People with natural red hair are known as redheads as are some birds and animals too, like the male American duck Authya Americana with its red head. Less than two percent of the world’s population are redheads with a consequent far fewer number of famous redheads from history. Professor Jonathan Reese discovered in 1995 that the mutation of a gene, technically known as MC1R, commonly known as the ‘Ginger Gene’ causes the red color of the hair. The gene mutation lowers the dark colorant eumelanin and increases the content of the red colorant pheomelanin with the consequent development of red hair. Depending upon the concentration of the red colorant, the color of the hair may vary from burgundy to copper. Many Tharacian tombstones have been found with the inscription ‘Rufus’ meaning ‘redhead.’ The earliest use of the term ‘redhead’ is traceable to 1510. Redheads are associated with the presence of freckles, lighter eye color, higher susceptibility to adverse effects of UV light exposure, less pain tolerance, acute deficiency of vitamin K as in starved children known as Kwashiorkor, and it is also said that they are easier to excite and are usually short tempered, which is not a verifiable fact. Famous redheads include people from all over the world but mostly from Scotland.
1. Queen Elizabeth I
Queen Elizabeth I was born to Henry VIII of England and Anne Boleyn at Greenwich Palace on September 7, 1533 and died on March 24, 1603. She was born with red hair. Also known as The Virgin Queen, Gloriana, and Good Queen Bess, she was Queen Regnant of Ireland and England from November 17,1558 until her death. Elizabeth became a brave queen at the age of 25 saying at one time ‘I know I have the body but of a weak and feeble woman, but I have the heart and stomach of a king, and a King of England too, and think foul scorn that Parma or Spain,or any Prince of Europe should dare to invade the borders of my realm.’
2. Hayreddin Barbarossa
Hayreddin Barbarossa was born to Yakup Aga and Katerina on the island of Lesbos, Mytilini in 1478 and died in Istanbul on July 4, 1546. He was known in Europe as ‘Barbarossa,’ meaning ‘redbeard’ in Italian. His brothers became sailors but later on turned to privateering to counter the privateering of the Knights of Hospitaller. In1503 his brother seized three ships and made the Island of Djerba his base. Aruj and Barbarossa seized Cavalleria, a Sicilian warship with 380 Spanish soldiers and 60 Spanish knights on board while they were on their way to Naples from Spain. Barbarossa died in a palace near Constantinople in Buyukdere in 1546 after living an adventurous life at sea.
3. Winston Churchill
Sir Winston Spencer Churchill was born in Chequers, Bucks, England on 30 November 1874 and died in Belegravia, London, England on 24 January 1965 at the age of 91. He had red hair, and his daughter Sarah Churchill also is a redhead. Churchill was a great political leader who led the United Kingdom through World War II. He was the Prime Minister of the country for a long time. He is famously portrayed wearing his suit, bow tie, cigar, and red hair. Late in life, he lost most of his hair, and the remaining turned grey. His colored photographs with red hair are not currently available, but his daughter definitely has beautiful, red hair.
4. Margaret Thatcher
Margaret Thatcher was born to Alfred Roberts and Beatrice Ethel in Grantham, Lincolnshire on October 13, 1925. She was the first woman Prime Minister of Great Britain and Ireland who remained in office from October 8, 1959 to April 9, 1992. She was the most famous redhead of her time. Not excluding the others, her honors include: Member of the Order of Merit, Lady Companion of the Order of the Garter, Grand Order of King Dmitar Zvonimir, and the highest U.S. civilian award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
5. Julia Eileen Gillard
Julia Eileen Gillard was born to John and Moira in Barry, Wales on September 29, 1961. After being diagnosed for bronchopneumonia in early childhood, her parents were advised that a warmer climate would help her recover; therefore, they migrated to Australia in 1966. She received her early education at Unley High School and graduated from the University of Melbourne earning her Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Law degrees. She became the first woman prime Minister of Australia. She was a redhead and was at times called ‘Ranga’ meaning ‘Redhead.’ ‘Ginger’ a symbolic expression for ‘redhead.’
6. Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson was born to Peter Jefferson and Jane Randolph in Shadwell, Goochland County, Virginia on April 13, 1743 and died in Charlottesville, Virginia on July 4, 1826. He was the third President of the United States and an American Founding Father. He was the main author of the Declaration of Independence. As the President of the United States, he remained in office from March 4, 1801 to March 4, 1809. He had red hair and was a very influential man in his time. His image appears on the U.S. $2 bill.
7. Brian P. Schmidt
Brian P. Schmidt, the Nobel Laureate, was born in Missoula, Montana, U.S. on February 24, 1967. He received his early education at Bartlett High School, Anchorage, Alaska and graduated with a degree in Astronomy from the University of Arizona and received his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1989. The famous redhead discovered that the universe was expanding at a constant rate and received the 2006 Shaw Prize in Astronomy and the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics. He shared both the prizes with Saul Perlmutter and Adam Riess for proving that the expansion of the universe is accelerating.
8. Shaun MacLean Pollock
Shaun MacLean Pollock is the famous, retired African, redhead cricketer born on July 16, 1973. He was one of the most famous bowling all-rounder. He had been the South African Cricket team captain from 2000 to 2003. He had scored 3,700 runs in 108 test matches and had taken more than 400 test wickets. After playing his 303rd One Day International, he announced his retirement from all forms of cricket on January 11, 2008.
9. Napoleon Bonaparte
Napoleon Bonaparte was born to Carlo Bonaparte and Letizia Ramolino in Aiaccio, Corsica, France on August 15, 1769 and died in Longwood, Saint Helena at the age of 51. The redhead military and political leader came into prominence at the end stage of the French Revolution. He was the French Emperor from 1804 to 1815. He is best known for his hegemony over the European countries and the Napoleonic Wars fought by various coalitions against France. In spite of the numeric superiority of the enemy, it was mostly he who won the wars. His war strategies are studied at military academies of many countries.
10. Lucille Desiree Ball
Lucille Desiree Ball was born to Henry Durrell Ball and Desiree Evelyn Hunt in Jamestown, New York, U.S. on August 6, 1911 and died in Los Angles on April 26, 1989 at the age of 77. Ball was one of the topmost if not the most famous redhead of all time. She won numerous awards and a few of them include: 13 nominations and 4 wins of an Emmy Award, Golden Globe, Cecil B. DeMille Award, and an appearance on the U.S. Postal Service’s commemorative stamp. She was among the 100 Most Important People of the Century on the list of Time magazine. She was posthumously awarded the highest civilian award of the U.S., the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George W. Bush on July 6, 1989.
There is beauty in diversity, and it is a natural solution to overcome monotony. Diversified groups have an inherent affinity within the group members which strengthens the community. Stripes go with stripes and spots go with spots. The first week of September in Brenda, Holland is observed as ‘Redheadday’ which is a get-together of people with natural, red hair. According to Mark Twain ‘While the rest of the human race are descended from monkeys, redheads derive from cats.’