Mansa Musa: The Richest Person

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Just how much wealth do you think the richest person in history would have?, Take that figure in your mind and add a few hundred billion more and there is a chance that you may have come close to the West African Emperor’s wealth. The most interesting question however is not how much money did he have but rather how he used it.

It has been determined that Emperor Musa’s humongous wealth possibly positioned him as the richest person in history. The world became conscious of his vast wealth when he made his pilgrimage trip to Mecca ( Hajj was a very crucial part of Muslim religion at that time—still practiced even today). Musa revealed the extend of his wealth throughout Cairo, Medina and to Mecca as he had so much to spend.

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He had a procession of more than 60,000, plenty of animals and alot of gold too. Infact, it is said that as he travelled, Musa and his caravan gave gold away to the people along the way. They also bought alot of goods. They made a megga shopping such that his gold messed up the global economy for some time. Infact he had to borrow some of the gold he spent from Cairo lenders (regardless of the high interest rates) to stabilize the economy.

The West African Emperor’s wealth is believed to have been around $400 billions. According to economists, the only person who has come close to this is John D. Rockefeller, whom they believe accumulated a wealth of about $336 billion. Bill Gates comes third with a networth of $136 billion. Thats a hundredths of billions behind Musa’s wealth. The man who died 700 years ago could have been the richest person even today.

Musa Mansa used most of his vast wealth to build alot of mosques (it is rumoured that he built one every Friday of his reign), the well known one is the Djinguereber mosque. Many of these mosques and the universities which he commissioned are still functional to date. This indeed is the lasting contribution which Musa 1 left behind and which has made him be remembered for centuries.

Musa 1 or Mansa Musa was the tenth ‘Mansa’ (which translates to ‘sultan’, emperor or conqueror) of the Mali Empire–an Islamic West African state. He ascended to the throne at the time when Mali Empire consisted majorly of a territory which was formerly Ghana Empire, which had been conquered by his predecessors. The Mali Empire consisted of land that is now part of Mauritania and present day State of Mali.

During his reign, Musa conquered 24 cities. He held many titles such as ‘Emir of Melle’, ‘Lord of the Mines of Wangara’ and ‘Conqueror of Ghanata’. During his reign, Mali may have been the largest Gold producer and this made it one of the richest person in history.

Musa’s reign lasted for 25 years according to historical estimation. It is believed that he died in 1332, at that time his son took over the throne.  


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