How can anyone, let alone the BBC, make this claim? There aren't any records or any legitimate evidence to seriously compare wealth between eras. But even without records, we can safely say that mansa musa wasn't anywhere near the richest man in the 14th century where the khanates of the mongol empire, the holy roman empire, ottoman empire, etc reigned supreme.
Why make a claim as if it was a statement of fact when it is a conjecture at best?
And is a website called "Celebrity Net Worth" really anything that the BBC should be sourcing? What's the point of this article? It's not news. It's not history. Why did I spend a few minutes reading this article?
The first time I heard of mansa musa was years ago on reddit's TIL, but even there, it was ridiculed as being clickbait nonsense. Now the BBC is at it?
Vaccines aren't made for epidemics: they are for _endemic_ diseases, and especially the ones which target children. Vaccines are good for things like polio, smallpox and Measles. But plague, Cholera, SARS, etc. are delt with emergency measures: quarantine, not vaccines.
The problem (and there is indeed a problem) with antivaxs, is child mortality, not «plague-like epidemics».
Really clever stuff: looking at the amount of labor one could buy, etc.
What’s the share of people living that work for you?
the issue is figure of power in history accumulated wealth based on their domains, so while their treasure was a separate entity from their national treasure, the lines get progressively blurred as the political structure gets more totalitarian and the difference between state and dominion vanishes.
I mean, there are countries where the President personally controls the Treasury, and you can usually spot them by the enourmous statutes and portraits of the Leader.
No, Congress controls that, and they're elected by the American people, who ultimately own it.
Here's a more interesting example: https://www.thecrownestate.co.uk/en-gb/resources/faqs/
> The Crown Estate belongs to the reigning monarch 'in right of The Crown', that is, it is owned by the monarch for the duration of their reign, by virtue of their accession to the throne. But it is not the private property of the monarch - it cannot be sold by the monarch, nor do revenues from it belong to the monarch.
Trump is also elected by the American people, though, right?
They're more than halfway there. I'm all in favor of the movement, and am holding out hope we'll see it click into place in the next decade or so.
We've warned you about this numerous times already. I don't want to ban you, but if you keep doing this we're going to have to.
Depends on what you mean by "own". I would use "able to decide how it is used". So I would say that Mark Zuckerberg "owns" Facebook because he has a controlling interest (although he does not own 100% of the stock). I would say that Donald Trump does not "own" the US Treasury because our form of government contains checks and balances.
I wonder how America would have looked like if an African power could manage to establish colonies almost 200 years before Europeans. The technological superiority probably wasn't there but the presumed pandemics caused by the contact may still have provided the invaders an advantage. If nothing else, that would have provided the American natives some additional experience before facing the Europeans.
But Mali also had guns so I’m not sure how Mali couldn’t have been seen as more technologically advanced. I’m asking out of actual curiosity.
For comparison, the Spanish armada, in 1588, posing a major challenge to British rule of the seas, had 130 ships. From what I can tell, the distance from Dakkar, the Atlantic port that appears in the map from the article to Lisbon [Atlantic port in Iberic peninsula] is ~1700 miles, while the distance from Lisbon to London is ~1000 miles. A force more than 10 times larger than the Spanish Armada only twice as far should have been a sight to behold, and reckon by European nations. Heck, if Abu-Bakr had cross-Atlantic ambitions, his navy should have long reached Europe. Yet, the mighty Mali navy is mysteriously a footnote in [or absent from] contemporary European maritime accounts.
This belongs to click-bait sites [copiously cited in the article] like money.com, celebritynetworth.com or smartasset.com, and not on the BBC. How the mighty have fallen...
Speaking of intermediate stops, you'd expect a fleet of 2000 ships sailing to Americas to be borne out of a maritime culture with a significant footprint. You'd expect said culture to leave some archeological traces in the Cape Verde islands, which are only 400 miles straight to the west of Dakkar. I have never heard of any hard evidence of massive Mali empire / West African fleets traveling to Cape Verde islands on a regular basis. According to Wikipedia:
> Before the arrival of Europeans, the Cape Verde Islands were uninhabited. The islands of the Cape Verde archipelago were discovered by Genoese and Portuguese navigators around 1456.
It is almost impossible to sail North along the coast of Africa even for ships that can go strong against the wind.
This is what most people misunderstand about Columbus. He did not discover America, he discovered the way to go there and back which required sailing first South looking for passat and returning by sailing North and then catching western winds.
Columbus knew that (from studying reports) before he left on his first voyage, he repeated this four times as all sailors who followed in his steps did for 300 years.
You seem to take for granted the presence of New World in the mind of Columbus and that the only problem to be solved was securing the access. That is wrong. Columbus was looking for India. He descended to India's latitude and went looking for it westward¹. I'm not aware of any initial plans to return back to Europe on a similar manner, i.e. (this is a mere speculation but I'm inclined to believe that) he could have returned back by some well-known route, to minimize risks if he could find an actual Indian trade post, or anything familiar, really. Given the "unknown part of India" he'd encounter, only later it became a safer bet to attempt sailing back north-eastward.
And that after his discovery this circular route became the only way to America and back used by other sailors. This is more of an achievement then placing flag on some piece of land.
Technological superiority as in "the air [or aura] of invincibility"¹ that conquistadors acquired in their campaigns. That required quite a difference in military capabilities and skill to leverage that superiority into an exploitable psychological effect. I'm sure there were plenty of technological advantages over native Americans, but I'm not so sure that those were enough to have the same impact as that had for the later Spanish conquest force.
"Mali also had guns so I’m not sure how Mali couldn’t have been seen as more technologically advanced"
I doubt that gunpowder had at that time a significant use in Middle East², let alone in some far western parts of Africa. That use was initially reduced to casted-on-the-spot direction-fixed heavy bombards, used in fortress sieges, not against dispersed groups of infantry. It took time for technology to be developed into hand-wielding guns like the Arquebus. Add to that it would have been a stretch for some attacking force accustomed to dry weather to rely on gunpowder in (probably unexpected) tropical/equatorial wetlands.
I wonder, though, if Mali would have found the place as hostile as Vikings found North America.
The game disables this invasion by default, so you don't have to worry about it wrenching your playthrough in weird new directions unless you want it to. But it's a fun little way to shake up the usual with a bit of alternate history.
Assuming there would've been a clash at all. The kingdom of Cusco (precursor to the Incan empire) didn't start its huge expansion until 1438 under the command of Sapa Inca . The Aztecs didn't found their capital until 1325. The Mayas were already past what seems to have been the peak of their civilization .
That's not to say there weren't powerful city-states in the region, and they probably would've unified under a shared enemy. If contact with Europeans is any indication, at least some natives would've opted to ally with the newcomers and Mansa Abu-Bakr probably would've done best accepting diplomacy.
If at all. Depending on where they land, they might've encountered land outside the influence of a powerful city-state (and empire). Assuming they would've tried to keep contact with Mali, and so open a permanent route, this could've been huge.
> If nothing else, that would have provided the American natives some additional experience before facing the Europeans.
If going for the theory above, where they settle a colony, perhaps skrimkish and go to war a cuploe of times, but are able to hold their ground, make a couple of allies and keep contact with Africa, they would've introduced the locals to a wealth of new knowledge, technology, and goods. And vice-versa, they would've learned a lot too.
Would it have meant Europeans caught wind of the American continent earlier, and thus colonization would've happened sooner? The black death happened from 1347 to 1351 so Europans at large were busy. The 100 year war between France and England happened from 1337 to 1453. There doesn't seem to have been much happening in Spain in the 14th century , but they weren't a single, unified kingdom until the marriage of Isabella I of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon  in the 15th century. I wonder if the separate kingdoms would've had the political/economic capital to fund a full-fledged expedition to the Americas.
Portugal was relativley stable, but still seemingly having some quarels with the Spanish kingdoms . In any case, they formed their royal navy in 1317, so they do sound like the country that could've (and would've) jumped to an expedition across the Atlantic soonest had they caught wind of the new world. Except, of course, Africans and Portuguese/Spanish were at war. In fact, Islam and Christianity at large were at war. Would they have caught wind? Would they have believed it? Would Mali had been able to stop them from establishing long-lasting colonies in the Americas?
I guess we'll never know and this comment is already getting too long, but it's interesting to think about nonetheless. The world would probably be a very different place for sure though.
Or around $1bn in gold assuming 500 pounds per camel at current exchange rates. As a percent of the then global GDP, this was likely well above the modern super rich, but as a head of state, his pilgrimage would have been perhaps comparable to a mid-sized war for that time period given the number of troops and total expense.
(not that Wikipedia is always correct, but it usually more likely to be correct than most sources)
Though it is an interesting read on Mansa Musa.
Incomprehensible on the other hand is slightly more realistic as most humans can't really comprehend such high values. They understand them as a number but not the extent of it. Which is why when large numbers are involved you'll surely find some equivalences: "as heavy as 1000 747s", "1000 times taller than the Empire State Building", etc.
They literally put $4.6 Trillion on an entry between
wealth entries lableed "incomprehensible" and "incalculable".
TLDR: The $200 Billion number comes from the value of property and assets owned by the Libyan government and sovereign wealth fund. And while Gaddafi had zero qualms about using tax money to directly fund his lavish lifestyle, treating government property as his own and using the sovereign wealth fund as his personal trust fund, he never made any moves towards actually seizing the assets or principal of the wealth fund for himself, so technically it shouldn't count towards his wealth.
I am trying to find references for this lavish lifestyle claim. His Wikipedia entry says
"His home and office at Azizia was a bunker designed by West German engineers, while the rest of his family lived in a large two-story building. Within the compound were also two tennis courts, a soccer field, several gardens, camels, and a Bedouin tent in which he entertained guests. In the 1980s, his lifestyle was considered modest in comparison to those of many other Arab leaders."
I guess it's hard to say whether this amounts to a "lavish lifestyle" for a dictator.
First relevant looking link I found on Google:
If you had 3 million BTC, you couldn't sell them all without the value of BTC plummeting.
On the other hand, Libya earns about $20bn a year in oil exports. Subtract cost of production and then consider how much of that could have been taken by Gaddafi personally.
Interestingly enough, guess who else has $200 billion?
I'm sure they did a study to determine what wealth value was believable and anger inducing? Was $100 billion too low for people to care and $300 billion too high for anyone to take seriously? It'll be interesting to find ou thow they settled on $200 billion.
If I was maduro, I'd look for places to hide if the psy-ops start to mention his $200 billion or starts to focus on his wealth.
> Lucy Duran of the School of African and Oriental Studies in London
It's the School of Oriental and African Studies - SOAS. Not SAOS.
The king reportedly paid the poet 200 kg (440lb) in gold
A hundred camels were in tow, each camel carrying hundreds of pounds of pure gold.
If this wasn't BBC, I'd have thought I was reading The Onion :P
The later arrival of Europeans in the region was the final nail in the empire's coffin.
:( Of course
> :( Of course
We're talking here about an empire that tracked 12,000 slaves both ways across the Sahara. Most regions the Europeans colonized were plenty capable of inflicting the suffering on their people that the Europeans managed, the Europeans just industrialized the practices.
I do get sad sometimes that Europe bulldozered over virtually everything, not from a "better or worse" perspective, or "right or wrong" (because how am I to be a judge of that?), but from the perspective of curiosity as to where the Mali, or Inca, etc., would have been today if that hadn't happened.
Of course, extrapolating is super hard and risky, but the impression I get is that at least for the Americas, the local populations would be less competitive than the ones in the Old World.
The same people that lived in Tenochtitlan hadn't yet discovered iron or had an alphabet.
By most objective measurements, their civilization was in an earlier stage than say, Ming China.
A part of this was due to lower competition levels in the New World (fewer people - and cultures - overall) and a part of it was environmental. For example they didn't have wheeled vehicles because they didn't have horses or oxen.
And regarding your city comparison, Ur had 100.000 people in 2100 BC (!), Carthage had 0.5M in 300 BC, Rome had 1.2M in 200 AD, Baghdad had 0.9M in 900 AD and Beijing had 1M in 1500 AD. So? :)
Yeah, Tenochtitlan had a meritocratic system of governance, universal primary education, ...
History doesn't work according to a Civilization-style tech tree. A lot of the technological development is driven by the needs of the immediate area. Maize, the staple crop of the Mesoamerica, is actually a superior crop to rice in terms of caloric yield per acre (and the genetic engineering it took to turn teosinthe into maize is amazing--far more involved than the domestication of wheat or rice). Tenochtitlan didn't use wheeled vehicles because it was built on a large lake bed and you could use flat boats to move a large amount of goods.
The New World was probably more populated in 1492 than you think it was, and newer archaeological evidence is starting to show that what we thought were "empty" lands of people were actually fairly densely populated--say, the Amazon rainforest. Pre-Columbian Americas are usually now figured at about 100 million people, which would be more than contemporaneous Europe and North Africa in population.
So did various places in the Old World. Were those systems you mention for Tenochtitlan universal in the New World?
> History doesn't work according to a Civilization-style tech tree. A lot of the technological development is driven by the needs of the immediate area. Maize, the staple crop of the Mesoamerica, is actually a superior crop to rice in terms of caloric yield per acre (and the genetic engineering it took to turn teosinthe into maize is amazing--far more involved than the domestication of wheat or rice). Tenochtitlan didn't use wheeled vehicles because it was built on a large lake bed and you could use flat boats to move a large amount of goods.
Yes, and I even mentioned that there were various factors involved in the whole thing. Still, at the end of the day, if I have 100 coins and you only have 20, you're poorer than I am. Some things we can measure objectively, and civilizations are rated on a scale. Otherwise the Stone Age would be considered as developed as the Bronze Age and the Bronze Age would be as developed as the Iron Age and... Yet things don't work like that.
> The New World was probably more populated in 1492 than you think it was, and newer archaeological evidence is starting to show that what we thought were "empty" lands of people were actually fairly densely populated--say, the Amazon rainforest. Pre-Columbian Americas are usually now figured at about 100 million people, which would be more than contemporaneous Europe and North Africa in population.
Yes, but the Old World was much bigger in sheer size plus the main population centers were China and India, which you conveniently skip over :)
No, they aren't.
But even if they were, the best objective measure might be: given the choice of living within either of two different civilizations, which would people prefer? And from that standpoint, the New World was actually more advanced than Europe:
> I asked seven anthropologists, archaeologists, and historians if they would rather have been a typical Indian or a typical European in 1491. None was delighted by the question, because it required judging the past by the standards of today—a fallacy disparaged as “presentism” by social scientists. But every one chose to be an Indian. Some early colonists gave the same answer. Horrifying the leaders of Jamestown and Plymouth, scores of English ran off to live with the Indians.
> Back home in the Americas, Indian agriculture long sustained some of the world’s largest cities. The Aztec capital of Tenochtitlán dazzled Hernán Cortés in 1519; it was bigger than Paris, Europe’s greatest metropolis. The Spaniards gawped like hayseeds at the wide streets, ornately carved buildings, and markets bright with goods from hundreds of miles away. They had never before seen a city with botanical gardens, for the excellent reason that none existed in Europe. The same novelty attended the force of a thousand men that kept the crowded streets immaculate. (Streets that weren’t ankle-deep in sewage! The conquistadors had never heard of such a thing.)
> Spaniards, who seldom if ever bathed, were amazed by the Aztec desire for personal cleanliness.
There were Asian cities of 1 million people at the time, there's plenty of Asian civilizations where people bathed, etc.
Plus saying that the Spaniards hadn't seen such a thing is not saying that much in a time where the average person would travel, on average, at most 20km from their hometown, throughout their entire lives. Even for the average conquistador, this was the trip of their lives. They'd better be impressed by what they see, now that they get to see thing thousands of km away from their home village! :)
> No, they aren't.
Yes they are, I don't adhere to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cultural_relativism. A civilization that has discovered antibiotics is better, all other things being equal, than one that hasn't.
What metric do you mean to use? If you want to measure by health outcomes, the most technologically advanced societies did not surpass paleolithic societies until about the 1950s. For 10,000 years, the healthiest people on the planet would have been "backwards" hunter-gatherer, non-agricultural societies. Even if you want to limit to comparisons between agricultural societies, the Aztecs were probably healthier than the Spaniards they encountered.
Technological advancement does not necessarily mean superiority. Another fun fact to point out is that early iron weapons were actually inferior to contemporary bronze weapons. (And the Spaniards' reaction to the Aztec macuahuitl was "ha ha, funny looking weapons… holy crap, those things are deadly dangerous"). If you try to actually start defining objective criteria, the assumption that Western society is/was superior is actually very shaky.
Another lesson - there is no one legacy, we each have our own context. Go overseas and they will know Mansa Musa better than our local legends. Sort of like you comparing your high school music playlist with a friend in college from another country and you're like...woah...never heard of these artists!
Especially since the two reason why jews were expelled were fundamentalism and avoiding paying their debts.