People Break Down The Most Overrated Figures In History
Image by Brian Fakhoury from Pixabay

History is a funny thing.

We live it, though we won't know what others will think of it until it's all done. This is mostly true for certain figures from history, individuals whose names you know off the top of your head for doing a wide variety of things. With a little bit of critical analysis, and our helpful friends from the internet, you can find many "famous" figures from history are a bit overrated, having accomplished things, sure, but maybe not as influential as you first thought.

Reddit user, u/ReallyRealMaoZedong, wanted to know who doesn't deserve all the credit they get when they asked:

Who is the most overrated person in history?

Let's get these ones out of the way. While, yes, these figures surely deserve a spot in history, do they deserve the praise and interest they've attained over the years?

Or Disney movies?

When People Like Your Tomb Better Than You

"King Tut. He didn't really do much, he was just a boy who unfortunately died young. We just happened to find his tomb and that made him famous lol. The tomb itself, while amazing and much to learn from, is a result of his culture and the line he happened to be born into, not really anything HE chose to do."


"He's famous because of how well his tomb was preserved, actually resulting from the dullness and short length of his life and reign. His obscurity and the relatively small size of his tomb are actually what kept it hidden while other tombs were "excavated" or robbed."


What A Putz


  • He didn't really win India freedom - WW 2 did.
  • His support of the Khilafat movement gave a big boost to Muslim separatism in India
  • His agreement to partition resulted in 1 million deaths
  • His idea of "self sufficient villages" resulted in India continuing to remain poor and backward and failing to industrialise.
  • His promotion of Nehru over far more competent leaders in the Congress

"I can go on..."


Open Your Eyes To The Truth, Sheeple! It's A Balto Hit Job!

"Balto. Togo did the hard part!"


"It kinda made me laugh that the Togo movie made Balto out to be kinda a glory [thief]."

"Like he was still just a dog, he didn't choose to steal the glory."

"Plus he ended up chained up outside a museum for the rest of his life so Togo kinda got the better part of the deal."


There's some unique takes on historical figures floating around, people who for sure did something you know about but perhaps, with a little bit of critical thinking, may not be as big a deal as you thought.

Amateur Hour?

"Jack the Ripper. He only has 5 confirmed kills. Amateur Hour."


"Yea, there's much more interesting killer cases out there, its just that Jack paved the way in a weird way."


Helps To Have A Name In The Song

"Paul Revere, he was much less important in the Revolutionary war than most people think, there are more obscure patriots from his time that did more for America than him, overall one of those people who isn't bad but gets way too much credit"


"The funny thing is, he actually had a big presence in Revolutionary War-era America, just not especially for the "Midnight Ride." He is well known for the wrong things!"

"He was a silversmith, engraver, dentist, etc. In the 1760s and '70s he published political engravings for pro-revolutionary newspapers, including the very propagandized depiction of the Boston Massacre we all know from the textbooks that makes it look like a firing squad. He was part of an intelligence-gathering group in Boston. In the mid 1770s there was only a single powder mill in the colonies, in Philadelphia– Paul Revere built the second one up in Massachusetts, supplying the continental army with gunpowder."

"(He had a brief, mediocre career as a militia officer and was asked to resign. Ok, that part was not so impressive.)"

"After the war, he opened an ironworks and expanded into all kinds of metal manufacturing, from church bells to copper sheathing and cannons for some of America's earliest naval ships. Definitely the kind of guy you wanted in your new country."


Gonna Lose Half Of France, Get An Airport Named After Me

"Charles de Gaulle. MF was an officer of the army that lost half of France in 2 weeks to the Germans in WW2. Flees like a cockroach to the UK where somehow embodies the spirit of the resistance, somehow receives the tile of General, even though his tasks were not dangerous nor fundamental. When the allies take over France, he is not in any of the strategic discussions among generals of different armies, nonetheless he walks into Paris as their great liberator. Couple of years later gets elected president (because somehow he has managed to keep his popularity??). While president, North African colonies declare war (and independence) from France. Many people die, and the french economy and territories takes a huge blow. Also he managed to dismantle the oldest European university of the world (Université de Paris)..."

"But nooooo! His name is on an airport, many avenues and countless plazas accross France."


Being "overrated" doesn't necessarily mean you didn't do anything. Far from it. You might have accomplished a great deal. What overrated means is maybe a lot of the praise/hatred being thrown your way is a little unwarranted, unearned, and, frankly, not worthy of the person you were.

Two Perfectly Fine Inventors

"Thomas Alva Edison. An absolute douche that is remembered for things he never did"


"Unpopular opinion: So was Nikola Tesla."

"Don't get me wrong, Tesla's inventions revolutionized the world and his name absolutely deserves to be synonymous with science."

"But so many people think that Tesla was the only worthwhile inventor of his age. The Oatmeal even goes as far as to insinuate that Tesla is responsible for every invention from the turn of the 20th century- Which is BS."

"Guglielmo Marconi is responsible for proving the feasibility of radio waves while Thomas Murray invented the fuse box which allowed for the safe transmission of electricity through a power grid."

"Heck, Edison isn't without his accomplishments either. He may not have invented the lightbulb but he made it commercially viable."


The World Was Aching To Explode, And He Just Happened To Be Holding A Match


"Hear me out!"

"National Socialism and Antisemitism was not something he invented and I am pretty sure that if it wasn't for him somebody else like Goebbels or Hess would have become German dictator."

"When people say, oh if only Hitler wasn't born then WW2 or the Shoa would not have happened, that's utter bullsh-t. I wish while teaching about the Holocaust, people would put it into context. The climate of polarization in the 1920s in Germany is very similar to what is going on now in the USA. People were and are seeking out extremists with conspiracy theories to follow because they look for scapegoats. The man on the top is just a symptom for a systemic problem which lies much deeper."


"Came here to say this. I always teach that Hitler did not just wake up one day and think "let's go after the Jews"


"He did not simply wake up and decide to go after Jews, and more importantly the German people didnt just hear a single person say the Jews caused everything and turn on them."


Being overrated doesn't mean you never did anything. It just means maybe, just maybe, you didn't do something as worthwhile (or infamous) as others might attest.

Want to "know" more? Never miss another big, odd, funny, or heartbreaking moment again. Sign up for the Knowable newsletter here.