When people think of the richest people in history , more often than not they think of industrialists from the modern era, such as the Rothschilds, the Rockefellers, or the Carnegies. Perhaps some would also name current billionaires such as Bill Gates, Carlos Slim, or the many wealthy Arab sheiks. However, the richest person in all of history is a Malian ruler named Musa Keita I, tenth Mansa of the Empire of Mali (Mansa is a title like ‘sultan’ or ‘emperor’). He was so rich and extravagant in his spending that he disrupted Egypt’s economy just by passing through!
Born in the 1280s AD, Mansa Musa expanded the Mali Empire by conquering 24 cities and their surrounding areas. By the time he died around 1337 AD, he had amassed a fortune that is almost too large to fathom. Adjusted for inflation, Mansa Musa I would have been worth over $400 billion.
The runner-up- the combined wealth of the Rothschild family- may be better known, however, they are only worth $350 billion. J.D. Rockefeller is worth $340 billion; Andrew Carnegie is worth $310 billion; Muammar Gaddafi is worth $200 billion; Bill Gates is worth $136 billion; and Carlos Slim is worth $68 billion. In other words, none of the men most often associated with vast wealth come close to the net worth of this African King.
“There’s really no way to put an accurate number on his wealth,” said Jacob Davidson of Time Magazine.