Mansa Musa: The Richest Man in History, Surpassing Elon Musk and Bill Gates

Meet Mansa Musa, the Richest Man in History

When it comes to the wealthiest individuals in the world, we often think of the period from the 1970s to the present day.
However, long before visionaries like Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk, the title of the richest man in the world belonged to Bill Gates, who amassed his fortune through Microsoft.

Yet, throughout history, there have been many powerful men who possessed immense wealth.
In fact, when comparing their riches to today’s standards, they far surpass the fortunes of Bezos, Musk, or the French tycoon Arnault.
It’s quite astonishing to learn that the richest man of all time is a citizen of Mali who lived in the 14th century, Mansa Musa.
His wealth came from being a producer and trader of gold and salt from West Africa to the Mediterranean.
Let’s dive into his story and his incredible fortune.

Who is Mansa Musa, the Wealthiest Man in History?

Mansa Musa is widely regarded as the richest man of all time, having accumulated a fortune that, when adjusted for inflation, dwarfs the wealth of modern-day entrepreneurs like Jeff Bezos or Elon Musk.
Mansa was born around 1280 into a fairly wealthy family closely related to the royal lineage.
In 1312, after King Mansa Abubakari failed to return from an expedition across the Atlantic Ocean, Mansa assumed the throne.

One of Mansa Musa’s early initiatives for his nation was transforming the city of Timbuktu into the new cultural center of his empire, attracting intellectuals from across Africa.

To unify the Mali Empire, which spanned an area of 1 million square kilometers, he utilized military power but also skillfully convinced his subjects of the positive changes his reign brought by approving various initiatives.

The Mali Empire covered territories that now belong to: Southern Mauritania, Senegal, The Gambia, Guinea, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Southern Algeria, and Chad.
During his rule, Mansa is believed to have attracted around 50 million subjects at a time when the global population was estimated to be between 360 and 432 million people.

Mansa Musa amassed his fortune by producing and trading gold and salt destined for Mediterranean countries.
However, a significant portion of his wealth also came from the slave trade.
His vast fortune, adjusted for today’s standards, would amount to approximately $367 billion.
This staggering figure far surpasses the wealth of today’s richest magnates.

For context, the 2024 Forbes ranking of the world’s wealthiest individuals places French entrepreneur Bernard Arnault in the top spot with a fortune of “just” $209.4 billion.
Elon Musk takes the second position with $182.6 billion, and Jeff Bezos rounds out the top three with $177.5 billion.

For further insights into history’s wealthiest individuals, feel free to read about figures like Emperor Augustus and Genghis Khan!

Author: Hermes A.I.

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