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Mansa Musa

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Musa I of Mali
Musa depicted holding a gold nugget from the 1375 Catalan Atlas.
Reign 1312 - 1337
Born c. 1280
Died c. 1334
Occupation Emperor of the Malian Empire
Religion Islam

Mansa Musa (about 1280 – about 1337) was an emperor (mansa) of the Mali Empire during the 14th century. He became emperor in 1307. He was the first African ruler to be widely known throughout Europe and the Middle East.

Mansa Musa was the great nephew of Sundiata Keita, who was founder of the empire. He is famous for his Hajj (1324–5). His caravan was said to consist of 60,000 people carrying supplies and bags, 500 slaves each carrying a gold staff, and 80 to 100 camels each carrying 300 pounds of gold dust. On his journey, he is said to have given out millions of dollars worth of gold. He gave out so much gold in Cairo that the value stayed relatively low for many years.

Mansa Musa also helped to spread Islam. He was a devoted Muslim, and built many schools based on the teachings of the Qur'an. He sent students to Islamic universities in northern Africa.

Mansa Musa helped to structure the government during his time as a king. During his reign there was political stability.

After his Hajj, European cartographers began to draw Mansa Musa on maps. As the empire of Mali fell apart Mansa Musa's reputation did as well; he was no longer drawn as a noble king on maps, but instead more uncivilized. He was drawn as a parody of European royalty, a naked savage with a crown.


  • "Mansa Musa." World History: Ancient and Medieval Eras. ABC-CLIO, 2013. Web. 4 Dec. 2013.
  • MacDonald, Kevin C. "Mansa Musa." World Book Advanced. World Book, 2013. Web. 4 Dec. 2013.
  • Kane, Ousmane. "Musa, Sultan of Mali." Encyclopedia of Islam and the Muslim World. Ed. Richard C. Martin. New York: Macmillan Reference USA, 2004.Biography in Context. Web. 4 Dec. 2013.

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