Musa I (c. 1280c. 1337), or Mansa Musa, was the tenth Mansa (which translates to "sultan", "conqueror" or "emperor" of the Mali Empire, an Islamic West African state. He has been described as the wealthiest individual of the Middle Ages.


At the time of Musa's ascension to the throne, Mali in large part consisted of the territory of the former Ghana Empire, which Mali had conquered. The Mali Empire consisted of land that is now part of Mauritania and the modern state of Mali. During his reign, Musa held many titles, such as "Emir of Melle", "Lord of the Mines of Wangara", and "Conqueror of Ghanata".


Musa conquered 24 cities, along with their surrounding districts. During Musa's reign, Mali may have been the largest producer of gold in the world, and Musa has been considered one of the wealthiest historical figures. However, modern commentators such as Time magazine have concluded that there is no accurate way to quantify Musa's wealth.


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Musa is generally referred to as "Mansa Musa" in Western manuscripts and literature. His name also appears as "Kankou Musa", "Kankan Musa", and "Kanku Musa". Other names used for Musa include "Mali-Koy Kankan Musa", "Gonga Musa", and "the Lion of Mali". He was a patron of science, the arts, literature and architecture and the empire flourished culturally during his reign.

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 Bringing Culture to the Empire

In order to build the incredible Djinguereber Mosque, which is still standing in Mali today, Musa recruited the most renowned architects from Andalusia and Cairo along his pilgrimage. This mosque helped to make Timbuktu an important shrine for Muslims, and the city grew into one of the most important hubs of trade, religious, and education in the world.


The Great Mosque of Djenne, The architectural jewelry. In 1300s, Mansa Musa and his friends Al-Sahii revolutionized architecture in Mali and across the rest of Sudan by introducing the use of sun - dried mud bricks and a style that become known as Sudano - Sehalian Ssyle of architecture.   


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Mansa Musa became famous for his pilgrimage to Mecca because he flaunted his enormous wealth during the journey, as he brought with him 60,000 men, 12,000 of which were slaves, who carried four pounds of gold on them each. Ya, that’s a lot of gold.


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