Who were the most famous men in the world during the 19th century?


Ad Honoris
May 2014
I can't believe nobody mentioned Metternich. The guy was the architect of post-Napoleonic Europe and the bogeyman of the 1848 revolutionaries.
I thought about mentioning him but I don't know just how famous he was among ordinary people in the 19th century.
Feb 2011
The Duke of Wellington was of European celebrity status in 1832. He had been of such status since 1815 and had recently been Prime Minister. His status remained so until his death in 1852.
Feb 2019
I don't think people are answering in chronological order. I think they are nominating people they think were very, very famous anytime between 1832 and 1914, in the hope that eventually a chronolgical list will be determined.
Ok, so probably out of all the peeps mentioned for 1832, it would be between Wellington, Babbage, and Metternich IMO! Let's settle this one so we can move on to the next :)
  • Like
Reactions: Futurist


Ad Honorem
Sep 2011
First phenomenon of Musical Superstars as a pan-European phenomenon – Beethoven, Paganini, Liszt, Chopin.
Jun 2017
I was reading a quote from Ronald Bottrall stating that after Napoleon's death, Goethe and Lord Byron became the 2 most famous men in Europe and it got me thinking. Let's say between Goethe's death(1832) and the start of WW1(1914), who were the most famous men in the World? I picked WW1 because mass-media in the form of cinema and radio started to spread from that point on. And it's interesting to see what great figures were most renowned before the emergence of pop-celebrities.

A few possible options: Charles Darwin, Thomas Edison, Abraham Lincoln, Otto von Bismarck, Giuseppe Garibaldi, Franz Joseph I of Austria, Graham Bell, Nietzsche, and I'm not very knowledgeable regarding the history of car industries but maybe Henry Ford was already huge pre WW1?

I think none of the above was at peak reputation by 1832 though. Who would be a good example as a successor of sorts for Goethe? Maybe Charles Babbage? And am I off the mark with any of these men?
In the US pre Civil War it would be the trio of Clay, Webster and Calhoun. Post Civil War it would likely be Grant. Captains of industry certainly picked up fame later on in the Gilded Age, not sure if Vanderbilt or Rockefeller had the fame early on. If I had to pick most famous politicians it would be Blaine and William Jennings Bryan. Marconi was very famous at the time of the Titanic sinking, he was viewed in the way a Mark Zuckerburg would be today. Enough so were when the operator met him it resembled a modern day celebrity/fan interaction. Darwin maybe I think he got more popular in the 1920s. It's hard to distinguish relevance today and relevance at the time.

Outside of the US and UK, while economically the world has changed, socially was still set up largely as was in the feudal period and that period mainly saw celebrities among the nobility(who were originally the fighting class though that started to change) and then the military.