Neither Jeff Bezos nor Elon Musk nor Bill Gates, the richest man in history was Mansa Musa I of Mali

In a world where tycoons like Jeff Bezos (Amazon), Elon Musk (Tesla) or Bill Gates (Microsoft) grab headlines for their immense fortunes, if you go back in time, to the 14th century specifically, you can discover the story of the man whose wealth surpassed all others. Mansa Musa I, the legendary ruler of the Mali Empire, amassed a fortune that would make even today’s billionaires gawk. But how did he get such wealth?

In the 14th century, the Mali Empire emerged as a formidable power, sustained by its prosperous mineral exploitations, especially gold, highly coveted in that period. As demand for this valuable mineral skyrocketed, Musa Keita I, later renamed Mansa Musa I – “meek” meaning “king” – became the richest man of his day, even dwarfing the wealthiest families in history like the Rothschilds oh John D Rockefeller. The fortune of the fourteenth-century sovereign amounted to more than 400,000 million dollars current according to calculations.

In accordance with BBC Pidginthe BBC West Africa news service,”Musa’s kingdom was so big that no one could see where it ended“. The complex, and extensive, empire ruled by the King of Timbuktu, encompassed the territories we know today as Mauritania, Senegal, Gambia, Guinea, Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, Chad and Nigeria. Its opulence was unmatched.

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Various chronicles affirm that, during his pilgrimage to Mecca, in which he traveled 6,500 kilometers, people “stayed with their mouths open” due to the display of luxury on the part of the monarch: he was accompanied by some 60,000 people, of which 12,000 were servants. In addition to servants, the monarch was accompanied on his journey by 500 heralds with gold and about 100 camels that loaded 136 kilos of gold.

Photo: Bibliotheque Nationale de France

In addition, the stories about the financial power of the king do not end there. His generosity, according to the accounts of the time, matched his wealth, so much so that as he passed through Cairo he made so many donations to the poor that caused massive inflation in the current capital of Egypt.

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His adventures and gossip about his wealth became popular all over the world to such an extent that it reached European ears. After confirming that the monarch’s wealth was true, the kingdom of Mali was included in the most important map of the time: the Catalan Atlas or World map of the Cresques (It collected the places known to Europeans on various handwritten maps of the 14th century).

Undoubtedly, the story of Mansa Musa I has endured through the centuries, leaving a legacy of unparalleled wealth and generosity. His unprecedented fortune and astonishing feats remain an inspiration to those seeking to achieve great financial goals, though hardly anyone will achieve a similar fortune.

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Neither Jeff Bezos nor Elon Musk nor Bill Gates, the richest man in history was Mansa Musa I of Mali