King Musa I of Mali: The Richest Man in The History of The World

    Black history has come to a close for 2018. I hope the recent posts on wealthy blacks has educated and inspired all the readers here at Broke Finance. This next profile centers on a man that lived almost 700 years ago and resided on the continent of Africa. His name was Musa I of Mali or Mansa Musa is how many have referred to him throughout history.

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    Mansa translates to sultan, conqueror, or emperor. He reigned over the West African Mali empire, most of which is what we now know as Ghana. Having conquered over 24 countries in addition to their surrounding jurisdictions. He is regarded as the richest person to ever live. Managing to amass more wealth than John D. Rockefeller and Cornelius Vanderbilt. Mali was the largest producer of gold at the time. Musa consumed so much gold that he single handedly sent shock waves through the economy causing extreme inflation. Not only did he have an abundance of gold but he also possessed a great amount of salt, which at the time was almost as valuable as gold.    

    His biggest claim to fame may have been the pilgrimage to Mecca. Along this pilgrimage Musa brought along with him a caravan as far as the eyes could see. Much of the accounts were oral testimonies making it difficult to arrive at an exact number although some reports say it involved 60,000 men each carrying 4 pounds of gold in addition to silk. Musa fed and took care of the entire group through the journey including the animals. Even more impactful were the food, gifts and buildings he erected and gave out along his voyage.

    Following his trip, Musa who was a devout Muslim wanted nothing more than to spread the religion he was so devoted to. He went on to build mosques and madrasas or schools. He summoned architects from Egypt and Cairo to erect his grand structures. Today his legacy can be cemented in the stories of his life highlighting his generosity and the buildings that still stand to this day in Timbuktu.