When we think of the world’s all-time richest people, names like Bill Gates, Warren Buffet and John D Rockefeller immediately come to mind.
But few would have thought, or even heard of, Mansa Musa I of Mali – the obscure 14th century African king who was today named the richest person in all history.
With an inflation adjusted fortune of $400 billion, Mansa Musa I would have been considerably richer than the world’s current richest man, Carlos Slim, who ranks in 22nd place with a relatively paltry $68 billion.
But Who is Mansa Musa is a Big Question ?
Born in 1280, he ruled West Africa's Malian Empire which covered modern day Ghana, Timbuktu and Mali.
His country's production of more than half the world's supply of salt and gold contributed to Musa's vast wealth, which he used to build large mosques that still stand today.
According to the writings of Arab-Egyptian scholar Al-Umari, Musa inherited his throne through a practice of appointing a deputy after the king goes on his pilgrimage to Mecca; later naming the deputy as heir.
Musa was appointed deputy of the king before him, who had reportedly embarked on an expedition to explore the limits of the Atlantic ocean, and never returned.
Just two generations after his death, however, Musa's world record net worth was diminished after is heirs were not able to fend off civil war and invading conquerors.
Although the list spans 1000 years, some aspects of wealth appear consistent throughout history; there are no women on the list, only three members are alive today, and 14 of the top 25 are American.
The list uses the annual 2199.6 per cent rate of inflation to adjust historic fortunes – a formula that means $100 million in 1913 would be equal to £2.299.63 billion today.
Here’s the full list of the celebritynetworth's ‘26 richest people of all time’.
1. Mansa Musa I, (Ruler of Malian Empire, 1280-1331) $400 billion
2. Rothschild Family (banking dynasty, 1740- ) $350 billion
3. John D Rockefeller (industrialist, 1839-1937) $340 billion
4. Andrew Carnegie (industrialist, 1835-1919) $310 billion
5. Tsar Nicholas II of Russia (last Emperor of Russia, 1868-1918) $300 billion
6. Osman Ali Khan, Asaf Jah VII (last ruler of Hyderabad, 1886-1967) $236 billion
7. William the Conqueror (King of England, 1028-1087) $229.5 billion
8. Muammar Gaddafi (former Libyan leader, 1942-2011) $200 billion
9. Henry Ford (Ford Motor Company founder, 1863-1947) $199 billion
10. Cornelius Vanderbilt (industrialist, 1794-1877) $185 billion
11. Alan Rufus (Fighting companion of William the Conqueror, 1040-1093) $178.65 billion
12. Bill Gates (Founder of Microsoft, 1955- ) $136 billion
13. William de Warenne, 1st Earl of Surrey (Norman nobleman, ??-1088) $146.13 billion
14. John Jacob Astor (businessman, 1864-1912) $121 billion
15. Richard Fitzalan, 10th Earl of Arundel (English nobleman, 1306-1376) £118.6 billion
16. John of Gaunt (son of Edward III, 1330-1399) £110 billion
17. Stephen Girard (shipping and banking mogul, 1750-1831) $105 billion
18. Alexander Turney Stewart (entrepreneur, 1803-1876) $90 billion
19. Henry, 1st Duke of Lancaster (English noble, 1310-1361) $85.1 billion
20. Friedrich Weyerhaeuser (timber mogul, 1834-1914) $80 billion
21. Jay Gould (railroad tycoon, 1836-1892) $71 billion
22. Carlos Slim (business magnate, 1940- ) $68 billion
23. Stephen Van Rensselaer (land owner, 1764- 1839) $68 billion
24. Marshall Field (Marshall Field & Company founder, 1834-1906) $66 billion
25. Sam Walton (Walmart founder, 1918-1992) $65billion
26. Warren Buffett (investor, 1930- ) $64billion
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