Below is a list of the most disruptive individuals who made an impact in the lives of people by using their voice and zeal to stand for what is right. Even though most of them faced opposition, they strived to accomplish what they believed.
- Joan of Arc
Joan of Arc was a saint, a martyr, and a warrior who led the French armed force to triumph over the English in the Hundred Years War when she was just 18 years old. She was born in France in 1412 and lived an ordinary childhood until around ten years of age. It was at that point that she started encountering progressively distinctive, magical dreams encouraging her to live a devout life.
In these visions, she got instructions concerning the brutal and consecutive war between the French and the English. She was to talk with Charles VII—the heir to the throne—and seek his consent to oust the English and appoint him as the legitimate king. Having no military background, she persuaded Charles to allow her to lead a French armed force to the besieged city of Orleans. Joan and her army accomplished a pivotal triumph over the English and the Burgundians (their French partners). Joan was at that point captured by Anglo-Burgundian forces and tried for witchcraft and sin. She was burned when she was 19. She was officially canonized in 1920 and remained one of history’s most prominent figures. she makes the list of the most disruptive people in history.
- Nelson Mandela
Nelson Mandela comes second in our list of the most disruptive individual. In 1994, Mandela was elected as the first black President of South Africa. He was also the first South African President to be fairly elected. He devoted his life to fighting for human rights, human respect, and the freedom of South African people.
After the 1960 Sharpeville massacre, in which police took 69 lives and injured 189 unarmed protesters, Mandela became more aggressive. 3 years later, he and 10 others were sentenced to life in prison for sabotage and conspiracy to oust the government.
During his imprisonment, Mandela gained worldwide attention as the Anti-Apartheid movement spread over the world. He was released in February 1990. In 1993, he was granted the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to end apartheid in SA. The following year, Mandela was elected President.
Mandela died in 2013, and his birthday, July 18th, is celebrated each year as “Mandela day,’ to promote world peace.
- Aung Sang Suu Kyi
Aung Sang Suu Kyi is the State Counsellor for Myanmar and the winner of the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize. Even though the Myanmar constitution prohibits Suu Kyi from being elected as president since her children are foreign nationals, she is considered the country’s de facto leader. He comes third on our list of most disruptive individuals.
Suu Kyi went through a long time examining and living overseas In her youth. She later returned to Myanmar (Burma) and was exposed to the killing of protesters rallying against the brutal rule of U Ne Win. She spoke out against the military-run rule of Burma and started a non-violent movement towards democracy, a courageous act that saw her spend the greater part of the next 21 years under house arrest. She got to be a worldwide symbol of peaceful resistance in the face of oppression.
She later secured a seat in parliament after her release in 2010. The same year, her political party won by a landslide and gained control of the parliament. She was named the state counselor, a position that is above the presidency.
- Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara
You have probably seen his face printed on shirts. He makes a list as the most disruptive individual. Che Guevara was an Argentinian revolutionary whose image has remained a trademark of revolution to this day. Born in 1928, Guevara studied medicine before traveling around Latin America, where he saw the extensive abuse, poverty, and wretchedness endured by the low class. This experience, combined with Che’s Marxist interests, persuaded him that the only solution was an armed revolution, a cause that he mercilessly and compassionately committed his life to.
His legacy is not only that of a Latin American revolutionary. His most enduring legacy is the decrease in the lack of education in Cuba. While holding office, he formed universities all over Cuba that were accessible to everyone. His face still graces t-shirts, posters, and protest banners around the world as an image of anti-establishment and social change. He is respected in Cuba, where everyday schoolchildren say a daily chant in his honor. His face is printed on the 3 Peso note.
- Muhammed Ali
Muhammed Ali was a heavyweight champion boxer, humanitarian and social activist. Ali is widely respected as one of the foremost noted and celebrated sports figures of the 20th century. Brave, motivating, and controversial, he was known for his fierce and open opposition to America’s involvement in the Vietnam War.
He was a symbol of racial pride in the resistance to white supremacy amid the Civil Rights movement. In 1966, he was recruited into the U.S Military but denied to comply because his devout convictions restricted him from fighting.
Ali desired the spotlight, often alluding to himself as ‘the greatest.’ He was aggressive and sometimes strange, using freestyle rhyme and spoken word poetry as trash talk to piss off his challengers in the ring, but also as political poetry outside the ring. In 1984, Ali was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and went through the rest of his days as a humanitarian before his passing in 2016. He is also named the most disruptive person in the world.
- Nellie Bly
Elizabeth Cochran Sailor, known by her pen name Nellie Bly, was one of the initial immersion writers, an innovator, an industrialist, and a charity worker in the late 1800s.
She faked her insanity to get to the Women’s Lunatic Asylum on Blackwell’s Island, where she stayed for 10 days and saw the brutality and shameful acts committed against patients. In 1887, she published a groundbreaking expose on the agonizing conditions.
Her article was a tremendous success, impelling a deep investigation of the institution and changes to the health-care system. This made her be among the most disruptive people in history.
- Iqbal Masih
Iqbal was a forced child laborer in Pakistan. At 4, he was sold by his family to pay off a debt of $6. He worked in chains for 14 hours a day, 6 days a week, at a carpet factory. The debt never got less due to interest and fines for his mistakes. Beatings and starvation were common. At the age of 10, he managed to get away but was caught by corrupt police, and they returned him to his captor.
He managed to escape a second time at the age of 12 when he went to a Freedom Day celebration held by the Brick Layer Unions. He took an opportunity to speak before the crowd. After hearing Iqbal’s story, one of the union pioneers organized exertion to free Iqbal from servitude. It succeeded. He later became a prominent leader of the anti-slave movement. Iqbal helped over 3000 children in bondage and delivered countless speeches at rallies.
- Martin Luther King Jr.
MLK Jr. makes our list of most disruptive individuals. He was a Baptist minister and social activist. He led the Civil Rights Movement in the united states from the mid-1950s until his assassination in 1968. King was arrested in 1963 at a protest. While he was in jail, he wrote a letter to a publication that condemned his methods.
The letter was known as “Letter from Birmingham Jail” and was famously republished and studied in colleges all over America. In August 1963, King drove over 20,000 individuals in a demonstration where his popular “I have a dream” speech got to be a defining moment in civil rights history. His activism and uplifting public speaking played a significant part in ending the legal segregation of African-American citizens in the United States. In 1964, he received the Nobel Peace Prize. He continues to be remembered as one of the most powerful African-American pioneers in history.
- Galileo Galilei
Another most disruptive individual makes our list. Born in 1564 in Italy, Galileo Galilei was a mathematics teacher widely regarded as the ‘father of western science’ for his leading perceptions within the areas of physics and astronomy. Galileo was far beyond his time, piloting the strategy of conducting experiments to test theories. Before Galileo, researchers would only theorize before deciding something was true.
Galilei was at that point able to affirm that the Earth was not the center of the Universe, but that the sun was – a progressive discovery. He published numerous manuscripts to share his discoveries, much to the shock of the Catholic Church, who in the long run named him an apostate and sentenced him to house arrest for the rest of his life.
- Satoshi Nakamoto
Satoshi Nakamoto is the mysterious name used by the yet unidentified person who designed and brought Bitcoin to the world. Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency and a payment system. It’s peer-to-peer, meaning transactions take place between users directly without the need for an intermediary. It was first introduced in 2008 and released as open-source software in 2009. While it was not the first cryptocurrency system, Nakamoto’s Bitcoin was the first decentralized digital currency and has since become the largest of its kind in terms of total market value. He can’t miss in our most disruptive list.
- Ai Wei Wei
Ai Wei Wei is a world-famous Chinese contemporary artist and political activist. He has been openly critical of the Chinese government’s stance on democracy and human rights, leading to his heavy surveillance and imprisonment without charges.
Important works include ‘Dropping a Han Tradition Urn (1995)’, a video of Ai pulverizing a 2,000-year-old ceremonial urn, worth thousands of dollars. The Han Dynasty is considered a characterizing moment in Chinese civilization, and the urn had significant cultural and symbolic worth. Sparking the outrage of antique dealers over China who called it an act of social profaning, Ai was in truth making a provocative statement about the eradication of cultural memory in Communist China.
His actions have seen him beaten by police, placed under house arrest, and become the subject of continuous surveillance by the Chinese government. He wouldn’t miss our most disruptive list.
- Shirin Ebadi
Shirin Ebadi, an Iranian legal counselor, was the first female judge in Iran. In 1979, after Khomeini’s revolution, she was dismissed from her position. Ebadi, at that point, opened a legal practice to protect individuals being oppressed by the authorities. She was detained in 2000 for criticizing Iran’s hierocracy (rule or government by priests)
she set up organizations that put human rights and democracy on the agenda and composed books proposing a change of Iran’s succession and divorce laws. In 2003, she got to be the first Iranian Muslim lady to win the Nobel Peace Prize for her fight for democracy and women’s, children’s, and refugees’ rights. Today, she lives in exile in the UK due to increased mistreatment in Iran of rivals of the current regime. Extraordinary woman, she also makes our list of most disruptive individuals.
- Dr. Eugene Lazowski
Eugene Lazowski (1913 – 2006) was a Polish medical specialist who saved thousands of Jews during the Holocaust with a courageous and bright plan. Lazowski made a fake outbreak of Plague Typhus, an unsafe infectious illness. A companion and fellow specialist, Stanislav Matulewicz, had found that by injecting a healthy individual with a “vaccine” of dead microbes, that individual would test positive for the infection without encountering any symptoms.
The Germans were very afraid of Epidemic Typhus because of its profoundly infectious nature. Jews who tested positive for Typhus were killed by the Nazi’s, so Lazowski injected his fake infection into the non-Jewish population in neighborhoods surrounding the ghettos. He knew that the possibility of an outbreak would cause the Germans to forsake and isolate the zone instead. His plan worked and spared an estimated 8,000 Polish Jews from certain death at the hands of the Nazis. If he wouldn’t make the most disruptive list, then that would be unfair.
- Malala Yousafzai
Malala is a 19-year-old Pakistani activist for female education. She is also the youngest-ever Nobel Prize laureate. In early 2009, when she was 11, Malala began blogging under a pseudonym for the BBC, detailing her life under Taliban rule. A New York Times documentary was made about her life, which brought her further into the limelight. She took various print and television interviews and was nominated for the International Children’s Peace Prize.
The Taliban issued a death threat against her. At the age of 15, a Taliban shooter entered Malala’s bus and shot her in the face. After making a narrow recovery from the assault, Malala became a noticeable education activist, establishing the Malala Fund, a non-profit advocating secure and accessible education for all girls. In 2013, 2014, and 2015, Time Magazine highlighted her as one of the foremost influential individuals globally. At age 17 in 2014, she was the youngest co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize alongside Kailash Satyarthi.
- Harvey Milk
Born in New York in 1930, Harvey Milk was a civil and human rights pioneer who got to be one of the first openly gay officials in the United States in 1977. His proud authenticity as a gay candidate for public office and subsequent election to San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors gave LGBT individuals unprecedented hope at a time when the community was encountering widespread segregation and hostility. He was appallingly shot and murdered the following year. Numerous books and movies have been made about his life.
- Mahatma Gandhi
Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948) was the most disruptive, famous leader of the Indian Independence movement in British-ruled India, using non-violent civil disobedience to fight for civil rights, inspiring movements for freedom all over the world. His first act of civil disobedience was when he was working as an expatriate lawyer in South Africa, fighting for civil rights in the resident Indian community. Then, after moving back to India in 1915, he organized peasants, farmers, and urban laborers to protest against excessive land-tax and discrimination. In 1921, he became the leader of the Indian National Congress and proceeded to campaign to ease poverty, expand women’s rights, and build religious and ethnic amity.
In 1930, Gandhi famously led the 24-day, 250-mile Salt Walk in protest of the British forced salt tax, which gained worldwide recognition and begun the Civil Disobedience Movement. Gandhi was detained for many years, most times for his activism, but remained peaceful in all situations. Gandhi was assassinated by a Hindu nationalist in Delhi on January 30, 1948.
- Marie Stopes
Born in 1880, Marie Stopes was a British scientist, campaigner for women’s rights/sex education, and a pioneer of family planning and birth control. She established the first birth control clinic in Britain and edited a pamphlet called Birth Control News, which gave unequivocal advice to its readers. In 1918, she published a sex manual called Married Love, in which she freely tended to sentimental and sexual bliss in a marriage. The book was condemned by churches, the medical establishment, and the press. It, however, sold 2,000 copies in a fortnight.
- Paul Rusesabagina
Paul Rusesabagina may be a Rwandan humanitarian who was working as a manager at the Diplomate Hotel at the time of the Rwandan Genocide in 1994. The Belgian proprietors of the inn fled Rwanda when the president was murdered, and the country became unfriendly, leaving Rusesabagina to run it on his own. The event went to a great extent unnoticed by the rest of the world until it was nearly too late.
During this time, Paul harbored over a thousand outcasts from rebel forces in the inn, using his wit, deception, and bribery to protect those in his care. Constant negotiations with the Hutu Malitia bought Paul sufficient time to inevitably contact the UN and persuade them to send troopers to protect the lodging. At that point, he organized transport for the 1,300 displaced people to be taken to a real refugee camp, and at long last, elude the violence. Paul presently resides in Brussels, where he effectively raises awareness about the issues in Rwanda.
With these courageous deeds, he made it to our list of the most disruptive individuals in the world.
- Rosa Parks
Now, this lady would not miss our most disruptive list. Rosa Parks is known as the ‘first lady of civil rights,’ as she pioneered the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s in racially segregated Alabama.
In 1955, while working as a secretary for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), she refused to give her seat to a white passenger on a bus in Montgomery. She was arrested for her disobedience. This simple yet powerfully disruptive act sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott that crippled the state’s public transport system.
- Edward Snowden
Edward Snowden is a 31-year-old American computer genius and whistleblower who worked in different parts of the US intelligence community. He is among the most disruptive individuals in history. All through his career, Snowden worked in the global communications division of the CIA, as a master in cyber counterintelligence for Dell and a lead technologist for the NSA. In 2013, Snowden quit his work at the NSA and flew to Hong Kong, where he leaked thousands of classified NSA records to journalists Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras, and Ewen MacAskill. The records contained data on the NSA’s secret, worldwide surveillance programs that appeared to be working outside the US constitution’s limits. His activities have created phenomenal worldwide consideration around privacy intrusions and digital security. Snowden looked for refuge in Russia after the US government charged him with the robbery of government property and two other charges under the 1917 Espionage Act. Each charge, a maximum 10-year jail sentence.
Snowden remains in Russia to this day, where he has been living on a temporary residency while the US pursues his extradition. Journalists continue to distribute reports from Snowden that uncover secret and unaccountable systems of global surveillance. His actions have led to an authoritative change of laws enabling US surveillance, lawsuits against the US and UK governments for breach of security laws, and caused the US government to agree on more prominent transparency for Surveillance Programs.
- Kofi Annan
Kofi A. Annan was the 7th Secretary-General of the United Nations and was the founder and chair of the Kofi Annan Foundation. He died in 2018 after a short illness.
In his final 2 years, under the helm of his Foundation, Kofi Annan propelled ventures to protect elections and democracy within the digital age and promote youth administration within the confront of violent radicalism and guarantee that processes produce lasting peace. In conclusion, he pushed for agriculture that serves the poorest and earnestly cautioned against climate change threats. With his Establishment, Kofi Annan upheld nations confronting troublesome races such as Nigeria, Mexico, Malaysia, Cameroun, and Zimbabwe.
- Ruby Bridges
Ruby Bridges, in full Ruby Nell Bridges, (born September 8, 1954, Tylertown, Mississippi, U.S.), an American activist who got to be an image of the civil rights movement and who was, at age six, the youngest of a group of black American students to integrate schools in the American South.
Of the six African American students designated to integrate into the school, Bridges was the only one to enroll. On November 14, 1960, her first day, she was escorted to school by four federal marshals. She spent the entire day in the principal’s office as irate parents marched into the school to remove their children.
During this period, bridges’ main confidants were her teacher and Robert Coles, a renowned child psychologist who studied the reaction of young children toward extreme stress or crisis. Toward the end of the year, the crowds began to thin, and by the following year, the school had enrolled several more Black students.
Have a tip we should know? firstname.lastname@example.org