Ramses II (Ramessess II) (?1303 BC - 1213 BC?) The 3rd Egyptian pharaoh of the 19th dynasty, often called Ramesses the Great. Reigning for over 66 years, this famous leader was considered the most powerful and celebrated pharaoh of the Egyptian Empire. Recently, the pharaoh's original red hair color was proven by microscopic inspection of his hair roots. (His mummified body is on display in the Cairo Museum.) The red hair color was important because ancient Egyptians believed redheads were associated with their god Seth. (Thanks to Sharon!)
Rurik (830-879?) Rurik means "famous ruler" in Old East Norse. He was thought to be a Danish Viking, son of King Haarik. Called "The Rus" (red-headed) and led the invasion into what later became "Rus-sia" (land of the Red), ruled Kiev, and thus founder of the Russian Empire. The origin of the name "The Rus" is disputed, but it's thought the word refers to ruddy skin or red hair, which is a natural hair color of Germanic/Vikings.
Erik the Red (950-1003?) Born in Norway and credited with founding the 1st Nordic settlement in Greenland. His name is believed to refer to his hair color, so it's ASSUMED he was a redhead but no way to know for sure. Apparently, the famed Icelandic explorer, Leif Ericson, was his son.
King Henry VIII (1491-1547) This colorful famous leader was King of England from 1509 until his death in 1547. He was the 2nd ruler of the House of Tudor (succeeding his father, Henry VII). Famous for his 6 wives and multiple mistresses, he is known for his decision to separate the Church of England from the Roman Catholic Church and its papal authority, thus making himself the Supreme Head of the Church of England. He appears to have a red beard and reddish hair in paintings. His daughter Elizabeth I was also a redhead.
Queen Elizabeth I (1533-1603), also called ‘Virgin Queen’ ‘Good Queen Bess’ or ‘Gloriana’. She was the Queen of England and Queen of Ireland (1558-1603). Elizabeth was the daughter of King Henry VIII and her mother was Anne Boleyn, who was executed 3 years after Elizabeth was born. She was a redhead in paintings and got her real red hair from her father, Henry VIII. Apparently, she later wore a red wig due to hair loss. In 2010 this famous leader was voted one of the "Top 10 Sexiest Red Heads of All Time" by a nationwide IMAX movie poll (mirror.co.uk) -- not sure why!?
Mary, Queen of Scots (1542-1587) She became the Scottish Queen from 1542-1567, born "Mary Stewart" ; "Marie Stuart" in French; "Mary I" in Scottish sovereigns listings. She was born in Linlithgow, Scotland to King James V of Scotland and Mary of Guise, his French wife. She apparently had bright auburn hair and hazel-brown eyes. Seen here also with Francis, Dauphin of France, (their marriage was arranged as children).
Queen Victoria (1819-1901), Alexandrina Victoria. She was the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, reining for 63 years. This famous leader's reign is known as the Victorian era. She is reported to be a redhead as per this painting of her coronation, but photos of her are often in black and white.
John Calvin Coolidge, Jr. (1872-1933), usually goes by Calvin Coolidge, was the 30th President of the United States. This redheaded Republican became the Governor of Massachusetts. In 1920 he was elected the 29th Vice President of the US but in 1923 he became President after the unexpected death of President Warren Harding. He ran and was then elected the 30th President in 1924.
Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) This redhead famous leader was the 3rd President of the United States and main author of the Declaration of Independence in 1776.
Because he was one of the most influential men in the US and a 'Founding Father', his image is on the US $2 dollar bill.
Sir Winston Spencer-Churchill (1874-1965), usually known as Sir Winston Churchill, this famous leader was a British politician who led the United Kingdom during World War II and served as the United Kingdom's Prime Minister for several terms. He was famous for his trademark suit, bow tie, constant cigar, and red hair. "Winston Churchill, a cherubic reddish-haired 'Cassandra' bobbed up in the House of Commons again last week to warn his countrymen of the 'remorseless hammers' of the world." (Literary Digest;Aug.1,1936; on www.oldmagazinearticles.com) His daughter, Sarah Churchill, was a redhead too (and British actress and dancer).
Margaret Hilda Thatcher Baroness Thatcher, LG, OM, PC, RFS. (born 1925) Most known as the former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, serving from 1979 to 1990, and the 1st female in that post. This was "the longest continuous period of office of any prime minister in the 20th century" (per Wikipedia). From 1975 to 1990 she had also been the Leader of the Conservative Party there. This red-haired famous leader was born in Lincolnshire, UK.
Andrew Jackson (1767-1845) was nicknamed 'Old Hickory' and served as the 7th President of the United States. Born of Scottish-Irish immigrants. Known to be very tall at over 6 feet and very very thin. This famous leader also had an 'unruly shock of red hair' which apparently went gray by the time he became the US President at age 61. His image is on several U.S. postage stamps.
Plus, he's on the U.S. $20 bill.
Julia Gillard (born 1961) In June 2010, she became Australia's 27th Prime Minister and the country's first female PM! This tough and savvy redhead (or "ranga" - nickname for gingers in Australia) had also served as Australia's 1st female Deputy Prime Minister, plus was the Deputy Leader of the Australian Labor Party (ALP). This now famous leader was born in Wales but her family moved to Australia when she was a young girl. (Read her quote about redheads on my "Celebrity Quotes page".) (Thanks to Earanee from Australia for the update!).
James Scullin (1876-1953) Labor politician, Australia's 9th Prime Minister, and their first PM with red hair. Described in 1929 -- "Prime Minister James Scullin's red hair stood out in the crowd..." His political career was the unfortunate victim of bad timing, as 2 days after he was sworn in as PM, the Wall Street Crash of 1929 happened, followed by the subsequent Great Depression in Australia. The unstable economic times eventually caused Scullin's government to be voted out the next election. He was of Irish Catholic descent and was a devout Roman Catholic. (Thanks to Anne for telling me about him.)