However, these men’s wealth cannot hold a candle to Mansa Musa whose extravagance was so much that it wrecked a country.
His brother, Musa Keita, better known as Mansa Musa assumed the throne. Under Musa’s reign, the Malian kingdom prospered and expanded. His kingdom included modern-day Senegal, Mauritania, Burkina Faso, Niger, The Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea and Ivory Coast.
The empire taxed every ounce of gold, copper and salt that entered its borders. By the beginning of the 14th century, Mali was the source of almost half the Old World’s gold exported from mines in Bambuk, Boure and Galam.
Musa was a devout Muslim who could read and write in Arabic. In 1324, Mansa Musa embarked on a pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca. He had an elaborate procession that included 60,000 men, all wearing brocade and Persian silk, including 12,000 slaves, who each carried 1.8 kg (4 lb) of gold bars, and heralds dressed in silks, who bore gold staffs, organized horses, and handled bags.
Musa provided all necessities for the procession, feeding the entire company of men and animals. Those animals included 80 camels which each carried 23–136 kg (50–300 lb) of gold dust.
Musa returned from Mecca in 1325. He brought back many Arabian scholars and architects. He funded literature and built schools, libraries and mosques. Mansa Musa died in 1337.