Leo Africanus

1494 - 1554

Photo of Leo Africanus

Icon of person Leo Africanus

Johannes Leo Africanus (born al-Hasan Muhammad al-Wazzan al-Fasi, Arabic: الحسن محمد الوزان الفاسي; c. 1494 – c. 1554) was an Andalusi diplomat and author who is best known for his 1526 book Cosmographia et geographia de Affrica, later published by Giovanni Battista Ramusio as Descrittione dell'Africa (Description of Africa) in 1550, centered on the geography of the Maghreb and Nile Valley. The book was regarded among his scholarly peers in Europe as the most authoritative treatise on the subject until the modern exploration of Africa. For this work, Leo became a household name among European geographers. Read more on Wikipedia

Since 2007, the English Wikipedia page of Leo Africanus has received more than 710,726 page views. His biography is available in 43 different languages on Wikipedia (up from 42 in 2019). Leo Africanus is the 620th most popular writer (up from 635th in 2019), the 179th most popular biography from Spain (up from 197th in 2019) and the 18th most popular Spanish Writer.

Leo Africanus is most famous for his book, "The History and Description of Africa and of Its Inhabitants."

Memorability Metrics

  • 710k

    Page Views (PV)

  • 65.35

    Historical Popularity Index (HPI)

  • 43

    Languages Editions (L)

  • 6.07

    Effective Languages (L*)

  • 3.24

    Coefficient of Variation (CV)

Notable Works

The History And Description Of Africa V1
[Historiale description de l'Afrique, tierce partie du monde :bcontenant ses royaumes, regions, viles, cités, chateaux et forteresses : iles, flleuves, animaux, tant aquatiques, que terrestres : coutumes, loix, religion et façon de faire des habitas : auec pourtraits de leurs habis : emsemble autres choses memorables et singulières nouueautés
The history and description of Africa and of the notable things therein contained
Letters from three visitors to the Plymouth Settlement from England, Virginia, and New Amsterdam. Each wrote letters home about what he saw, observing the people, the natural setting, and the community. A fascinating objective view of colonial Plymouth.
The history and description of Africa
Della descrittione dell'Africa


Among writers, Leo Africanus ranks 620 out of 7,302Before him are Anton Makarenko, Dietrich Eckart, Olga Tokarczuk, Bert Hellinger, Louisa May Alcott, and Émile Verhaeren. After him are Tirso de Molina, Alfred Döblin, J. M. Barrie, Poliziano, Mihai Eminescu, and Zecharia Sitchin.

Most Popular Writers in Wikipedia

Go to all Rankings


Among people born in 1494, Leo Africanus ranks 9Before him are François Rabelais, Fuzûlî, Georgius Agricola, Pontormo, Bona Sforza, and Jean Parisot de Valette. After him are Rosso Fiorentino, Lucas van Leyden, William Tyndale, Hans Sachs, Antonio de Mendoza, and Saitō Dōsan. Among people deceased in 1554, Leo Africanus ranks 3Before him are Piri Reis, and Lady Jane Grey. After him are John Frederick I, Elector of Saxony, Sebastiano Serlio, Francisco Vázquez de Coronado, João Manuel, Prince of Portugal, Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk, Hieronymus Bock, Sibylle of Cleves, Gaspara Stampa, and Pedro Cieza de León.

Others Born in 1494

Go to all Rankings

Others Deceased in 1554

Go to all Rankings

In Spain

Among people born in Spain, Leo Africanus ranks 179 out of 3,355Before him are Judah Halevi (1079), Martin of Aragon (1356), Alfonso II of Aragon (1157), Enrique Granados (1867), Columella (4), and Penélope Cruz (1974). After him are Tirso de Molina (1579), Luis Carrero Blanco (1904), Philip, Duke of Parma (1720), Peter II of Aragon (1174), John I of Castile (1358), and Carmen Amaya (1913).

Among WRITERS In Spain

Among writers born in Spain, Leo Africanus ranks 18Before him are Juan Ramón Jiménez (1881), Henry IV of Castile (1425), Francisco de Quevedo (1584), Gaius Julius Hyginus (-64), Judah Halevi (1079), and Columella (4). After him are Tirso de Molina (1579), Camilo José Cela (1916), Matilde Camus (1919), Joseph of Anchieta (1534), Jacinto Benavente (1866), and Luis de Góngora (1561).