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When asked about rich people, you probably think of bill gates, rockefeller, warren buffet, carlos slim or the rothschild family but according to historians the richest man to have ever lived was an Islamic Malian king, named ''MANSA MUSA'' Mansa meaning king, mansa musa ruled over the Malian empire Mali from 1312 to 1337 and caught the attention the Europeans and Arabs after his renown Hajj (Islamic Pilgrimage) to Makkah in 1324 and during this mansa musa fortune was estimated at 400 billion dollars and caught the eye of many beyond the countries he visted. He was not afraid to give Zakat to the poor and build houses and mosques on his way to Makkah, the then malian empire contained countries such as Mauritania, Senegal, Gambia, Guinea, Burkina faso, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, and Chad.

This enormous empire stretched up to two thousand miles from the Atlantic ocean in the west to lake Chad to the east of its borders. As a devoted Muslim, mansa musa prepared his pilgrimage soon after he took his position from Abu Bakri in 1312 and during these preparations which took years, mansa musa used his knowledge and resources from his rich land, through Malian scholars who helped plan the pilgrimage finally in 1324 he took up to a thousand servants (some say 60,000) with him. They had more than 80 camels loaded with 300 pounds of gold and other needed goods with them for their trip of over four thousand kilometers. Mansa musa had 1200 slaves with him each carrying a golden adorned staff, during his voyage he stopped in the Egyptian cities, Alexandria and Cairo, where he attracted the Arabs and Europeans interest, due to his act of kindness, it is said that he gave away most of his gold to whom he met, especially to the poor on the streets of Cario and Alexandria.

He also helped building mosques each Friday on his way to Makkah. His act of kindness was felt years later in Egypt, soon mansa musa was a known man in the Arab world and in Europe. There have been tales from Italian merchants and Egyptians about this sub-saharan African Muslim king who was loaded with gold. This earned mansa musa a spot on the maps drawn by Arabs and Europeans and one of this maps were the Italian map.

Coming back home, mansa musa brought with him Arab scholars, Architects, and bureaucrats to help him build the historic building, we now have in Gao and Timbuktu. Timbuktu became a famous scholarly, cultural and flourishing trade city in these years. A city to which people from Europe, Asia, and northern Africa came to learn, trade and live.

The legacy of these Arab (andalusian) architects consists of a few masterpieces like the djinguereber Mousque which is a part of the University of Timbuktu. It contains the Masjid of sidi yahya and sankore and other notable buildings are the palace of madagou and the university/masjid of Goa as the number of Madrasas and libraries grew together with the Islamic knowledge and at the same time, Islamic leaders and kingdoms increased the exchange of commerce, scholars and poets. This made Timbuktu the center of Islamic studies and trade in sub-sahara Africa and after mansa musas death in 1337 his son maghan became mansa but his rule did not last as long as attacks from Morocco and the kingdom of Songhai, soon meant the downfall of this great Islamic kngdom


  1. Thankfully, provide the usefull information Malian Empire Muse.


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