Historical Personalities

Historical Figures are the famous people in history who have played a significant role in shaping human progress. Philosophers over the past several centuries have debated upon the roles played by historical figures in influencing the history of human civilization and progress. While Scottish philosopher Thomas Carlyle felt that the study of legendary figures is a key to understanding history, English philosopher Herbert Spencer was of the belief that historical individuals were of little importance. Irrespective of the philosophical debates on the subject, it cannot be denied that studying about the famous men and women in world history is truly an enriching experience. Jesus of Nazareth, the founder of Christianity, is often regarded as the most important historical figure. While most modern scholars of antiquity agree that Jesus existed historically, several facts about his life are shrouded in mystery. Another important religious historical figure is Muhammad who unified Arabia into a single religious polity under Islam. Many historical figures are believed to have greatly influenced world politics and the major ones among these are Napoleon, Alexander the Great, Abraham Lincoln and Adolf Hitler. Read on to discover about the life and works of various famous historical figures from all over the world.

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

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 1 Cleopatra

Cleopatra
18
Famous As: Queen of the Ptolemaic Kingdom
Birthdate: 0069 BC
Nationality: Egyptian, Greek
Died: August 12, 0030

The last active ruler of the Ptolemaic Kingdom and the last true pharaoh of Egypt, Cleopatra is described as an extremely beautiful woman who was also intelligent and educated with command over numerous languages. Her romance and military alliances with Julius Caesar and Mark Antony have inspired numerous art works.

 2 Queen Victoria

Queen Victoria
7
Famous As: Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
Birthdate: May 24, 1819
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: British
Died: January 22, 1901

The Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland for over six decades, Queen Victoria reigned for longer than any of her predecessors. Her rule witnessed the vast expansion of the British Empire and ushered in a period of industrial, cultural, political, scientific, and military changes. Her Golden and Diamond Jubilees were celebrated with great pomp and show.

 3 Alexander the Great

Alexander the Great
11
Famous As: Emperor of the ancient Greek kingdom of Macedon
Birthdate: July 20, 0356
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: Macedonian
Died: June 10, 0324

Counted amongst the greatest military commanders of all times, Alexander the Great successfully created one of the largest empires—from Macedonia to Persia and India—of the ancient world. The son of King of Macedonia, Philip II, he ascended the throne at the age of 20 and achieved unprecedented success before he died at the age of 33.  

 4 Julius Caesar

Julius Caesar
2
Listed In: Emperors & Kings
Famous As: Former Roman dictator
Birthdate: July 13, 0100
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: Ancient Roman
Died: March 15, 0044

Julius Caesar is considered one of the greatest military commanders in history and played an important role in the events that led to the downfall of the Roman Republic and the rise of the Roman Empire. He assumed control of the government after a civil war. He was assassinated by rebel senators on the Ides of March, 44 BC.

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 5 Genghis Khan

Genghis Khan
17
Famous As: Khagan of the Mongol Empire
Birthdate: 1162 AD
Nationality: Mongolian
Died: August 18, 1227

The founder and first Great Khan and Emperor of the Mongol Empire, Genghis Khan is often considered to be the greatest conqueror of all time. A brutal ruler, he enjoyed exceptional military successes and occupied a substantial portion of Central Asia and China. Besides his military accomplishments, he is also credited with revitalizing the Mongol Empire's writing system.

 6 Napoleon Bonaparte

Napoleon Bonaparte
0
Famous As: Emperor of the French
Birthdate: August 15, 1769
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: French
Died: May 5, 1821
French military leader Napoleon Bonaparte ruled as the French emperor from 1804 to 1814 and again in 1815. He strengthened France’s position in Europe through the Napoleonic Wars and extended his kingdom. However, he was eventually defeated by the Seventh Coalition at the Battle of Waterloo and sent to exile. 

 7 Joseph Stalin

Joseph Stalin
2
Famous As: Communist Revolutionary & Ruler of former USSR
Birthdate: December 18, 1878
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: Georgian, Russian
Died: March 5, 1953

Controversial Russian dictator, Joseph Stalin, ruled the Soviet Union for around 25 years from 1929 to 1953 and is credited for making it a prominent industrial and military power of the world. During the Second World War, his army defeated the Nazis too. However, his regime was also one of terror and brutality where numerous Soviet citizens lost their lives.

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 8 George V

George V
10
Listed In: Emperors & Kings
Famous As: Former King of the United Kingdom
Birthdate: June 3, 1865
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: British
Died: January 20, 1936

George V became the King of Great Britain and the British Dominions in 1910. During the World War I, he played an active role in supporting the troops. The rise of socialism, communism, fascism and the Indian independence movement was witnessed during his rule. His reign also saw the supremacy of the elected British House of Commons established by the Parliament.

 9 Marie Antoinette

Marie Antoinette
5
Famous As: Queen of France
Birthdate: November 2, 1755
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: Austrian, French
Died: October 16, 1793
The last queen of France before the French Revolution started, Marie Antoinette was married to Louis XVI of France and came to be linked with everything that was wrong with the French monarchy including ignorance and extravagance. Her policies aggravated unrest that eventually led to the abolishment of the monarchy and finally the execution of both king and queen.

 10 Benito Mussolini

Benito Mussolini
0
Famous As: Former Duce
Birthdate: July 29, 1883
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: Italian
Died: April 28, 1945

The dictator of Italy from 1925 to 1945, Benito Mussolini founded the Fascist Party in 1919. It opposed class discrimination and supported nationalism. But when in power, Mussolini crushed rival political parties, trade unions, free press and free speech. He was overthrown by his former colleagues in the Fascist government in July 1943 and ultimately shot dead in April 1945.

 11 Henry VII of England

Henry VII
2
Listed In: Emperors & Kings
Famous As: King of England
Birthdate: January 28, 1457
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: British
Died: April 21, 1509

Henry VII of England played an important role in popularizing the House of Tudor by becoming the first monarch of the house; he ruled as the king of England from 1485 until his death in 1509. He is credited with several economic, diplomatic, and administrative initiatives.

 12 Vladimir Lenin

Vladimir Lenin
0
Famous As: Former Premier of the Soviet Union
Birthdate: April 22, 1870
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: Russian
Died: January 21, 1924

Vladimir Lenin played a key role in the history of Russian politics by developing a political ideology called Leninism. During and after his lifetime, Lenin had a massive influence over international communist movement. He is widely regarded as one of the most influential and significant personalities of the 20th century.

 13 Queen Elizabeth II

Queen Elizabeth II
0
Famous As: Queen of the United Kingdom
Birthdate: April 21, 1926
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: British

The Queen of the United Kingdom and 15 other Commonwealth realms, Queen Elizabeth II is the world's oldest living monarch and longest-reigning current monarch. The first child of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother , she ascended to the throne in 1952. Despite the press criticism of the royal family, she continues to be a popular figure in UK.

 14 Augustus

Augustus
9
Listed In: Emperors & Kings
Famous As: Roman roman emperor
Birthdate: September 23, 0063
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: Ancient Roman
Died: August 19, 0014

Augustus, the first Emperor of the Roman Empire, ruled from 27 BC to 14 AD. He transformed Rome from a republic to an empire after Julius Caesar’s assassination. He annexed new territories, brought about peace and prosperity and laid the foundation of an empire that lasted for nearly 1500 years. Historians regard him as an effective but controversial leader.

 15 Charlemagne

Charlemagne
0
Listed In: Emperors & Kings
Famous As: King of the Frank
Birthdate: April 2, 0742
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: German
Died: January 28, 0814

Also known as Charles the Great, Charlemagne ruled as the king of the Franks, king of the Lombards, and emperor of the Romans at different time periods. Not surprisingly, he had a major impact during the Early Middle Ages as he went about uniting the majority of central and western Europe, for which he is called the Father of Europe.

 16 Catherine the Great

Catherine the Great
5
Famous As: Empress of Russia
Birthdate: May 2, 1729
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: Russian
Died: November 17, 1796

The Empress of Russia for almost 35 years, Catherine the Great was the country's longest-ruling female leader. An ambitious ruler, she rapidly expanded the Russian Empire and is credited with modernizing the country along Western European lines. She supported the ideals of the Enlightenment and the period of her rule—the Catherinian Era—is considered the Golden Age of Russia.

 17 Ashoka

Ashoka
11
Listed In: Emperors & Kings
Famous As: Indian emperor of the Maurya Dynasty
Birthdate: 0304 BC
Nationality: Indian
Died: 0232 BC
Ashoka the Great of the Maurya Dynasty was the grandson of Chandragupta Maurya and ruled the Indian subcontinent from c. 268 to 232 BCE. Following the death and destruction caused by the Kalinga War, which was part of his expansion plan, he converted to Buddhism and propagated the faith.

 18 Shivaji

Shivaji
11
Listed In: Emperors & Kings
Famous As: King
Birthdate: February 19, 1630
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: Indian
Died: April 3, 1680

Shivaji was an Indian warrior-king. He is credited with founding the Maratha Empire, which became a force to reckon with during the 18th century. He is also credited with creating his own navy. Considered one of the most important Indian kings and a hero of the Hindus, Shivaji's life and work have inspired several works of art, including films.

 19 Catherine of Aragon

Catherine of Aragon
5
Famous As: Ambassador
Birthdate: December 16, 1485
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: British
Died: January 7, 1536

Catherine of Aragon was one of the most popular English royal consorts of all time. A patron of Renaissance humanism, she gained widespread admiration for starting a program for the relief of the poor. A woman who was ahead of her time, Catherine commissioned The Education of a Christian Woman, a controversial book promoting women's right to education.

 20 Wilhelm II

Wilhelm II
0
Listed In: Emperors & Kings
Famous As: Emperor of Germany
Birthdate: January 27, 1859
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: German
Died: June 4, 1941

Wilhelm II reigned as the King of Prussia and German emperor from 1888 to 1918. He is credited with promoting scientific innovation and building a blue-water navy, which strengthened Germany’s position as a great power. However, he was also responsible for getting his country involved in World War I, which eventually brought an end to the Hohenzollern dynasty’s rule.

 21 William the Conqueror

William the Conqueror
2
Famous As: King of England
Birthdate: 1028 AD
Nationality: French
Died: September 9, 1087

William the Conqueror was the first Norman King of England who ruled from 1066 to 1087. William's conquest had a profound impact on England; his government merged elements of the Norman and English systems that laid the foundations of the medieval English kingdom. He is credited with building castles, mottes, and keeps, including the White Tower and Tower of London.

 22 Marcus Aurelius

Marcus Aurelius
0
Listed In: Emperors & Kings
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: April 26, 0121
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: Italian
Died: March 17, 0180

Marcus Aurelius played an important role in the Roman Empire. A Stoic philosopher, Marcus was part of the Five Good Emperors and the last emperor of the Pax Romana—a 200-year-long period of relative peace in the Roman Empire. Also a writer, his work Meditations is regarded by many as one of the greatest works of philosophy.

 23 Akbar

Akbar
7
Listed In: Emperors & Kings
Famous As: Mughal Emperor
Birthdate: October 14, 1542
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: Indian
Died: October 27, 1605

Akbar, the third Mughal emperor, played an important role in inculcating Persian culture into the Indian subcontinent. Akbar is considered one of the most important rulers of the Mughal Empire, an empire that seeped foreign ideas and culture into medieval India, the effects of which are still visible in modern-day India, especially in the northern parts of the country.

 24 Kublai Khan

Kublai Khan
0
Famous As: Founder of the Yuan dynasty in Mongolia and China,
Birthdate: September 23, 1215
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: Mongolian
Died: February 18, 1294

Also known as the Emperor Shizu of Yuan, Kublai Khan served as the fifth khagan of the famous Mongol Empire. After the division of the empire, Kublai Khan founded the Yuan dynasty in China and ruled as the first Yuan emperor from 1271 until his death in 1294. Hence, he played an important role in re-creating a militarily powerful China.

 25 Attila

Attila
2
Famous As: Ruler
Birthdate: 0406 AD
Nationality: Ancient Roman
Died: February 29, 0453

 26 Elizabeth of York

Elizabeth of York
5
Famous As: Queen Consort of England
Birthdate: February 11, 1466
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: British
Died: February 11, 1503
Elizabeth of York, daughter of King Edward IV and wife of Henry VII of the Tudor Dynasty, was the queen consort of England from 1486 until 1503. She and Henry got married after Henry won at the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1486, thus ending the Wars of the Roses

 27 Henry VIII of England

Henry VIII of England
2
Listed In: Emperors & Kings
Famous As: King of England
Birthdate: June 28, 1491
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: British
Died: January 28, 1547

Henry VIII, the second monarch of the Tudor dynasty, ruled England from 1509 to 1547. He married six times, leading to differences with the Roman Catholic Church, which prohibited divorce, thus forming the Anglican Church. The "father of the Royal Navy," he was known for his tyranny and extravagance.

 28 Catherine Howard

Catherine Howard
0
Famous As: Queen of England from (1540-1541)
Birthdate: 1523 AD
Nationality: British
Died: February 13, 1542
Catherine Howard, England’s queen consort from 1540 until 1541, was Henry VIII’s fifth wife. She was a cousin of Henry VIII’s second wife, Anne Boleyn. In November 1541, Catherine was stripped of the queen’s title and imprisoned. She was later beheaded on charges of adultery with her cousin Thomas Culpeper.

 29 Catherine de' Medici

Catherine de' Medici
0
Famous As: Queen of France
Birthdate: April 13, 1519
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: Italian
Died: January 5, 1589

Catherine de' Medici was an Italian noblewoman who played a key role in the political affairs of France during the rule of her sons, a period which came to be known as the age of Catherine de' Medici. Catherine is credited with saving the monarchy from deposition during the French Wars of Religion

 30 Timur

Timur
0
Listed In: Emperors & Kings
Famous As: Monarch of the Timurid Empire
Birthdate: April 9, 1336
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: Uzbekistan
Died: February 19, 1405

Widely considered one of the greatest tacticians and military leaders in history, Timur is credited with founding the Timurid Empire, which attained its greatest extent under the leadership of Timur. His empire laid the foundation for the rise of the more prominent Islamic gunpowder empires, such as the Mughal Empire, which then ruled the Indian subcontinent for almost 330 years.

 31 Anne Boleyn

Anne Boleyn
5
Famous As: Marquess of Pembroke
Birthdate: 1501 AD
Nationality: British
Died: May 19, 1536

The queen of England from 1533 to 1536, Anne Boleyn played an important role in the political and religious upheaval that led to the beginning of the English Reformation. She is widely regarded as the most important and influential queen consort of England. She was charged with adultery, incest, and treason and was executed by beheading in 1536.

 32 Saladin

Saladin
2
Listed In: Emperors & Kings
Famous As: Sultan of Egypt
Birthdate: 1137 AD
Nationality: Egyptian
Died: March 4, 1193
Named the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, Saladin founded the Ayyubid Dynasty. He abolished the Fatimid Caliphate and later defeated the Crusaders at the Battle of Hattin, thus taking control of Palestine. As the de facto Caliph of Islam, he controlled a vast area, including Egypt, Syria, and Yemen.

 33 George III of the United Kingdom

George III of the United Kingdom
2
Listed In: Emperors & Kings
Famous As: King
Birthdate: June 4, 1738
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: British
Died: January 29, 1820

The King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland for almost six decades, George III had a reign that was longer than those of any of his predecessors. His reign was marked by a series of military conflicts. He suffered from mental illness in his later years.

 34 Tutankhamun

Tutankhamun
2
Listed In: Emperors & Kings
Famous As: Pharaoh
Birthdate: 1342 BC
Nationality: Egyptian
Died: 1325 BC

Tutankhamun was an Egyptian pharaoh who ruled between 1334 and 1325 BC. He is one of the most studied ancient Egyptian pharaohs, thanks to his well-preserved tomb. Although he was not a popular ruler, the global exhibitions of artifacts associated with him have made Tutankhamun the most renowned pharaoh in the modern world.

 35 Edward VIII of the United Kingdom

Edward VIII of the United Kingdom
4
Listed In: Emperors & Kings
Famous As: King of United Kingdom
Birthdate: June 23, 1894
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: British
Died: May 28, 1972

Edward VIII was King of the United Kingdom and the Dominions of the British Empire for several months in 1936. He was also Emperor of India during this period. He served in the British Army during the First World War and became the king following his father’s death. However, he abdicated the throne only months into his reign.

 36 Mary, Queen of Scots

Mary, Queen of Scots
11
Famous As: Queen of Scotland
Birthdate: December 8, 1542
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: Scottish
Died: February 8, 1587

Mary, Queen of Scots was the ruler of Scotland till 24 July 1567. After an uprising against her, Mary sought protection from her first cousin, Queen Elizabeth I of England. However, the Queen perceived her as a threat and kept Mary in confinement for eighteen and a half years. Ultimately Mary was beheaded for plotting to assassinate the Queen.

 37 Vlad the Impaler

Vlad the Impaler
2
Listed In: Emperors & Kings
Famous As: Ruler of Wallachia
Birthdate: 1431 AD
Nationality: Romanian
Died: December 31, 1477

Often considered a national hero of Romania, Vlad the Impaler was an important ruler in Wallachian history. Also known as Vlad Dracula, his reputation for cruelty inspired the name of the famous fictitious vampire Count Dracula. Books describing his cruelty were among the first-known bestsellers in the German-speaking territories.

 38 Anne, Queen of Great Britain

Anne, Queen of Great Britain
0
Famous As: Queen of Britan
Birthdate: February 6, 1665
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: British
Died: August 1, 1714

Many biographers consider Anne, the Queen of Great Britain, a weak and irresolute woman. It is said that she lacked political astuteness and was easily influenced by others. Though she was troubled by poor health throughout her life, she became increasingly obese and ill during her 30s and eventually died at the age of 49.

 39 Babur

Babur
2
Listed In: Emperors & Kings
Famous As: Founder of Mughal Dyanasty
Birthdate: February 14, 1483
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: Uzbekistan
Died: December 26, 1530
Babur, the first emperor of the Mughal Dynasty of India, was a descendant of Genghis Khan and Timur. He defeated Ibrahim Lodi in the First Battle of Panipat in 1526 CE and then defeated Rajput ruler Rana Sanga in the Battle of Khanwa in 1527. His memoir is titled Baburnama.

 40 Mary I of England

Mary I of England
5
Famous As: Queen of England and Ireland
Birthdate: February 18, 1516
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: British
Died: November 17, 1558

Mary I, the queen of England from 1553-1558, is remembered as the ruler who sought to return England to the Catholic Church. She persecuted many Protestants and got nearly 300 of them burned at the stake. Most of them were common citizens. Many also died in prison and hundreds fled the country. This earned her the ignominious nickname ‘Bloody Mary’.

 41 Queen Mary

Queen Mary
0
Famous As: Politician, Queen
Birthdate: February 18, 1516
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: British
Died: November 17, 1558

 42 Nero

Nero
2
Listed In: Emperors & Kings
Famous As: Roman Emperor
Birthdate: December 15, 0037
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: Italian
Died: June 9, 0068

Nero was the fifth Roman emperor whose rule was associated with tyranny. Five years into his reign, he had his mother Agrippina killed. The Great Fire of Rome, which occurred during his reign, is believed to have been instigated by him for political reasons. He was also responsible for eliminating many Christians from the empire.

 43 Moses

Moses
0
Famous As: Hebrew Religious Leader, Lawgiver, Prophet
Birthdate: 1391 BC
Nationality: Egyptian, Jordanian
Died: 1272 BC

A prominent prophet in Islam, Christianity, and the BaháΚΌí Faith among other Abrahamic religions, Moses is also the most important prophet in Judaism. One of the most important biblical characters, Moses received the Ten Commandments from God on Mount Sinai. The Ten Commandments are fundamental to both Christianity and Judaism. The authorship of the Torah is also attributed to Moses.

 44 Gilgamesh

Gilgamesh
0
Listed In: Emperors & Kings
Famous As: 5th king of the Sumerian city-state of Uruk
Birthdate: 0000 BC
Nationality: Iraqi
Mesopotamian hero Gilgamesh is the leading character in the 2nd millennium B.C. Akkadian Epic of Gilgamesh. Experts believe he was a Sumerian ruler from 2900-2500 B.C., who became a legendary figure in the Third Dynasty of Ur. Gilgamesh’s tale is said to have inspired the Iliad and the Odyssey.

 45 Edward VI of England

Edward VI of England
0
Listed In: Emperors & Kings
Famous As: King of England
Birthdate: October 12, 1537
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: British
Died: July 6, 1553

Edward VI of England served as the King of England and Ireland from 1547 until his death at the age of 15 in 1553. Edward VI, who took interest in religious matters, allowed Protestantism to be established in England during his reign. His reign also witnessed the introduction of written works that formed the basis for practices of the English Church.

 46 Margaret Tudor

Margaret Tudor
0
Famous As: Queen Consort of Scotland
Birthdate: November 28, 1489
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: Scottish
Died: October 18, 1541
Margaret Tudor, daughter of King Henry VII of England, served as the Queen consort of Scotland, as wife of James IV, from 1503 to 1513. Following her husband’s death, she served as the regent till 1515. She was the great-grandmother of Scottish king James VI, or James I of England.

 47 Alfred the Great

Alfred the Great
2
Listed In: Emperors & Kings
Famous As: King of Wessex
Birthdate: 0849 AD
Nationality: British
Died: October 26, 0899

Alfred the Great, king of Wessex, cemented his place in history as a legendary ruler who led his kingdom to victory in wars that seemed hopeless. He is known for his brilliant strategies and defensive measures. He prevented England from falling to the Danes during his rule from circa 871 to 886. He’s also credited with promoting learning and literacy and curbing corruption.

 48 Robert I of Scotland

Robert I of Scotland
0
Listed In: Emperors & Kings
Famous As: King of Scotland
Birthdate: July 11, 1274
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: Scottish
Died: June 7, 1329

Robert I of Scotland reigned as the king of Scots from 1306 to 1329. Regarded as one of the most popular warriors of his generation, Robert led Scotland in their fight against England in what came to be known as the First War of Scottish Independence. He is considered a national hero in Scotland for his efforts in the war.

 49 Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz

Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz
0
Famous As: Queen Consort of Great Britain and Ireland
Birthdate: May 19, 1744
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: British
Died: November 17, 1818
Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, wife of King George III, reigned as the queen of Great Britain and Ireland from 1761 to 1818, and her reign saw the two kingdoms unite into the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. An amateur art lover and botanist, she also expanded the Kew Gardens.

 50 Mansa Musa

Mansa Musa
4
Listed In: Emperors & Kings
Famous As: Emperor
Birthdate: 1280 AD
Nationality: French
Died: 1337 AD

Mansa Musa was the tenth Mansa, or emperor, of the Mali Empire in West Africa and ruled from c.1312 to c.1337. Nicknamed the Emir of Melle, he was one of the richest people of his time, due to Mali’s gold reserves. He also patronized science, arts, and literature.

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