Top 15 Most Famous British People of All Time

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England has a very long history. It is also a birth place for many genius and well-known people. Actually, England reaches its peak and becomes well-known worldwide as nowadays. This comes from the contribution to these notable individuals below. Here are the top 20 famous people of all time in England.

15. Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington (1769 – 1852)

Arthur Wellesley, 1st duke of Wellington, was born in May 1, 1769 in Dublin, Ireland. He was fifth son in his family. Unfortunately, when he was young, his father passed away, which later put the family in financial crisis. In 1787, his mother sent him to British Army and hoped he would raise prominence. As luck would have it, he had been honored due to three occasions. Firstly, he revealed his talents in leadership and tactics in commanding the armies that led a great victory at Assaye in 1802. Secondly, because of his victories over France in Portugal and Spain between 1808 and 1814, he became a Britain hero. He received the title as Duke of Wellington in 1814. Lastly, he emerged victorious in the battle at Waterloo with France. It was a fierce historical battle that crumbled the France’s desire to reign Europe. He died in 1852 due to stroke.

14. Alfred the Great (849 AD – 899 AD)

Among all the kings of England ever reigned, only he that was titled as the “great”. According to the historical record, he was the most eminent king succeeding in defeating the Danes. To be able to defend his kingdom, Wessex, he decided to reform the military strategy. He commanded his people to build forts and burhs as a defense against the Danes. Furthermore, he created laws and coinage for his country. This outstanding king was born in 849 at Oxfordshire and had 4 brothers. Since young age, he loved studying. He believed education was necessary. Thus, he ordered the scholars to translate Latin books to English for his people to read. He also asked the monks to write the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. He died in 899 and was buried in Winchester.

13. Robert Baden-Powell (1857 – 1857)

Robert Baden-Powell became well-known due to his achievement when defending at Mafikeng from 1899-1902. Prior to this, he contributed greatly in the battle in Botswana and Sudan. He used the observation balloons to monitor the landscapes for formulate the strategies. Thus, he made his army to gain upper hand against the enemy. He later founded the Cavalry School in 1903 and promoted to lieutenant general in 1907. He drafted Boy Scout movement after he got the concept from how boys training in woodcraft. Later, he became the founder of Boy Scouts. After he was retired, he devoted all of his time to the Boy Scouts. His doing did inspire his wife and sister to establish Girl Guides. Robert was born in London in 1857 and passed away at the age of 84

12. Captain James Cook (1728 – 1779)

Emerging from a poor family, Captain James Cooks had a very difficult life since childhood. He was in 1728 in Yorkshire. Fortunately, opportunity came to him when he was 27. He was chosen to serve the Royal Navy, which later made him famous. While serving for the navy, he learned the skills of how to be a navigator. He became well-known due to his achievement in drawing the map of Australia, New Zealand and Pacific. In 1769, the British government assigned him to southern hemisphere to observe the Venus Transit. This resulted in discovering New Zealand and Australia. In his last voyage, he discovered Hawaii Island and its natives. Nonetheless, the relationship between the native was not good. Captain James Cook died on the island on February 14, 1779.

11. Sir Ernest Shackleton (1874 – 1922)

Ernest Shackleton was a great explorer in 20th century. His expedition to Antarctic in 1914 made him famous. He joined the navy to explore in the South Pole for the first time in 1901. After returning, he was appointed to be a Scottish Royal Geographical Society secretary. He led his own expedition on a ship called “Nimrod” in 1908 to learn more about the Antarctic. His second expedition was fruitful as he uncovered many important discoveries there. He also set a new record of travelling closer to the South Pole. However, his ambition urged him to take another attempt of traveling to the Antarctic in 1914. A year later, his ship “Endurance” was stuck in the ice. Despite trapping in the ice, he traveled across the ocean for 1,300 km to South Georgia for help. On August 1916, all of his crews were rescued and no one was dead. He died in 1922.

10. Oliver Cromwell (1599–1658)

Oliver Cromwell was both well-known for his effort on promoting constitutional government and removal of monarch power. He was born in 1599 in Huntingdon, England. Following the same steps as his forefathers, he took part in politics in 1628. He was voted to parliament which represented Huntingdon. However, he did not have a successful life in his political career. This resulted in the changing of his belief which made him become a devoted Puritan. During English Civil Wars in 1642, he was appointed to be the military leader. In 1646, he led his military force and emerged victories over King Charles I on the matter of absolute power of the king. The second Civil Wars broke out in 1648 when the negotiation to settle the Royalist loyal to monarch failed to be compromised and gained victory. He died at the age of 59 in 1658 due to the kidney illness.

9. Vice-Admiral Horatio Nelson (1758–1805)

Horatio Nelson became a vice-admiral due to his achievements in fighting against France and Spain. He was born on September 29, 1758 at Burnham Thorpe. He became a navy at 12 and gained the captain title at 20. During the French Revolutionary Wars in 1793, he occupied Corsica. When confronting the enemies at Calvi and Santa Cruz de Tenerife, he lost an eye and an arm. Despite of his achievements, he was a conceited commander. He sometimes ignored commands from his high-rank officials. However, his bold actions defeated Spain at Cape Vincent in 1797. Furthermore, he successfully led his fleet to fight against France at the Nile in 1798. He got promoted to vice-admiral in 1801. His final achievement was when he saved England from France’s invasion at Cape Trafalgar. He was assassinated by a sniper in 1805 while commanding his fleet to fight Spain and France.

8. John Lennon (1940–1980)

John Lennon, the founder of the Beatles, was born on October 9, 1940. Not only was he a singer, but he also a songwriter. Together he cooperated with Paul McCartney writing songs, and they were very successful. He grew up with his aunt and learned to play musical instruments from his mother. Unfortunately, his mother passed away due to a traffic accident which caused him sorrow. Lennon formed a band called Quarrymen and later changed to the Beatle in 1960. The Beatles disbanded in 1971, but it did not stop him from his career. He released his album with his second wife Yoko Ono. Moreover, he was also a political activist, and he opposed the Vietnam War. Sadly, he left his music career in 1975, but returned with his new album “Double Fantasy” in 1980. He was shot in front of his apartment by an insane fan on December 8, 1980.

7. Elizabeth I (1533–1603)

Queen Elizabeth I ascended the throne of England in 1558 after Queen Mary Tudor’s death. Reigning England for 44 years, she put a lot of efforts to stabilize England. This made the country prosperous. Additionally, she wisely dealt with the internal strives within the country and emerged victorious against the Spanish Armanda in 1588. She also encouraged the growth of arts in her era. Before becoming the queen, there was a religious conflict between Catholics and Protestants. At the same time, there were wars against France. Queen Mary Tudor believed Elizabeth conspired with Thomas Wyatt to usurp her. Thus, she imprisoned Elizabeth. However, she was later released and resumed her education. In her final year of the ruling, she was in a difficult situation due to inflation, unemployment and crop failure. She died in 1603, and the next successor was King James VI of Scotland in the same year.

6. Sir Isaac Newton (1642–1727)

Isaac Newton was one of the most famous figures in science between the 17th century and 18th centuries. He was a physicist and mathematician, who made a lot of achievements in his lifetime. Furthermore, his discoveries provided tremendous benefits to the current 21st-century science. One of his famous works was his 3 laws of motion and later formulated the law of universal gravitation in 1687. Other achievements of his were his findings on optics and calculus. In 1668 with his discovery on optics, it allowed him to build a reflecting telescope. This greatest scientist was born on December 25, 1642 in England. He passed away on March 31, 1727 at the age of 85.

5. William Shakespeare (1564–1616)

William Shakespeare was a very famous British actor, playwright and poet. He was born on April 23, 1564. Approximately, he wrote 2 narrative poems, 38 plays and 154 sonnets. Nonetheless, he also wrote a number of poems as well. With his talent in composing plays, poems and sonnets, he earned his popularity quickly throughout London. Most of his works referred to romance, life, death, jealousy, anguish, sorcery, mystery and crime. His most famous works perhaps Macbeth, Hamlet and Romeo and Juliet. Not only did he attract common people, but he also obtained the attention of Queen Elizabeth and King James I. This caused his competitors to contempt him with jealousy. In 1613, he withdrew from London Theatre, and he passed away on April 23, 1616.

4. Charles Darwin (1809–1882)

Well-known for his evolution theory, Charles Robert Darwin was a biologist, geologist and naturalist. He was born on February 12, 1809, and studied at Cambridge University. After spending years doing scientific observations, he introduced evolution theory publicly in 1858. In 1859, he published a book named “On the Origin of Species”, which proved his evolution theory and natural selection process. Prior to publishing his book, he had taken a journey to several continents to study plants and animals. During his voyage with the HMS Beagle in 1831, he gathered various natural specimens such as plants, birds and fossils. He wrote a Journal of Researches after coming back from the voyage in 1836. His theory about the evolution conflicted with other naturalists at that time, and people called it “Darwinism”.​ His theory was proved correct by scientists as they studied DNA. He died on April 19, 1882.

3. Diana, Princess of Wales (1961–1997)

Princess Diana Frances Spencer was one of the most respectful people and iconic heroin in the world. She was known for her humanitarian causes, and she also raised a lot of charities to help people. Actually, she originally sponsored and raised funds for helping the youth and children. However, her philanthropies did not stop there as she later involved in landmines removals, AIDS, mental illness and cancer patients. Additionally, she put so much effort into raising awareness and stop the discrimination of HIV/AIDS patients. She traveled to a lot of countries to visit the patients and the children suffering from the virus. What makes people admired her was her teaching about sympathy, people’s anguish and people’s hope and dream to her children. Sadly, Princess Diana died in a traffic accident on August 31, 1997 in Paris due to escaping from the journalists.

2. Isambard Kingdom Brunel (1806–1859)

Followed by his father’s footsteps, Isambard Kingdom Brunel was a very famous engineer during 19th century. He was born on April 09, 1806 in Portsmouth, England. He was well-known for his flexibility and boldness in designing on railways, bridges, tunnels and ships. According to BBC, his popularity rose when he was working on the Thames Tunnel project with his father in 1826. Besides, he participated in the Clifton Suspension Bridge design competition in 1831 and won due to his remarkable work. Among all of his works, perhaps the construction project of bridges, tunnels and viaducts for the Great Western Railways was his greatest achievement. There were other famous railways, tunnels and viaducts projects he accomplished in his lifetime. Moreover, he also outlined a few famous well-known ships such as Great Western, Great Britain and Great Eastern. He passed away because of a stroke on September 15, 1859.

1. Sir Winston Churchill (1874–1965)

Born on November 30, 1874, Winston Churchill was one of the famous politicians in British history. Not only was he a politician, but he was also an army officer and a writer. He became the British Prime Minister for 2 times, firstly from 1940 to 1945 and lastly from 1951 to 1955. He led Britain to victory during World War II with his great strategic plans. What made him prominent was due to his persistence to succumb despite the times Britain was in the critical moment. Furthermore, with his rhetoric skill, he managed to persuade the British to follow him. Most of his speeches were inspiring. However, there were some controversies on his beliefs and actions such as racism, famine and riots. He died at the age of 90 on January 24, 1965 because of stroke.

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