Mansa Musa I was born in Mali, West Africa in 1280, to Faga Laye (his father). In several different scripts, his name was documented as Kankou Musa, Kankan Musa, and Kanku Musa meaning “Musa whose mother was Kankou.” The wife of Mansa(King) Musa I was called Inari Kunate.
Drawn picture of Mansa Musa holding gold in 1375 | source: Catalan Atlas
Mansa Musa I was the 10th King of the Empire of Mali, he came to power in c. 1312. He was given the name Mansa which mean King in the ancient Mali.
Over decades Musa I has been described as the richest man ever in history with over $400 billion. He ruled Ghana Empire which was conquered by the Mali Empire.
Mansa Musa I conquered twenty-four cities with their provinces in the Western Africa. He ruled all the regions of present-day Senegal, Gambia, Burkina Faso, Mali, Chad, Nigeria, Niger and Mauritania.
Mansa Musa was very rich having estimated $400 billion, he was doing business of gold and salt across West and North Africa.
He made world-historical journey during 1324 pilgrimage to Mecca, moving distance of about 4000 miles. He is said to have moved along with 60,000 men including 12,000 slaves of which each one of them carried 2kgs of gold bars and heralds covered in silks who bore gold staffs, arranged horses and handled bags.
Musa was able to put in place all the necessities for the procession, he managed to feed all the men and animals including more eighty camels each carrying between 23kgs and 136kgs of gold dust. Mansa built a mosque each Friday.
Mansa Musa gave out gold to the to vulnerable people he met on the way and donated a lot in the cities he passed on his way to Mecca, including cities of Cairo and Madina he reportedly traded gold for souvenirs.
But Musa’s charitable deeds unintentionally deeply affected the economy of the counties he passed across. Throughout the towns of Cairo, Medina and Mecca, the mass influx of gold has cheapened metal within the next couple of years. Commodities and goods rates inflated.
Mansa Musa on his way from Mecca he borrowed all the gold he had from the money-borrowers in Cairo at a very high interest for the first time in Egypt. It became the only time in history for a single person to control the rates of gold in the Mediterranean.
Mansa Musa ruled for 25 years and died in c. 1337. His son Maghan succeeded him. Musa built institutions and mosques in the region. Many people later could travel to Mali for studies at Sankore University. He is today remember for his golden age in the history of Mali. His wealth is estimated at $400 Billion.
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