When we talk of contemporary billionaires, we talk about Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and the likes.
They are billionaires as a result of the wealth they have accumulated over the years. Historically, people tend to identify Solomon as the wealthiest king.
However, the wealthiest king in the history of mankind is Mansa Musa.
Do you just raise an eyebrow? Well, people who studied a bit of West African history are not strangers to this West African king.
Mansa Musa was a West African emperor who ruled Mali in the 14th century. It is believed he was worth as much as 400 billion dollars.
This made him the richest man in the history of mankind.
Mali was an empire that was rich in Gold. The gold mine was owned by the king and trading with it, alongside access to taxes and customs from Trans Sharan Trade, which the Empire dominated made the king’swealth.
Hence, it can be said that the wealth of the Mansa Musa was gotten from the Gold reserves in abundance in Mali.
To know more facts about this billionaire emperor continue reading this article.
1. He was Known for Many Names
Mansa Musa was known for many names.
Although his official name is Mansa Musa, he was also known as the Lion of Mali, Conqueror of the Lion, the Lion King, Lord of the Mines and Emir of Melle. In Europe, he was known as Mansa Musa. And Musa in the Christian religion means Moses.
And the title Mansa itself means King of Kings.
2. He Became Emperor by Chance
In Mali, when a king is about to go on a journey, he appoints a custodian.
When such a king does not return, the custodian becomes king. Musa was declared a custodian when King Abu Bakr II did not return from a voyage of exploration of the Atlantic Ocean.
And in 1307, Musa was declared the Mansa and thus became the 10th emperor of the old Mali Empire.
3. He was the First King to go on Pilgrimage to Mecca
His pilgrimage to Mecca was the talk of the Middle East and Europe.
This made him the first black African king to go to the Middle East for pilgrimage.
The pilgrimage, which he undertook in 1324 saw him show off the wealth of Mali.
This was a journey that put the West Africa on the map of the world.
4. The Pilgrimage was Known for its Flamboyancy
During his trip to Mecca, his escort consisting of 72,000 servants was extravagantly dressed.
They were adorned with Persian silk gotten from the Arab world. The horse he rode was dressed in a garment of gold and 500 servants carried his gold staff.
Gold laced camels carried 300 pounds of gold each. Musa gave out the gold to strangers, beggars and even gave it out as gifts to kings, scholars and Imams.
His exploit was felt in Egypt that 12 years later, the people there were still singing his praise.
His Singular Action Caused Inflation in the Middle East
The gold he gave out to people as gifts led to an inflation that devalued the resource itself and increased the prices of goods.
A decade after his visit, the region still could not recover from the inflation.
6. Musa Built Famous Architectural Wonders
On his return back to Mali, he built the first set of mosques and learning centers in Gao and Timbuktu. He used his wealth to attract the best engineers and architects from Spain and the Middle East to build the Djinguereber Mosque and the University of Sankore.
It was during the reign of Mansa Musa burnt bricks were first used for building in Sub Saharan Africa.
7. Mali Became a Center of Knowledge During the Reign of Mansa Musa
He used his wealth to attract scholars such as Abu Isak, who is also known as Al-Sahili.
Inspired by the education in the Middle East, he built the University of Sankore and Timbuktu into a world renowned learning center where scholars from the Middle East converged to learn Medicine, Mathematics, Science, Astronomy, Geography and other prominent subjects.
8. Mali Became the Most Popular and Largest Empire in the World
His extravagant exploits got to Europe and caught the attention of explorers and adventurers.
As a result of this, Europeans, especially from Spain and Italy traversed the Sahara Desert to come down to Africa and see the empire where gold littered the street of Mali.
By the time of his death, it believed that the Mali Empire encompassed present Cote‘d Ivoire, Senegal, Mali, Guinea, the Gambia, Mauritania, Burkina Faso, Guinea Bissau.
9. In the History of Man, Mansa Musa is the Richest
Celebrity Net worth in 2012 identified Mansa Musa out of over twenty people as the wealthiest person of all time, beating the likes of Warren Buffet, the Rothschild Family and Bill Gates.
10. Mansa Musa is Regarded as the Greatest Ruler in West Africa
Scholars of West Africa history regard Mansa Musa as the greatest ruler in West Africa. Not just because of his wealth, but because he was a brilliant administrator who ruled the kingdom effectively. Under him, Mali expanded to almost all of West Africa and he established diplomatic relations with other Kings as far as Europe.
No wonder Omari, scholar of West African history of North African history wrote about Mansa Musa, ‘Mansa Musa is different from all Kings of the Sudan, he is the richest, powerful, fortunate and very feared by his oppositions, not only is he able in administration, he is widely loved by his people.
Although the lavishness of Mansa Musa’s trip to Mecca has been a subject of controversies between scholars, one thing they have agreed together on is the fact that he is one of the brightest rulers West Africa has ever produced.
Even after several centuries of his death, his legacies still live on.