87% of People Have Trouble Naming the Most Interesting People in History! How About You?

By: Staff

About This Quiz

Can you tell George Washington from Gandhi or Shakespeare from Stephen Hawking from a single photo? Could you recognize legendary leader Julius Caesar or infamous outlaw Jesse James? Take our quiz to see if you can spot some of the most interesting people who've ever lived from just a single image!

The population of the Earth topped 7 billion for the first time in 2012 and is expected to reach 9 billion by 2050. Sounds like a whole lot of people, right? Well, the current population of the planet is actually just a drop in the bucket. Since Homo sapiens first walked the Earth around 50,000 years ago, well over 100 billion people have called the planet home at one point or another. 

Most of these 100 billion people were born, lived simple lives and died. Sure, their lives were meaningful to their families, but the vast majority of their names and faces have been forgotten. A small percentage of those lives, however, had such an impact that their names have been remembered even after their deaths. Perhaps they made important scientific or technological discoveries, became revered leaders, launched beloved creative endeavors, fought for important causes, or committed horrific crimes.

Whatever the reason, these names have lived on long after the individuals themselves have passed. Think you can recognize their faces? Take our quiz to prove it!

Charles Darwin's theory of evolution changed the way we understand the world. His idea that humans share a common ancestor with apes was met with a lot of criticism and challenged the foundations of Western civilization.

Mother Teresa is also known as Saint Teresa of Calcutta, and her original name was Anjeze Gonxhe Bojaxhiu. The word “Anjeze” means "a little flower" in Albanian. Prior to her move to India, Mother Teresa left for Ireland to learn English in 1928. After that, she never saw her mother or her sisters again.

During Mahatma Gandhi's influential years, he used to walk around 18 km every day, for almost 40 years. From 1913 to 1938, while he was campaigning, he walked around 79,000 km, which is equivalent to circling the Earth twice. He also experimented with eating meat and smoking, before deciding to abstain.

Widely known as the greatest writer in the English language, William Shakespeare is often called England's national poet, or the "Bard of Avon." The greatest dramatist of all time, he invented thousands of new words in his poems and plays.

Aristotle, together with other philosophers, such as Socrates and Plato, laid the groundwork for Western philosophy. His works shaped centuries of philosophy, from Late Antiquity through the Renaissance, and are still studied with keen interest.

This military leader and first emperor of France conquered much of Europe in the early 19th century. He was successfully expanding his empire until a disastrous French invasion of Russia in 1812. Even though he briefly returned to power in his Hundred Days campaign a few years after, he abdicated once again and was exiled to a remote island, Elba, after a defeat at the Battle of Waterloo.

Although this philosopher, social scientist, historian and revolutionary was largely ignored by scholars in his own lifetime, his bold ideas gained acceptance in the socialist movement after his death.

Alexander the Great became king upon his father’s death and conquered most of the known world of his day. He was an inspiration for later conquerors, including Caesar and Napoleon.

Henry VIII was a famous English monarch, second in the Tudor Dynasty, who turned his country into a Protestant nation. Henry VIII was witty, charismatic, wise, and is famous for his diverse appetites for art, music and culture. Oh, and he's also famous for those six wives.

Queen Victoria had the second longest reign of any British monarch in history - she was the queen of the U.K. from 1837 until her death in 1901. In total, she was the queen of Great Britain for 63 years. Queen Elizabeth II became the longest-reigning British monarch in 2015.

A politically adept and popular leader, Julius Caesar significantly transformed the Roman Republic, creating the Roman Empire - the most extensive political and social structure in Western civilization.

"Scarface." Perhaps one of the most famous criminals in U.S. history. Al Capone came from an immigrant Italian family. After he was expelled from school at the age of 14, Capone fell under the win of gangster Johnny Torrio. Capone moved up through Torrio's gangs, eventually becoming a member of the Five Points Gang. During a fight in a saloon, Capone was cut on the cheek and earned his nickname. Torrio went to Chicago to expand his racketeering empire and Capone went with. He eventually succeeded Torrio as boss and built up his huge criminal empire, taking out rivals along the way. Capone was eventually arrested for tax evasion and spent seven years in jail. He was paroled in 1939 and died in 1948.

Born William Henry McCarty, Jr., Billy the Kid had many other aliases, including William H. Bonny. After the death of his parents while a teenager, Billy became a petty thief. He eventually became a gunfighter for a gang and legend has it that he killed 21 people. On further investigation over the years, this number is probably far lower. Billy was eventually killed by Sheriff Pat Garrett. He was just 21 when he died.

One of the most famous assassins in history, Lee Harvey Oswald was charged with killing President John Kennedy in Dallas in 1963. Although he maintained his innocence, Oswald had military training, was an above average marksman and had leanings towards socialism. Between 1959 and 1962, Oswald lived in Moscow where he took a Soviet wife. Oswald was killed two days after Kennedy's assassination by nightclub owner, Jack Ruby.

Although he was connected to over 30 murders, Ted Bundy could have been involved in much more. It is widely believed that Bundy started his killing spree around 1974. Bundy would sit in his car, a VW Beetle, pretend to be injured and lure his victims in. He would then rape them and beat them to death. Bundy was arrested for kidnap in 1975 and jailed. While in jail, he was accused of the murder of another victim. After appearing in court, where he defended himself, Bundy escaped but was caught a little over a week later. He then escaped from jail, managing to get all the way to Florida before he was caught again, but not before committing two more murders. He was eventually executed in 1989.

A notorious criminal from the Old West, Jesse James was part of the James-Younger gang in Missouri. James and his brother Frank left the Confederate Army to become outlaws, robbing banks, stagecoaches and trains. Over a period of more than twenty years, they were responsible for a host of robberies amounting to around $200,000. Their notoriety led to a massive reward for their capture and, in 1882, James' own gang members turned on him. James was shot in the back of the head by henchman Bob Ford and died instantly.

Jeffrey Dahmer was one of the United States’ most notorious criminals. In a 13-year span, from 1978 to when he was captured in 1991, Dahmer murdered 17 male victims. Not only that, but he often dismembered his victims or performed sexual acts on them. In some cases, he even kept body parts of his victims and cannibalized them. There was a 9-year gap between his first and his second victim. In this time, Dahmer was arrested twice for indecent exposure and had numerous other close calls with the police before he was finally caught in 1991 after an intended victim, Tracey Edwards had escaped from his clutches. He was convicted and was sent to jail to serve 16 life terms but was killed in prison in 1994 by a fellow inmate.

Half of the infamous Bonnie and Clyde, Bonnie Parker fell in love with criminal Clyde Barrow in 1930, later even helping him to break out of jail by smuggling in a gun. Soon she entered a life of crime with Barrow when the pair formed a gang and went on a crime spree, mostly involving armed robbery. Parker was captured during a failed robbery attempt in 1932 but released after she said she was kidnapped and before anyone had worked out she was part of the gang. Parker loved writing poetry and penned many pieces while awaiting trial. She eventually died with Barrow in a hail of bullets during a police ambush in 1934.

Born in Indiana in 1903, John Dillinger entered a life of crime early, first through petty theft. At the age of 21, Dillinger robbed a grocery store but was apprehended by authorities. He spent time in jail for his crime and, upon his release, he moved to Chicago. Dillinger set up a crime syndicate that operated in numerous states over the next couple of years. He became a national celebrity, with brands such as Ford and Hudson using his fame to drive sales. Dillinger underwent facial reconstruction surgery to try to hide his identity and even burnt off his fingerprints. He was eventually killed in an ambush in 1934 with the FBI, after they received information from Dillinger's friend, Ana Sage.

Many from his community were shocked when John Wayne Gacy was arrested for the disappearance of Robert Piest in 1978, Gacy, who owned a construction company, was a respected person in his community. But Gacy had a dark side no one knew about. After a previous conviction for sexual assault in 1968, he went on to kill 33 young men or boys in the next decade, burying them under his house. He was found guilty in 1980 and sentenced to death. Gacy was executed in 1994.

Involved in organized crime in the Boston area in the 1970s, '80s and '90s, Whitey Bulger also acted as a police informant. He was forced to flee the area in 1995 and was eventually captured in 2011. It is alleged Bulger was involved in 19 murders as well as other organized crime dealings, including money laundering, extortion and drugs. After his capture, he was convicted of 11 murders and a host of other charges. He was sentenced to jail to serve two life sentences. Incidentally, Bulger hated his nickname and preferred to be called "Boots."

H.H. Holmes is widely regarded as one of the first serial killers in the United States. Referred to as the "Beast of Chicago," Holmes admitted to killing 27 people, although the number is thought to be over 100 and could even be close to 200. He moved to Chicago in 1886 and worked in a pharmacy. Holmes took over the practice when the owner of the establishment suddenly vanished. In this building, Holmes would torture his victims. He used the building as a residence for visitors to the 1893 Columbian Exposition. Many of these visitors simply disappeared. Holmes also ran insurance scams and this led to his capture. He was tried for insurance fraud and later for the murder of his accomplice, Benjamin Pitezel. It was during his time in jail that he admitted to 27 murders. He was hanged in 1896.

Together with his brother Jesse, Frank James served with the Confederates during the American Civil War. It was after the war that the pair became notorious outlaws, responsible for a number of bank and stagecoach robberies. Most of the gang were killed during an ill-fated robbery in Northfield, Minnesota, but the brothers escaped until Jesse was killed by a new henchman. Frank eventually gave himself up to authorities. After spending time in jail awaiting trial, Frank was acquitted and worked a number of jobs before his death in 1915.

James Earl Ray assassinated Martin Luther King, Jr, the leader of the civil rights movement, in 1968. Ray, a minor criminal, shot him from a house near the balcony of the motel where King was staying. Ray fled to Canada, flew to London and was apprehended by police officers as he was about to fly to Brussels. He pleaded guilty, meaning a trial was not necessary, and received a 99-year sentence. He later recanted his confession and escaped from jail, but he was caught after three days on the run. Ray died from complications caused by Hepatitis C in 1998, at age 70.

George Washington was actually born on February 11, 1731, but when the colonies switched to the Gregorian calendar from the Julian calendar, his birthday moved eleven days. Because his birthday fell before the old date for New Year’s Day, but after the new date for New Year’s Day, his birth year was changed to 1732. Also, the pictures you see of him are of his real hair, not a wig.

Abraham Lincoln was the only president to have a patent: Lincoln invented a device to free steamboats that ran aground. He supported women's right to vote in 1836 - he was a suffragette before it became fashionable. He was a big animal lover, but he wouldn’t hunt or fish. He hated being called Abe. Apparently, he preferred being called by his last name.

Ronald Reagan really enjoyed jelly beans. According to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, his favorite flavor was licorice. Reagan started eating jelly beans in 1967, when he was trying to quit a pipe-smoking habit. Ronald Reagan started out in life as a Democrat and supported the New Deal efforts of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Reagan officially became a Republican in 1962.

John F. Kennedy and Jackie Kennedy had four children. Kennedy suffered from poor health his entire life and, fearing imminent death, America’s first Catholic president received the sacramental last rites of the church on three occasions. In the months before the United States entered World War II, Kennedy attempted to enlist in the military, but his intestinal and back problems caused him to fail the physical examinations for both the Army’s and Navy’s officer candidate schools.

Of the first five American presidents, Adams was the only non-slaveholder. His predecessor, George Washington, owned over 300 slaves at the time of his death. The two rivals, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, both kicked the bucket on July 4, 1826, exactly fifty years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence. John Adams did not attend Jefferson's inauguration.

Bill Clinton was born on August 19, 1946, in Hope, Arkansas. Clinton was the second-youngest president ever elected, when he defeated President George H.W. Bush and Ross Perot in 1992. He was 46 years old at the time of his inauguration. In 1996, President Clinton became the first Democrat to be elected to a second term since Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1936. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech so impressed a teenage Clinton that he memorized the entire speech right after it was given.

Jefferson loved science, technology, and innovation. One of his favorite devices was a rotating bookstand that could hold five books at once. Also, he loved books. In 1814, the original Library of Congress was attacked by British troops and all the books were burned. Jefferson offered his personal library as a replacement. In 1815, the Library of Congress was restocked — with Jefferson’s 6,487 books.

On Valentine’s Day in 1884, Theodore Roosevelt’s mother passed away from typhoid fever. One floor above in the same house, his first wife, Alice, died less than 12 hours later from Bright’s disease and complications from giving birth to the couple’s first child just two days before. After his appointment in 1895, Roosevelt attempted to reform one of America’s most corrupt police departments.

Both of Andrew Jackson’s parents, Andrew and Elizabeth, were born in Ireland’s Country Antrim (in present-day Northern Ireland), and in 1765 they set sail with their two sons, Hugh and Robert, from the port town of Carrickfergus for America. Both North Carolina and South Carolina claim to be his birthplace. Most strikingly, Andrew Jackson killed a man in a duel.

Franklin D. Roosevelt was an only child of very wealthy parents; he grew up on an estate in New York’s Hudson Valley. Franklin was also related to his own wife! Eleanor Roosevelt was Theodore Roosevelt’s fifth cousin once removed. After a brief law career, Franklin entered politics as a Democrat. His famous relative, Teddy, and many other Roosevelts were Republicans.

Margaret Joan Geller is an astronomy professor at Harvard University and a senior scientist at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. She helped discover a "Great Wall" of galaxies in space, stretching at least 500 million light years.

Jane Goodall established the Jane Goodall Institute in 1977, which supports research and a range of conservation programs to protect chimpanzees and the environment. Goodall has been part of many animal rights organizations. She was the president of Advocates for Animals from 1998 to 2008.

Stephen Hawking is a British theoretical physicist. Hawking has made many important contributions to the fields of cosmology and quantum gravity. He is also the author of a mainstream bestselling book, A Brief History of Time. The 2014 film, The Theory of Everything, starring Eddie Redmayne, is about his early years.

In 1964, both Peter Higgs and the team of François Englert and Robert Brout proposed a theory about the existence of a particle that explains why other particles have a mass. In 2012, two experiments conducted at the CERN laboratory confirmed the existence of the Higgs particle.

Niels Bohr was a Danish physicist and philosopher who is best known for his contributions to the understanding of quantum physics and atomic structure. He was also a huge proponent of scientific research, especially about the best practices for sharing information.

Nikola Tesla was an electrical engineer, inventor and one of the most outstanding physicists in the history of science. He had a photographic memory. He was known to memorize books and images and stockpile visions for inventions in his head. He had some strange aversions - for example, he hated round objects and jewelry, and he would not touch hair. He was also obsessed with the number 3.

Robert Oppenheimer was an American theoretical physicist. He is among the people who are often called the "father of the atomic bomb" for their role in the Manhattan Project. He co-authored a paper with Max Born that explained the separation of nuclear motion from electric motion in the mathematical treatment of molecules.

Augustus Caesar was actually the nephew of Julius Caesar. Born Gaius Octavius and also known as Octavian, Augustus Caesar is famous for transforming the Roman Republic. Most notably, he was part of the Second Triumvirate, which ended the Roman Republic.

Julius Caesar's ancestry could be traced to the first king of Rome. Julius introduced the Julian calendar. When Julius was young and on his way to study oratory, he was kidnapped by pirates. He made friends with the pirates and he was later freed when Caesar's uncle paid the ransom. Once he was freed, he had the pirates executed.

Thomas Paine was an English-American writer whose ideas and work influenced and guided the American Revolution. Thomas Paine's work, Common Sense, is believed to have forced the issue of creating the Declaration of Independence.

Joan of Arc's real name was Jehanne d’Arc, Jehanne Tarc, Jehanne Romée, or possibly Jehanne de Vouthon. In modern times, some doctors and scholars have “diagnosed” Joan of Arc with disorders ranging from epilepsy to schizophrenia, because of the wild tales and stories told about her.

The empire that Charlemagne built included almost all of western and central Europe. Modern-day France and Germany emerged from Charlemagne’s empire, the former as West Francia and the latter as East Francia. Charlemagne introduced many reforms in his empire, including judicial and legal reforms.

Nelson Mandela has some unusual name tributes. Scientists named a prehistoric woodpecker after him: Australopicus nelsonmandelai, and in 1973, the physics institute at Leeds University named a nuclear particle the Mandela particle. Mandela loved eating tripe... yes, the stomach lining of farm animals.

Did you know that Jesus got his name from an angel of God who appeared when Joseph was planning to break his engagement with Mary? The angel said that Mary was pregnant by the Holy Spirit and not by a human. In the Annunciation, the angel Gabriel told Mary that her child's name would be Jesus. Jesus did not have a last name, like we do. In fact, Christ is not his last name, but a title that means “the anointed one.”

Leif Erikson is often referred to as being from Norwegian blood, but he was actually born in Iceland (around 970 CE), and both his father and his grandfather spent a bulk of their time in Norway and then Greenland. Leif encountered Christianity after a trip to Norway, which resulted in his becoming a consultant to King Olaf Tryggvason.

Charles Manson was responsible for one of the most notorious killing sprees in American history, although he did not commit the murders himself. In the late 1960s, Manson became the leader of a cult known as the Manson family, and he convinced them that he was Jesus. He was obsessed with the Beatles song, "Helter Skelter" and determined to try and start a race war in America. To do this, he had his followers kill Hollywood actress Sharon Tate, who was pregnant at the time, as well as a number of other victims. They then wrote the word "Pig" on a door in the victim's blood. Other murders followed. Manson and his gang were arrested, not for the murders but for vandalizing Death Valley National Park, where they lived. One member of the Manson family, Susan Atkins, confessed and Manson and the others were jailed. Manson was sentenced to life imprisonment and has been denied parole 12 times, as of 2012.

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