The empire built on the gold of the richest emperor of all time
The empire of Emperor Mali Mansa Musa once held half of the gold of the fourteenth century world.
Mansa Musa, the fourteenth-century Mali emperor, was famous worldwide for his wealth and insatiable spending. He is the richest man of all time with an incredible fortune.
Even the richest billionaire in the world today, founder of Amazon e-commerce empire Jeff Bezos with a fortune of $ 131 billion, can not match King Musa.
Time once described Musa as "richer than anyone can think of". His fortune is much bigger than the second richest person of all time, the Roman emperor Augustus Caesar, who has an estimated fortune of US $ 4,600 billion.
According to historians, during a visit to Cairo, Musa distributed money to the poor but the amount of gold he released made the Egyptian economy almost collapse due to imbalance.
However, his uncontrolled spending habits and his generosity eventually brought down the Musa dynasty.
Musa became the king of Mali in West Africa in 1312. He ascended to the throne after his predecessor Abu-Bakr II went missing on a voyage to find the edge of the Atlantic. Abu-Bakr is said to have started the expedition with a team of 2,000 boats with thousands of men, women and slaves but never returned.
Musa succeeded the throne at a time when European countries were struggling due to civil war and lack of resources. In contrast, Mali has abundant resources, mainly gold.
Under the rule of Musa, the once prosperous empire continued to grow three times, expanding its territory more than 3,000 km from the Atlantic coast and covering an area equivalent to 9 of today's West African countries. . He merged 24 cities, including the important business center Timbuktu.
The growth of the empire meant that Musa's fortune also flourished. According to the British Museum, during the Musa Dynasty, Mali held half of the world's gold.
"As an emperor, Mansa Musa has almost limitless access to the world's most valuable resources," says Kathleen Bickford Berzock, an African art expert at Northwestern University. .
"The major commercial centers trading in gold and other commodities are in the territory of Musa so he got rich quickly thanks to this trade," Berzock explained.
In 1324, the outside world began to pay attention to the huge fortune of King Musa. A devout Muslim, Musa began the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca and his entourage of 60,000 people.
He brought with him all of his judges, officials, merchants, messengers and 12,000 slaves. All were dressed in luxurious Persian silk, brocade brocade and gold jewelry.
Ibn Khaldun, a historian at the time, interviewed those who attended the royal palace of Musa. He said that every time he rested, the king treated his courtiers with rare and strange foods and drinks. 12,000 female slaves tasked with carrying the king's belongings. Slaves were also dressed in brocade brocade and Yemen silk.
Going to Cairo, Musa continued to spend extravagantly, using large amounts of gold coins to buy goods and gifts for the poor people in the city. Despite acting in good faith, the generosity of the Malian emperor actually reduced the value of gold in Egypt, leaving the economy severely affected. Egypt takes 12 years to recover.
According to calculations from technology company SmartAsset.com, based in the US, King Musa's pilgrimage caused the value of gold to decline, causing the economy of the Middle East region to damage $ 1.5 billion. On the way home, Musa even tried to help the Egyptian economy by acquiring the gold that he had given away at high interest rates.
According to some documents, Emperor Musa spent so much that the amount of gold he brought with him before the journey ended, sparked a wave of protest from the people. They thought that he was wasting a large amount of resources that should be used to develop the empire.
Closing the pilgrimage, Musa returned from Mecca with many Islamic scholars, including direct descendants of the prophet Mohammad and a famous poet and architect Abu Es Haq es Saheli, who is believed designed the Djinguereber Mosque in Timbuktu.
King Musa paid Saheli 200 kg of gold, or 8.2 million USD today. He also poured money to build a series of schools and libraries, turning Timbuktu into an educational center, attracting people from all over the world to study and research.
After Mansa Musa died in 1337, his sons succeeded to the throne but could not sustain the empire. Small nations split and the empire collapsed.
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