RICHEST MAN EVER – 14th Century Malian Emperor MansaMay 30, 2022
RICHEST MAN EVER – Forget John D. Rockefeller, Jeff Bezos, or Elon Musk — 14th-century Malian emperor Mansa Musa is the richest person ever. As the king of the Mali Empire in West Africa, Musa first came to power in 1312. At that point, the kingdom was already prosperous.
But under the rule of Musa, Mali became even more wealthy. Economists have determined that the West African emperor’s vast fortune most likely positions him as the richest person in history. He used much of his wealth to strengthen important cultural centers, especially Timbuktu.
But despite his massive success, Musa was not very well known beyond the region he ruled — until he journeyed outside of Africa. A devout Muslim, Musa was determined to make his pilgrimage to Mecca (also known as a Hajj) in 1324. And with that, the rest of the world would soon know his name.
He would have to travel 4,000 miles from his empire to get there. Musa embarked on his pilgrimage accompanied by a total of 60,000 people — a mix of servants, soldiers, and supporters. The world quickly began to take notice of Musa’s convoy of people, horses, and camels.
Not only was Musa’s caravan impossible to miss, but he was also buying as many goods as he could find — and giving away gold to random peasants on the street. As Musa passed through Cairo, Medina, and finally to Mecca, he left the streets basically littered with gold.