In two separate reports in Time Magazine and Celebrity Net Worth, about the 10 richest people of all times and 25 richest people who ever lived respectively, indicates that the world richest man of all times is an African, named Mansa Musa from Timbuktu, Mali.
He lived in the year 1280–1337 about 57 years, the report described his wealth as richer than anyone could describe
Mansa Musa was the king of Malian Empire which covered modern day Ghana and Mali with his seat of power in Timbuktu. According to Ferrum College history professor Richard Smith, Musa’s west African kingdom was likely the largest producer of gold in the world—at a time which gold was in especially high demand.
Another report said that Mansa Musa’s shocking wealth came from his country’s vast production of more than half the world’s supply of salt and gold. He used his wealth to build immense mosques that still stand today, nearly 700 years later
Just how rich was Musa? There’s really no way to put an accurate number on his wealth. Records are scarce, if non-existent, and contemporary sources describe the king’s riches in terms that are impossible for the time.
Some tales of his famous pilgrimage to Mecca—during which Musa’s spending was so lavish that it caused a currency crisis in Egypt—mention dozens of camels each carrying hundreds of pounds of gold. (Smith says one year of Malian gold production probably generated about a ton.) Others said Musa’s army consisted of 200,000 men, including 40,000 archers—troop numbers even modern superpowers would have a difficult time bringing to the field.
But to get caught up in the king’s exact wealth is to miss the point. As Rudolph Ware, an associate professor of history at the University of Michigan, explains, Musa’s riches were so immense that people struggled to describe them.
“This is the richest guy anyone has ever seen, that’s the point,” says Ware. “They’re trying to find words to explain that. There are pictures of him holding a scepter of gold on a throne of gold holding a cup of gold with a golden crown on his head. Imagine as much gold as you think a human being could possess and double it, that’s what all the accounts are trying to communicate.”
When no one can even comprehend your wealth, that means you’re pretty darned rich.
Written with materials from Time.com and Celebrity Net Worth