We wish all the best, lot of love, wealth and health to people we care about. Love and health is something constant, but wealth is a relative term. First of all, not many people understand how much money they really need to be wealthy. They need some directions.
Back in the old days they said that someone is “rich as Croesus “ comparing a wealthy person with a Croesus, lydian king who had a treasure so magnifique as ancient Greek historian Herodotus said. But what does that magnifique treasure exactly mean? We made our research and found this point of reference. Read this article in order to state about any billionaire that he is wealthy as Musa.
According to contemporary experts the most wealthiest person of all time was Musa Keita I. His contemporaries told he was wealthier as it could be described. But we are going to try.
Musa Keita was the great, great-grandson of Sundiata, founder of Mali state. At his coronation he received a name “Mansa” that means “king”. If you will combine the territory of today’s countries of Mali, Guinea, Senegal, Niger and Mauritania, you will come up to the territory of the kingdom Musa Mansa took over in 1312 in accordance to European years.
It’s hard to imagine today but at this time Africa was wealthier as Europe. But exactly this time remained in the european history as one of the hardest ones: wars, inquisition, medieval violence, plague, Little Ice Age and hunger. All this did not make people happier. And at the same time the warmest continent had a quiet and full life. And the 25-year reign of Musa (from 1312 to 1337) is described as a golden time of Mali.
The travelling scholar Al-Umari quotes Mansa Musa as follows: «This king is the greatest of black kings – muslims. His country is the biggest with a powerful and numerous army. The King of Mali is the greatest, the wealthiest, the most beautiful with his circumstances, the most victorious to his enemies and has the most power to create good.”
The wealth of the first level: gold and power
The major source of income of Mali was salt and gold trade with African countries. Elephant bones and rhino and other animal skin were making incomes of the second range.
Musa Masna was an extraordinary person and had an innate business grip. It can be proven with an interesting example. Many tribes lived close to Musa territory but the strong kingdom did not took them over but progressively and peacefully spread its economical power.
It would not be that easy for any other king to stay away from a rapid victorious war, let’s say with dialonke tribe living on the territory rich with gold. But as the result the tribe was guarding, mining and sharing with the King of Mali the precious metal and kept only a small amount of it as payment for the services. Dialonke tribe literally worked for Musa.
The same scheme was applicable to other territories. In the end the empire became enormous big for that time and it had fantastic influence. The king became a holy person with unlimited power and a huge army of 100 thousand infantrymen and 10 thousand cavalrymen.
«No one was allowed to wear sandals in the presence of Mansa under threat of execution. No one was allowed to sneeze and when the king sneezed all present have beaten their chests with their hands.”
Ibn Battuta, the arabian trader and traveller
The wealth of the second level: personal comfort
You could not call ascetic the way Musa lived. But the king was muslim and he should live in accordance with Korane requirements. In particular being a muslim he should go on hagj, a journey to Mecca. In the middle of his kingdom, in 1324 the king undertook a pilgrimage.
Medieval authors praised this journey because the world did not see something like that before. The kings of neighborhood territories located on the way of Musa’s hadj were seriously concerned that this journey is only an excuse and in the reality the king wanted to take over their countries.
The procession was really luxurious and impressive. The pilgrim was accompanied by 60-80 thousand of servants. The king daily received fresh fish and fruits.
Once the wife of Mansa did not feel well from the heat. The caravan stopped. Musa Keita asked to dig a swimming pool. He needed one night and eight thousand of workers only. And in the morning the queen and ladies accompanying her had a lake in the middle of the desert.
500 slaves participated in the marsh. Every one of them held a golden crook in the hands. Every day the king blessed a freedom to one of them for the glory of Allah.
Mansa Musa brought 13 tons of gold to this journey and gave it away on the way. Every civil officer he met he presented enormous expensive golden gifts. Everyone – from Mali to Egypt – was excited from such a generous visitor. Local remembered him for a long time after, made stories about his pilgrimage, about his personality, his actions and words. Musa Keita arrived to Mecca with a rather big debt.
«This man poured his generosity like a wave on Cairo. In the whole sultanate there were no civil officer or a courtier who did not received golden gifts. He had amazing self-possession, dignity and modesty!»
From the ancient chronicles
The wealth of the third level: intellectual sources
In accordance with contemporary experts The wealth of Musa was really the biggest in history. Today it would be around 400 billions dollars.
The results of holy pilgrimage of the king of Mali were strange both for himself and for the countries on his way. His generous donations influenced not only egyptian economy but also the whole Mediterranean. Markets were overloaded with gold and it lead to a sharp decline in its prices. The inflation and financial crisis started and gold has depreciated at least for 12 years.
Wen Musa Mansa came back from hadj he was not the owner of the biggest gold reserve in the world. That could influence the economy badly. But as it seemed the wealth of Musa was guarded by powerful forces. In his absence the army of Mali kingdom took over the neighborhood country which was the regional trade center. And due to the trade the treasury was full again. And Musa’s pilgrimage has another consequence.
On the way back many talented people joined caravan of the king. There were poets, architects, scientists. Moreover Musa came back from hadj with a great library he gathered on the way. All this turned Mali into a real capital of culture, art and science. So in that sense the pilgrimage of Musa was unconditionally successful. And all the castles, libraries and mosque built in that time reminds us on the golden era of Mali.
Mansa Musa ruled 25 years the kingdom of Mali, till his death. For generations the inhabitants of the country remembered him and were proud of their king and not of his wealth, but of his ability to manage and grow it.