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Ryan Higgins Period 2
Throughout the course of history, numerous leaders have influenced the people of their nation, empire, or lands. Along with their direct impact, those leaders have also affected people to follow in many years after their death. Out of all of the leaders in history, Genghis Khan and Mansa Musa have played huge roles in the prosperity of each of their empires. Genghis Khan led the Mongols and Mansa Musa led the people of Mali. Genghis Khan is still known as one of the greatest military leaders of all time. He was born into poverty and grew up fighting and seeking revenge due to his father’s poisoning by a rival clan. He is responsible for making the largest empire of all time. His empire spanned all the way from Eastern Europe to the South China Sea. In an empire so large, Genghis Khan revitalized the Silk Road, causing many silks and other natural resources to be traded once again. In addition to the trade increasing, cultural diffusion increased because more people were coming from other lands to trade with the Mongols and exchange ideas. Another positive effect of Genghis Khan was his openness other ideas. The Mongols adopted many different traditions including Chinese traditions like wearing silk clothing. Genghis Khan played a huge influence in the Pax Mongolia, because since the Silk Road had become such a great source of money, there was no need to conquer any longer. Unfortunately, not everything Genghis Khan did was positive. In Russia, he ordered his people to kill the Russian scholars and he taxed the people there. Because of so much fighting and struggle for power, Russia was isolated until Ivan the Great freed them in 1480. Genghis Khan caused Russia to be technologically behind during the Mongol’s control, thus making it harder for Russians to make any impact on the world for a while.
Mansa Musa, one of the richest leaders of the ancient world, is most famous for his hajj or pilgrimage to Mecca. He was accompanied by 60,000 people including servants, chefs, and people carrying gold. Besides just people carrying gold, camels carried over two tons of gold. Throughout the trip, Mansa would give gold to the needy as required by third of the Five Pillars of Islam. Although not all of the people of Mali were Muslim, Mansa Musa expressed his devotion to both his religion and his people by making the hajj while still letting them follow their own religion freely. Not only did his donations fulfill the requirements of Islam but it also raised the knowledge of Mali in other countries. Mansa Musa gave the impression that Mali was an extravagantly rich and friendly place because he was so wealthy and generous. Musa’s building of mosques added to other people’s desire to travel to Mali. In almost every city he went to, he would build a beautiful mosque for all of the Muslims there, causing many people to convert to Islam, too. When he arrived back in Mali, he had brought so many people from other cultures, especially architects and scholars. Eventually, many of the architects designed mosques with unseen designs, making Mali even more diverse. With so much generosity came a great leader who really wanted to help, but in Egypt, specifically Cairo, his good deeds ended up being harmful. He donated so much money to the people there that the price of gold decreased drastically; therefore, Mansa Musa caused inflation, or the price of goods to rise and the value of money to decrease, in Egypt. It is said to have taken twelve years for the economy of Egypt to return to normal. In the end, Genghis Khan has had a bigger impact on the world. Khan is infamous for his alleged brutality yet praised for his ability to conquer so much land in so little time and with such unique strategies. Genghis Khan has conquered the biggest empire in the world, and if it were not for him, Asia may not be as diverse as it is today. Technology would not be as advanced and religions would not have spread to such a great extent. Mongolia contributed to so many warfare
advancements, not just in weapons but in strategies. Guerilla warfare was introduced because of the Mongols and so was the caracole technique, which consists of attacking, retreating, then attacking again. In comparison to the area that Genghis Khan controlled to what Mansa Musa controlled, Khan’s land is thriving today with China becoming increasingly powerful while the area that was once Mali in Africa is suffering from disease and famine and is not prospering at all. Throughout history, many leaders have had both positive and negative impacts on the world. Genghis Khan and Mansa Musa both hold titles as influential leaders besides many others. Although they were both powerful, Genghis Khan is considered to have more of a positive effect on the generations to follow. In total, both Genghis Khan and Mansa Musa were very important leaders, but in the end Genghis Khan is more contributive to generations that follow him.