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Named: The most influential Spaniard ever

George Mills · 17 Dec 2013, 11:49

Published: 17 Dec 2013 11:49 GMT+01:00

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The rankings point to Jesus Christ as the most important man in history, while French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte came second and the Prophet Mohammed was third.

Also in the top ten are Adolf Hitler — at number seven — and Abraham Lincoln who nabbed the fifth spot.

But only one Spaniard in the top 100: is 16th century King Phillip II of Spain in 87th place.

Under Philip II Spain, reached the height of its imperial power, with its empire stretching across Europe and the Americas and into south-east Asia. The Philippines are named after the king.    

Philip II— who married Mary I of England and served as King of England, Ireland and Portugal at various points — was given the rating in a table created by Google engineer Charles Ward and Steven Skiena.

The ranking of influential people uses new software to collate millions of online opinions using the same method as Google’s ranking of web pages, the Washington Post reported.

The programme trawls the web for opinions expressed about famous people and then uses a special 'reputation decay algorithm' to determine the significance of the world’s most important figures and how it would change after 200 years. They published their findings in a new book entitled "Who's Bigger".

For Ward and his team it was not important the reason why the figures were famous just that their fame stands the test of time.

Critics have pointed to the authors' use of English-language only Wikipedia and Google ngrams as the basis of their research. The use of the error-prone Wikipedia where only 15 percent of editors are women has also been criticized.

Only three women made the top 100: Queen Elizabeth I of England is the 13th most important person in history, Queen Victoria is 16th, and St. Joan of Arc is 95th.

But the authors say they are not making a value judgement, just assessing significance over time.

In terms of other Spaniards, the dictator Francisco Franco comes in at 291, while current Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy is in place 71,474. 

Artist Pablo Picasso came in at 171 while conquistador Francisco Pizarro took 578th position.

The list throws up some other interesting facts. Former South African President Nelson Mandela is ranked down at 356 while current US president Barack Obama is number 111.

Meanwhile, Elvis Presley (69th) comes between Socrates and William the Conqueror. 

Here are is the full top 50:

1. Jesus

2. Napoleon

3. Muhammad

4. William Shakespeare

5. Abraham Lincoln

6. George Washington

7. Adolf Hitler

8. Aristotle

9. Alexander the Great

10. Thomas Jefferson

11. Henry VIII of England

12. Charles Darwin

13. Elizabeth I of England

14. Karl Marx

15. Julius Caesar

16. Queen Victoria

17. Martin Luther

18. Joseph Stalin

19. Albert Einstein

20. Christopher Columbus

21. Isaac Newton

22. Charlemagne

23. Theodore Roosevelt

24. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

25. Plato

26. Louis XIV of France

27. Ludwig van Beethoven

28. Ulysses S. Grant

29. Leonardo da Vinci

30. Augustus

31. Carl Linnaeus

32. Ronald Reagan

33. Charles Dickens

34. Paul the Apostle

35. Benjamin Franklin

36. George W. Bush

37. Winston Churchill

38. Genghis Khan

39. Charles I of England

40. Thomas Edison

41. James I of England

42. Friedrich Nietzsche

43. Franklin D. Roosevelt

44. Sigmund Freud

45. Alexander Hamilton

46. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi

47. Woodrow Wilson

48. Johann Sebastian Bach

49. Galileo Galilei

50. Oliver Cromwell

Don't miss stories about Spain, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

George Mills (george.mills@thelocal.com)

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