This emperor was the richest man who ever lived. He was so rich that even his slaves were clad in gold
Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, Gautam Adani are some of the names that come to our minds when we think of the richest people in the world. But have you ever wondered who was the richest person ever?
African emperor Mansa Musa is thought to be the richest person who ever lived and his wealth was simply “indescribable” and “incomprehensible”.
"Contemporary accounts of Musa's wealth are so breathless that it's almost impossible to get a sense of just how wealthy and powerful he truly was," Rudolph Butch Ware, associate professor of history at the University of California, told BBC.
Mansa Musa net worth
The 14th-century emperor's wealth was estimated to be $400 billion (Rs 3,313 crore) by the US website Celebrity Net Worth in 2012. However, historians agree that Musa's wealth is impossible to be pinned down to an exact number.
Mansa Musa history
Mansa Musa was born in 1280 and came to power in 1312. During Mansa Musa'a rule, the empire of Mali accounted for almost half of the Old World's gold, according to the British Museum. All of that gold belonged to the emperor.
Despite Mali being home to so much gold, it was not a well-known kingdom. However, when Mansa Musa went on a pilgrimage to Mecca, he took a caravan of 60,000 men and women, from royal officials to camel drivers and slaves.. Everyone, including slaves, was clad in gold brocade and the finest Persian silk. About 100 camels that undertook the pilgrimage carried bags of pure gold.
Mansa Musa spent so much gold that he destabilised the local economy and caused mass inflation for 10 years after his departure.
However, it was this excessive generosity that also caught the eyes of the world.
Musa died in 1337 at age 57. His sons inherited the empire but could not hold it together.
"Had Europeans arrived in significant numbers in Musa's time, with Mali at the height of its military and economic power instead of a couple hundred years later, things almost certainly would have been different," Ware said.