Let’s make something clear right off the back, Black History does not begin with enslavement. It is also not limited to African descendants in the United States of America. Black History connects to a rich African History that extends across the entire globe. From now till the end of Black History Month (and sporadically afterwards), The Top Tea will be posting about African kings, queens, heroes, and sheroes who earned their spot in history. Hopefully everyday you will learn something new! Today, we are kicking it off with King Mansu Musa. He was featured in the 10 African Kings and Queens Whose Stories Must Be Told On Film writeup by G. Thorpe on Atlanta Black Star.
Here is his excerpt:
King Mansa Musa I (Emperor Moses) was an important Malian king, ruling from 1312 to 1337 and expanding the Mali influence over the Niger city-states of Timbuktu, Gao, and Djenne.
Musa ruled the Mali Empire and was estimated to have been worth the equivalent of $400 billion in today’s currency, which makes him the richest man to ever walk this earth. The emperor was a master businessman and economist, and gained his wealth through Mali’s supply of gold, salt and ivory, the main commodities for most of the world during that time.
Musa maintained a huge army that kept peace and policed the trade routes for his businesses. His armies pushed the borders of Mali from the Atlantic coast in the west; beyond the cities of Timbuktu and Gao in the east; and from the salt mines of Taghaza in the north to the gold mines of Wangar in the south.
Musa was also a major influence on the University of Timbuktu, the world’s first university and the major learning institution for not just of Africa but the world. Timbuktu became a meeting place of poets, scholars and artists of Africa and the Middle East. Even after Mali declined, Timbuktu remained the major learning center of Africa for many years.
– G. Thorpe Atlanta Black Star
The richest man to ever walk the earth. CHECK! And that’s only the tip of the iceberg of an incredible history. Check back tomorrow to learn more!
– B. Smith