Richest person in world history? An African named Mansa Musa I of the Mali Empire

Meet Mansa Musa I of Mali, the richest human being ever!!!

He had a personal net worth of $400 billion!  That makes him the richest person ever in the history of planet earth.  Who was he?

The person who we all need to know is none other than Mansa Musa I of Mali.  He was the tenth Mansa or Emperor of the Empire of Mali in West Africa.  Born in 1280 he lived to be 57 years of age.  His empire spanned the area  including Ghana, Timbuktu and Mali. The vast supplies of gold and salt within the territory of Mali was the source of his wealth.  Timbuktu

Mansa Musa depicted in the Catalan Atlas
Mansa Musa depicted in the Catalan Atlas

was not only known for its material wealth, it was also a source of written wealth as well.  The Timbuktu manuscripts number over 700,000 and most remain to be translated or studied.  Additionally, there are documents in family libraries from Gao north of Timbuktu to as far south as Kaduna in Nigeria a route known as the “African Ink Road.”  The written legacy of Timbuktu is preserved in the saying “Salt comes from the north, gold comes from the south, but knowledge and beautiful things come from Timbuktu. Mosques built with Mansa Musa’s wealth still stand today, almost 700 years after they were built.

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