Fact of the Day: With a jaw-dropping net worth of $400B, Emperor Mansa Musa of Mali was the world's richest man. Ever

Emperor Mansa Musa of Mali

Emperor Mansa Musa of Mali amassed a jaw-dropping $400B during his reign from 1312 to 1337, making him the wealthiest man ever, according to an inflation-adjusted list by celebritynetworth.com. This even outranks the Rothschilds ($350B) and the Rockefellers ($340B).

According to Forbes, the net worth of Bill Gates, the world’s richest man as of December 31st, 2014, is $81.2B.

Mansa Musa was one of the greatest statesmen in the history of Africa. He was renowned for having amassed huge wealth and creating a strong, centralized government structure within which trade, culture, and scholarship all flourished.

Africa’s Richest 2014 (Visualization)

Mansa Musa’s astounding wealth came from Mali’s production of more than half the world’s gold and salt, and his control of the trade routes for these valuable commodities. Emperor Musa’s empire stretched from Middle Niger, through Timbuktu and Gao northwards to the salt-producing great desert, and eastwards into Hausaland and as far as Western Sudan. One of Musa’s greatest achievements was to impose a single system of law and order across northern Africa, which helped facilitate this trade.

A depiction of Emperor Mansa Musa from a European atlas

Musa was a Muslim and his year-long pilgrimage to Mecca in 1324 became legendary. Travelling 3,000 miles by camel, with a huge retinue of guards and attendants, carrying bags full of gold nuggets, Musa was so generous in giving away his gold that the sudden influx devalued the metal in the cities of Cairo, Medina and Mecca for the next decade.

Mansa Musa was the tenth Mansa, which translates as “King of Kings” or “Emperor”, of the wealthy Mali Empire. At the time of Musa’s rise to the throne, the Malian Empire consisted of territory formerly belonging to the Ghana Empire in present-day southern Mauritania and in Melle (Mali) and the immediate surrounding areas. Musa held many titles, including Emir of Melle, Lord of the Mines of Wangara, Conqueror of Ghanata, and at least a dozen others.

Read more African history from African Business Central.

Source: BBC World Service – The Documentary, Musa’s Money