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Great Persons Who Changed the World

Interesting Things

Christopher  Columbus (1451 - 1506) Italian

Chirstopher Columbus is one of the most famous of all explorers. He believed he could reach Asia by sailing West across the Atlantic Ocean and in 1942 he set sail in the Santa Maria to prove his theory. Instead, he landed on the islands now known as the West Indies. His discoveries led to the European exploration and settlements of Americas. 

William Shakespeare ( 1564 - 1616)

William Shakespeare is generally agreed to be the greatest playwright in the English language. He began as an actor and wrote at least 154 love poems and 37 plays,including Hamlet, King Lear, Romeo and Juliet and Macbeth. Shakespeare also probably introduced more than 1700 words to the English Language. 

Charles Darwin (1809- 82) English

Naturalist Charles Darwin established the theory of evolution. He began his ideas when he served as official naturalist on a world voyage on HMS Beagle (1831-36) and spent rest of his life back in England developing them. When his famous book the origin of species by means of natural selection was published in 1859 there were violent reactions against it. Darwin challenged the Bibles account of creation, and explained that human beings are descended from an ape-like ancestor. Another English naturalist, Alfred Russel Wallace, independently developed very similar ideas at as Darwin.

Karl Marx (1818-83) German 

Karl Marx ideas on economic history and sociology changed the world. Marx was a social philosopher who attacked the state and predicted a future in which every one was equal. He explained his theories in the Communist Manifesto (complied with friedrich Engles and published in 1848) and Das Kapital (1867-94). His ideas eventually led to the Russian Revolution and communism. By 1950 almost half of the worlds people live under communist regimes.

Emmeline Pankhurst (1858-1928) English

Emmeline Pankhurst was the most famous of the women who campaigned for the righto to vote in the UK. From 1905 she fought for the Vote by any means possible and was frequently arrested and imprisoned. She died in 1928 shortly before her aims were realized and every woman over 21 years old was granted vote. 

Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948) Indian

Gandhi began his career as a lawyer but became a great political and spiritual leader. He lead the peaceful civil disobedience of Indians against British rule in India and negotiated with British government until 1947, when India was granted independence. Gandhi became the first icon of a peoples struggle against oppression. His simple lifestyle and his belief in religious tolerance have made him a symbol of decency and peace ever since.

Albert Einstein (1879-1955) German/American

Einstein was one of the greatest of all physics and his name has become a symbol of genius. When his most famous work, the general work, the General Theory of Relativity, was proven in 1919, Einstein became the most celebrated scientist in the world, and he won the Nobel Prize for physics in 1921. Einstein was a firm believer in pacifism, but his scientific theories helped his adopted country, the USA, to develop the atomic bomb. A week before he died Einstein wrote to Bertrand Russell, a nuclear campaigner, asking to put his name of the manifesto urging all countries to give up their nuclear weapons.

Adolf Hitler (1889-1945)

Adolf Hitler was Germany,s  leader from 1933 to 1945, during which time he led the world into the most devastating war in history. Hitlers hatred of Jewish people and his desire for a blue-eyed, blond-haired master race led to the murder of six million people during World War II, most died in concentration camps in Eastern Europe. 

Mao Zedong/Mao Tse-tung/ Chairman Mao (1893-1976) Chinese

Mao Zedong was one of the founders of the Chinese Communist party and the first chairman of the People's Republic of China in 1949. He had an economic influence on his Country and was greatly admired for founding the Chinese republic and for changes in the yearly years of his rule. His later policies were less successful. During his rule, Mao's image was displayed every where i.e., in every School, Home, factory and workplace.

Nelson Mandela - South African

Nelson Mandela dedicated his life to the fight against apartheid - a policy which kept black and white South Africans apart and denied black citizens the vote. He was imprisoned in 1964 for his aggressive opposition to South Africa's racist government and was held for 26 years. Mandela was elected president of the African National Congress. In 1993 he won the Nobel Prize for his work to end apartheid. 

James Watson and Francis Crick

American , English

American biologist James Watson and English Scientist Francis Crick discovered the molecular structure of DNA, using theories already written by Maurice Wilkins. Their theory helps to explain how DNA carries hereditary information and their discoveries have revolutionized our understanding of genetics and the study of disease.

Martin Luther King, Jr (1929-68) American

Martin Luther King was a Baptist minister who campaigned against the segregation of blacks in the southern states of the Unite States. He was influenced by Gandhi and believed in peaceful protest. He won the Nobel Prize in 1964. Martin Luther King was assassinated in 1968, but will always be  remembered for his dignified, passive resistance to an unjust society.       

Bill Gates (1955 to till)

Bill Gates created his first computer program while still at high school, co-founded Microsoft in 1977, and by 1993 was the richest man on Earth. In 2000 Gates and his wife formed the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which is the largest charity in the world. One of its aim is to rid the Third World of Polio and other deadly diseases.

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