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Key People

Important Names to Know

King Hammurabi King of Babylon who wrote code of law, "eye for an eye"
Siddhartha Gautama /Buddha Religious leader,the Enlightened One" created the Four Noble Truths, said follow the Eightfold Path, reached nirvana, and believed in reincarnation.
Moses Led the Jews out of slavery and brought down the Ten Commandments from Mt. Sinai.
King Cyrus the Great Persian King who made the oldest known decree of human rights, was tolerant towards conquered people, and allowed Jews to return to Jerusalem.
Confucius Chinese philosopher who believed in strong family loyalty, respect for elders by children (filial piety), the Golden Rule, and created civil service exams.
Emperor Shi Huangdi Chinese ruler of the Qin Dynasty. Halted outside invaders with the Great Wall of China. Centralized Chinese roadways, currency, law, writing, and measurements.
Socrates Founder of Western philosophy. Teaching method involved only asking questions and never giving direct answers. Executed by Athenian government for corrupting the youth.
Plato Student of Socrates who wrote of his teacher's life. Also wrote The Republic, which outlined the perfect society of farmers, warriors, and a ruling class (feudalism).
Alexander the Great Most successful Greek King and military leader in history. Conquered the Persian Empire and created a huge empire stretching from Asia to Eastern Europe and Northern Africa.
King Ashoka Emperor of the most populated empire in India, the Maurya Dynasty. Spread Buddhism throughout all of Asia.
Muhammad Prophet and founder of Islam. His teachings of the Five Pillars are in the Qur'an.
Emperor Justinian Byzantine Emperor formed his own code of law that applied to all of his subjects, rebuilt Constaninople, and the Hagia Sophia (Church of the East).
Genghis Khan Mongolian leader who conquered land in Asia. Was a gifted and cruel military leader. Was tolerant of conquered people's religions.
Kublai Khan Emperor of the Yuan Dynasty of China who united China and opened trade to foreign contacts from Europe.
Marco Polo Explorer who visited China and first introduced Europeans to Asia.
Charlemagne Rebuilt the Western part of the Roman Empire as the first Holy Roman Emperor. Formed a strong alliance with the Pope. Encouraged learning in his empire.
Pope Urban II Issued the First Crusade to recapture the Holy Land for Christians from the Muslims. Also created the Roman Curia administrative body in the Vatican.
Martin Luther Wrote the 95 Theses, which attacked the Church's sale of indulgences and started the Protestant Reformation.
Machiavelli Wrote The Prince, a political handbook for rulers on how to have absolute power over enemies and subjects.
Leonardo da Vinci A true Renaissance man who was a painter, sculptor, and engineer among many other talents. Painted the Mona Lisa and the Last Supper
Mansa Musa African Muslim ruler who controlled the gold and salt trade during the Middle Ages.
Ibn Battuta Visited and wrote about his travels to the Middle East and China over 30 years. His journals are an important primary source.
Vasco da Gama First European explorer to discover a direct route to India. Opened up trade between Europe and India for silks and spices.
King Louis XIV French King who held absolute power, controlled the nobility, built a luxurious palace at Versailles, and raised taxes. Blamed for the conditions that led to the French Revolution.
Peter The Great Tsar of Russia who westernized Russia and made his nation a major European power in the 18th Century.
John Locke Enlightenment thinker who criticized absolute monarchy, supported self-government, believed in natural rights, all men are born free and equal.
Maximilien Robespierre French leader during the Reign of Terror, ruled France as a dictator, and was executed after a year.
Napoleon Bonaparte Successful French emperor and military leader whose rule ended the French Revolution. Set-up efficient tax collection, national bank, and complex system of law that used Enlightenment ideas.
Adam Smith Father of modern economics. Believed in capitalism, fair competition, laissez-faire government, and supply and demand.
Karl Marx Founder of Communism. Believed the middle class should overthrow the wealthy class, creating a classless society.
Touissant L’Overtoure Led enslaved Africans to overthrow France in the Haitian Revolution.
Simon Bolivar Won Venezuela independence from Spain.
Otto von Bismarck "Iron Chancellor". United Germany for the first time in 1871. Used "Realpolitiks" to fix economy and Balance of Power democracy to establish peace in Europe.
Meiji Emperor Mutsuhito Japanese emperor of the Meiji Dynasty who westernized Japan and colonized China and Korea.
Vladimir Lenin Led the Bolshevik party during the Russian Revolution. Promised "peace, land, and bread."
Joseph Stalin Totalitarian ruler of Russia who launched the Great Purge and outlined the Five Year Plans.
Fidel Castro Communist leader of Cuba. Involved in the Cuban Missile Crisis during the Cold War.
Ho Chi Minh Led Vietnamese independence movement from France and founded the Vietcong who fought America during the Vietnam War.
Pol Pot Led the communist party, the Khmer Rouge, in Cambodia. Slaughtered 2 million people in the Cambodian Genocide.
Mikhail Gorbachev Tried to reform the Soviet Union with "Glasnost" -openness of government, and "perestroika" - economic restructuring that allowed private ownership.
Mao Zedong Communist leader of the People's Republic of China. Led the cultural revolution that shaped Chinese education, women's rights, and health care. Also a ruthless dictator who starved 40-70 million.
Deng Xiaoping Chinese leader who shared power with the Eight Elders. Modernized agriculture, industry, defense, science and technology.
Mohandas Gandhi Led Indian independence movement against Great Britain. Called on Indians to avoid buying British goods, paying taxes, and used civil disobedience to protest government.
Jawaharlal Nehru First prime minister of India who emphasized democracy unity, and economic modernization. Elevated the status of lower castes.
Mustafa Kemal (Ataturk) Led the Turkish Revolution and overthrew the Ottoman Empire in 1922.
Ayatollah Khomeini Led the Iranian Revolution in 1979 to overthrow the secular government, started war against Iraq, and supported the Iranian Hostage Crisis.
Nelson Mandela Help to end the apartheid of South Africa. Was jailed for 27 years and became president of South Africa and a world leader against racism.
Suleiman the Magnificent Leader of the Ottoman Empire who united his empire under an efficient government structure.
Akbar the Great Emperor of the Mughal Empire in India. He is responsible for religious toleration and the increasing of trade and cultural diffusion.
Elizabeth I Queen of England and Ireland between 1558 and 1603. She was an absolute ruler who was tolerant of her subjects' religions.
Created by: mrdesar