100 Leaders in World History

Our partner National History Day (NHD) invites students and people of all ages to think about the idea of leadership through their 100 Leaders in World History project at www.100leaders.org.

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Vote — and involve your students in voting — for your favorite leaders. Or, if you think a leader is missing, add to the list!

NHD developed the 100 Leaders in World History project in conjunction with this year’s NHD annual contest theme, Leadership and Legacy in History, to help future leaders better understand leadership.

You can use our special DocsTeach NHD page to get your students thinking about leadership and legacy in our history, through online activities and primary sources. Or use our main online catalog to locate primary sources related to specific leaders such as Eleanor RooseveltMao ZedongNelson MandelaFidel CastroAlbert EinsteinThurgood Marshall, or Thomas Jefferson.

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The 100 Leaders in World History project looks at past leaders who have made a significant impact on the world and examines how studying their experiences can help the next generation of leaders think about the role of leadership today and the type of legacy they want to leave behind. Through the project, NHD encourages students to identify those leaders whom they should emulate and those they should revile.

History is filled with leaders from around the world who have made a significant impact on the present. “We need leaders,” said NHD Executive Director Dr. Cathy Gorn. “More specifically, we need moral and dedicated leaders who will wisely guide the next generation of world leaders.”

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For this project, 20 teachers, historians, and students met, debated, and agreed upon a list of 100 Leaders in World History. The list is not inclusive of every leader in history, but contains people whose actions impacted the world.

See the full Leader Gallery, vote, check out “Who’s Trending Now?,” and find classroom resources at www.100leaders.org.

And find even more NHD resources from the National Archives on our website at www.archives.gov/education/history-day.

Images from the NHD 100 Leaders in World History site depict Napoleon Bonaparte, Aung San Suu Kyi, Joan of Arc, Sitting Bull, Leonardo da Vinci, Rachel Carson, Hammurabi, Nelson Mandela, and Christopher Columbus.

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