Since 1927, the magazine has chosen to honor the one person who has most affected world events, for better or worse. Merkel, 61, was cited for her involvement in Europe’s handling of migration issues, and of the Greek debt.
Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was runner-up in editorial voting.
Front-line fighters of the Ebola virus were the 2014 recipients of the honor.
Citing her accomplishments during the year, the magazine pointed out that Germany, under Merkel, regularly bailed Greece out from its economic problems, and welcomed refugees from radical Islam while containing extremism within its own borders.
Merkel is the fourth woman to claim the title of Time’s “Person of the Year,” which was changed in 1999 from “Man of the Year.” Wallis Simpson, whose eventual marriage to England’s Edward VIII caused him to abdicate the throne; British Queen Elizabeth II; and the Philippines’ first woman president, Corazon Aquino, preceded Merkel.
As women assume more roles of power, in government and elsewhere, more are likely to be considered for the honor, the magazine noted, mentioning International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde, Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandburg and Myanmar political leader and Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi.
In Merkel, Time chose the leader of the world’s fourth largest economy, Europe’s dominant economic power and a nation eager for open borders and a generation without warfare.