Mansa Musa was the ruler of the Mali Empire who was spectacularly rich: In his time, he was estimated to have a worth of $400 billion in today’s currency. This makes him the richest man in history to ever walk the Earth, making Bill Gates’ $80 billion worth today seem paltry in comparison! Mansa simply means, “King”, and “Musa” means Moses in Arabic. But just from his incredibly wealth, you can Mansa Musa was far from an ordinary king. During his reign – from 1312 to 1337 – he expanded the influence of the Mali Empire to encompass Timbuktu, Gao and Djenne, and was therefore considered more of an Emperor than a king. But aside from these great military conquests, Mansa Musa was a fantastic negotiator, economist, businessman, and amassed his fortune through Mali’s huge supplies of gold, salt and ivory, which were the main commodities for most of the world’s trade during that time. Mansa Musa also created a huge army that also acted as police force. It policed all the trade routes for his businesses. He was also instrumental in founding universities and libraries in Timbuktu, the building of palaces and mosques throughout the empire, and all in all, the Malinese Empire flourished under his rule in all areas of education, wealth and commerce, as well as military might and the rule of law. He is also famous for his extravagant pilgrimage to Mecca, where a mind-boggling 60,000 attendants followed, carried and protected him whilst he was sat upon a great golden chariot the whole way. He was said to have thrown pieces of gold to the poor whenever he went. As you can see, Mansa Musa is a true legend in African history, and whatever part of the name you go with; Mansa: “King of Kings”, or Musa, “Moses”, has a great and powerful significance.