Mansa Musa Biography
(Emperor of Mali (1312-1337))
Mansa Musa, also known as Musa Keita I of Mali, was the tenth Sultan of the Mali Empire. He is believed to be one of the richest individuals to have walked on this planet. He belonged to the Keita Dynasty and came to power after Abu-Bakra-Keita II left on an expedition to explore the Atlantic Ocean, leaving Musa as his deputy and never returned. Musa ruled in an era when Europe was reeling under an economic crisis and his kingdom flourished due to rich deposits of gold and salt in abundance. Mansa Musa became very famous in Europe and West Africa after he made the hajj pilgrimage to Mecca, which was a difficult proposition in those days. His cavalcade consisted of about 60,000 soldiers, slaves and followers who escorted him through the kingdoms en-route where he spent lavishly and distributed alms to the poor that upset the economy of the region. He became famous by annexing neighbouring states and bringing in reforms in line of Islamic practises in his kingdom. He also built many mosques and established madrasas, some of which are still standing today. He took special interest in Timbuktu and converted it into a centre for trade and learning in West Africa. Unfortunately, his successors failed to carry on his legacy for long and fell to invaders from Morocco and the kingdom of Songhai.