Mali’s mythical ruler, Mansa Musa, commanded one of the largest caravans to ever cross the Sahara. A sacred journey to Mecca, the hajj, was undertaken by Musa in 1324, with an entourage of 8,000 courtiers, 12,000 servants and 100 camel loads of wealth.

Mansa means “Sultan” in the Mandinka language of the region, where Musa was born around 1280. During his 25-year reign, he expanded the Kingdom of Mali to cover Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger , Guinea and Ivory Coast, all of which are countries today.

Biography of Mansa Moussa

How old was Mansa Moussa When he was born? Eyewitness accounts of Mansa Musa’s pilgrimage provide some of the most accurate information we have about his life. As far as we know, there is no record of Mansa Musa’s date of birth. He is believed to be the great-grandson or great-grandnephew of Sundiata, the founder of the dynasty and the first emperor. He succeeded Abu Bakr II as king in 1307-1312 CE after serving as his deputy. Abu Bakr II and a slew of his ships set out to explore the Atlantic Ocean, but they disappeared without a trace.

Mansa Musa inherited a prosperous and flourishing kingdom when he was born. Mali, with its huge salt and gold mines, was amassing wealth and growing as much of Europe was mired in civil conflict. Elephant ivory was also a big part of their business.

His wealth and authority were on display during his hajji, or Muslim pilgrimage, in the middle of his reign. After making a pilgrimage to Mecca, a Muslim receives the honorary title of Hajji. During his journey, he caused lasting damage to local economies by spending large sums of gold. The conquest of Songhai greatly increased Mansa Musa’s dominance. Before returning home, he decided to visit Gao and Timbuktu, two of the most important Songhai cities, and erect mosques there and there immediately. Returning to Mali after his pilgrimage to Mecca, Mansa Musa set out to revitalize his city.

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Mansa Musa net worth

Timbuktu’s first monarch, Mansa Musa I of Mali, had around $400 billion in today’s money, making him one of the richest people in history. Many Malian mosques built by Musa during his reign in the early 14th century are still in use today, thanks to his country’s enormous salt and gold resources, which at one time accounted for half of the world’s supply.

The most powerful person in the world

People all over the world, especially in Europe, were enchanted by this depiction of a prosperous king.

For some, this image of the richest monarch of all time has produced a kind of fantasy. Many European countries faced plague, civil war, and economic downturn during this time. The Mali Empire was ruled by Musa for nearly 20 years after his accession to the throne. By expanding trade routes through its ports, it established itself as a formidable tyrant. After his death, it is generally believed that stories of his immense wealth and generosity continued to be passed down for many years. His travels, his generosity and his name drew attention to the enormous wealth of Africa, especially that of Mali.

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The Enduring Contributions of Mansa Musa’s Wealth

So what did Mansa Musa do with all that money, other than give gold to random people on the street and use it to buy souvenirs?

In the end, Mansa Musa used most of it to build a large number of mosques (legend says that Musa built a mosque every Friday during his reign), the most famous of which is the Djinguereber Mosque. Musa also commanded several universities across the kingdom. Many of these historic buildings, both schools and mosques, are still standing today. During Mansa Musa’s lifetime, his investment in Islamic education in Mali attracted dozens of Muslim scholars, poets and artisans to his empire. They gathered in Timbuktu, which quickly became one of the most important cities in the Islamic world.


Scholars cannot agree on the exact date of Musa’s death, as it is a widely debated topic. Some historians place Musa’s death in 1337, based on his 25-year reign and the reigns of his successors. According to others, he died in 1325, shortly after his return from Mecca, and records show that he abdicated the throne to his son. Musa was alive throughout the construction of Tlemcen in Algeria in 1337, according to yet another story.