Meet Mansa Musa, the West African Emperor Who Became the Richest Person in History!

King Mansa Musa, I ruled Mali in the early 14th century, amassing a fortune that is still jaw-dropping today.

Just think about how much money the world’s richest person would own. If you multiply that by a few hundred billion, you’re getting close to the wealth of Mansa Musa in the fourteenth century.

Musa first came to power in 1312 as ruler of the Mali Empire in West Africa. The kingdom was already well-off at this point.

Mali, on the other hand, became even more prosperous under the rule of Musa. Musa’s empire spread across several countries as he took advantage of the region’s natural resources, such as gold and salt, and he left a lasting legacy in the process.

According to economists, the West African emperor holds the record for being the wealthiest man in history. But how much cash did he have? What did he do with it after he got it?


How Mansa Musa Became the Richest Man in History

The Mali Empire’s ruler, Mansa Musa, unusually came to power.

Musa was deputized by the former emperor, Abubakari II, to take over for a short period. This empire had an “on-call” emperor throughout its history. While not exactly comparable to today’s vice president roles, the person would have been expected to take over in a full-time capacity if there was an emergency with the main Emperor.

Musa would have to step in due to a twist of fate. One day, Abubakari decided to set out on a journey to the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, and he never came back. It was in 1312 that he became known as “King” Musa (Mansa Musa, which means “king”). Musa, on the other hand, had not been snatched out of the obscurity to take the reins of power. Sundiata Keita, the founder of the Mali Empire, was his great-uncle.

Many late-night infomercials will tell you that there are a variety of ways to get rich. Trading gold and salt, which were plentiful in West Africa at the time, was the primary source of Musa’s wealth. He invested a large portion of his wealth in Timbuktu and other important cultural centers.

Musa, despite his enormous success, was not widely known outside of Africa until he left Africa. When it came to his 1324 Hajj (also known as a pilgrimage to Mecca), Muslim devotee Musa was unyielding. His name would soon spread around the world as a result of this.

Going on a pilgrimage to Mecca is an important part of Islam to this day. And for Musa, it was no small feat. He would have to travel 4,000 miles from his empire to get there. As a rich and powerful emperor, he certainly could not go alone. Musa embarked on his pilgrimage accompanied by a total of 60,000 people — a mix of servants, soldiers, and supporters.

Musa’s servants didn’t look like scavengers, as one might have expected from their attire. Persian silks and gold staffs were used instead.

Everyone took notice of Musa’s procession of horses, camels, and people very quickly. While the caravan of Musa was inescapable, he was also buying and giving away gold to random peasants on the street. He left the streets of Cairo, Medina, and finally, Mecca littered with gold as he traveled through these cities.

Indeed, Musa could sometimes leave a huge trail of destruction in his wake. After giving away so much gold in Cairo, the emperor disrupted the economy. The value of it decreased because there was so much of it.

Mansa Musa began borrowing money from Egyptian banks in Cairo, which helped to alleviate some of the disruption (despite the high-interest rate). At that point, the king had virtually sole control over the price of gold in the Mediterranean region. and. However, it took Cairo’s economy more than a decade to recover from Mansa Musa’s golden touch.

Musa’s pilgrimage to Mecca was a surefire way to secure his place in history. Nevertheless, he only saw it as a necessary journey to honor his faith and further his expanding kingdom at the time. It was on this historic journey that he gained control of the province of Gao. Musa’s empire grew to include modern-day Senegal, Gambia, Guinea, Niger, Nigeria, Chad, and Mauritania by the end of his reign.

What Is Cameron Diaz’s Net Worth in 2022?

The Lasting Contributions of Mansa Musa’s Wealth

Besides handing out gold to strangers and buying souvenirs, what else did Mansa Musa do with the money?

In the end, he spent most of it on mosques, the most famous of which is the Djinguereber Mosque, which he built every Friday during his reign. The king also built several universities across the kingdom. These historic buildings, including the mosques and schools, are still standing today, some 700 years after they were first built.

His investment in Islamic education in Mali attracted numerous Muslim scholars, poets, and artisans while he was still alive. As Timbuktu quickly became one of the world’s most important Islamic cities, they gathered there.

Musa also made a name for himself and his empire in the process. His caravan had drawn so much attention during his Mecca pilgrimage that Europeans thousands of miles away heard about it.

Spanish cartographer Abraham Cresques drew some famous maps featuring Musa’s likeness in the late 14th century. The emperor is depicted here with a crown, scepter, and a gold nugget.

For Europeans, this depiction of a wealthy monarchy created something of a fantasy. The bubonic plague, civil wars, and economic hardships were all raging across Europe at the time. The European imagination was woven into a beautiful tapestry by images of a prosperous Timbuktu and vast quantities of gold.

The Mali Empire was ruled by Musa for about 20 years at the end of his reign. This allowed him to greatly expand the reach of his trading ports, making him a powerful ruler in his day and possibly in history.

His death in 1332 is generally accepted as the date at which his son succeeded to the throne.

Mansa Musa Net Worth
Mansa Musa Net Worth

Comprehending the Vast Wealth of the Richest Person in History

According to the tradition of wealthy individuals who eventually give away their wealth, you may wonder if the wealth of Mansa Musa is comparable to that of other billionaires like Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk as well as Bill Gates and John D. Rockefeller.

When adjusted for inflation, Mansa Musa’s net worth is believed to have been around $400 billion. The only American billionaire from modern history who even comes close to that amount is John D. Rockefeller, whom economists believe amassed a worth of around $336 billion.

But today’s billionaires don’t even get close to Musa’s wealth. As of May 2021, Bill Gates comes in far below Musa at $126 billion. Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk are a little closer. Bezos, currently the world’s richest person, is worth about $187 billion. Meanwhile, Musk has $156 billion to his name.

In other words, today’s richest people don’t even have half of Mansa Musa’s net worth that he accumulated as emperor all those centuries ago. This has led many experts to believe that Musa was the richest person in history. But to this day, many still struggle to comprehend the true size of his fortune.

According to Rudolph Butch Ware, an associate professor of history at UC Berkeley, “contemporary accounts of Musa’s wealth… are so breathless that it is almost impossible to get a sense of just how wealthy and powerful he truly was.”

Because of how he spent his money rather than how much he had, his legacy is considered to be one of the richest in history. Even though he had an “incomprehensible” fortune, he was eager to share it.

Read More:-

About The Author

Leave a Comment

Scroll to Top