The richest person that ever lived collapsed economies with his wealth

2 min readJun 25, 2022
Portrait of Mansa Musa. Source: Northwestern Magazine

Mansa Musa is considered to be the richest person that ever existed throughout the history of humankind. He lived in the 14th century. His wealth is estimated to be around $400 billion in today’s value after adjusting the inflation over time.

Mansa was the 10th emperor of the Mali Empire. He became wealthy by taking advantage of the flourishing production of gold and salt in his country. Legend has it that he had mountains of gold in such plentiful quantities that people could not imagine the extent of his wealth.

Rather than being greedy or possessive with his riches, he was known to be generous with his wealth. He was also known to be a religious person. He had a dream since childhood to complete his religious pilgrimage to Mecca one day.

Source: Reddit

When he became an adult he finally decided to achieve his dream of completing his pilgrimage. He set out for his pilgrimage in a lavish style with tons of gold and a lot of men. During his pilgrimage, he decided to do acts of charity for all the poor people.

Since he was a religious person, he believed that giving charity to the poor was his religious obligation. However, his selfless act of charity turned out to be a disaster for the economies of his neighboring countries.

He gave gold as charity to every poor people he met through his journey. Due to his donation of gold to every poor people he met, the value of gold declined in those places he passed by. Gold is considered a valuable asset because its availability is rare. Since Musa donated so much gold to the public, the value and the price of gold in his neighboring countries started declining.

This caused huge inflation to happen in all the countries he passed by on his journey. The entire Middle East faced economic losses approximately amounting to $1.5 billion. The huge influx of gold into his neighboring countries caused such hyperinflation that it took more than 10 years for them to recover from it.

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