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Zuckerberg joins Gandhi, Stalin in TIME's Person of the Year pantheon

TIME Magazine announced today that Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is its 2010 Person of the Year. Our friends at LIFE.com have published a gallery of portraits of previous winners. Zuckerberg is in very lofty company:

Margaret Bourke-White/Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images

1930: Mohandas K. Gandhi, Indian Independence Leader - "Curiously, it was in a jail that the year's end found the little half-naked brown man whose 1930 mark on world history will undoubtedly loom largest of all. It was exactly twelve months ago that Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi's Indian National Congress promulgated the Declaration of Indian Independence.... It was in March that he marched to the sea to defy Britain's salt tax as some New Englanders once defied a British tea tax. It was in May that Britain jailed Gandhi at Poona. Last week he was still there, and some 30,000 members of his Independence movement were caged elsewhere. The British Empire was still wondering fearfully what to do about them all, the Empire's most staggering problem." —From TIME, January 5, 1931. Above: Gandhi reading at his home in 1946.

Margaret Bourke-White/Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images

1942: Joseph Stalin, Soviet Head of State - "Had German legions swept past steelstubborn Stalingrad and liquidated Russia's power of attack, Hitler would have been not only man of the year, but he would have been undisputed master of Europe, looking for other continents to conquer. He could have diverted at least 250 victorious divisions to new conquests in Asia and Africa. But Joseph Stalin stopped him. Stalin had done it before — in 1941 — when he started with all of Russia intact. But Stalin's achievement of 1942 was far greater. All that Hitler could give he took — for the second time." —From TIME, January 4, 1943. (Stalin also won in 1939.) Above: Stalin in 1941

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1963: Martin Luther King Jr., U.S. Civil Rights Leader - "Yet when he mounts the platform or pulpit, the actual words seem unimportant. And King, by some quality of that limpid voice or by some secret of cadence, exercises control as can few others over his audiences, black or white. He has proved this ability on countless occasions, ranging from the Negroes' huge summer March on Washington to a little meeting one recent Friday night in Gadsden, Alabama." —From TIME, January 3, 1964. Above: King attends a rally for Freedom Riders in Jackson, Mississippi in 1961.

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1980: Ronald Reagan, U.S. President - "On the night of Nov. 4, 1980, just 16 years after he had spoken his mind in behalf of a man too far right to be elected President, the amateur politician who will become 70 in February watched state after state turn in his direction. For that, in part, Reagan is TIME'S Man of the Year — for having risen so smoothly and gracefully to the most powerful and visible position in the world. He is also the idea of the year, his triumph being philosophical as well as personal. He has revived the Republican Party, and has garnered high initial hopes, even from many who opposed him, both because of his personal style and because the U.S. is famished for cheer." —From TIME, January 5, 1981. (Reagan also shared the honor in 1983 with Soviet General Secretary Yuri Andropov.) Above: Reagan celebrates his California gubernatorial primary victory in 1966.

TIME Magazine / Reuters

The cover of Time magazine's December 27, 2010/January 3, 2011 issue features Mark Zuckerberg as the Person of the Year.

Photographer Martin Schoeller made the picture of Zuckerberg for TIME, and TIME.com has more pictures of Zuckerberg and the Facebook team here.

See the full LIFE.com gallery here. Highlights include Hailie Selassie, Adolf Hitler, Queen Elizabeth II, The Hungarian Freedom Fighter, and the Apollo 8 Astronauts.  Or, go to TIME.com to see the covers of every Person of the Year since 1927.