They ushered in a new wind-a new era. Here are some of the greatest political revolutionaries of the world, people who radically changed the political landscape of their times.
1. Toussaint L?Ouverture (1743?1803)
Toussaint was the leader of the remarkable Haitian revolution that happened in the French Colony of Saint-Dominique in 1791 .The Haitian Revolution was a slave revolt , which resulted in the abolition of slavery and the establishment of the Republic of Haiti. It was the only slave revolt in history which led to the founding of a state .
2. Emiliano Zapata (1879?1919)
Zapata ? a national icon in Mexico was a leading figure in the Mexican revolution, fighting for peasant rights and land reforms. His document titled the ?Plan de Ayala? which pushed for redistribution of land to the peasant became the template for democratic land ownership. After much struggle, Zapata?s Liberation Army of the South was successful in instituting the land reforms envisioned by Zapata in Morelos- a southern Mexican state.
3. Ernesto ?Che? Guevara (1928?1967)
What irony that Che Guevara finds himself today on Tshirts produced by the same capitalist class that he so vehemently detested! A popular symbol of counter-cultural rebellion , he was greatly influenced by the works of Marx and Lenin, strongly believing that the under development in Latin America was a result of neo-imperialism.
4. Gandhi (1869?1948)
Born into a Hindu Gujrati family, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi- the father of India is often referred to as Mahatma or the supreme soul. Greatly influenced by the works of men like Henry David Theroux and Tolstoy, Gandhi used principles like satyagraha(truth force), ahimsa(non violence) and civil disobedience as tools to fight oppressive regimes ? be it in South Africa where he protested against racial injustice or in India where he successfully led the Indian independence movement against the British.
5. Napoleon Bonaparte (1769?1821)
Napoleon Bonaparte was a French military and political leader who is considered one of the most influential figures in European history. He successfully led the French Empire against every other major European power, dominating continental Europe through a series of military victories till he was defeated by the British in the Battle of Waterloo.
6. George Washington (1732?1799)
George Washington was Commander in Chief of the Continental army during the American Revolutionary War, leading the Americans to victory against the British. Widely admired for his strong leadership, he was elected unanimously by the electoral college, becoming the first president of the US. One of the founding fathers of the US, he is often referred to as the ?Father of the Nation?.
7. Simon Bolivar (1783?1830)
Simon Bolivar was a Venezuelan military and political leader who was instrumental in helping many Latin American countries achieve independence from the Spanish Empire. Bolivar also laid the foundations for democracy in Latin America ? serving as president from 1819 to 1830 of Gran Colombia(current day Columbia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Panama and parts of Peru, Guyana and Brazil)
8. Vladimir Lenin (1870?1924)
Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov Lenin was a Russian revolutionary and the leader of the Bolshevik party. He was the first leader of the Communist government of USSR that was established in 1917. Lenin?s communism which was a variation of Marxist ideas came to be known as Leninism.
9. Nelson Mandela (1918?2013)
He was a South African revolutionary who served as the first black president of South Africa from 1994 to 1999. Inspired by Gandhi?s ideas of non violent resistance, he fought against apartheid or the South African?s government?s institutionalized racial segregation. Showing unparalleled resilience throughout his 27 years in prison , Mandela became a national symbol of strength and hope.
10. Mao Zedong (1893?1976)
Mao Zedong also known as Chairman Mao, was a Chinese communist revolutionary and founding father of the People?s Republic of China, which he governed from its establishment in 1949 until his death in 1976. Supporters credit him with driving imperialism out of China, promoting the status of women and improving education and health care.
11. Fidel Castro (1926?2016)
The Cuban revolutionary ruled as the President of Cuba for 32 years! Castro successfully led the communist revolution in Cuba, overthrowing the oppressive dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista. A believer of Marxist Leninist principles, he is lauded by many for improving education and healthcare and standing up to US imperialism. It is interesting to note that the CIA made 638 assassination attempts on him, all of which failed!
12. Ho Chi Minh (1890?1969)
He was a Vietnamese Communist revolutionary leader who was prime minister and president of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. He led the Vi?t Minh independence movement from 1941 onwards, fighting against the French and later the Japanese to establish the Democratic Republic of Vietnam in 1945.