Mansa Musa – fortune in the extent of devaluing gold

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Reproduction of the Catalan Atlas of the 20th century that can not be considered facsimile of the original., Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Personal Stats

Full Name: Musa ibn Abi Bakr ibn Abi al-Aswad, Musa ibn Abi Bakr Salim al-Takruri

Net worth: unknown (It is difficult to attribute a specific or even a rough number to his net worth. Estimating the wealth of historical figures has always been critical since exact data were largely considered internal information back in the day compared to today. Some sources claim his net worth to be equivalent to around about $400 billion nowadays, which is regarded sceptically. He carried as much as 18 tons of gold on his pilgrim, which is equal in value to over US$957 million in 2022. The fact that he brought such a huge amount of “ready cash” with him, and probably had been holding much more on-site in his kingdom could be considered proof for his fortune. Imagining having a wealth of being able to devalue a currency like gold in a famously known city like Cairo during only a visit without potentially risking your fortune, this is a remarkable event in history.)

Reign: ancient kingdom of Mali(now: modern-day Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, the Gambia, Guinea , Burkina Faso Chad and Mauritania)

Birth: 13th century Mali Empire(West Africa)

Death: c. 1337 Mali Empire

Reign: c.1312– c.1337 (c. 25 years)

Family: Keita dynasty

Known for: being one of the wealthiest people in history

Religion: Islam 

Character: Some writers describes Musa as an intelligent person with high morals. Other people doubt the necessity of spending so much and consider some of his actions as superfluous or a type of “show up”.

KaTeznik, CC BY-SA 2.0 FR, via Wikimedia Commons

Interesting facts:

  • Essential sources of his wealth were gold, salt, and ivory
  • His rule is considered the peak of Mali’s strength and reputation
  • Built the Djinguereber Mosque in Timbuktu, Mali in 1327 for which the designer was paid 200kg gold.
  • Engineers and architects from various parts of the world were brought to his kingdom to construct new buildings
  • During his pilgrim to Mecca, he spends vast amounts of gold on a visit to Cairo, resulting in its value to fall for the next 10 to 12 years. A mithqal of gold, or 4,25 grams, was equal to 25 silver dirhams, at that time, and fall to less than 22 dirhams for roughly more than 10 years. Not only the people of Cairo were praising him for this generosity, but his reputation started to be synonymized with unimaginable wealth in different parts of the world, including Europe.
  • He constructed many mosques and universities in Mali


Games: Civilization: Civilization IV and the Civilization VI expansion Civilization VI: Gathering Storm

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