I recently read an article that the New York Daily News had posted. They claimed that the Malian King Mansa Musa was the richest man in all of the world’s history. He was estimated to be worth $400 billion during his African reign. I remember reading about him in the class text and knew he gained his fame and fortune from the gold and ivory trade that had taken place in Aftrica during the 14th century. I didnt think much of it then but now that I know he was the richest man to ever be, I wanted to find out more.
Mansa Musa is remembered the most by historians for his extravagent hajj, or pilgrimage that he took to Mecca. Archaeologists have discovered that Mansa Musa had gathered a massive group of people to take the journey with him. He took 100 camel-loads of gold, weighing 300 pounds each, 500 slaves, each carrying a 4 pound gold staff; thousands of his subjects, as well as his senior wife, who also brought her 500 attendants. While he was in Cairo and Mecca he spent so much money that he eventually ran out. The journey took him and his servants over a year to complete. He had to have been such a powerful king to be absent from his kingdom for so long. When he arrived in Egypt, he camped outside the pyramids for three days before sending a gift of 50,000 dinars to the Sultan of Egypt. He then stayed in Cairo for about 3 months. Since he handed out so much money, traders would mark up the price of their goods by 5 times. With no funds to support his journey back home, he had to borrow a large amount at a ridiculously high interest rate. It is stated that Mansa Musa gave out so much money that it depressed its value in Egypt and called its value to fall.
Mansa Musa brought back with him an Arabic library, religious scholars, and most
importantly the Muslim architect al-Sahili, who built the great mosques at Gao
and Timbuktu and a royal palace. Mansa Musa also strengthened and promoted educaton, trade, and commerce in Mali. The apex of Mali was achieved under Mansa Musa’s rule, where he had expanded the empire from the Atlantic coast in the west to Songhai far down the Niger bend to the east. He died in 1337 after he had stability and good government to Mali.
After reading the story about the pilgrimage he took, I can understand why he is considered the richest man of all time. To take over 32000 pounds of gold with you and be able to spend all of it is quite the feat. I dont think I would ever be able to do that. Mansa Musa was not only a very rich man but he was the greatest Malian king to rule.