Contrary to what you may believe, figuring out who is the richest person ever is far more complicated than you think. There is a multitude of factors that come into play. For instance, accurate records of wealth in ancient times are exceedingly rare.
Ancient cultures seem not to have been as well versed in the art of bookkeeping as we are today, and this proves to be a nail in the sides of historians and bodies that have tried to determine who may have held this richest person ever title.
The Ancients Rule The Roost – Malian Was The Richest Ever
The popular opinion amongst scholars and researchers suggests that Mansa Musa was the richest man ever to walk the earth. Known as the golden king, Mansa was the 10th ruler of the Mali Empire and ruled from c. 1280 – to c. 1337.
During his reign, Mansa conquered at least twenty-four cities, which helped the empire become the largest producer of gold. It is undoubtedly a major contributing factor to the amount of wealth he is supposed to have had. However, although it gets widely accepted that he was the wealthiest person in history, his fortune was limitless based on the lack of records.
Mansa’s Religion and Following & Largesse
Under his rule, the Mali Empire followed the religion of Islam. Mansa himself was a devout Muslim, and his pilgrimage to Mecca gained him infamy throughout the region. The story of how Mansa attained the title of ruler or king is quite unusual. The former king, Abubakari Keita II, intended to cross the Atlantic Ocean to determine where it ends, if at all.
Before embarking on this voyage, he ordered 2 thousand boats equipped for him and the men who would take on this journey. Yet another 1 thousand ships were loaded with victuals, water and supplies. The fleet set sail on their voyage but never returned, leaving Mansa to adopt his new position as the empire’s ruler.
During the reign of Mansa Musa, the Mali Empire grew significantly. The kingdom is said to have stretched for 2000 miles, including parts of modern-day Niger, Guinea, Burkina Faso, Mali, Ivory Coast, Mauritania and Senegal. As you can imagine, the area was massive and only served towards growing his fortune. Experts and historians believe that during his reign, the empire owned nearly half the world’s gold at the time.
He was able to amass such great wealth because whatever the kingdom owned, he owned. Moreover, having conquered important trading centres around him, he ensured that all goods and gold traded within his area of influence would ultimately become his.
The Actual Wealth Value in Today’s Modern World
Although a monetary figure cannot get placed on Mansa Musas’ accumulated wealth, some historians believe it was far more than $400 billion in today’s currency. So, if you thought that Jeff Bezos of Amazon’s $131 billion was something to admire, remember that his fortune is not so vast that it cannot get calculated.