Christopher Columbus had never reached adulthood. Either he died as a child or was never born at all. What would life be like right now?
The Germans would likely have much stronger influence than they do, because Spain and England might not have gotten such an early toehold on the new world. Society and technological advancements would almost certainly be behind, as the colonies overseas greatly aided economical development in their motherlands.
There are countless other historical figures (and even some people alive today) that would have a massive impact if they didn't do what they did. A few examples...
- Thomas Edison
- Bill Gates
- Linus Torvalds
- Adolf Hitler
- Mao Zedong
- Julius Caesar
- William Shakespeare
This has gotten me wondering... how many people in history could have been snuffed before birth and not affect history enough to prevent my birth?