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Mansa Musa- The Richest Man In History Was African

mansa musa
Written by Chioma Gabriel

Mansa Musa The First of Mali!

Pretty much the history the media won’t show you.

All through history, the only things the Western media has cared to educate us black people on have always been our slavery years. How different things lead to another and how we finally gained Independence and got some descent religion. Or is it us who just don’t find these things?

Africa sits right on top of greatness and these things get hidden from us.  Like a world that thrives on inequality and cruelty, we are supposed to spend our energetic years learning about our transition from a total nobody to a continent that is only just getting her face in the map of the world.

Let’s get to this real quick.  Before anyone started getting titles and raking in almost impossible net worth, Africa had a good number of successful Kings, one of which was King Musa the 1st of Mali. He was the richest man to ever live in the whole of History, he was worth over $400 billion! This history was centuries ago, the 14th century to be exact, but we all know how valid that net worth still is even today.

mansa musa

It is so amazing that a 14th century African king had a net worth that exceeds our present day richest man in the world. Amazon’s Jeff Bezos is celebrated globally as the richest man in the world according to Bloomberg’s Billionaires Index, with a net worth of $118 billion, followed by Bill Gates and Warren Buffet, but they don’t come anywhere close to the wealth Africa has seen with Musa 1 of Mali.

mansa musa


It is still totally incomprehensible his level of fortune, this was confirmed by Time’s Jacob Davidson when we wrote: “There’s really no way to put an accurate number on his wealth.”All there is to account for his wealth are testimonies from centuries ago.

His name was Musa Keita 1, he was given the title “Mansa” when he came into power as a crowned King in 1312, which means King. Mansa Musa was one of the pure excellent black men who lived to conquer and take over territories; he conquered 24 cities during his reign. He came into power at the time when much of Europe was struggling and facing declining gold and silver production while many African kingdoms including Mali, were thriving.

mansa musa

The Countries he ruled would surprise you, he took over modern day Mauritania, Senegal, Gambia, Guinea, Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, and Chad. If you are Nigerian, you should be as surprised as I am. He was definitely a successful military leader with his empire laden with lucrative natural resources; notably gold.

You know those people who are known and respected in their areas of influence and you hardly know as much as a thing about them until they show up and then you begin to wonder where they had been all the while? Mansa Musa’s unbelievable wealth was made known to the world during his 1324 pilgrimage to Mecca when he crossed a distance of nearly 4000 miles to fulfill one of the five pillars of Islam. He traveled in the most vain way ever recorded throughout history.

He left the mark of his crazy wealth in the sands during his journey to Mecca, bringing a caravan that stretched as far as the eyes could see. It was reported that his 60,000 caravan included 1000 attendants, 100 camels filled with gold, nearly more than enough emperor’s own musicians and 500 slaves bearing gold staff. It wasn’t a trip for small children.

“Not one to travel on a budget, he brought a caravan stretching as far as the eye could see, ” Smith reported.

A further look into the intensity of that single trip to Mecca:

Contemporary historian Ibn Khaldun later interviewed one of the emperor’s travelling companions. The man claimed that, “at each halt, he would regale us with rare foods and confectionery. His equipment and furnishing were carried by 12,000 private slave women, wearing gowns of brocade and Yemeni silk.”

Such Kingship!

Here are some remarkable records of the great King that was  Musa 1 of Mali:

He expanded the borders of his empire so bad, it was feared that he would take over nearly the whole of Africa. He annexed the city of Timbuktu and regained power over Gao. That was about 2.000 miles he stretched his empire.

Record has it that King Musa paid his dues as a generous man. He would frequently bestow gifts upon dignitaries he met with. On his stop in Cairo, he gave so much gold to the poor that he caused mass inflation. It was felt globally.

It was so hard, just so hard for the world to pretend like he wasn’t there.  The extravagant journey literally put Mansa Musa on the world map- LITERALLY. It was the 1375 Catalan Atlas, one of the most important world maps of Medieval Europe. Word of his wealth spread across the Mediterranean.


European views of Mali was never the same after the emperor’s opulent pilgrimage. It shaped Mali internationally as “a place of splendor, wealth, and sophistication” historian Chris Stobel writes. But it attracted some bad eyes. Portuguese interest in Mali would ultimately manifest itself in naval raids against the empire starting in the 15th century.

Splendor wasn’t the only thing Mana Musa was interested in. “Material riches weren’t he King’s only concern, as a devout Muslim, he took a particular interest in Timbuktu.” Smith reported. He urbanized the city of Timbuktu by building schools. mosques, and a major university.

So many African states ate from Mansa Musa’s generosity, but Timbuktu kept coming around in the mentions. The legendary Djinguerreber Mosque, stands giantly  in the heart of Timbutku, built by Mansa Musa.


After a successful reign for 25 years, Mansa Musa died in 1337, exactly  681 today (2018). His son, Meghan 1, succeeded him. Became Mansa Meghan 1

“The mansa’s rich legacy persisted for generations and to this day, there are mausoleums, libraries, and mosques that stand as a testament to this golden age of Mali’s history” Smith said.

This is all pure proof that all the wealth in the world only came from one place and that’s Africa. It’s the most blessed Continent of all six, with very influential and strong people who never needed school to cause inflation around the world. The same African spirit to create and become, is still in all of us.

About the author

Chioma Gabriel

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