Mansa Musa I was a fourteenth century emperor of the Mali Empire
The emperor was a master businessman and economist, and gained his wealth through Mali’s supply of gold, salt and ivory, the main commodities for most of the world during that time.
Musa was a devout Muslim, and his pilgrimage to Mecca made him well-known across northern Africa and the Middle East. To Musa, Islam was “an entry into the cultured world of the Eastern Mediterranean”.
On his journey to Mecca, it is reported that he was accompanied by 60,000 men, including 12,000 slaves who each carried four pounds of gold bars and heralds dressed in silks who bore gold staffs, organised horses, and handled bags. Although slaves, it is likely that all these people were treated with dignity and respect unlike slaves of the Atlantic Slave Trade for example.
Mansa Musa I provided all necessities for the procession, feeding the entire company of men and animals. Those animals included 80 camels which each carried between 50 and 300 pounds of gold dust. Musa gave the gold to the poor he met along his route which is a mark of his character as a man.
Mansa Musa I’s pilgrimage boosted Islamic education in Mali by adding mosques, libraries, and universities. The awareness of Musa by other Islamic leaders brought increased commerce and scholars, poets, and artisans, making Timbuktu one of the leading cities in the Islamic world during the time when the most advanced nations from Spain to central India were Muslim. Timbuktu was clearly the center of Islamic Sub-Saharan Africa.
Mansa Musa I is reportedly the richest human being in all history.
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