These 15 Genuine Badasses From Throughout History Will Have You Questioning Your Laziness

1. This guy.

Unlike those listed below, this guy isn’t any historical figure or hero, he’s simply a guy who did what he needed to do to save his own life. What he needed to do just happened to be conquering a shark, stitching himself up and then hitting the pub. That’s simply badass.


2. Benjamin Hornigold

Hornigold is the relatively unknown mentor to Blackbeard. He started the pirate republic in the Bahamas, taking it from a few boats to a 200 man fleet of 30-gun warships within a few years. At one point, he overtook a merchant ship and demanded nothing more for the passengers’ hats, just for his own amusement. He didn’t consider himself a pirate, and never attacked the English, though his crew would eventually break this code and opt to follow Blackbeard instead. Benjamin Hornigold would then retire, accepting a royal pardon to became a pirate hunter.


3. Boudica

Boudica was the Queen of the Celtic Iceni tribe. Between 60 and 61AD she led a revolt against the Roman rule of Britain. She had been whipped, and her daughters raped by Romans, before gathering an army of other tribespeople who opposed the rule. It is said that the army consisted of 100,000 men. They destroyed the Roman capital in Britain, as well as modern-Britain. They then destroyed Verulamium. Eventually, the army was defeated and she committed suicide by ingesting poison. She was a true warrior queen and a true badass.

4. Grigori Rasputin

Rasputin’s healing powers game him considerable influence over the family of the Tsar, which in turn made him an enemy to many. He was killed by Russian aristocrats who were threatened by his power. However, it took quite some time to take this badass town. First, they laced his food and drink with enough cyanide to kill several people, but after a few hours – Rasputin still seemed fine. So, they shot him in the back and he fell to the floor. The aristocrats had presumably succeeded, and stepped out for a moment. Upon their return they were confronted by a very much alive Rasputin, who leapt up and tried to strangle them. After three more shots, they were sure they’d got it done at last, but just to be safe they tied him up, rolled him in carpet and disposed of the body in the semi-frozen Neva River. An autopsy would later show that his lungs were waterlogged, meaning he had survived the poison and four gunshots, and had only succumbed to drowning. Rasputin was a bona fide, unbreakable badass.


5. Aitzaz Hasan

When he and his friends spotted a man in a suicide vest outside of his school in Pakistan, Aitzaz was the only one who wanted to confront the bomber. Aitzaz chased after the bomber, who detonated his vest and killed them both. The 15 year old hero gave his life to save the hundreds that would have died had the man made it to the school.


6. Sir Patrick Moore

For over 50 years, Sir Patrick hosted the television show The Sky at Night, and he was completely self-taught when it came to astronomy! At 11 years of age he joined the British Astronomical Association, becoming their youngest member, and at 13 he published his first scientific paper. He would go on pen over 70 books on astronomy, and was knighted for his work in 2007.

7. Marie Curie

A two-time Nobel Prize winner and the first woman to win a Nobel Prize in physics, Marie Curie was a French physicist famous for coining the term radioactivity. Growing up, Curie couldn’t afford school, and had to work two jobs for five years in order to pay for tuition. For a long time, she survived on only tea and bread. Her entire life was dedicated to her research, until the day she died, ironically due to radiation poisoning from a lifetime of exposure.


8. Harriet Tubman

Harriet Tubman was a conductor employed by the US Military, although she was never properly compensated. When she was a teenager, she refused to help restrain a runaway slave and in turn had a two pound weight thrown at her – resulting in lasting traumatic injuries to the head. For the rest of her life she would suffer seizures, severe headaches, and narcoleptic episodes. Eventually she would require brain surgery but refused anesthetic, instead opting to bite down on a bullet as soldiers would do. But what she is known most for, is her extensive work running hundreds of slaves to freedom on the Underground Railroad. She was buried with military honors.


9. Laura Secord

During the War of 1812, American soldiers would force their way into the home of Laura Secord, demanding dinner. While there, they discussed plans to launch a surprise attack at Beaver Dams. The next morning, Secord would travel on foot 20 miles through the wilderness by herself, from Queenston to the British garrison to personally inform the British Forces. She arrived just in time, before collapsing from exhaustion. Secord would become known as a hero to Canada.

10. La Jaguarina, Queen of the Sword

Ella Hattan earned the nickname La Jaguarina as an undefeated sword fighter. As a half-Spanish woman, it was believed that her duty was to learn to fence. She conquered every opponent she faced, once hitting an opponent so hard her sword bent and the opponent ran away. She would eventually retire for one simple reason, there was simply no one else who wanted to face her. She was so feared and revered as a sword fighter that nobody was confident enough to challenge her – now that’s badass.


11. Stephen Hawking

Hawking’s dedication physics stems from his passion for bettering our understanding of science, and in turn bettering our way of life. Because of his, Hawking has put great efforts into ensuring his research is made accessible to not only those in the field, but the general public too.


12. Genghis Khan

Genghis Khan is oftentimes associated only with tyranny, rather than his remarkable feats as a military strategist. He built the Mongol Empire into the largest empire in the world until the British. While brutal against his enemies, he gained respect from his subjects by allowing them to retain their own cultures and religions. There are so, so many ways that Khan proved to be a badass, but we’ll sum it up with this quote from a letter he penned to the pope: “If we are the enemies of god then how come god keeps letting us win?”

13. Ching Shih

Ching Shih was a prostitute who was captured and married to the captain of the Red Flag pirate fleet. When the captain died, Shih took over the fleet, and in a strategic move married the right-hand man of her late husband, Chang Pao. While Chang was the figurehead of the fleet, Shih was the one getting stuff done – she was the brains and the brawn of the operation. She had a strict set of rules, such as the pirates only being able to sleep with female prisoners if they married them and were faithful to them, among others. Her rule allowed the Red Flag to grow quite significantly.


14. Hugh Glass

Hugh Glass, an experienced trapper, was scouting for game with other trappers in 1823 when he was attacked by a grizzly bear. His companions left him, certain there was no way he could have survived the attack. Yet, remarkably, he survived. Waking up to severe injuries and no provisions or weapons, Glass was forced to crawl his way back to civilization. The journey took him six weeks, in which he survived off berries and roots (and some say rattlesnakes too), and preventing gangrene by infesting his wounds with maggots to eat his dead flesh.


15. Mariya Oktyabrskaya

After her husband was killed by Nazis during World War II, Mariya Oktyabrskaya was dead set on vengeance. She sold all of her possessions to buy a tank, and then proceeded to fight on the front lines. Her tank was shelled on her first outing, and she got out mid-battle to repair it and keep fighting. This would happen twice more in her career.  She would later become the first female tanker to win the Hero of the Soviet Union Award.