Who Was the Richest Person in History?

Everyone knows about the wealth of modern tech giants like Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates. And there have been plenty of fabulously rich kings throughout history. But the richest man who ever lived is someone you may not be very familiar with -- Musa I of Mali, better known as Mansa Musa, ruler of the medieval Mali Empire in West Africa. The Mali Empire was rich in natural resources such as gold and salt (a precious commodity at the time), and sat at the center of a network of trans-Saharan trade routes connecting it with Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. Mansa Musa was a devout Muslim and undertook the hajj, or pilgrimage, to Mecca in 1324, passing through Egypt on the way. That's how the world beyond Mali learned of his fabulous wealth -- by appearing with thousands of courtiers and servants, as well as a hundred camels each laden with 300 lbs (136 kg) of gold. Although it’s nearly impossible to determine just how rich Mansa Musa was, it’s widely agreed that he was one of the wealthiest individuals to ever live -- if not the wealthiest. Some estimates have put his fortune at as much as $400 billion USD in today’s money.

The magnificence of Mansa Musa:

  • Mansa Musa’s generosity during his journey through Egypt flooded so much gold into the Egyptian economy that its the value dipped for over a decade.

  • During Mansa Musa’s reign, the Mali Empire encompassed the modern-day nations of Mali, Mauritania, Chad, Senegal, Niger, Nigeria, Gambia, and Guinea.

  • “Mansa” is a title that means “sultan,” “emperor,” or “conqueror.”

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More Info: Smithsonian magazine

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Post 1

Wow! $400 billion?

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