Mansa Musa was the ninth Mansa of the Mali Empire, which reached its territorial peak during his reign. Moses is known for his wealth and gifts, and is sometimes called the richest man in history. Its wealth came from the Mali Empire’s significant gold and salt mining, along with the slave and ivory trade. At the time of Musa’s accession to the throne, Mali consisted largely of the territory of the former Ghana Empire, which Mali had conquered. The Mali Empire consisted of lands that are now part of Guinea, Senegal, Mauritania, Gambia and the modern state of Mali.
Mansa was the tenth Mansa or Conqueror of the Mali Empire, who ruled from 1312 to 1337. Mali is widely considered one of the wealthiest historical figures due to the amount of gold he produced during his reign. At the height of the Mali Empire, Mansa Musa had a net worth of the modern equivalent of $400 billion. He was the 10th Manasa meaning “king of kings” or emperor. When Musa came to power, the Malian Empire consisted of territory that had previously belonged to the Ghanaian Empire.
Mansa Musa held titles such as Lord of the Mines of Wangara, Emir of Mail and Conqueror or Ghanata. He was appointed deputy to Abubakari II who never returned from the expedition. Mansa Musa was a devout Muslim who went on pilgrimage to Mecca in 1324. He took 60,000 men and 12,000 slaves each carrying a four pound gold bar. Musa was in charge of massive building projects including mosques and madrasas in Gao and Timbuktu. The most famous construction during his reign was Sankore Madrasa.
Mansa Musa Wealth & Empire
After adjusting for inflation, Mansa Musa is generally considered the richest man who ever lived. His inflation-adjusted net worth of $400 billion tops Elon Musk’s $340 billion net worth as of September 2021 and John D. Rockefeller’s inflation adjusted $340 billion and Andrew Carnegie’s $310 billion. Musa made his pilgrimage to Mecca between 1324 and 1325, which covered 2,700 miles. His procession consisted of 60,000 men and slaves who carried gold, bags and were dressed in silk.
He traveled with a large number of animals, including many horses for the men and 80 camels that transported hundreds of pounds of gold dust. Along the way, Moses gave gold to many poor citizens he met and traded gold in various cities, in addition to building mosques along the road. Musa’s generosity with his gold was actually counterproductive, as the influx of large amounts of gold into cities such as Cairo and Medina caused a significant devaluation of the metal, and Musa tried to solve the problem by borrowing gold from moneylenders in these cities on his journey home.