Mansa Musa

14th-century ruler of the Mali Empire

Mansa Musa (about 1280 – about 1337) was an emperor (manse) of the Mali Empire during the 14th century. He became emperor in 1312. He was the first African ruler to be famous in all of Europe and the Middle East he was also the 9th emperor in his times. Historians say he was the richest person to have ever lived. Today, his wealth would be worth about US $400 billion.[1]

Mansa Musa was the great nephew of Sundiata Keita, who started the Mali Empire. He is famous for his Hajj (1324–5). His caravan may have had 60,000 people carrying supplies and bags, 500 slaves each carrying a gold staff, and 80 to 100 camels each carrying 300 pounds of gold dust. On his journey, he is said to have given out millions of dollars worth of gold. He gave out so much gold in Cairo that the price of gold went down and stayed low for many years. Mansa Musa stopped in many places on his way to Mecca for his Hajj. These placed include Timbuktu and Gao. He stopped every Friday at a destination and left enough gold for a mosque to be built.

Mansa Musa made Timbuktu a center of trade, culture and of Islam, which also helped increase the spread of Islam throughout Western Africa.

Mansa Musa also helped to spread Islam. He was a devoted Muslim, and built many schools based on the teachings of the Qur'an. He sent students to Islamic universities in northern Africa.

After his Hajj, European cartographers began to draw Mansa Musa on maps. As the empire of Mali fell apart, Mansa Musa's reputation did as well; he was no longer drawn as a noble king on maps. Instead, artists drew him to look uncivilized. He was drawn as a parody of European royalty and a normal person with a crown.

Mansa Musa was married to Inari Kunate.


  • "Mansa Musa." World History: Ancient and Medieval Eras. ABC-CLIO, 2013. Web. 4 Dec. 2013.
  • MacDonald, Kevin C. "Mansa Musa." World Book Advanced. World Book, 2013. Web. 4 Dec. 2013.
  • Kane, Ousmane. "Musa, Sultan of Mali." Encyclopedia of Islam and the Muslim World. Ed. Richard C. Martin. New York: Macmillan Reference USA, 2004.Biography in Context. Web. 4 Dec. 2013.

Other websitesEdit

  1. "The richest man in history". BBC News. 2019-03-10. Retrieved 2023-03-21.