With an estimated of $400 billion USD, Mansa Musa I of Mali is considered to be the wealthiest man in the history of humanity.
The other day, I was watching a documentary about those iconic men who made fortunes in America by bringing industrialization to the country. Of course, the documentary included Cornelius Vanderbilt, Andrew Carnegie, and John D. Rockefeller, all of whom had a great idea that turned them into the wealthiest men in the world. Today's billionaires don't even come close to those legendary tycoons. For instance, Amazon’s CEO, Jeff Bezos, has been crowned this year as the wealthiest man on Earth with about $118 billion USD, beating Bill Gates's $90 billion, but it was John D. Rockefeller who amassed a fortune of an estimated $300 billion in today’s currency. However, not even Rockefeller could top the man whose legacy is even richer than his wealth, and who has been forgotten by history, or at least in the Western world.
In the 14th century, with an estimated $400 billion USD, Musa Keita I, became known around the world when he decided to embark on a pilgrimage to Mecca, as was the custom by Mali’s Mansa (emperor) at the time. Perhaps this reference will sound a bit childish, but do you remember the animated Aladdin movie, and the scene where he enters Agrabah disguised as a prince? Well, Mansa Musa’s caravan was even more over the top than that. With more than 60,000 animals, an entourage of thousands of soldiers, slaves, servants, and heralds carrying a serious amount of gold that they would give to the poor, Mansa made a huge entrance in each of the cities he passed through, even putting the economy of these states at stake with a huge inflation.
This was probably the first time he made history, becoming a famous figure, but what was his story, and how was he able to become the richest man who ever lived?
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