History

Mansa Musa Keita I of Mali : The richest man to have ever lived

Thousands of soldiers, civilians and slaves carrying golden staffs, heralds dressed in silks, camels and horses carrying 300 pounds of golden dust and a caravan that stretched to infinity.

 

In 1324, a journey of  4000 mile  to Mecca will remain sculpted in the history books forever . The Muslim pilgrimage from Africa to mecca was no ordinary and the man who made it became a folk lore. The journey remains etched in the knowledge of history buffs.  The caravan that went with the African man was what human eye had never seen. Thousands of soldiers carrying bags of goods, civilians and slaves carrying golden staffs, heralds dressed in silks, camels and horses carrying 300 pounds of golden dust and a caravan that stretched to infinity. This was what made him inseparable from the legends.

It was the time when Europe was bankrupt fighting internal conflicts and civil wars but Africa was thriving. Mansa Musa was one of the African kings . Musa Keita I of Mali was crowned in 1312 and was given the title of Mansa which translates to King. During his reign he ruled over the kingdom which stretched over 2000 miles including modern day Mauritania, Senegal, Gambia, Guinea, Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, and Chad.

His land was laden with tremendous resources , especially gold. On his way to Mecca through Egypt he donated so much gold that the city went anarchic. The price of gold sank too much for years. He took a special interest in the developments of Timbuktu , constructing Mosques, Universities and educational centers.

 

Djinguereber Mosque in Timbuktu stands a proud example of one of the developments of the Mali King.  It’s said wherever he stopped on Friday, he ordered a Mosque to be built at that place. Soon, the Europeans started to draw him on the maps.

Djinguereber-Mosque in Timbaktu

He reigned for 25 years and died in 1337. This era witnessed tremendous growth in his Kingdom. The throne was ascended by his son Maghan I. He is considered to be the richest person to have ever lived the earth with an overwhelming 400 Billion USD at his disposal.

After his death, when the Mali Kingdom fell, the reputation of Mansa Musa was torn apart. He stopped being the icon figure on maps and instead was mocked.

 

 

 

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