When people think of Mansa Musa, they generally focus on the enormous wealth the man enjoyed. However, while the wealth plays a significant role in many of his accomplishments, the truth of the matter is that the accumulation of a massive fortune was not the only thing Mansa Musa achieved in his lifetime.
1. His Name Literally Means “King of Kings”
Also known as Mansa I of Mali, Mansa Musa went by a number of names during his life. However, the fact that he was known as Mansa Musa in the west, with “Mansa” translating to “King of Kings”, speaks volumes of his influence.
2. He Was The 10th Ruler Of The Mali Empire
Emperor Abu Bakr II appointed Mansa Musa as the deputy who would take care of the Mali Empire, while he went off to explore the Atlantic Ocean to a more significant degree. However, Abu Bakr II never returned. Mansa Musa was declared ruler in 1307.
3. He Made A Legendary Pilgrimage To Mecca
In 1324, during the seventeenth year of his reign, Mansa Musa made a pilgrimage to Mecca. This pilgrimage is widely regarded as one of the most significant accomplishments of his life. The pilgrimage made it clear to the rest of the world that the wealth of the Mali Empire was enormous. At the same time, it made Mansa Musa a popular figure.
4. He Knew How To Spend Money
The ability to spend money is not a major accomplishment in of itself. However, when you consider that Mansa Musa frequently traveled with a caravan of sixty-thousand men, which included 12, 000 slaves in Persian silks, you have to understand that displaying (and spending) wealth like this can be seen as an accomplishment unto itself.
5. His Wealth Actually Created Inflation
Musa gave both gold and extravagant gifts lavishly. In fact, he flooded so much wealth into cities like Cairo, metals like gold actually decreased in value. A full decade came and went, in the wake of his visits, and many markets still had not properly recovered. In the end, Musa gained back at least some of the gold he had given away, picking it up at high interest from Cairo lenders.
6. A Number Of Famous Structures Went Up During His Lifetime
Upon his return from Mecca, Mansa Musa began a number of projects within his empire. Throughout Timbuktu and Gao, for example, Musa set up a number of educational centers and mosques. Architects came from both Spain and Cairo, in order to build not only his staggering palace, but other buildings, as well. Although the palace does not exist in the present, it is worth noting that the university and mosque both continue to stand to this day.
7. He Established Timbuktu As An Entity Of Commerce And Education
Establishing the University of Sankore in Timbuktu was only the beginning of what Mansa Musa brought to the city. After a visit to Egypt, Musa returned with several learned men from the region. Building on this foundation, Musa quickly established Timbuktu as a place that emphasized education and knowledge. Scholars from both Africa and the Middle East would come to Timbuktu. Furthermore, once the world at large had a sense of Musa’s wealth, everyone suddenly became very eager to trade with his empire. It didn’t take very long at all for Timbuktu to establish itself as not only a place of knowledge, but of powerful trade and commerce, as well.
8. He Turned Mali Into One Of The Biggest Empires In The World
Under his rule, there is no question that the Mali Empire rose to dizzying heights. It grew to include a number of additional regions. One writer and traveler actually visited the empire, roughly four years after the death of Mansa Musa. This writer actually noted that it took him a full four months to travel from one end of the empire to the other.
9. Adjusted For Inflation, His Wealth Is Stunning
Adjusting for inflation, Celebrity Net Worth took a look at the twenty-five wealthiest individuals of all time. Not surprisingly, Mansa Musa occupied a significant spot on this list. As a matter of fact, Mansa Musa took the top of the list, beating out such potential favorites as Bill Gates and Warren Buffet. Adjusted for inflation, it is believed that Mansa Musa had approximately four-hundred billion dollars when he died.
10. He Left Behind A Lasting Legacy
The empire Mansa Musa built continued to flourish, even after Musa passed away. He died an extremely rich man. Just as important, he died with the respect of friends and enemies alike.
There is no question that Mansa Musa lived a remarkable life. Beyond the mere acquisition of wealth, it should be clear that Musa accomplished a lot. He used his wealth and power to dramatically improve his surroundings on several different levels.