1. Miyamoto Musashi
Miyamoto Musashi is widely considered as a Kensei (an honorary title given to a warrior with legendary sword skills) and is considered one of the greatest warriors of all time. He wrote a book called The Book of Five Rings that is still studied today. He was said to have never lost a duel in his life, and won his first duel at the age of 13.
2. Charles Martel
Also known as Charles the Hammer, he was Charlemagne’s grandfather and only lost one battle in his lifetime. He even turned down the title of Consul from the Pope in 739. He’s often credited with developing the feudal system and the concept of knighthood.
3. Edmund of East Anglia
Edmund of East Anglia, also known as Edmund the Martyr, protected the land of what became Britain from the pagan Danes. He died like a hero after being repetitively shot with arrows. He ended up being canonized by the Catholic Church and is the saint of Wolves, Kings and Torture Victims.
4. Matthew Gaines
Matthew Gaines was a former slave turned Senator of Texas. During his term, Gaines addressed the issues of public education, prison reform, the protection of black voters, and tenant farming reformation. The issue that was nearest to his heart though, was public education. He made valuable contributions towards the establishment of free public education in the state of Texas.
5. Aristides de Sousa Mendes
Aristides de Sousa Mendes was a Portugese diplomat that disobeyed orders from the Portugese government and issued visas free of charge to 30,000 WWII refugees, including 12,000 Jews.
7. Fighting Jack Churchill
A British soldier who lived through WWII and fought on the front lines using only a longbow, arrows and a Scottish broadsword called a Claymore. (Claymores are typically about 4 and a half feet long.) After WWII, he joined up with a branch of the British Army called the Seafort Highlanders and once coordinated the evacuation of 700 people from a hospital that had come under attack in Jerusalem.
8. Hans Joachim Friedrichs
In 1989, the government of East Germany was trying to close loopholes that allowed East Germans into West Germany through Hungary and Czechoslovakia. The government then rushed out some legislation that allowed some refugees access throughout the Berlin Wall. There was some confusion on the subject, which led East German anchorman, Hans Joachim Friedrichs, to inadvertently declare that the border was open, which led to the fall of the Berlin wall and the reunification of Germany.
9. Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzáles
Corky Gonzales was an important leader for young and poor Mexican Americans in the 1960s. He is often considered one of the founding fathers of the Chicano Movement. He started The Crusade for Justice, a group that pushed for civil rights and equality for Mexican Americans. He also wrote the famous poem “I Am Joaquín.”
10. Tim Berners-Lee
Tim Berners-Lee is known by most as the man who invented the modern-day Internet. (Sorry Al Gore.) Berners-Lee is an English computer scientist who, with help from a couple of colleagues, implemented the first communication between a hypertext transfer protocol client (the foundation of the World Wide Web) and a server.