The Richest Man in History

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The Richest Man in History

A picture of Mansa Musa and his empire.

A picture of Mansa Musa and his empire.

Wikimedia Commons

A picture of Mansa Musa and his empire.

Wikimedia Commons

Wikimedia Commons

A picture of Mansa Musa and his empire.

Sofia Borges, Journalist

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Who do you think the richest man in history is? The CEO of a large company? The ruler of a country? The president? Actually, the richest man in history is a man named Mansa Musa, an African ruler from 1312. He would have about $400,000,000,000 dollars if he was alive today. Upfront magazine says “The 14th-century ruler still tops many lists as the richest person of all time.” 

Mansa Musa ruled a very powerful African kingdom called Mali.  He was the ruler from 1312 to 1337. He alone controlled about 80% of the world’s gold at the time. He was also very generous. He pretty much controlled the stock market in gold. Musa was also a very skilled leader. He helped Mali become one of the largest African empires in history.  

You readers might be wondering how he got so rich. Well, he settled in the upper Niger river, a place that was rich with gold and salt – two materials that were very valuable at the time. Richard Smith, an expert on ancient Mali, said, “the upper reaches of the Niger River produced more gold in the 14th century than anywhere else.” Salt was valuable because it was used to preserve food. Persevering food was necessary to survive. Mansa Musa controlled regions that produced gold during his reign. All of this made him become super rich. 

 In 1324, Mansa Musa went on a trip that was 4,000 miles long. He traveled with 60,000 people. He stopped at Cairo, Egypt. He shopped at the world-famous markets and gave out gold to just about everyone he encountered. He gave out so much gold, that it actually went down in value. David Tschanz, a historian who has written about Mansa Musa, said “It was the only time in history that one man controlled the world’s gold market.” 

People compare Mansa Musa with T’Challa or Black Panther, the ruler of the fictional African kingdom of Wakanda. He’s also the richest of the Marvel superheros. Much like Mansa Musa, who was the ruler of the African kingdom of Mali and the richest man in history.

Bibliography

https://upfront.scholastic.com/issues/2018-19/021819/mansa-musa-the-400-billion-dollar-man.html#1140L

https://www.history.com/news/who-was-the-richest-man-in-history-mansa-musa