Folk hero
A folk hero is a type of hero
A hero , in Greek mythology and folklore, was originally a demigod, their cult being one of the most distinctive features of ancient Greek religion...

, real, fictional, or mythological
The term mythology can refer either to the study of myths, or to a body or collection of myths. As examples, comparative mythology is the study of connections between myths from different cultures, whereas Greek mythology is the body of myths from ancient Greece...

. The single salient characteristic which makes a character a folk hero is the imprinting of the name, personality and deeds of the character in the popular consciousness. This presence in the popular consciousness is evidenced by mention in folk songs
Folk music
Folk music is an English term encompassing both traditional folk music and contemporary folk music. The term originated in the 19th century. Traditional folk music has been defined in several ways: as music transmitted by mouth, as music of the lower classes, and as music with unknown composers....

, folk tales and other folklore
Folklore consists of legends, music, oral history, proverbs, jokes, popular beliefs, fairy tales and customs that are the traditions of a culture, subculture, or group. It is also the set of practices through which those expressive genres are shared. The study of folklore is sometimes called...

. Folk heroes are also the subject of literature and some films.

Although some folk heroes are historical public figures, they generally are not. Because the lives of folk heroes are generally not based on historical documents, the characteristics and deeds of a folk hero are often exaggerated to mythic proportions.

The folk hero often begins life as a normal person, but is transformed into someone extraordinary by significant life events, often in response to social injustice, and sometimes in response to natural disasters.

One major category of folk hero is the defender of the common people against the oppression or corruption of the established power structure. Members of this category of folk hero often, but not necessarily, live outside the law
In historical legal systems, an outlaw is declared as outside the protection of the law. In pre-modern societies, this takes the burden of active prosecution of a criminal from the authorities. Instead, the criminal is withdrawn all legal protection, so that anyone is legally empowered to persecute...

 in some way.

Historically documented folk heroes

  • Johnny Appleseed
    Johnny Appleseed
    Johnny Appleseed , born John Chapman, was an American pioneer nurseryman who introduced apple trees to large parts of Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois...

     – United States, he introduced the apple to large parts of Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois
  • Arminius
    Arminius , also known as Armin or Hermann was a chieftain of the Germanic Cherusci who defeated a Roman army in the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest...

     – Germany, was a chieftain of the Cheruski
    The Cherusci were a Germanic tribe that inhabited parts of the northern Rhine valley and the plains and forests of northwestern Germany, in the area between present-day Osnabrück and Hanover, during the 1st century BC and 1st century AD...

     who defeated the Roman army in the battle of Teutoburg Forest
  • Billy the Kid
    Billy the Kid
    William H. Bonney William H. Bonney William H. Bonney (born William Henry McCarty, Jr. est. November 23, 1859 – c. July 14, 1881, better known as Billy the Kid but also known as Henry Antrim, was a 19th-century American gunman who participated in the Lincoln County War and became a frontier...

     – United States, a 19th-century American frontier outlaw and gunman
  • Black Hawk
    Black Hawk (chief)
    Black Hawk was a leader and warrior of the Sauk American Indian tribe in what is now the United States. Although he had inherited an important historic medicine bundle, he was not one of the Sauk's hereditary civil chiefs...

     – Midwestern United States, a Sauk Indian warrior who resisted white settlement
  • Sitting Bull
    Sitting Bull
    Sitting Bull Sitting Bull Sitting Bull (Lakota: Tȟatȟáŋka Íyotake (in Standard Lakota Orthography), also nicknamed Slon-he or "Slow"; (c. 1831 – December 15, 1890) was a Hunkpapa Lakota Sioux holy man who led his people as a tribal chief during years of resistance to United States government policies...

     – shaman military leader of the Hunkpapa
    The Hunkpapa are a Native American group, one of the seven council fires of the Lakota Sioux tribe. The name Húŋkpapȟa is a Sioux word meaning "Head of the Circle"...

  • Bonnie and Clyde
    Bonnie and Clyde
    Bonnie Elizabeth Parker and Clyde Chestnut Barrow were well-known outlaws, robbers, and criminals who traveled the Central United States with their gang during the Great Depression. Their exploits captured the attention of the American public during the "public enemy era" between 1931 and 1934...

     – United States, bank robbers who evaded retribution in the 1930s
  • Boudica
    Boudica , also known as Boadicea and known in Welsh as "Buddug" was queen of the British Iceni tribe who led an uprising against the occupying forces of the Roman Empire....

     - Great Britain - Warrior Queen who lead an Uprising against the Roman Empire in Britain
    Roman Britain
    Roman Britain was the part of the island of Great Britain controlled by the Roman Empire from AD 43 until ca. AD 410.The Romans referred to the imperial province as Britannia, which eventually comprised all of the island of Great Britain south of the fluid frontier with Caledonia...

  • Daniel Boone
    Daniel Boone
    Daniel Boone was an American pioneer, explorer, and frontiersman whose frontier exploits mad']'e him one of the first folk heroes of the United States. Boone is most famous for his exploration and settlement of what is now the Commonwealth of Kentucky, which was then beyond the western borders of...

     – An American pioneer
    A settler is a person who has migrated to an area and established permanent residence there, often to colonize the area. Settlers are generally people who take up residence on land and cultivate it, as opposed to nomads...

     in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.
  • Brian Boru
    Brian Boru
    Brian Bóruma mac Cennétig, , , was an Irish king who ended the domination of the High Kingship of Ireland by the Uí Néill. Building on the achievements of his father, Cennétig mac Lorcain, and especially his elder brother, Mathgamain, Brian first made himself King of Munster, then subjugated...

     – Ireland, Irish High King who "drove the Danes out of Ireland" at the Battle of Clontarf.
  • John Brown
    John Brown (abolitionist)
    John Brown was an American revolutionary abolitionist, who in the 1850s advocated and practiced armed insurrection as a means to abolish slavery in the United States. He led the Pottawatomie Massacre during which five men were killed, in 1856 in Bleeding Kansas, and made his name in the...

     – United States, attempted to lead a slave revolt in the south by raiding Harper's Ferry, helped spark the Civil War.
  • Aylett C. (Strap) Buckner – United States, an Indian-fighter of colonial Texas
  • Calamity Jane
    Calamity Jane
    Martha Jane Cannary Burke , better known as Calamity Jane, was an American frontierswoman, and professional scout best known for her claim of being an acquaintance of Wild Bill Hickok, but also for having gained fame fighting Native Americans...

     – United States, a tough Wild West woman
  • Lady of Ch'iao Kuo
    Lady of Ch'iao Kuo
    The Lady of Ch'iao Kuo is a Hsien noblewoman who lived in southern China during the medieval Sui Dynasty. Most of her history is recorded in the Standard History of the Sui Dynasty by scholar Wei Qiang...

     – China, warrior, politician, queen of the Hsien
  • Joseph Cinqué
    Joseph Cinqué
    Sengbe Pieh , later known as Joseph Cinqué, was a West African man of the Mende people and was the most prominent defendant in the Amistad case, in which it was found that he and 51 others had been victims of the illegal Atlantic slave trade.-Biography:Cinqué was born c...

     – West African man of the Mende
    Mende people
    The Mende people are one of the two largest and most dominant ethnic group in Sierra Leone, along with the Temne. The Mende make up 30% of Sierra Leone's total population or 1,932,015 members...

     tribe, leader of the Amistad
    La Amistad
    La Amistad was a ship notable as the scene of a revolt by African captives being transported from Havana to Puerto Principe, Cuba. It was a 19th-century two-masted schooner built in Spain and owned by a Spaniard living in Cuba...

     slave rebellion.
  • Gregorio Cortez
    Gregorio Cortez
    Gregorio Cortez Lira was a Mexican American outlaw in the American Old West who became a folk hero to Mexicans living in South Texas. He was known for his ability to evade authorities as well as his impassioned words in court.- Background :Cortez's parents were itinerant laborers who brought...

     – Mexican-American folk hero
  • Carmine Crocco
    Carmine Crocco
    Carmine Crocco, known as Donatello was an Italian brigand. Initially a robber in revenge for the abuses suffered, he fought in the service of Giuseppe Garibaldi and, soon after the Italian unification, he formed an army of two thousand men, leading the most cohesive and feared band in southern...

     – Italy, shepherd, fought the Savoy's Royal Army
    Royal Italian Army
    The Regio Esercito was the army of the Kingdom of Italy from the unification of Italy in 1861 to the birth of the Italian Republic in 1946...

     after the Italian unification
    Italian unification
    Italian unification was the political and social movement that agglomerated different states of the Italian peninsula into the single state of Italy in the 19th century...

  • Davy Crockett
    Davy Crockett
    David "Davy" Crockett was a celebrated 19th century American folk hero, frontiersman, soldier and politician. He is commonly referred to in popular culture by the epithet "King of the Wild Frontier". He represented Tennessee in the U.S...

     – United States, an Indian-fighter, Congressman, and died as a hero fighting in the Alamo
  • Nils Dacke
    Nils Dacke
    Nils Dacke was the leader of a 16th century peasant revolt in Småland, southern Sweden called the Dacke War , fought against the Swedish king Gustav I. It was the most widespread and serious civil war in Swedish history and almost toppled the king.-Background:Gustav Vasa had come to power at the...

     – Sweden, leader of a 16th-century peasant revolt
  • Zerai Deres
    Zerai Deres
    Zerai Deres died in 1937 in Rome, Italy, in public opposition to the rise of fascist power in Italy and her African colonies. His death is considered part of the movement against Italian occupation...

     – Ethiopia and Eritrea, Eritrean-born man lionized for his act of vengeance against the Italian Fascists in Rome during an imperial celebration
  • Pier Gerlofs Donia
    Pier Gerlofs Donia
    Pier Gerlofs Donia was a Frisian warrior, pirate, and rebel. He is best known by his West Frisian nickname "Grutte Pier" , or by the Dutch translations "Grote Pier" and "Lange Pier", or, in Latin, "Pierius Magnus", which referred to his legendary size and strength. His life is mostly shrouded in...

     – Frisia, legendary giant warrior, freedom fighter and leader of the Arumer Black Heap
  • Engelbrekt Engelbrektsson
    Engelbrekt Engelbrektsson
    Engelbrekt Engelbrektsson was a Swedish rebel leader and later statesman. He was the leader of the Engelbrekt rebellion in 1434 against Eric of Pomerania, king of the Kalmar Union.-Biography:...

     – Sweden, rebel and temporary regent in the 15th century
  • Guy Fawkes
    Guy Fawkes
    Guy Fawkes , also known as Guido Fawkes, the name he adopted while fighting for the Spanish in the Low Countries, belonged to a group of provincial English Catholics who planned the failed Gunpowder Plot of 1605.Fawkes was born and educated in York...

     – Roman Catholic restorationist from England who planned the Gunpowder Plot
    Gunpowder Plot
    The Gunpowder Plot of 1605, in earlier centuries often called the Gunpowder Treason Plot or the Jesuit Treason, was a failed assassination attempt against King James I of England and VI of Scotland by a group of provincial English Catholics led by Robert Catesby.The plan was to blow up the House of...

  • Mike Fink
    Mike Fink
    Mike Fink called "king of the keelboaters", was a semi-legendary brawler and boatman who exemplified the tough and hard-drinking men who ran keelboats up and down the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers....

     – United States, the toughest boatman on the Mississippi River and a rival of Davy Crockett
  • José Gaspar Rodríguez de Francia
    José Gaspar Rodríguez de Francia
    200px|right|thumb|José Gaspar Rodríguez de FranciaDr. José Gaspar Rodríguez de Francia y Velasco was the first leader of Paraguay following its independence from Spain...

     - First consul
    President of Paraguay
    The President of Paraguay is according to the Paraguayan Constitution the Chief of the Executive branch of the Government of Paraguay...

     of Paraguay
    Paraguay , officially the Republic of Paraguay , is a landlocked country in South America. It is bordered by Argentina to the south and southwest, Brazil to the east and northeast, and Bolivia to the northwest. Paraguay lies on both banks of the Paraguay River, which runs through the center of the...

  • Eppelein von Gailingen
    Eppelein von Gailingen
    Eppelein von Gailingen was a famous German robber baron in the Middle Ages....

     – Germany, robber baron
  • Geronimo
    Geronimo was a prominent Native American leader of the Chiricahua Apache who fought against Mexico and the United States for their expansion into Apache tribal lands for several decades during the Apache Wars. Allegedly, "Geronimo" was the name given to him during a Mexican incident...

     – United States, Apache warrior, fought United States army for years defending his people and homeland
  • Lazar Hrebeljanovic – Serbian, ruler of Moravian Serbia, who fought and perished at the Battle of Kosovo, to which his name and life are inextricably tied.
  • Genghis Khan
    Genghis Khan
    Genghis Khan , born Temujin and occasionally known by his temple name Taizu , was the founder and Great Khan of the Mongol Empire, which became the largest contiguous empire in history after his death....

     – Mongolian ruler of the Steppe during 13th century, founder of the Mongolian empire
  • Owain Glyndwr
    Owain Glyndwr
    Owain Glyndŵr , or Owain Glyn Dŵr, anglicised by William Shakespeare as Owen Glendower , was a Welsh ruler and the last native Welshman to hold the title Prince of Wales...

     - Wales
    Wales is a country that is part of the United Kingdom and the island of Great Britain, bordered by England to its east and the Atlantic Ocean and Irish Sea to its west. It has a population of three million, and a total area of 20,779 km²...

    , nobleman who led a rebellion against the Kingdom of England
    Kingdom of England
    The Kingdom of England was, from 927 to 1707, a sovereign state to the northwest of continental Europe. At its height, the Kingdom of England spanned the southern two-thirds of the island of Great Britain and several smaller outlying islands; what today comprises the legal jurisdiction of England...

  • Tomoe Gozen
    Tomoe Gozen
    , pronounced , was a late twelfth-century concubine of Minamoto no Yoshinaka.Tomoe was a rare female samurai warrior , known for her bravery and strength...

     – Japan, female samurai warrior
  • Husein Gradaščević
    Husein Gradašcevic
    Husein-kapetan Gradaščević was a Bosnian Muslim general who fought for Bosnian autonomy in the Ottoman Empire. He is often referred to as "Zmaj od Bosne", meaning "Dragon of Bosnia"...

     – Bosnia, called "Dragon of Bosnia", led the resistance of Bosnians and uprising for autonomy of Bosnia against the Ottoman Empire
  • Che Guevara
    Che Guevara
    Ernesto "Che" Guevara , commonly known as el Che or simply Che, was an Argentine Marxist revolutionary, physician, author, intellectual, guerrilla leader, diplomat and military theorist...

     – Argentine Marxist revolutionary, politician, author, physician, military theorist, and guerrilla leader.
  • Nathan Hale
    Nathan Hale
    Nathan Hale was a soldier for the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War. He volunteered for an intelligence-gathering mission in New York City but was captured by the British...

     – United States, a captain in the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War
  • Simo Häyhä
    Simo Häyhä
    Simo Häyhä , nicknamed "White Death" by the Red Army, was a Finnish sniper. Using a modified Mosin–Nagant in the Winter War, he has the highest recorded number of confirmed sniper kills - 505 - in any major war....

     – A legendary Finnish sharpshooter in the Winter War
    Winter War
    The Winter War was a military conflict between the Soviet Union and Finland. It began with a Soviet offensive on 30 November 1939 – three months after the start of World War II and the Soviet invasion of Poland – and ended on 13 March 1940 with the Moscow Peace Treaty...

     with 505 confirmed kills
  • Wild Bill Hickok
    Wild Bill Hickok
    James Butler Hickok , better known as Wild Bill Hickok, was a folk hero of the American Old West. His skills as a gunfighter and scout, along with his reputation as a lawman, provided the basis for his fame, although some of his exploits are fictionalized.Hickok came to the West as a stagecoach...

     – United States, lawman, gunfighter, gambler, scout, Civil War soldier, stage coach driver, performer, abolitionist
  • Piet Hein
    Piet Pieterszoon Hein
    Pieter Pietersen Heyn was a Dutch naval officer and folk hero during the Eighty Years' War between the United Provinces and Spain.-Early life:...

     – Netherlands, captured the Spanish treasure fleet
  • Hone Heke
    Hone Heke
    Hone Wiremu Heke Pokai was a Māori rangatira and war leader in Northern New Zealand and a nephew of Hongi Hika, an earlier war leader of the Ngāpuhi iwi. Hone Heke is considered the principal instigator of the Flagstaff War....

     – Māori chief who chopped down British flagpole three times
  • Joe Hill
    Joe Hill
    Joe Hill, born Joel Emmanuel Hägglund in Gävle , and also known as Joseph Hillström was a Swedish-American labor activist, songwriter, and member of the Industrial Workers of the World...

     – United States, union leader and songwriter wrongfully convicted of murder in 1915
  • Andreas Hofer
    Andreas Hofer
    Andreas Hofer was a Tirolean innkeeper and patriot. He was the leader of a rebellion against Napoleon's forces....

     – Austrian and particularly Tirol
    Tyrol (state)
    Tyrol is a state or Bundesland, located in the west of Austria. It comprises the Austrian part of the historical region of Tyrol.The state is split into two parts–called North Tyrol and East Tyrol–by a -wide strip of land where the state of Salzburg borders directly on the Italian province of...

    ian hero who resisted the Bavarians and Napoleon
  • Ishikawa Goemon
    Ishikawa Goemon
    was a semi-legendary Japanese outlaw hero who stole gold and valuables and gave them to the poor. Goemon is notable for being boiled alive along with his son in public after a failed assassination attempt on the civil war-era warlord Toyotomi Hideyoshi. A large iron kettle-shaped bathtub is now...

     – Japan, bandit hero notorious for robbing the rich and giving to the poor, though some accounts suggest he may have kept much of his ill-gotten gains. Before being boiled in oil, he saved his infant son at the cost of his own life.
  • Jesse James
    Jesse James
    Jesse Woodson James was an American outlaw, gang leader, bank robber, train robber, and murderer from the state of Missouri and the most famous member of the James-Younger Gang. He also faked his own death and was known as J.M James. Already a celebrity when he was alive, he became a legendary...

     – A Wild West outlaw who supposedly robbed from the rich and gave to the poor (in reality his crimes only profited himself and his gang).
  • Juraj Jánošík
    Juraj Jánošík
    Juraj Jánošík was a famous Slovak Carpathian Highwayman....

     – Slovakia, outlaw living in the Tatra mountains, defending Slovakia peasants from the tyranny of Hungarian landlords
  • Casey Jones
    Casey Jones
    John Luther Jones was an American railroad engineer from Jackson, Tennessee, who worked for the Illinois Central Railroad...

     – United States, railroad engineer who remained in his locomotive and died in a collision while braking in order to save his passengers and sounding the whistle to warn the crew of the other train
  • Kaluaiko'olau – United States - Hawaiian who evaded deportation for leprosy by hiding in the Hawaiian rain forests
  • Ustym Karmaliuk
    Ustym Karmaliuk
    Ustym Yakymovych Karmаliuk was a Ukrainian peasant outlaw who became a folk hero. He is often referred to as the "Ukrainian Robin Hood" and "the last Haydamak".-Early Age:...

     – Ukrainian counterpart of Robin Hood, who led a peasant rebellion
  • Ned Kelly
    Ned Kelly
    Edward "Ned" Kelly was an Irish Australian bushranger. He is considered by some to be merely a cold-blooded cop killer — others, however, consider him to be a folk hero and symbol of Irish Australian resistance against the Anglo-Australian ruling class.Kelly was born in Victoria to an Irish...

     – Australia, outlaw
  • Martin Krpan
    Martin Krpan
    Martin Krpan is a fictional character created on the basis of the Inner Carniolan oral tradition by the 19th-century Slovene writer Fran Levstik in the short story Martin Krpan from Vrh...

     – Slovene smuggler, strongman
  • Lam Sai-wing – China, martial artist and student of Wong Fei Hung
  • Ten Tigers of Canton
    Ten Tigers of Canton
    The Ten Tigers of Canton or Ten Tigers of Guangdong refer to a group of ten Chinese martial artists from Guangdong , China, who lived during the late Qing Dynasty . They were said to be the best fighters in southern China at that time...

     – China, group of ten fighters in southern China
  • Lampião
    "Captain" Virgulino Ferreira da Silva, better known as Lampião , was the most famous leader of a Cangaço band, marauders and outlaws who terrorized the Brazilian Northeast in the 1920s and 1930s.-Biography:...

     – outlaw, leader of a Cangaço
    Cangaço is the name given to a form of "social banditry" in the Northeast of Brazil in late 19th and early 20th centuries. This region of Brazil is known for its aridness and hardships, and in a form of reaction against the domination of the land owners and the government, many men and women...

     band in Northeast Brazil
  • Abraham Lincoln
    Abraham Lincoln
    Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States, serving from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. He successfully led his country through a great constitutional, military and moral crisis – the American Civil War – preserving the Union, while ending slavery, and...

     – President of the United States during the Civil War
  • Francisco Solano López - President of Paraguay
    Paraguay , officially the Republic of Paraguay , is a landlocked country in South America. It is bordered by Argentina to the south and southwest, Brazil to the east and northeast, and Bolivia to the northwest. Paraguay lies on both banks of the Paraguay River, which runs through the center of the...

     during the War of the Triple Alliance
    War of the Triple Alliance
    The Paraguayan War , also known as War of the Triple Alliance , was a military conflict in South America fought from 1864 to 1870 between Paraguay and the Triple Alliance of Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay...

  • Ned Ludd
    Ned Ludd
    Ned Ludd or Ned Lud, possibly born Ned Ludlam or Edward Ludlam, is the person from whom the Luddites took their name. His actions inspirated the folkloric character of Captain Ludd, also known as King Ludd or General Ludd, who became the Luddites' alleged leader and founder.It is believed that Ned...

     – Britain, leader of the Luddites in the 1810s
  • Prince Marko
    Prince Marko
    Marko Mrnjavčević was de jure the Serbian king from 1371 to 1395, while de facto he ruled only over a territory in western Macedonia centered on the town of Prilep...

     – Serbia and Bulgaria, a Macedonian prince during Ottoman rule, known for opposing the conquerors in his sovereign lands, and a source of many epic poems.
  • Jack Mary Ann
    Jack Mary Ann
    Jack Mary Ann is a folk hero whose legendary exploits in the Wrexham area of Wales in the 1920s and 1930s are celebrated in a series of jokes and tales transmitted in local oral tradition. Jack was a coal miner. Jack's nickname comes from the common practice of distinguishing local men by the use...

     – a folk hero from the Wrexham area of north Wales whose fictionalised exploits continue to circulate in local folklore.
  • James Mckenzie – New Zealand, outlaw and inspiration to landless immigrants in early colonial New Zealand
  • Juan Moreira
    Juan Moreira
    Juan Moreira is a well-known figure in the history of Argentina, an outlaw, gaucho and folk-hero, was indeed one of the more renowned Argentinian rural bandits.-Early life:...

     - Legendary Argentine outlaw, famed as a skillful knife fighter he is considered one of the most important figures in Argentine history.
  • Maharana Pratap – India, a 16th-century Hindu ruler and Rajput
    A Rajput is a member of one of the patrilineal clans of western, central, northern India and in some parts of Pakistan. Rajputs are descendants of one of the major ruling warrior classes in the Indian subcontinent, particularly North India...

  • Miyamoto Musashi
    Miyamoto Musashi
    , also known as Shinmen Takezō, Miyamoto Bennosuke or, by his Buddhist name, Niten Dōraku, was a Japanese swordsman and rōnin. Musashi, as he was often simply known, became renowned through stories of his excellent swordsmanship in numerous duels, even from a very young age...

     – Japan, a skilled swordsman, soldier, philosopher and author
  • Miloš Obilić
    Miloš Obilic
    Miloš Obilić was a medieval Serbian knight in the service of Prince Lazar, during the invasion of the Ottoman Empire. He is not mentioned in contemporary sources, but he features prominently in later accounts of the Serbian defeat at the Battle of Kosovo as the legendary assassin of the Ottoman...

     – A Serbian knight from Zeta
    -Science:* Zeta functions, in mathematics** Riemann zeta function* Zeta potential, the electrokinetic potential of a colloidal system* Tropical Storm Zeta , formed in December 2005 and lasting through January 2006* Z-pinch, in fusion power...

     who killed the Ottoman ruler Sultan Murad I
    Murad I
    Murad I was the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, from 1361 to 1389...

     in the Battle of Kosovo
    Battle of Kosovo
    The Battle of Kosovo took place on St. Vitus' Day, June 15, 1389, between the army led by Serbian Prince Lazar Hrebeljanović, and the invading army of the Ottoman Empire under the leadership of Sultan Murad I...

    , 1389.
  • Redmond O'Hanlon
    Redmond O'Hanlon (outlaw)
    Redmond O'Hanlon was a 17th-century Irish tóraidhe or rapparee , and an important figure in the Irish Rebellion of 1641.- Early life :...

     – Irish, rapparee
    Rapparees were Irish guerrilla fighters who operated on the Jacobite side during the 1690s Williamite war in Ireland. Subsequently the name was also given to bandits and highwaymen in Ireland - many former guerrillas having turned to crime after the war was over...

     of the 17th century
  • Philippe Petit
    Philippe Petit
    Philippe Petit is a French high-wire artist who gained fame for his high-wire walk between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, New York, on 7 August 1974...

     – Tightrope artist who walked between the two towers of the World Trade Center
  • Pazhassi Raja
    Pazhassi Raja
    Kerala Varma Pazhassi Raja , popularly known as Kerala Simham or Lion of Kerala, was the Hindu Nair King of Kottayam , which was based in modern Kannur District, North Malabar zone of Kerala State in...

     – India, fought against British Raj in south India (Kerala) with guerrilla war tactics
  • Louis Riel
    Louis Riel
    Louis David Riel was a Canadian politician, a founder of the province of Manitoba, and a political and spiritual leader of the Métis people of the Canadian prairies. He led two resistance movements against the Canadian government and its first post-Confederation Prime Minister, Sir John A....

     – Canada, founder of Manitoba, led two rebellions against the Dominion of Canada
  • Dorus Rijkers
    Dorus Rijkers
    Theodorus "Dorus" Rijkers was a famous Dutch lifeboat captain and folk hero, most famous for his sea rescues of 487 shipwrecked victims over a total of 38 rescue operations, and at least 25 before joining the lifeboat-service....

     – the Netherlands, sailor and savior of over 500 men, women and children as the captain of a rescue-boat, in the late 19th century and the early 20th century
  • Mir Chakar Rind
    Mir Chakar Rind
    Mir Chakar Khan Rind or Meer Chaakar Khan Rind or Chakar-i-Azam was a Baloch chieftain in the 15th century...

     - Pakistan, a 15th century Baloch
    Baloch people
    The Baloch or Baluch are an ethnic group that belong to the larger Iranian peoples. Baluch people mainly inhabit the Balochistan region and Sistan and Baluchestan Province in the southeast corner of the Iranian plateau in Western Asia....

     chieftain and folklore hero found in the Hani and Sheh Mureed
    Hani and Sheh Mureed
    Hani and Sheh Mureed or Murid is a beloved epic ballad of Balochi folklore.This tale is to Balochistan what Romeo and Juliet is to English-speaking lands.The story mirrors the life of the Baloch heroes and their emotions and philosophical ideas .The hero of the story, Sheh Mureed Hani and Sheh...

  • José Rizal
    José Rizal
    José Protacio Rizal Mercado y Alonso Realonda , was a Filipino polymath, patriot and the most prominent advocate for reform in the Philippines during the Spanish colonial era. He is regarded as the foremost Filipino patriot and is listed as one of the national heroes of the Philippines by...

     – Philippines, a critic of the Spanish Colonizers, was gun-fired by his executioners in Bagumbayan (now Rizal Park)
  • Rob Roy
    Robert Roy MacGregor
    Robert Roy MacGregor , usually known simply as Rob Roy or alternately Red MacGregor, was a famous Scottish folk hero and outlaw of the early 18th century, who is sometimes known as the Scottish Robin Hood. Rob Roy is anglicised from the Scottish Gaelic Raibeart Ruadh, or Red Robert...

     – Scotland, outlaw whose word was his bond
  • Juan Santamaría
    Juan Santamaría
    Juan Santamaría , is officially recognized as the national hero of the Republic of Costa Rica. A national holiday in Costa Rica, Juan Santamaría Day, is held every April 11 to commemorate his death....

     – Costa Rican national hero
  • Sarutobi Sasuke
    Sarutobi Sasuke
    was a famous ninja in Japanese folklore. He is generally believed to be a Meiji period fictional creation based on the historical ninja ', although some argue for his actual existence.- In folklore :...

     – Japan, incredibly acrobatic spy said to have been raised by monkeys and trained in the Ninja
    A or was a covert agent or mercenary of feudal Japan specializing in unorthodox arts of war. The functions of the ninja included espionage, sabotage, infiltration, and assassination, as well as open combat in certain situations...

     heartland of Iga
    Iga Province
    was an old province of Japan in the area that is today western Mie Prefecture. It was sometimes called . Iga bordered on Ise, Ōmi, Yamato, and Yamashiro Provinces.-Geography:...

     and Koga
    Koka, Shiga
    is a city located in the southern part of Shiga Prefecture, Japan....

     provinces during the golden age of the Ninja.
  • Laura Secord
    Laura Secord
    Laura Ingersoll Secord was a Canadian heroine of the War of 1812. She is known for warning British forces of an impending American attack that led to the British victory at the Battle of Beaver Dams.-Early life:...

     – Canada, heroine of the War of 1812
  • Daniel Shays
    Daniel Shays
    Daniel Shays was an American soldier, revolutionary, and farmer famous for leading the Shays' Rebellion.-Early life:...

     – An American farmer who led Shays' Rebellion
    Shays' Rebellion
    Shays' Rebellion was an armed uprising in central and western Massachusetts from 1786 to 1787. The rebellion is named after Daniel Shays, a veteran of the American Revolutionary War....

     in the late 18th century over debt and taxes
  • Skanderbeg
    George Kastrioti Skanderbeg or Gjergj Kastrioti Skënderbeu , widely known as Skanderbeg , was a 15th-century Albanian lord. He was appointed as the governor of the Sanjak of Dibra by the Ottomans in 1440...

     – Albanian national hero who led the resistance of Albanian people against the Ottoman Empire
  • Soapy Smith
    Soapy Smith
    Jefferson Randolph "Soapy" Smith II was an American con artist and gangster who had a major hand in the organized criminal operations of Denver, Colorado; Creede, Colorado; and Skagway, Alaska, from 1879 to 1898. He was killed in the famed Shootout on Juneau Wharf...

     – Infamous 19th-century Colorado and Alaska bad man.
  • The Smith of Kochel
    The Smith of Kochel
    The Smith of Kochel is a figure from Bavarian myth. According to this myth, he was a soldier in the Habsburg-Ottoman Wars . Armed with nothing but a bar, he supposedly stove in the gates of Belgrade...

     – Germany, a well-known national hero, especially in Bavaria
  • Spartacus
    Spartacus was a famous leader of the slaves in the Third Servile War, a major slave uprising against the Roman Republic. Little is known about Spartacus beyond the events of the war, and surviving historical accounts are sometimes contradictory and may not always be reliable...

     – Thracean gladiator
    A gladiator was an armed combatant who entertained audiences in the Roman Republic and Roman Empire in violent confrontations with other gladiators, wild animals, and condemned criminals. Some gladiators were volunteers who risked their legal and social standing and their lives by appearing in the...

     led the largest slave revolt against the Roman Republic
  • Tipu Sultan
    Tipu Sultan
    Tipu Sultan , also known as the Tiger of Mysore, was the de facto ruler of the Kingdom of Mysore. He was the son of Hyder Ali, at that time an officer in the Mysorean army, and his second wife, Fatima or Fakhr-un-Nissa...

     – Indian, a Muslim who fought and defeated the British in the Mysore wars
  • Ivan Susanin
    Ivan Susanin
    Ivan Susanin was a Russian folk hero and martyr of the early 17th century's Time of Troubles.-Evidence:In 1619, a certain Bogdan Sobinin from Domnino village near Kostroma received from Tsar Mikhail one half of Derevischi village. According to the extant royal charter, these lands were granted...

     – Russian peasant who saved the tsar in the early 17th century's Time of Troubles
    Time of Troubles
    The Time of Troubles was a period of Russian history comprising the years of interregnum between the death of the last Russian Tsar of the Rurik Dynasty, Feodor Ivanovich, in 1598, and the establishment of the Romanov Dynasty in 1613. In 1601-1603, Russia suffered a famine that killed one-third...

  • Tamanend
    Tamanend or Tammany or Tammamend, the "affable", was a chief of one of the clans that made up the Lenni-Lenape nation in the Delaware Valley at the time Philadelphia was established...

     – United States, an Indian chief who became the source of many folk legends during the American Revolutionary War
  • Yermak Timofeyevich
    Yermak Timofeyevich
    Yermak Timofeyevich , Cossack leader, Russian folk hero and explorer of Siberia. His exploration of Siberia marked the beginning of the expansion of Russia towards this region and its colonization...

     – Russian Cossack leader who began the Russian conquest of Siberia
    Russian conquest of Siberia
    The Russian conquest of Siberia took place in the 16th and 17th centuries, when the Siberian Khanate had become a loose political structure of vassalages which were becoming undermined by the activities of Russian explorers who, though numerically outnumbered, pressured the various family-based...

  • Joseph Trumpeldor
    Joseph Trumpeldor
    Joseph Trumpeldor , was an early Zionist activist. He helped organize the Zion Mule Corps and bring Jewish immigrants to the Land of Israel. Trumpeldor died defending the settlement of Tel Hai in 1920 and subsequently became a Zionist national hero...

     – Israel, leader of the Jewish forces at Tel Hai
    Tel Hai
    Tel Hai is the modern name of a settlement in northern Israel, the site of an early battle in the Arab–Israeli conflict, and of a noted monument, tourist attraction, and a college...

  • Nat Turner
    Nat Turner
    Nathaniel "Nat" Turner was an American slave who led a slave rebellion in Virginia on August 21, 1831 that resulted in 60 white deaths and at least 100 black deaths, the largest number of fatalities to occur in one uprising prior to the American Civil War in the southern United States. He gathered...

     – Leader of Nat Turner's Rebellion
    Nat Turner's Rebellion
    Nat Turner's Rebellion was a slave rebellion that took place in Southampton County, Virginia during August 1831. Led by Nat Turner, rebel slaves killed anywhere from 55–65 white people, the highest number of fatalities caused by slave uprisings in the South...

     (also known as the Southampton Insurrection), a slave rebellion that took place in Southampton County, Virginia
    Southampton County, Virginia
    As of the census of 2010, there were 18,570 people, 6,279 households, and 4,502 families residing in the county. The population density was 29 people per square mile . There were 7,058 housing units at an average density of 12 per square mile...

     in August 1831
  • Dick Turpin
    Dick Turpin
    Richard "Dick" Turpin was an English highwayman whose exploits were romanticised following his execution in York for horse theft. Turpin may have followed his father's profession as a butcher early in life, but by the early 1730s he had joined a gang of deer thieves, and later became a poacher,...

     – England, highwayman
  • Viriathus
    Viriathus was the most important leader of the Lusitanian people that resisted Roman expansion into the regions of Western Hispania , where the Roman province of Lusitania would be established...

     – Portugal, the leader of the freedom fighters of the confederated Iberian tribes who resisted colonial Rome
  • William Wallace
    William Wallace
    Sir William Wallace was a Scottish knight and landowner who became one of the main leaders during the Wars of Scottish Independence....

     – Scotland, knight who led a rebellion against England in the early 14th century
  • Wong Fei Hung
    Wong Fei Hung
    Wong Fei-hung was a Chinese martial artist, a traditional Chinese medicine physician, acupuncturist and revolutionary who became a folk hero and the subject of numerous television series and films. He was considered an expert in the Hung Gar style of Chinese martial arts. Wong is visibly the most...

     – Chinese doctor, martial artist and revolutionary
  • Huo Yuanjia
    Huo Yuanjia
    Huo Yuanjia was a Chinese martial artist and co-founder of Chin Woo Athletic Association, a martial arts school in Shanghai...

     – Chinese martial artist
  • Jan Žižka
    Jan Žižka
    Jan Žižka z Trocnova a Kalicha , Czech general and Hussite leader, follower of Jan Hus, was born at small village Trocnov in Bohemia, into a gentried family. He was nicknamed "One-eyed Žižka"...

     – Czech knight, commander of Hussite
    Hussite Wars
    The Hussite Wars, also called the Bohemian Wars involved the military actions against and amongst the followers of Jan Hus in Bohemia in the period 1419 to circa 1434. The Hussite Wars were notable for the extensive use of early hand-held gunpowder weapons such as hand cannons...

     armies in 15th century
  • Mohamed Bouazizi
    Mohamed Bouazizi
    Mohamed Bouazizi was a Tunisian street vendor who set himself on fire on 17 December 2010, in protest of the confiscation of his wares and the harassment and humiliation that he reported was inflicted on him by a municipal official and her aides...

     - Tunisian fruit vendor who immolated himself in protest of government mistreatment and sparked a successful revolution in that country and the 2010–2011 Middle East and North Africa protests
    2010–2011 Middle East and North Africa protests
    The Arab Spring , otherwise known as the Arab Awakening, is a revolutionary wave of demonstrations and protests occurring in the Arab world that began on Saturday, 18 December 2010...

  • Paul Revere
    Paul Revere
    Paul Revere was an American silversmith and a patriot in the American Revolution. He is most famous for alerting Colonial militia of approaching British forces before the battles of Lexington and Concord, as dramatized in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem, Paul Revere's Ride...

     - an American silversmith and a patriot in the American Revolution whose 'Midnight Ride' warned of the arrival of the British.
  • Son Tinh - a Vietnamese God of Mountain who defeated Vietnamese God of Sea. Son Tinh represents the desire of defeating natural disasters.
  • Thánh Gióng - a Vietnamese young soldier who defeated invaders. Thanh Giong represents the spirit of patriotism and nationalism of Vietnam.
  • Chữ Đồng Tử - a Vietnamese marsh boy who married a princess of Hung King without his approval. Chu Dong Tu represents love, family and wealth.
  • Liễu Hạnh
    Lieu Hanh
    Princess Lieu Hanh is one of The Four Immortals and also a leading figure in the mother goddess cult Đạo Mẫu, in which she governs the celestial realm. Her personal cult was created by women in the Nam Dinh Province, in the village of Van Cat...

     - a Vietnamese Mother Goddess. Lieu Hanh represents morality and mental life.

Possibly apocryphal folk heroes

  • King Arthur
    King Arthur
    King Arthur is a legendary British leader of the late 5th and early 6th centuries, who, according to Medieval histories and romances, led the defence of Britain against Saxon invaders in the early 6th century. The details of Arthur's story are mainly composed of folklore and literary invention, and...

     - Legendary British warlord.
  • Cúchulainn
    Cú Chulainn or Cúchulainn , and sometimes known in English as Cuhullin , is an Irish mythological hero who appears in the stories of the Ulster Cycle, as well as in Scottish and Manx folklore...

     - Ireland, folk legend and the pre-eminent hero of Ulaid in the Ulster Cycle
  • Fionn mac Cumhaill
    Fionn mac Cumhaill
    Fionn mac Cumhaill , known in English as Finn McCool, was a mythical hunter-warrior of Irish mythology, occurring also in the mythologies of Scotland and the Isle of Man...

     - Ireland, warrior, leader of the Fianna. Primary figure in the Oisin cycle.
  • Till Eulenspiegel
    Till Eulenspiegel
    Till Eulenspiegel was an impudent trickster figure originating in Middle Low German folklore. His tales were disseminated in popular printed editions narrating a string of lightly connected episodes that outlined his picaresque career, primarily in Germany, the Low Countries and France...

     or Tijl Uilenspiegel - Germany and the Low Countries, trickster
  • Fong Sai-Yuk
    Fong Sai-Yuk
    Fong Sai-yuk is a Chinese martial artist and folk hero. He is first introduced in Wuxia stories from the Qing Dynasty such as Wan Nian Qing. He is also featured in several forms of media, of which the most notable is the 1993 film Fong Sai-yuk.-Early life:Fong Sai-yuk is a native of Zhaoqing,...

     - China, martial arts folk hero
  • Hung Hei-Gun
    Hung Hei-Gun
    Hung Hei 1745–1825, born Huadu, Guangdong, China, was a major influential figure of Southern Shaolin Kung Fu.-Overview:Hung Hei was originally named Jue 朱 and was a tea merchant. He escaped to the Southern Fujian Shaolin Temple after he had an argument with a few upper class Manchurians during the...

     - China, martial arts folk hero
  • Nai Khanom Tom - Thailand, master of Muay Thai
    Muay Thai
    Muay Thai is a combat sport from Thailand that uses stand-up striking along with various clinching techniques. It is similar to other Indochinese kickboxing systems, namely pradal serey from Cambodia, tomoi from Malaysia, lethwei from Myanmar and muay Lao from Laos...

  • John Henry
    John Henry (folklore)
    John Henry is an American folk hero and tall tale. Henry worked as a "steel-driver"—a man tasked with hammering and chiseling rock in the construction of tunnels for railroad tracks. In the legend, John Henry's prowess as a steel-driver was measured in a race against a steam powered hammer,...

     - United States, mighty steel-driving African-American
  • Robin Hood
    Robin Hood
    Robin Hood was a heroic outlaw in English folklore. A highly skilled archer and swordsman, he is known for "robbing from the rich and giving to the poor", assisted by a group of fellow outlaws known as his "Merry Men". Traditionally, Robin Hood and his men are depicted wearing Lincoln green clothes....

     - England, outlaw usually associated with the motto "Steal from the rich, give to the poor"
  • Rummu Jüri
    Rummu Jüri
    Rummu Jüri is the archetypical Estonian folk hero, an outlaw who stole from the rich to give to the poor...

     - Estonia, outlaw who stole from the rich to give to the poor
  • Siegfried
    Sigurd is a legendary hero of Norse mythology, as well as the central character in the Völsunga saga. The earliest extant representations for his legend come in pictorial form from seven runestones in Sweden and most notably the Ramsund carving Sigurd (Old Norse: Sigurðr) is a legendary hero of...

     - Germany, the legendary dragon-slaying hero in Nibelungenlied
  • Hua Mulan
    Hua Mulan
    Hua Mulan is a legendary figure from ancient China who was originally described in a Chinese poem known as the Ballad of Mulan . In the poem, Hua Mulan takes her aged father's place in the army. She fought for 12 years and gained high merit, but she refused any reward and retired to her hometown...

     - China, heroine who disguised herself as a man in order to join an army
  • Molly Pitcher
    Molly Pitcher
    Molly Pitcher was a nickname given to a woman said to have fought in the American Revolutionary War, who is generally believed to have been Mary Ludwig Hays...

     - United States, heroine of the American Revolutionary War
  • William Tell
    William Tell
    William Tell is a folk hero of Switzerland. His legend is recorded in a late 15th century Swiss chronicle....

     - Switzerland, began the rebellion against the Austrians
  • Juan Bautista Cabral
    Juan Bautista Cabral
    Juan Bautista Cabral was an Argentine soldier of the Regiment of Mounted Grenadiers who died in the Battle of San Lorenzo, while he was aiding then Colonel José de San Martín, whose horse had fallen to enemy fire...

     - Argentina, soldier who supposedly saved José de San Martín
    José de San Martín
    José Francisco de San Martín, known simply as Don José de San Martín , was an Argentine general and the prime leader of the southern part of South America's successful struggle for independence from Spain.Born in Yapeyú, Corrientes , he left his mother country at the...

    's life during the Battle of San Lorenzo
    Battle of San Lorenzo
    The Battle of San Lorenzo was fought on February 3, 1813 in San Lorenzo, Argentina, then part of the United Provinces of the Río de la Plata. A Spanish Royalist army under the command of Antonio Zabala was defeated by the Regiment of Mounted Grenadiers, under the command of José de San Martín...

     against the Royalists in 1813.

Folk heroes known to be fictional

  • Pecos Bill
    Pecos Bill
    Pecos Bill is an American cowboy, apocryphally immortalized in numerous tall tales of the Old West during American westward expansion into the Southwest of Texas, New Mexico, Southern California, and Arizona. Their stories were probably invented into short stories and book by Edward O'Reilly in the...

     - United States, giant cowboy who "tamed the wild west"
  • Paul Bunyan
    Paul Bunyan
    Paul Bunyan is a lumberjack figure in North American folklore and tradition. One of the most famous and popular North American folklore heroes, he is usually described as a giant as well as a lumberjack of unusual skill, and is often accompanied in stories by his animal companion, Babe the Blue...

     - United States, giant lumberjack of the North Woods
  • Febold Feboldson
    Febold Feboldson
    Febold Feboldson is an American folk hero who was a Swedish American plainsman and cloudbuster from Nebraska. His exploits were originally published in 1923 in an independent newspaper and the character is now largely considered a part of fakelore as opposed to a genuine folk hero. -References:...

     - United States, farmer who could fight a drought
  • Martín Fierro
    Martín Fierro
    Martín Fierro is a 2,316 line epic poem by the Argentine writer José Hernández. The poem was originally published in two parts, El Gaucho Martín Fierro and La Vuelta de Martín Fierro . The poem is, in part, a protest against the modernist tendencies of Argentine president Domingo Faustino Sarmiento...

     - Argentina, hero of the eponym
    An eponym is the name of a person or thing, whether real or fictitious, after which a particular place, tribe, era, discovery, or other item is named or thought to be named...

    ous poem by Jose Hernandez
  • Koba - Georgia, folk hero whose legend bears a resemblance to Robin Hood
  • Joe Magarac
    Joe Magarac
    Joe Magarac is a legendary American folk hero who was a steelworker in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Magarac first appeared in print in a 1931 Scribner's Magazine article by Owen Francis, who said he heard the story from immigrant steelworkers in Pittsburgh area steel mills...

     - United States, steelworker made of steel
  • Alfred Bulltop Stormalong
    Alfred Bulltop Stormalong
    Captain Alfred Bulltop Stormalong was an American folk hero and the subject of numerous nautical-themed tall tales originating in Massachusetts. Stormalong was said to be a sailor and a giant, some tall; he was the master of a huge clipper ship known in various sources as either the Courser or the...

    - United States, immense sailor whose ship was so big it scraped the moon
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