Mansa Musa’s Net Worth
From 1312 to 1337, Mansa was the tenth Mansa, or conqueror, of the Mali Empire. Due to the amount of gold generated by Mali during his reign, he is usually regarded as one of history’s wealthiest figures. Mansa Musa’s net wealth at the height of the Mali Empire was equal to the current value of $400 billion.
Mansa Musa: Who Was He?
Mansa Musa, the fabled emperor of Mali’s immense West African empire, led one of the greatest caravans to ever cross the Sahara. Musa travelled to Mecca in 1324 on a hajj, a religious pilgrimage, with an entourage of 8,000 courtiers, 12,000 servants, and 100 camel loads of pure gold.
Musa was born in 1280, and Mansa means “Sultan” in Mandinka, the region’s native language. He ascended to the throne in 1312, and during his 25-year reign, the Kingdom of Mali grew to encompass the modern-day countries of Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Guinea, and the Ivory Coast.
Mansa Musa’s Childhood
Mansa Musa was the Mali Empire’s ninth mansa, and his reign saw the Mali Empire reach its territorial apex. Musa is famed for his wealth and generosity and has been dubbed one of history’s wealthiest persons, though this claim is difficult to verify.
The land of the former Ghana Empire, which Mali had conquered, was a substantial part of Mali at the time of Musa’s ascent to the throne. The Mali Empire included territory that is now part of Guinea, Senegal, Mauritania, The Gambia, and Mali.
Musa made the hajj to Mecca in 1324, accompanied by a large entourage and a large amount of gold. He stopped in Cairo on the way, where his lavish gift-giving is claimed to have influenced the value of gold in Egypt and attracted the attention of the wider Muslim world.
The Mali Empire’s limits were increased by Musa, who included the cities of Gao and Timbuktu in his domain. He attempted to strengthen links with the rest of the Muslim world, particularly the Mamluk and Marinid Sultanates.
He helped establish Timbuktu as a center of Islamic scholarship by bringing academics from all over the Muslim world to Mali, including the Andalusian poet Abu Ishaq al-Sahili. His reign is linked to a number of construction undertakings, notably a portion of Timbuktu’s Djinguereber Mosque. Musa’s reign is widely recognised as Mali’s pinnacle of power and grandeur.
How did Mansa Musa become so wealthy?
Consider how much money the world’s richest person would have. Add a few hundred billion to that, and you’ve probably gotten a good idea of how wealthy Mansa Musa was in the 14th century.
Musa first ascended to the throne of the Mali Empire in West Africa in 1312. The kingdom was already affluent at the time. Mali, on the other hand, grew considerably wealthier under Mansa Musa’s administration. Exploiting the region’s natural riches, such as gold and salt. Mansa Musa expanded his authority across various territories, leaving a lasting influence.
Musa’s tremendous and astonishing wealth, notably in gold, was well-known throughout the region, thanks to its conspicuous display during the Mecca pilgrimage. During his reign in Mali, he financed a huge construction and building program, erecting many mosques and madrasas, including Sankore Mandrasah (Sankore University). He also promoted an urban lifestyle, since more people flocked to city centers throughout his lifetime, and he is credited with helping to shape urban civilization.
Mansa Musa’s Mali Empire at the time of his death
The exact date of Mansa Musa’s death is unknown. Musa would have died in 1332 if the reign durations provided by Ibn Khaldun were used to extrapolate backward from Mansa Suleyman’s death in 1360. Ibn Khaldun also claims that Musa dispatched an envoy to congratulate Abu al-Hasan Ali on his conquest of Tlemcen in May 1337, but that by the time Abu al-Hasan replied, Musa had died and Suleyman was on the throne, implying that Musa died in 1337.
Al-Umari, writing twelve years after Musa’s hajj, in around 1337, reported that Musa returned to Mali preparing to abdicate and return to Mecca, but died before he could do so, implying that he died even before 1332.
It’s possible that Musa’s son Maghan congratulated Abu al-Hasan, or that Maghan was the one who received Abu al-emissary Hasan’s after Musa died. The latter hypothesis is supported by the fact that Ibn Khaldun refers to Suleyman as Musa’s son in that chapter, implying that he mistook Musa’s brother Suleyman for Musa’s son Maghan. Alternatively, it’s probable that the four-year reign credited to Maghan by Ibn Khaldun refers to his reigning Mali while Musa was away on the hajj, and that he only reigned for a short time in his own right. Other researchers agree with Nehemia Levtzion’s assessment of 1337 as the most plausible year.