12/01/2018 13:59 SAST | Updated 12/01/2018 13:59 SAST

Who Is Africa's 'Richest Human Being Of All Time'?

Learn more about Africa's extravagant multibillionaire.

Mansa Musa (circa 1280-circa 1337), Emperor of Mali, went on a pilgrimage to Mecca in 1324. He is said to have traveled with an entourage of 60,000.
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Mansa Musa (circa 1280-circa 1337), Emperor of Mali, went on a pilgrimage to Mecca in 1324. He is said to have traveled with an entourage of 60,000.

We're sure by now you've read the story recirculating about 12th-century ruler Mansa Musa I of Mali being the "richest human being of all time" that keeps doing the rounds.

If not, the basic gist is that website Celebrity NetWorth reportedly recalculated the fortunes of humans throughout time to include inflation, and found that the extravagant king's fortune would be worth $400-billion in todays terms.

"After adjusting for inflation, Mansa Musa is generally considered to be the richest human being who ever lived. His inflation-adjusted net worth of $400-billion tops John D Rockefeller's inflation-adjusted $340-billion and Andrew Carnegie's $310-billion," the website says.

But who was King Mansa Musa I?

Malian emperor Mansa Musa I ruled the Malian empire, which consisted at the time of territory formerly belonging to the Ghana empire in present-day southern Mauritania and in Melle (Mali). Musa was a devout Muslim, and his famed pilgrimage to Mecca, in which he reportedly travelled with an entourage of 60,000, made him well-known across North Africa and the Middle East.

Musa built his grand palace in Timbuktu, making it into a centre of trade and scholarship. He developed the Sankoré University, which still stands today, containing the largest collections of books in Africa since the Library of Alexandria. The Sankoré University was capable of housing 25,000 students and had one of the largest libraries in the world, with roughly a million manuscripts.

Happy #TimbukTuesday! The University of Sankore, Timbuktu was founded in 989 CE by the erudite chief judge of Timbuktu, Al-Qadi Aqib ibn Mahmud ibn Umar. He had built the inner court of the mosque parallel to the exact dimensions of the Ka'abah in Makkah. A wealthy Mandinka lady financed Sankore University making it the leading centre of education. The Sankore University prospered and became a very significant seat of learning in the Muslim world, especially under the reign of Mansa Musa (1307-1332) and the Askia Dynasty (1493-1591). (Source: http://www.muslimheritage.com/article/university-sankore-timbuktu) #Repost @king_kimoni ・・・ SANKORÉ UNIVERSITY 🌍 #TheWorldsFirstUniversity #SankoreUniversity #TheUniversityOfSankore #TimbuktuUniversity #TheUniversityOfTimbuktu #Sankore #Timbuktu #Mali #WestAfrica 🇲🇱🇲🇱🇲🇱

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"Musa Keita I was crowned king in 1312, and was bestowed with the name Mansa, which means sultan or emperor. At the time, most of Europe was experiencing a great famine, brought on in part by the fact that much of the continent was engaged in a number of civil wars. On the other hand, Africa was thriving, and it was an era of wealth and riches for that continent.

"While he was in power, Mansa Musa expanded the borders of his kingdom greatly. He grabbed the city of Timbuktu for his empire and took power over all of Gao. At its height, Musa's empire stretched over 2,000 miles [3,200km]. He further augmented his fortune by controlling key trade routes between the West African coast and the Mediterranean," Celebrity Networth explains.

Watch this fascinating video explaining one of Africa's most extraordinary men.