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.
The list, compiled by the Celebrity Net Worth website, ranks the world’s 24 richest people of all time. The list advertises itself as the top 25, but only 24 names appear in the list.
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.
Mansa Musa I ruled West Africa’s Malian Empire in the early 1300s, making his fortune by exploiting his country’s salt and gold production. Many mosques he built as a young man still stand today.