We all desire to be rich and famous. Some people make it happen. What names come to mind? Bill Gates? Oprah Winfrey. J.K Rowling, Mark Zuckerberg. Yes. That is right. However, let us go back in time. Let us go way back into time. How about the 14th Century Malian Empire?

Before your head starts to spin, brace yourself to learn about Mansa Musa, who came to the throne of Malian Empire by chance and eventually became the richest person of not just his time but the richest man till now. How is that even possible? Sounds crazy! Could you become so rich in your lifetime to continue being one after having died?

This story is not about from rags to riches but nonetheless an interesting one. Mansa Musa lived in the 1300s C.E. His great uncle, Sundiata Keita founded the Malian Empire. However, when Abubakari II, the Malian Emperor in Musa’s time decided to go on a Hajj Pilgrimage, he appointed Mansa Musa in his place. Back then it was a common practice. Abubakari did not return after the pilgrimage, he set onto more travel journeys and simply did not return. This automatically made Musa the successor to the throne.

Once the emperor, Musa started trading gold and salt which were in abundance in West Africa which brought him a lot of wealth. He also set onto his hajj pilgrimage as well. During his travel to the Holy city of Mecca, people started learning of his riches which he had acquired by this time in 1324 C.E.



The caravan that went along with Musa was a huge one. It was a procession of around 60,000 people, animals also in huge numbers, and a lot of gold. All the places that the caravan passed through, people saw and heard of Mansa Musa, the man with a lot of gold, the ruler of Malian Empire. As they traveled they carried out merchandise. He became so rich and influential that he controlled the price of gold all by himself in the whole of Mediterranean.

What is strange is that history tells us, Musa gave away gold bricks to people in the street while he travelled to Mecca.

He used most of his wealth building mosques and universities in his region. The Djinguereber Mosque is said to have been built by him. He expanded his trade ports which made him a powerful ruler at that time.

His rule lasted 25 years and died in 1332. Nothing is for certain, only estimates of historians. He was succeeded to the throne by his son.

Mansa Musa remains an intriguing figure in history mainly for his famous travel all the way to Mecca during which is literally gave away a lot of gold. He remains famous in the list of rich men to exist for his powerful rule during which is boosted the economy of his kingdom, built mosques and commissioned universities, some of which still exist. According to economists, his wealth must have been worth $ 400 billion. Now that is something!

Here’s a quick of some of the rich people of our times and their net worth

Rom Walton, Wal-mart stores $34 billion

Larry Page, CEO Google $39.8 billion

Bernard Arnault, CEO Louis Vuitton $41.5 billion

Mark Zuckerberg, CEO Facebook $56 billion

Bill Gates, CEO Microsoft $89.6 billion

Jeff Bezod, CEO Amazon $93.7 billion