The Richest Man in History

Here's what it was like to be Mansa Musa, thought to be the richest person in history


mansa-musa.jpg
Mansa Musa gave away so much gold that he reportedly caused inflation in Cairo.Wikimedia Commons



• Billionaires Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, and Warren Buffett are currently the three richest men in the world, according to Bloomberg's Billionaires Index.

• But 14th century African emperor Musa Keita is widely considered richest person in history.

• It's impossible to say whether or not Mansa Musa's wealth was exaggerated by his contemporaries.

• But it certainly had a tremendous impact on global perceptions of Mali — and the economy of Egypt.


Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is the wealthiest man in the world, with a net worth of $118 billion. According to Bloomberg's Billionaires Index, his fellow billionaires Bill Gates and Warren Buffet rank just behind him.

But he's still far from African emperor Musa I of Mali, who is thought to be the richest person of all time — "richer than anyone could describe," reported Time.

Literally. His fortune was incomprehensible, Time's Jacob Davidson writes: "There's really no way to put an accurate number on his wealth." Plus, since accounts of his wealth stem from centuries-old testimony, it's possible that some stories about the "mansa" — Mandinka for "sultan" or "emperor" — were exaggerated.

We do know for a fact that Mansa Musa ruled the Mali Empire in the 14th century and his land was laden with lucrative natural resources, most notably gold. He was also a successful military leader, having captured 24 cities, according to David C. Conrad's "Empires of Medieval West Africa: Ghana, Mali, and Songhay." But it was his Islamic faith that prompted him to make his pilgrimage to Mecca in 1324, thus exposing his extraordinary riches to the outside world.

Here's everything we know about this legendary king:

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Musa Keita I came into power in 1312. At the time, much of Europe was struggling and and facing declining gold and silver production, while many African kingdoms were thriving.
musa-keita-i-came-into-power-in-1312-at-the-time-much-of-europe-was-struggling-and-and-facing-declining-gold-and-silver-production-while-many-african-kingdoms-were-thriving.jpg

Wikimedia Commons
Source: TED-Ed

While in power, Mansa Musa expanded the borders of his empire tremendously. He annexed the city of Timbuktu and reestablished power over Gao. All in all, his empire stretched about 2,000 miles.
while-in-power-mansa-musa-expanded-the-borders-of-his-empire-tremendously-he-annexed-the-city-of-timbuktu-and-reestablished-power-over-gao-all-in-all-his-empire-stretched-about-2000-miles.jpg

The New York Public Library
Source: TED-Ed

Mansa Musa was in charge of a lot of land. To put it into perspective, he ruled all (or parts) of modern day Mauritania, Senegal, Gambia, Guinea, Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, and Chad.
mansa-musawas-in-charge-of-a-lot-of-land-to-put-it-into-perspective-he-ruled-all-or-parts-of-modern-daymauritania-senegal-gambia-guinea-burkina-faso-mali-niger-nigeria-and-chad.jpg

brillenstimmer/Shutterstock
Source: TED-Ed

The rest of the world caught wind of his great fortune in 1324, when he made the nearly 4,000 mile pilgrimage to Mecca, in order to fulfill one of the five pillars of Islam. He didn't do it on the cheap.
the-rest-of-the-world-caught-wind-of-his-great-fortune-in-1324-when-he-made-the-nearly-4000-mile-pilgrimage-to-mecca-in-order-to-fulfill-one-of-the-five-pillars-of-islam-he-didnt-do-it-on-the-cheap.jpg

Zurijeta/Shutterstock
Source: TED-Ed

"Not one to travel on a budget, he brought a caravan stretching as far as the eye could see," Smith reported.
not-one-to-travel-on-a-budget-he-brought-a-caravan-stretching-as-far-as-the-eye-could-see-smith-reported.jpg

Tinou Bao/flickr
Source: TED-Ed

The numbers vary, but Mansa Musa's reportedly 60,000-strong caravan was said to include 1,000 attendants, 100 camels loaded with gold, plenty of the emperor's own personal musicians, and 500 slaves bearing gold staffs.
the-numbers-vary-but-mansa-musas-reportedly-60000-strong-caravan-was-said-to-include-1000-attendants-100-camels-loaded-with-gold-plenty-of-the-emperors-own-personal-musicians-and-500-slaves-bearing-gold-staffs.jpg

Soltan Osmanov/Shutterstock
Source: "The Global Atlantic: 1400 to 1900," "Kingdoms of Africa"

Contemporary historian Ibn Khaldun later interviewed one of the emperor's traveling companions. The man claimed that, "at each halt, he would regale us with rare foods and confectionery. His equipment and furnishings were carried by 12,000 private slave women, wearing gowns of brocade and Yemeni silk."
contemporary-historian-ibn-khaldun-later-interviewed-one-of-the-emperors-traveling-companions-the-man-claimed-that-at-each-halt-he-would-regale-us-with-rare-foods-and-confectionery-his-equipment-and-furnishings-were-carried-by-12000-private-slave-women-wearing-gowns-of-brocade-and-yemeni-silk.jpg

futurewalk/Shutterstock
Source: "The African and Middle Eastern World, 600-1500"





Mansa Musa wasn't stingy about his wealth, either. He would frequently bestow gifts upon dignitaries he met with. On his stop in Cairo, he spent so much gold to the poor that he caused mass inflation.
mansa-musa-wasnt-stingy-about-his-wealth-either-he-would-frequently-bestow-gifts-upon-dignitaries-he-met-with-on-his-stop-in-cairo-he-spent-so-much-gold-to-the-poor-that-he-caused-mass-inflation.jpg

Cairo, Egypt.Emad Raúf/flickr
Source: BlackPast.org, TED-Ed, "The Global Atlantic: 1400 to 1900," "The African and Middle Eastern World, 600-1500"
 
The extravagant journey put Mansa Musa on the map — quite literally. He was included on the 1375 Catalan Atlas, one of the most important world maps of Medieval Europe. Word of his wealth spread across the Mediterranean.
the-extravagant-journey-put-mansa-musa-on-the-map--quite-literally-he-was-included-on-the-1375-catalan-atlas-one-of-the-most-important-world-maps-of-medieval-europe-word-of-his-wealth-spread-across-the-mediterranean.jpg

Wikimedia Commons

Source: TED-Ed

Ultimately, the emperor's opulent pilgrimage shaped European views of Mali as "a place of splendor, wealth, and sophistication," historian Chris Strobel writes. But there was a dark side to this newfound attention. Portuguese interest in Mali would ultimately manifest itself in naval raids against the empire starting in the 15th century.
ultimately-the-emperors-opulent-pilgrimage-shaped-european-views-of-mali-as-a-place-of-splendor-wealth-and-sophistication-historian-chris-strobel-writes-but-there-was-a-dark-side-to-this-newfound-attention-portuguese-interest-in-mali-would-ultimately-manifest-itself-in-naval-raids-against-the-empire-starting-in-the-15th-century.jpg

Cineberg/Shutterstock

Source: "The Global Atlantic: 1400 to 1900," "Africa in Europe: Antiquity Into the Age of Global Exploration"

While Mansa Musa's famous for his gold today, "... his vast wealth was only one piece of his rich legacy," Jessica Smith reported in a TED-Ed original lesson.
while-mansa-musas-famous-for-his-gold-today--his-vast-wealth-was-only-one-piece-of-his-rich-legacy-jessica-smith-reported-in-a-ted-ed-original-lesson.jpg

optimarc/Shutterstock

Source: TED-Ed

"Material riches weren't the king's only concern," Smith reported. "As a devout Muslim, he took a particular interest in Timbuktu." He urbanized the city of Timbuktu by building schools, mosques, and a major university.
material-riches-werent-the-kings-only-concern-smith-reported-as-a-devout-muslim-he-took-a-particular-interest-in-timbuktu-he-urbanized-the-city-oftimbuktuby-building-schools-mosques-and-a-major-university.jpg

Wikimedia Commons

Source: TED-Ed

He also built the legendary Djinguereber Mosque in Timbuktu, which still stands.
he-also-built-the-legendary-djinguereber-mosque-in-timbuktu-which-still-stands.jpg

Wikimedia Commons

Source: TED-Ed

After reigning for 25 years, Mansa Musa died in 1337. He was succeeded by his son, Maghan I. "The king's rich legacy persisted for generations and to this day, there are mausoleums, libraries, and mosques that stand as a testament to this golden age of Mali's history," Smith said.
after-reigning-for-25-years-mansa-musa-died-in-1337-he-was-succeeded-by-his-son-maghan-i-the-kings-rich-legacy-persisted-for-generations-and-to-this-day-there-are-mausoleums-libraries-and-mosques-that-stand-as-a-testament-to-this-golden-age-of-malis-history-smith-said.jpg

Wikimedia Commons

Source: BlackPast.org

An earlier version of this post was written by Kathleen Elkins.



More: Features Wealth History Mansa Musa





http://uk.businessinsider.com/mansa...n-while-many-african-kingdoms-were-thriving-1
 
They were well documented also. The university of timbuktu produced hundreds of thousands manuscripts about art, medicine, philosophy, and science, as well as copies of the quran. And most of it are unstudied and uncatalogued.
 
I don't understand why AAs latch onto Horn African, Moorish & Ancient Egyptian history that they have zero connections with. Their West African ancestors have produced some fine history & historical individuals.
 
I don't understand why AAs latch onto Horn African, Moorish & Ancient Egyptian history that they have zero connections with. Their West African ancestors have produced some fine history & historical individuals.
I agree. They should focus on their own rich history but they do this for the same reason random Europeans apart from the the ones in the Mediterranean (who have some connection to A.Egypt) do. It's because it's a very impressive history. Although it also begs the question on why Nubia which is just as great is ignored by both groups.
 
They were well documented also. The university of timbuktu produced hundreds of thousands manuscripts about art, medicine, philosophy, and science, as well as copies of the quran. And most of it are unstudied and uncatalogued.
Yes. They were very impressive empire and the city of Timbuktu is known everywhere and as a Muslim I respect their history that much more.
 
The extravagant journey put Mansa Musa on the map — quite literally. He was included on the 1375 Catalan Atlas, one of the most important world maps of Medieval Europe. Word of his wealth spread across the Mediterranean.
the-extravagant-journey-put-mansa-musa-on-the-map--quite-literally-he-was-included-on-the-1375-catalan-atlas-one-of-the-most-important-world-maps-of-medieval-europe-word-of-his-wealth-spread-across-the-mediterranean.jpg

Wikimedia Commons

Source: TED-Ed

Ultimately, the emperor's opulent pilgrimage shaped European views of Mali as "a place of splendor, wealth, and sophistication," historian Chris Strobel writes. But there was a dark side to this newfound attention. Portuguese interest in Mali would ultimately manifest itself in naval raids against the empire starting in the 15th century.
ultimately-the-emperors-opulent-pilgrimage-shaped-european-views-of-mali-as-a-place-of-splendor-wealth-and-sophistication-historian-chris-strobel-writes-but-there-was-a-dark-side-to-this-newfound-attention-portuguese-interest-in-mali-would-ultimately-manifest-itself-in-naval-raids-against-the-empire-starting-in-the-15th-century.jpg

Cineberg/Shutterstock

Source: "The Global Atlantic: 1400 to 1900," "Africa in Europe: Antiquity Into the Age of Global Exploration"

While Mansa Musa's famous for his gold today, "... his vast wealth was only one piece of his rich legacy," Jessica Smith reported in a TED-Ed original lesson.
while-mansa-musas-famous-for-his-gold-today--his-vast-wealth-was-only-one-piece-of-his-rich-legacy-jessica-smith-reported-in-a-ted-ed-original-lesson.jpg

optimarc/Shutterstock

Source: TED-Ed

"Material riches weren't the king's only concern," Smith reported. "As a devout Muslim, he took a particular interest in Timbuktu." He urbanized the city of Timbuktu by building schools, mosques, and a major university.
material-riches-werent-the-kings-only-concern-smith-reported-as-a-devout-muslim-he-took-a-particular-interest-in-timbuktu-he-urbanized-the-city-oftimbuktuby-building-schools-mosques-and-a-major-university.jpg

Wikimedia Commons

Source: TED-Ed

He also built the legendary Djinguereber Mosque in Timbuktu, which still stands.
he-also-built-the-legendary-djinguereber-mosque-in-timbuktu-which-still-stands.jpg

Wikimedia Commons

Source: TED-Ed

After reigning for 25 years, Mansa Musa died in 1337. He was succeeded by his son, Maghan I. "The king's rich legacy persisted for generations and to this day, there are mausoleums, libraries, and mosques that stand as a testament to this golden age of Mali's history," Smith said.
after-reigning-for-25-years-mansa-musa-died-in-1337-he-was-succeeded-by-his-son-maghan-i-the-kings-rich-legacy-persisted-for-generations-and-to-this-day-there-are-mausoleums-libraries-and-mosques-that-stand-as-a-testament-to-this-golden-age-of-malis-history-smith-said.jpg

Wikimedia Commons

Source: BlackPast.org

An earlier version of this post was written by Kathleen Elkins.



More: Features Wealth History Mansa Musa





http://uk.businessinsider.com/mansa...n-while-many-african-kingdoms-were-thriving-1
Gave away money instead of building up his own country....truly aqli Madow. I would have built up an army to conquer the world or as ghengis khan said to the failed caliphate muatim i would build an army to protect my kingdom from slavery and exploitation. Today we would be ruling Europe and giving them rights.

:gucciwhat:
 
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Yes. They were very impressive empire and the city of Timbuktu is known everywhere and as a Muslim I respect their history that much more.
Did you know that if it weren't for the muslim scholars and intellectuals that translated greek philosophies from latin on atronomy, mathematics, science, and medicine into arabic, the european renaissance would never have happened when it happened. It is actually one of the major factors that kickstarted this whole process in 1400s italy, were people translated text from arabic and further went on the path on intellectual and scholarly pursuit.
 
Did you know that if it weren't for the muslim scholars and intellectuals that translated greek philosophies from latin on atronomy, mathematics, science, and medicine into arabic, the european renaissance would never have happened when it happened. It is actually one of the major factors that kickstarted this whole process in 1400s italy, were people translated text from arabic and further went on the path on intellectual and scholarly pursuit.
Europeans are like robots in every syfy movie. They must be kept dumb and simple or Congo genocide will happen. I don't blame them since i would do the same to them and blacks did it to themselves before white man came, but the white man will now destroy us all with nukes for their greed cannot be controlled.
 
This guys immense wealth is probably one of the main reason the european pigskins came to rape and pillage Africa. These Africans were just pulling money out of the ground and enriching themselves . Gold was always valuable for thousands of years now.
 
Gave away money instead of building up his own country....truly aqli Madow. I would have built up an army to conquer the world or as ghengis khan said to the failed caliphate muatim i would build an army to protect my kingdom from slavery and exploitation. Today we would be ruling Europe and giving them rights.

:gucciwhat:
That's what you took away from this? Did you read the article? He gave charity and charity is a tenet of Islam. He was still the Emperor of the Malian empire which encompassed vast lands.
 
Did you know that if it weren't for the muslim scholars and intellectuals that translated greek philosophies from latin on atronomy, mathematics, science, and medicine into arabic, the european renaissance would never have happened when it happened. It is actually one of the major factors that kickstarted this whole process in 1400s italy, were people translated text from arabic and further went on the path on intellectual and scholarly pursuit.
Yes. It took them out of the dark ages and was a primary reason for the renaissance.
 
This guys immense wealth is probably one of the main reason the european pigskins came to rape and pillage Africa. These Africans were just pulling money out of the ground and enriching themselves . Gold was always valuable for thousands of years now.
Hence why thieves like Genghis khan laugh at these fools . He could have used his gold to provide a shield for Islam and trained his soldiers and educated his ppl so that they could have an arm's race to protect themselves from future attacks . Instead he did what they did in bagdadh stopped the jihad and strayed front he religion and Allah humiliated him by having his ppl taken as slaves and his gold transported tot he queen


He was not a good man don't be fooled.Suleiman was a good man and he never let his wealth decisive him. He probably gave gave charity sot he ppl could call him a kind king , the Qur'an mocks these kinds of characters. Read about the kind Ethiopian King nagashi and see how Allah helped him defeat rebels in his country that wanted to kill him for converting to Islam. Guess why Allah didn't help Manda Musa and most Muslim leaders after him?
 

felloff

FA'CASH GANG BABY
his extravagance with wealth was a leading factor to Europeans showing interest in west Africa and could even be seen as the cause of slavery.
 

Basra

LOVE is a product of Doqoniimo mixed with lust
Let Them Eat Cake
VIP
his extravagance with wealth was a leading factor to Europeans showing interest in west Africa and could even be seen as the cause of slavery.


Fell inaa adeer, can i get a spanking?
 

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