The Most Popular Historical Event: A Ranking of Timeless Significance

Choose the historical event you think is the most popular!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on Apr 14, 2024 07:13
Step back in time and make your mark on history! StrawPoll invites you to participate in our latest ranking: "What is the most popular historical event?" From groundbreaking discoveries to world-altering revolutions, we've gathered an extensive list of monumental moments that have shaped our world. But we need your help in determining which event reigns supreme. Cast your vote, share your insights, and join thousands of history enthusiasts in this epic quest for the ultimate historical event. Is your favorite moment missing from our list? Fear not, for you can suggest it and watch it rise through the ranks. So, what are you waiting for? Embark on this thrilling journey through time and let your voice be heard, only on StrawPoll!

What Is the Most Popular Historical Event?

  1. 1
    World War II
    LordLiberty · CC BY-SA 4.0
    Considered one of the deadliest conflicts in human history, World War II involved multiple countries and had a significant impact on global politics and society. It continues to be studied extensively in schools and universities.
    World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global conflict that lasted from 1939 to 1945. It involved many countries around the world, with the two main opposing military alliances being the Allies and the Axis powers. The war was primarily fought between Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, and Imperial Japan on one side, and the United States, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and China on the other. It was one of the deadliest conflicts in human history, resulting in the deaths of approximately 70-85 million people.
    • Duration: 1939-1945
    • Main Opposing Alliances: Allies vs Axis powers
    • Countries Involved: Multiple countries around the world
    • Main Axis Powers: Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, and Imperial Japan
    • Main Allied Powers: United States, Soviet Union, United Kingdom, and China
    World War II in other rankings
  2. 2
    A tragic event that resulted in the deaths of millions of Jews and other minority groups under Nazi rule during World War II. It is considered one of the most heinous acts of genocide in history.
    The Holocaust was a systematic genocide committed by Nazi Germany during World War II, resulting in the murder of approximately six million Jews, as well as the persecution and killing of millions of other groups deemed undesirable by the Nazis.
    • Date: 1941-1945
    • Victims: Approximately 6 million Jews, and millions of other groups including Roma, Poles, Soviet POWs, disabled individuals, homosexuals, Jehovah's Witnesses, and others.
    • Methods: Mass shootings, extermination camps (gas chambers), concentration camps, forced labor, starvation, medical experiments, and other forms of persecution and killing.
    • Motivation: Based on Nazi ideology, which propagated racial purity and the superiority of the Aryan race.
    • Impact: The Holocaust remains one of the darkest chapters in human history, reflecting the depths of human cruelty and the dangers of unchecked authoritarianism.
    The Holocaust in other rankings
  3. 3
    A pivotal moment in American history, the American Revolution led to the birth of the United States as an independent nation. It is studied in schools and universities and continues to influence American politics and society.
    The American Revolution was a significant historical event that took place between 1775 and 1783. It was a war fought between Great Britain and thirteen British colonies in North America, which eventually resulted in the colonies gaining independence and forming the United States of America.
    • Duration: 1775-1783
    • Location: British colonies in North America
    • Cause: Taxation without representation, desire for political and economic independence
    • Significance: Formation of the United States of America, establishment of democratic principles, inspiration for other revolutions worldwide
    • Key figures: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin
  4. 4
    A period of radical social and political upheaval in France that had a significant impact on European history. It marked the end of the absolute monarchy and the beginning of the modern era.
    The French Revolution was a period of radical social and political upheaval in France from 1789 to 1799. It was spurred by widespread dissatisfaction with the monarchy, the socio-economic inequality, and the oppressive feudal system. The revolution resulted in the overthrow of the Bourbon monarchy, the execution of King Louis XVI, and the rise of the French Republic.
    • Duration: 1789-1799
    • Causes: Socio-economic inequality, dissatisfaction with monarchy, oppressive feudal system
    • Key Figures: Robespierre, Louis XVI, Marie Antoinette, Napoleon Bonaparte
    • Key Events: Storming of the Bastille, Reign of Terror, Execution of King Louis XVI, Rise of Napoleon Bonaparte
    • Ideology: Liberalism, republicanism, nationalism
  5. 5
    A period of rapid industrialization that marked a major shift in economic and social structures. It led to the creation of new industries and technologies and had a lasting impact on the world.
    The Industrial Revolution was a major turning point in human history that took place from the 18th to the 19th century. It was a period of rapid industrialization, technological advancements, and socio-economic changes, which transformed traditional agrarian societies into industrialized urban ones.
    • Machines and Manufacturing: Introduction of machinery and the development of factories, leading to mass production and increased efficiency.
    • Steam Engine: Invention of the steam engine by James Watt, revolutionizing transportation, manufacturing processes, and powering various industries.
    • Textile Industry: Transformation of the textile industry through the invention of machines like the spinning jenny, power loom, and cotton gin.
    • Transportation: Growth of railways, canals, and steam-powered ships, facilitating faster and easier transportation of goods and people.
    • Urbanization: Rapid urbanization due to increased job opportunities in factories and the migration of rural populations to cities.
  6. 6
    The Renaissance
    Sandro Botticelli · Public domain
    A period of cultural and artistic revival in Europe that marked the transition from the Middle Ages to the modern era. It led to great advances in art, science, and literature.
    The Renaissance was a period of cultural, artistic, and intellectual revival that spanned from the 14th to the 17th century in Europe. It marked a transition from the Middle Ages to the early modern era. The Renaissance brought forth significant advancements in various fields including art, literature, music, science, philosophy, and politics.
    • Humanism: Promotion of human values, capabilities, and achievements.
    • Artistic Revolution: Revitalization of art through realistic depiction, perspective, and use of light and shadow.
    • Scientific Revolution: Advancements in scientific methods, including exploration, observation, and experimentation.
    • Printing Press: Invention of the movable type printing press by Johannes Gutenberg, which revolutionized the dissemination of knowledge.
    • Secularism: Shift towards non-religious or worldly concerns.
  7. 7
    A social and political movement in the United States that aimed to end racial discrimination and segregation. It played a key role in the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and had a significant impact on American society.
    The Civil Rights Movement refers to a series of social and political movements in the United States during the mid-20th century. It aimed to end racial segregation and discrimination against African Americans, and advocated for equal rights and opportunities for all citizens regardless of their race. The movement played a crucial role in shaping the modern civil rights laws and changing the sociopolitical landscape of the United States.
    • Time Period: Mid-1950s to late 1960s
    • Main Goal: Ending racial segregation and discrimination
    • Key Achievements: Civil Rights Act of 1964, Voting Rights Act of 1965
    • Methods Used: Nonviolent protests, boycotts, sit-ins, marches
    • Influential Organizations: NAACP, SCLC, SNCC
  8. 8
    World War I
    Hohum · Public domain
    A global conflict that lasted from 1914 to 1918 and involved many of the world's major powers. It was a turning point in modern history and led to the formation of new nations and alliances.
    World War I, also known as the Great War, was a global conflict that lasted from 1914 to 1918. It involved major powers from around the world and was primarily fought in Europe, although it also spread to other regions. The war was triggered by a complex web of political alliances, imperial ambitions, and an escalating arms race. It is considered one of the deadliest conflicts in human history, resulting in millions of deaths and widespread devastation on both sides.
    • Duration: 1914-1918
    • Primary Location: Europe
    • Countries Involved: Over 30 countries participated, including major powers such as Germany, Austria-Hungary, France, Russia, United Kingdom, and the United States.
    • Casualties: An estimated 8.5 million military deaths and over 13 million civilian deaths.
    • Trench Warfare: The war saw the widespread use of trench warfare, where soldiers battled from elaborate systems of trenches dug into the ground.
    World War I in other rankings
  9. 9
    A period of political tension and military rivalry between the United States and the Soviet Union that lasted from the end of World War II until the early 1990s. It had a significant impact on global politics and led to the arms race and the space race.
    The Cold War was a geopolitical tension that lasted from 1947 to 1991. It was a period of intense rivalry between the United States and the Soviet Union, along with their respective allies, without any direct military conflict between them. The Cold War was characterized by ideological, political, and economic competition, as well as proxy wars, propaganda, and the arms race.
    • Proxy Wars: Korean War, Vietnam War, etc.
    • Key Ideologies: Capitalism (US) vs Communism (Soviet Union)
    • Duration: 1947-1991
    • Main Parties: United States, Soviet Union
    • Nuclear Arms Race: Development of nuclear weapons and deterrence strategies
  10. 10
    A historic event in which humans first set foot on the moon. It marked a major achievement for the United States and had a significant impact on space exploration.
    The Moon Landing refers to the historic event when humans first set foot on the Moon. On July 20, 1969, during the Apollo 11 mission, astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed their lunar module, named Eagle, on the moon's surface. This achievement marked a significant milestone in human space exploration and is considered one of the greatest accomplishments in history.
    • Mission Name: Apollo 11
    • Command Module: Columbia
    • Lunar Module: Eagle
    • Astronauts on Moon: Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin
    • Landing Site: Sea of Tranquility

Missing your favorite historical event?


Ranking factors for popular historical event

  1. Impact
    The overall influence the event had on the world, such as how it changed the course of history, affected large populations, or led to significant advancements or setbacks.
  2. Historical significance
    How the event contributed to the understanding, knowledge, or the story of human history. This could include the event's role in shaping societal norms, driving technological advancements, or defining political climates.
  3. Cultural relevance
    The resonance the event has on the collective memory or cultural identity of various societies, including its ongoing importance or relevance in present-day discussions and debates.
  4. Global reach
    The geographical scope and scale of the event, including how many regions, countries, or continents were affected or involved.
  5. Timelessness
    The extent to which the event remains a topic of interest, study, or discussion long after it occurred. This could include how often it is cited in historical texts, referenced in popular culture, or taught in educational institutions.
  6. Controversy or debate
    Whether the event sparks ongoing or divisive discussions, which could increase its popularity and maintain interest over time.
  7. Human interest
    The compelling or emotional aspects related to the event, particularly regarding the individual stories and lives affected by the event or the dramatic twists and turns that unfolded during its occurrence.
  8. Unique or unprecedented nature
    The distinctiveness or rarity of the event, including whether it was a turning point in history, a first-of-its-kind occurrence, or a truly unexpected event that captured the world's attention.
  9. Accessibility of information
    The availability and quality of information related to the event, including primary sources, historical records, and expert analyses, can contribute to its popularity, as it becomes easier for people to learn about it and discuss it.
  10. Representation in popular culture
    The extent to which the event is depicted or referenced in movies, books, television shows, or other media forms can contribute to its popularity and rankings as a historical event.

About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most popular historical event. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or history event is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!


  • 185 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each history event once every 24 hours. The rank of each history event is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.

More information on most popular historical event

Historical events have shaped our world and continue to influence our lives today. From the fall of Rome to the invention of the internet, there are countless moments throughout history that have had a profound impact on humanity. But which event stands out as the most popular among people? It's a difficult question to answer definitively, as opinions vary widely. However, there are a few events that consistently come up in discussions of this topic. One of the most popular is undoubtedly World War II, which had a significant impact on the entire world and is still studied and remembered today. Other events that often make the list include the moon landing, the American Civil War, and the Renaissance. Of course, what makes an event "popular" can be subjective. Some people might argue that events like the discovery of the New World or the French Revolution were more significant than those listed above. Ultimately, the answer to this question depends on who you ask and what criteria you use to determine popularity. Nonetheless, exploring and discussing different historical events can be an enriching experience that helps us better understand the world we live in.

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