People of the Middle Ages and Renaissance

A general listing


This is not by any means intended to be a complete listing of ALL the famous personages who emerged from the Middle Ages and Renaissance.

A great many of the links you will find here are from: 
The Catholic Encyclopedia: New Advent
OR Web Museum Paris which are truly wonderful resources for biographical research of the Middle Ages and Renaissance!

  • Balboa - crossed the Isthmus of Panama and claimed the Pacific for Spain.

  • Botticelli - Painted Birth of Venus and other scenes from classical mythology also noted for his Madonnas

  • Brueghel - Painted lively scenes of village life

  • Boyle - founder of Modern Chemistry

  • Cabral - Claimed Brazil for Portugal

  • Calvin and Calvinism - broke away from the Catholic church, defined his new religion, emphasized predestination. Created a new church in Switzerland

  • Cartier, Jacques - His voyage up the St. Lawrence seaway gave the French claim to eastern Canada

  • Catherine of Aragon - Beloved Queen of England and patron of education

  • Catherine the Great - Romanov ruler of Russia who continued Peter the Great's policies of expansion and resolved the Polish question. expanded the boundaries of Russia and benefitted from the partition of Poland

  • Charles V - A Hapsburg who was both King of France and Spain

  • Charlemagne - King of the Franks, the Lombards, and first Holy Roman Emperor

  • Christopher Columbus - Medieval explorer

  • Copernicus - (Polish scientist) Heliocentric theory (sun is the center of the universe)

  • Cortes - Defeated the Aztec ruler Montezuma

  • Descartes - Described a new method of inquiry in which all thought would follow the orderly progression of scientific reasoning

  • Durer - noted for copper engravings and woodcuts

  • Erasmus - Dutch humanist

  • Eleanor of Aquitaine - Queen of France and England, Crusader and patron of the arts

  • Ferdinand - led the Spanish Inquisition

  • Frederick I (Barbarossa) - "first king of Prussia" as granted by the Holy Roman Emperor

  • Frederick II (the Great) - expanded Prussian territory and made Prussia a first-class power in Europe

  • Galileo - Used the telescope to prove that the earth rotated on its axis. (popularized the use of the telescope)

  • Genghis Khan - founder of the Mongol Dynasty

  • Gutenberg -Invented the moveable type

  • Henry I (the Fowler) - founder of the Saxon dynasty of kings and emperors in Germany

  • Henry IV - choose the Duke of Sulley to increase French coffers

  • Henry VIII - King who got his own way and at the same time established the Anglican Church

  • Hildegarde of Bingen - mystical seer, abbess, poetess, singer and composer

  • Hans Holbein - the Elder and the Younger...noted artists of the Renaissance

  • Isabella I - ruler of Castile who manipulated her marriage to Ferdinand and created a new country called Spain

  • Joan d'Arc - Warrior Maiden of France

  • Kepler - Reknowned astronomer who discovered that the orbits of the planets were ellipses

  • Louis XIV - King of France who declared himself divine monarch

  • Luther, Martin and Lutheranism - Protested against the Catholic church's use of indulgences and the corruption of the church; challenged the church by posting 95 thesis on the church door

  • Machiavelli - Wrote the book "The Prince" which emphasized control of the people by a ruler to establish a society where people would be best served by the ruler.

  • Magellan - First to circumvent the globe

  • Marco Polo - reknowned explorer

  • Philip II - centralized Spanish government

  • Pizarro - Conqueror the Incas

  • Ponce de Leon - explored Florida

  • Prince Henry (of Portugal) - Established a school for navigators

  • Queen Margaret - succeeded in uniting the Scandinavian kingdoms of Denmark, Norway and Sweden

  • Raphael - Artist noted for his Madonnas

  • Richard the Lionhearted - The 'absent' Warrior King of England

  • Richeleiu - Louis XIII's chief minister who strengthened the power of the king by appointing special officials that undermined the power of the nobles local power. He also weakened the power of the Hapsburgs throughout Europe, and the Huguenots (French protestants).

  • Sir Thomas More - Wrote "Utopia" which described both social problems and possible solutions

  • Titian - His works noted for very rich colors

  • Vasco da Gama - Sailed around the Cape of Good Hope at the southern tip of Africa and brought back spices and jewels from India.

  • Vesalius - conducted investigations to see how the human body was constructed

  • William Wallace - undisputed leader of the Scottish resistance

  • William the Silent - leader of the rebellion of the Netherlands from Spanish rule


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