Ancient West African King Richest Man Ever

Bill Gates may be the richest man alive on earth today, but take it back a thousand years and the man with the longest paper ever was an African emperor.

Mansa Musa I ruled the Mali Empire in 1280 and was estimated to have been worth the equivalent of $400 billion in today’s cash money. Emperor Musa controlled what is now the West African regions of Timbuktu, Ghana and Mali. During Musa’s time, that area was the leader in providing the world’s salt and gold. The ranking of the richest throughout history came out recently in an article on

In second and third place respectively are the Rothschild family, worth about $350 billion, and John D. Rockefeller, worth an estimated $340 billion. The article lists Bill Gates’ worth to be about $136 million. Even still, he is 12th on the list. Everyone who outranked him, however, is dead. This includes Muammar Ghaddafi, the Libyan dictator killed last year during the country’s uprising. Ghaddafi was said to be worth $200 billion and ranked 8th on the list. Warren Buffet’s $64 billion earned him a 25th place ranking.

Fourteen of the 25 wealthiest on the list were Americans, though, sadly, none were women, which Oprah fans may find a little surprising. The media maven is estimated to be worth a mere $2.7 billion.

While today’s wealthy roll around in Bentley’s and custom-made Benzos with a handful of personal assistance on call, Emperor Musa took it to another level. Wikipedia says that when Musa, a devout Muslim, made his pilgrimage to Mecca, he rolled out with 60,000 men and 12,000 slaves who all carried 4-lb. gold bars. Along the way, the emperor took care of all meals and incidentals including some 80 camels who bore between 50 and 300 pounds of gold dust each. And along the way, he handed out gold to any poor people he encountered.

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