When we think of billionaires, we often think of modern-day tech entrepreneurs and business magnates. However, the first billionaire in history was a man named Mansa Musa, the king of Mali in West Africa.
Mansa Musa was born in 1280 in present-day Mali. He came to the throne in 1312, after the death of his predecessor. Mali was a wealthy kingdom at the time, known for its gold and salt mines, which were highly valuable commodities. Mansa Musa was not content to simply rule over a wealthy kingdom – he wanted to show off his vast wealth to the world.
In 1324, Mansa Musa set out on a pilgrimage to Mecca. He traveled with a huge entourage, including thousands of soldiers and slaves, and carried with him an enormous amount of gold. So much, in fact, that he is said to have caused a major economic disruption in the cities he passed through.
Mansa Musa’s extravagance on his pilgrimage was well-documented, with accounts describing his procession as stretching for miles. He is said to have distributed gold to the poor along the way, and to have built a mosque every Friday during his journey.
When Mansa Musa returned to Mali after his pilgrimage, he brought with him scholars, architects, and Islamic scholars, who helped to build mosques and schools throughout the kingdom. He also expanded the empire’s territory, conquering several neighboring kingdoms.
It’s difficult to estimate Mansa Musa’s exact wealth, but it’s believed that he controlled around half of the world’s gold supply at the time. This would make him the richest person in history, with a net worth of around $400 billion in today’s dollars.
Despite his vast wealth and influence, Mansa Musa is not as well-known as other historical figures. This may be because his kingdom was located in West Africa, far from the centers of power in Europe and Asia. However, his legacy lives on as a symbol of the wealth and power of pre-colonial African empires.
In conclusion, the first billionaire in history was Mansa Musa, the king of Mali in West Africa. His vast wealth and influence were documented in his pilgrimage to Mecca, where he distributed gold to the poor and built mosques along the way. Mansa Musa’s legacy is a testament to the power and wealth of pre-colonial African empires.