have been forced into an inferior position, not by biology or psychology
but by male-dominated society. Although her own 50-year relationship with
Jean-Paul Sartre often put her in an inferior position, she inspired women
around the globe.
73 JALAL AD-DIN AR-RUMI c.1207-1273
A 13th century Sufi mystic, Jalal ad-Din ar-Rumi composed passionate love
poems while turning in a circle to the beat of drums or the music of rushing
water. The poems found Allah outside the Koran--in people, nature and the
commonalities of everyday life. Recorded in Persian by a disciple, they helped
spread Islam to a wider audience. Rumi is still read today, and his followers,
whirling dervishes (holy men), still perform their elegant, hypnotic dances
to express the idea that God can be experienced in manifold ways.
74 ADAM SMITH 1723-1790
Scottish economist Adam Smith advocated open competition and freedom from
government regulation, principles that would become the bedrock of modern
capitalism. In his 1776 book, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the
Wealth of Nations, Smith argued that the free market is self-regulating and
that by pursuing their own interests individuals would produce the types of
goods most needed by society. He saw labor--not land or money--as a thing
of primary value. His ideas spurred the study of economics.
75 MARIE CURIE 1867-1934
The first woman to win a Nobel Prize, Marie Curie experimented with radioactivity
(she coined the word) and opened a new territory in physics: the interior
of the atom. Curie shared the 1903 Nobel Prize in physics with her husband,
Pierre and another scientist for their work with radioactivity, and won the
1911 award in chemistry for her isolation of radium. The Polish scientist,
who suffered exhaustion, burns and cataracts from radiation exposure, collected
gas from radium for cancer treatments and established a Radium Institute in
France, which became a center for nuclear research.
76 ANDREA PALLADIO 1508-1580
The man who is probably history's most imitated architect began work in
a guild of masons and stonecarvers. A Vicenza scholar gave Andrea Palladio
his classical name and education. His use of elements from Greco-Roman temples--most
notably the portico, or roofed porch, supported by columns, and topped with
a pediment--was one legacy. Another was his Four Books of Architecture, still
a bible to builders. His emulators included Thomas Jefferson.
77 PETER THE GREAT 1672-1725
Peter the Great willed Russia to be a modern world power. He made Russian
men shave their beards and replace ancient costumes with Western clothing.
He built roads, canals, schools, new industries, a navy. (He battled for
warm-water Baltic ports so he could use his fleet.) But he was as repressive
as he was forward-thinking, forcing serfs to work in his factories, executing
his son Alexis for opposing him. Peter was a great reformer, and a great
despot as well.
78 PABLO PICASSO 1881-1973
Pablo Picasso dominated 20th century art. He helped create Cubism, pioneered
innovations in sculpture and lithography, experimented with new media and
captivated imaginations around the world with his powerful personality and
boundless energy. The prolific Spaniard, who painted subjects ranging from
the women he lived with to the devastating effects of war, had a career that
spanned 70 years--and an influence that spans generations and cultures.
79 LOUIS JACQUES MANDE DAGUERRE 1789-1851
In 1826, the Frenchman Joseph-Nicephore Niepce took a picture (a heliograph,
he called it) of a barn. The image, the result of an eight-hour exposure,
was the world's first photograph. In 1839, his associate Louis Daguerre
devised a way to permanently reproduce an image, and his picture, a daguerreotype,
needed just 20 minutes' exposure. (This would soon shorten to less than
a minute.) A practical process of photography was born. Portrait studios
and, eventually, photo snapping by the masses would follow.
80 ANTOINE-LAURENT LAVOISIER 1743-1794
Antoine-Laurent Lavoisier, the founder of modern chemistry, demonstrated
that combustion results from a burning substance combining with oxygen, and
stated the law of the conservation of matter: The weight of the products
of combustion equals the weight of the original materials. The French chemist
clarified the distinction between elements and compounds and was instrumental
in devising the modern system of chemical nomenclature. He also had a career
as a tax collector, for which he was guillotined during the French Revolution.
81 PHINEAS T. BARNUM 1810-1891
The patron saint of promoters, he had a flair for the spectacular that was--and
perhaps still is--unmatched. Through shameless hucksterism, his American Museum,
a menagerie of freaks and curiosities, attracted millions a year. One outrage:
He bought a slave and passed her off as 161 years old. A more legitimate
P.T. Barnum enterprise, the circus he dubbed the Greatest Show on Earth,
plus a stunt that involved moving an elephant named Jumbo from the London
Zoo to the U.S., sealed his reputation as the consummate showman.
82 EDWIN HUBBLE 1889-1953
Edwin Hubble's 1924 discovery that the Andromeda nebula is located beyond
the known boundaries of the Milky Way forced other astronomers to revise their
thinking: The existence of multiple galaxies meant the universe was far larger
than imagined. Next, Hubble determined that all galaxies are receding from
each other--hence, the universe is expanding. Today, as it orbits the earth,
the Hubble Space Telescope, named in his honor, searches deep into the galaxies
whose existence he proved.
83 SUSAN B. ANTHONY 1820-1906
Her tireless campaign for women's suffrage made her a leader in the first
wave of American feminism. The daughter of Quaker abolitionists, Susan B.
Anthony was incensed that women were barred from speaking at temperance meetings.
She barnstormed for equality and was insulted, vilified, even pelted with
rotten eggs for her trouble. After brazenly casting a vote in 1872, she was
arrested and fined $100 (which she never paid). The ratification of the 19th
amendment in 1920, 14 years after her death, finally confirmed her credo,
"Failure is impossible."
84 RAPHAEL 1483-1520
Italian art soared in the early 1500s for three major reasons. One of them
was Raphael. And it is he--more than Leonardo or Michelangelo--who has influenced
artists ever since. Raphael's portraits were at once serene and incisive,
human and sublime. During his final 12 years, spent in Rome, he produced a
series of masterpieces, including perhaps his greatest work, The School of
Athens, a Vatican fresco showing Plato and Aristotle surrounded by philosophers
past and present that perfectly embodies the Renaissance spirit.
85 HELEN KELLER 1880-1968
An illness when she was 19 months old left her deaf, blind and mute. But
there was an exceptional mind--and a strong will--trapped within the tiny
girl's body. With the help of a teacher named Anne Sullivan--"the miracle
worker"--Helen Keller learned to understand language (by having words finger-spelled
onto her palm), read (by feeling raised letters and Braille), write (by following
the movements of a writer's hand), hear (by placing her fingers against a
speaker's nose, lips and larynx) and speak (usually with sign language and
occasionally with her voice). Keller went on to graduate with honors from
Radcliffe in 1904 and then became a renowned author, antiwar activist and
advocate for the rights of workers and women, as well as the deaf and blind.
She remains proof to the world that disability does not mean inability.
86 HOKUSAI 1760-1849
At the age of 74, Hokusai, one of the greatest artists of the millennium,
bemoaned his lack of talent. "Of all I drew prior to the age of 70 there
is truly nothing of any great note," he wrote, predicting that "at 100 I
shall have become truly marvelous." The master painter, illustrator and printmaker
of the Japanese Ukiyo-e school of art didn't make it to his century mark,
but he did create thousands of treasured images--of landscapes, flora, fauna,
historical scenes--including the print series Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji.
His work influenced the French Impressionists, especially Paul Gauguin.
87 THEODOR HERZL 1860-1904
Although he did not invent Zionism, Theodor Herzl is considered the father
of the movement that eventually led to the founding of a Jewish state. No
stranger to anti-Semitism in his native Austria-Hungary, he was shocked to
find it flourishing in Paris when he moved there as a journalist in 1891.
Herzl's belief that Jews must organize and emigrate to their homeland displeased
assimilationists. But it resonated with nationalistic Jews (in turn heightening
nationalist aspirations among Arabs). Herzl organized a world congress in
1897 and later wrote in his diary: "At Basel I founded the Jewish state. If
I said this aloud today, I would be greeted by universal laughter. Perhaps
in five years, and certainly in fifty, everyone will agree." Almost precisely
a half century after Herzl's declaration of a Jewish nation, Israel was born.
88 ELIZABETH I 1533-1603
Daughter of Henry VIII, Elizabeth ascended the throne in 1558. A supremely
skilled diplomat, the Virgin Queen--she never married--fended off suitors
as cleverly as she manipulated foreign negotiators and domestic factions.
She was pragmatic: Although she disliked waging war, she built up England's
navy and in 1588 defeated Spain's Armada, not only staving off invasion
but laying the basis for empire. She was visionary: She supported Shakespeare,
the poet Edmund Spenser and Walter Raleigh, who dispatched settlers to Virginia,
a colony named in her honor. The Elizabethan era: a 45-year span of stability,
growth and achievement.
89 CLAUDIO MONTEVERDI 1567-1643
Claudio Monteverdi was already known outside Italy for his madrigals and
church works when he became interested in opera, an experimental form joining
storytelling and dialogue with music. His Orfeo of 1607, employing theatrical
music effects, a climactic aria and orchestral interludes, was the first work
to show opera's potential. In The Coronation of Poppea, a far more complex
work performed 35 years later, he conveyed, far in advance of his time, the
expression of character and emotion through music.
90 WALT DISNEY 1901-1966
Entertainment was more than child's play to Walt Disney. A gifted animator
and motion picture producer, he created a stable of unforgettable cartoon
characters, starting with Mickey Mouse, that provided comic relief to men,
women and children alike during the Depression, and later charmed audiences
all over the world. A multimedia visionary, Disney produced the first feature-length
animated film, Snow White, opened a theme park, adapted popular children's
books into movies and produced a weekly TV series in color, all with the
Disney moniker. Today his name is synonymous with family fun.
91 NELSON MANDELA 1918-
He roused South Africa's black majority--and sympathizers abroad--to rebel
against the system of racial tyranny known as apartheid. Originally a proponent
of nonviolence, he started a military wing of the African National Congress
after watching police brutalize unarmed protesters in 1960. He languished
in prison for a quarter century before his release in 1990. Nelson Mandela's
courage and resolve earned him a Nobel Peace Prize, the presidency of his
country and the admiration of millions.
92 ROGER BANNISTER 1929-
The elements were elemental: one mile, four minutes. For the longest time,
perhaps forever, man could not run a mile in under four minutes. It was one
of those perplexing barriers. Then, on May 6, 1954, an Englishman who was
just finishing his medical studies was paced by teammates at a dual meet in
Oxford, crossing the line in 3:59.4. Why did the world stand hypnotized for
so long before a wall that didn't exist? Hard to say. But when Roger Gilbert
Bannister showed us it can be done, dreams were encouraged, and human potential
was suddenly seen as limitless. Bannister made us question and then redefine
our concepts of human possibility.
93 LEO TOLSTOY 1828-1910
The son of a Russian nobleman, Leo Tolstoy began wrestling with questions
about the purpose of life while writing Anna Karenina. He rejected the divinity
of Jesus, renounced violence, condemned private property and tried to live
simply, working in the fields on the estate he shared with his wife and 13
children. Excommunicated by the Russian Orthodox Church, the author of War
and Peace attracted admirers from around the world, including a fellow believer
in nonviolence, Mohandas Gandhi.
94 JOHN VON NEUMANN 1903-1957
One obituary of von Neumann referred to him as "the greatest mathematician
of his time." Perhaps: He was a vital contributor to the development of
both the hydrogen bomb and the digital computer. Von Neumann's intellect
was dizzying--he worked on problems ranging from the minutiae of quantum
mechanical calculations to the real-world applicability of game theory--but
he was always able to explain his most complicated explorations to the uninitiated.
95 SANTIAGO RAMON Y CAJAL 1852-1934
At the end of the 19th century most scientists still thought brain fibers
were fused together to form a continuous net. But Spaniard Santiago Ramon
y Cajal showed that the brain was made up of distinct nerve cells. His work
helped point the way to the understanding that these cells, or neurons, communicated
with each other. Ramon y Cajal's work is the basis for modern neuroscience,
the study of everything from the biological basis of psychology to how a person
learns, remembers, smells, sees, walks and talks--in essence, how the brain
makes us what we are.
96 JACQUES COUSTEAU 1910-1997
Whenever Jacques-Yves Cousteau donned his red knit cap and sailed off on
the Calypso, he brought along millions of television viewers drawn by his
motto, "We must go and see for ourselves." An inventor of scuba-diving equipment,
the French author and adventurer popularized exploration of the two thirds
of the earth's surface covered by water. Through him we got up close and personal
with long-lost shipwrecks, giant octopuses, killer sharks. In 1957 Cousteau
won the first of his three Academy Awards, for The Silent World. Not a scientist,
but nonetheless an early critic of water pollution, he also founded the Cousteau
Society to promote marine conservation.
97 CATHERINE DE MEDICIS 1519-1589
The Italian-born queen of France and mother of three French kings, Catherine
de Medicis engaged in such ruthless political maneuvering that she was called
Madame la serpente. She also had a touch of elegance, introducing the fork
to France and, in 1581, commissioning the first court ballet. The Paris performance
of Circe included specially written music, elaborate costumes and scenery,
choreography and a single dramatic theme. The five-hour extravaganza, costing
more than three million francs, marked the birth of a new art form.
98 IBN-KHALDUN 1332-1406
Shuttling between both Mediterranean coasts, Tunisian diplomat Ibn-Khaldun
may qualify as the 14th century's most frequent flee-er; he was surely one
of its most brilliant minds. In and out of favor, and prison, he scrutinized
human nature. When he wrote a history of the Muslim world, his stunning
array of ideas included the importance of a group's social cohesion in attaining
its goals, as well as history's cyclical nature. Five centuries later, historian
Arnold Toynbee described Khaldun's pioneering work as "undoubtedly the greatest
of its kind that has ever yet been created by any mind in any time or place."
99 KWAME NKRUMAH 1909-1972
Kwame Nkrumah's radical push for Ghanaian self-governance in the 1950s triggered
decolonization throughout Africa, which led to the end of European domination.
Inspired by Marx and Marcus Garvey, Nkrumah's "positive action" campaign of
nonviolent protest won Ghana its independence from Britain by 1960. Nkrumah
was a better revolutionary than a president, and civil unrest led to a coup
in 1966. African nations continue to grapple with the upheaval he began.
100 CAROLUS LINNAEUS 1707-1778
His 18th century contemporaries called Carl von Linne bold, even salacious,
when he used sexuality as the starting point for his botanical classification
system. He described calyxes as "nuptial beds," corollas as their "curtains,"
but by using the number and length of stamens to group plants into classes,
and pistils to subdivide these into orders, he enabled students in the field
to identify a specimen quickly and simply, by counting. The Swedish physician,
writing in Latin as Linnaeus, also devised the system of naming the genus
and species of plants--and, later, animals. His work was adopted by naturalists
worldwide in his time and is evident everywhere in ours.