The 15 Most Influential British People of All Time
British people are indeed very talented in a lot of ways. They excel in various fields including science, politics, business, music and art, literary, education, communication, and technology, among others. Their contributions in these fields do not just benefit the United Kingdom and the Europe, but the whole world. In this article, we will discuss the 15 greatest British people of all time whose theories, discoveries, inventions, and contributions have changed the world forever:
William Shakespeare (1564 – 1616)
William Shakespeare has not just conquered the English land, but all around the world. As a matter of fact, his influence remains up to today and for the decades to come. He is considered as the greatest writer of all time. He is widely known for his works like the ever-popular tragic romance story of Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, and sonnets.
Sir Winston Churchill (1874 – 1965)
Winston Churchill spent his life serving the British people. He was a British statesman who became the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom twice. He was also remarkable for his efforts of uniting European nations. In fact, he was one of the founding fathers of the European Union. His literary works and ideologies in life have continued to influence world economics and politics.
Charles Darwin (1809 – 1882)
Apparently, every elementary grader knows who Charles Darwin is. He was the man behind the ever-famous theory of the evolution of man. He published On the Origin of Species which discussed the basic mechanism of evolution and the concept of natural selection. His contribution in the field of science is truly huge.
Sir Isaac Newton (1642 – 1727)
Another relevant name in the field of science is Isaac Newton. He was an English mathematician, astronomer, and physicist. He published the Mathematics Principles of Natural Philosophy which discussed the laws of motion and universal gravitation which is used widely in the fields of science and academics. Apart from mathematics and physics, he also contributed in the fields of religion and optics.
Edward Jenner (1749 – 1823)
Edward Jenner was an English scientist who was greatly known for his discovery of a smallpox vaccine. He was regarded by his contemporaries as the “Father of Immunology”. He studied the feasibility of cowpox to counter smallpox virus. His discovery spread over Europe and around the world. Now, vaccination is naturally practiced especially for newborns.
Sir Alexander Fleming (1881 – 1955)
Speaking of cure, the most prominent contribution of all time was definitely that of Sir Alexander Fleming’s. He accidentally discovered the cure for certain diseases and disorders – the antibiotic. Fleming found out a mold he identified as “penicillin” which killed a number of disease-causing bacteria. Today, there are 34 million antibiotics certified in the field of medicine.
James Clerk Maxwell (1831 – 1879)
Scottish scientist James Clerk Maxwell greatly contributed to the understanding of physics. He was widely known for his theory of electromagnetic radiation. According to him, electric and magnetic fields travel through space with the speed of light. This theory led to the discovery of radio waves which inspired telephone, radio, and more.
William Wilberforce (1759 -1833)
William Wilberforce was an English politician and philanthropist who led the movement to abolish the slave trade. He served as an independent Member of Parliament. On the other hand, he also became an Evangelical Christian which inspired him to act on reform. He started the parliamentary campaign against British slave trade. Through a collaborative effort, the Slave Trade Act of 1807 was signed.
Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington (1769 – 1852)
Arthur Wellesley was an Anglo-Irish soldier who rose to popularity for bringing peace and stability all throughout Europe. The highlight of his military career was when he served as a general during the Napoleonic wars. In 1813, he led the allied forces against the French Empire. He defeated Napoleon at the battle of Waterloo in 1815. After this, he was granted dukedom. After his military career, he became a Prime Minister of UK.
Thomas Paine (1737 – 1809)
Thomas Paine was an English philosopher and political theorist who became an active American political activist and propagandist. His legacy still lives today in the United States of America. He was actually one of the founding father of the United States. He authored publications to start the American Revolution which liberated America from Britain.
Alexander Graham Bell (1847 – 1922)
Alexander Graham Bell is definitely one of the world’s most popular inventors. This Scottish scientist and engineer has developed the first working telephone. He discovered that sound vibrations could travel telegraphically. This invention was first presented at the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia. The discovery of telephone inspired the concept of smartphones.
Charles Dickens (1812 – 1870)
The Adventures of Oliver Twist and A Christmas Carol – these are just a few of Charles Dickens notable works that changed the world’s outlook on life. Dickens was an English writer who was widely known for his fictional characters. He was considered as one of the best novelists of the Victorian era. He was known for his autobiographical elements in his literary works, talking about life and adventures.
James Watt (1736 – 1819)
James Watt was a Scottish inventor who contributed his Watt steam engine to the world. His invention was vital to start the Industrial Revolution which paved the way for large machinery and mechanical equipment used in manufacturing industries.
John Lennon (1940 – 1980)
John Lennon was probably one of the most popular British icons in the world. He co-founded and was a member of the hit band The Beatles. They redefined music with their commercially successful musical pieces. Definitely, they are one of the greatest bands of all time. Lennon’s inspirations in his music include political activism, peace, and life.
Stephen Hawking (1942 – present)
Stephen Hawking is one of the living legends honored as one of the greatest Britons by BBC. He has been paralyzed for decades but it has not stopped him to influence the world with his works in the fields of physics. But apart from science, he also ventured the reel industry. He was known for his films including The Big Bang Theory (2012) and The Theory of Everything (2014).