In human history, there have been people who walked the earth with incredible wealth, twice as much as that of the richest people today. The names on the list of the richest people are typically ones we hear about daily. The 14th-century African emperor Mansa Musa is regarded as the richest man to have ever lived on earth.
Born around 1280 AD, Mansa Musa ruled the vast Mali empire in West Africa for some time. Mansa Musa, who became king in 1312 AD, is thought to have had an estimated fortune of almost USD 400 billion (adjusted for inflation), which is still twice as much as that of Musk and Bezos.
Mansa Musa’s prosperity was largely derived from his abundance of natural resources, which included salt from the north and gold mined in the kingdoms of Bambuk, Wangara, Bure, Galam, and Taghaza in the south. Several modern African countries, including the Ivory Coast, Senegal, Mali, and Burkina Faso, were controlled by Musa. Timbuktu was the imperial capital of Musa.
Mansa Musa has been documented by numerous eminent historians. When Ibn Battuta traveled to Mali in 1352, he also wrote about him. Each of these historians emphasizes the importance of Mansa Musa and his well-known Hajj journey. During his hajj, the “King of Kings” carried up to 18 tonnes of gold, which is valued at about US$957 million.
One of the five major tenets of Islam is the Hajj, or trip to Mecca, which Mansa Musa chose to perform in 1324–1325. But it was unlike any other adventure that anyone had ever taken. Musa physically planted gold on the map of his dominion and paved the way to Mecca.
Musa was well-known for his generosity and charity. Throughout his travels, he constructed a mosque every Friday and distributed so much gold that it caused twelve years of economic instability in some areas of the region and decreased the value of gold.
Due to Musa’s kindness, the price of gold fell throughout the nation and the economy collapsed when he passed through Cairo, the capital of Egypt. The guy known as the ‘King of Kings’ was the reason that the entire country of Egypt was plunged into poverty.
In West Africa, the Mali Empire was one of the biggest. The dissemination of its laws, customs, and language has had a significant impact on shaping West Africa’s current cultural landscape.
Mansa Musa, one of the most well-known kings of the Mali Empire, was praised for his justice and fair judgement. On the other hand, he was also well-known for being the wealthiest man in history.
Both in the middle ages and now, his fortune greatly exceeded that of any living individual.
Many Muslim scholars, poets, and artists came to live and work in Mansa Musa’s dominion throughout his lifetime because of his investments in Islamic education in Mali. Their gathering place was Timbuktu, which soon rose to prominence as one of the most important towns in the Islamic world.
In the end, Musa ruled the Mali Empire for around 20 years. He grew to become one of the most powerful kings of his day and considerably expanded the reach of his trade ports throughout that time. Legends of his massive convoy and generosity are said to have persisted for a very long time after his passing, which is thought to have occurred between 1332 and 1337.
The world became aware of Africa’s tremendous wealth, especially in Mali, thanks to his trip, charity, and reputation.