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Richest person ever: Mansa Musa, Timbuktu, Mali, and the next richest in history

You surely heard of Mansa Musa, the richest person ever.

The 14th century emperor from West Africa was worth a staggering $400 billion, after adjusting for inflation, as calculated by Celebrity Net Worth.

To put that number into perspective — if that’s even possible — Net Worth’s calculations mean Musa’s fortune far outstrips that of the current world’s richest man Carlos Slim Helu and the  other rich people combined.

According to Forbes, the Mexican telecom giant’s net worth is $69 billion.

Slim edges out the world’s second wealthiest man, Bill Gates, who is worth $61 billion, according to Forbes.

Mansa Musa Of Mali Named World’s Richest Man Of All Time;

Gates And Buffet Also Make List

Some of the oldest fortunes in question date back 1,000 years.

No. 7 on the list, for example, is William the Conqueror.

The illegitimate son of the Duke of Normandy, William lived between 1028-1087 and gained infamy for invading and seizing England in 1066.

According to the Encyclopaedia Britannica, when Musa died sometime in the 1330s, he left behind an empire filled with palaces and mosques, some of which still stand today.

But the emperor really turned historic heads for the over-the-top extravagances of his 1324 pilgrimage to Mecca. (Mecca royal family must have reaped wealth due to these pilgrimage?)

The trip, which he embarked up on during the 17th year of the monarch’s glittering reign, was hosted by the leaders of both Mecca and Cairo and apparently was so brilliant, it “almost put Africa’s sun to shame.”

Musa’s wealth was a result of his country’s vast natural resources. The West African nation was responsible for more than half of the world’s salt and gold supply, according to Net Worth.

Of course, the entry also notes that the fortune was also fleeting. Just two generations later, his net worth was gone — wasted away by invaders and infighting.

As The Independent points out, while the numbers bandied about by this newest list are shocking, many aspects of the run-down aren’t surprising: there are no women included, for example, and only three of the richest men are still alive today.

Americans dominate the list, however, taking 14 of the 26 spots, including slots two and three. (In just 2 centuries?)

The “poorest” man on the list is Warren Buffet, who had a peak net worth of $64 billion. Buffet, a noted philanthropist, has since given billions of his fortune away, and Forbes now lists his net worth at closer to $44 billion.

Try to add up the net worth of the Rothschild family below and this family has amassed worth trillion from wars in Europe, USA and the rest of the world. They also own the Federal reserve bank.

Patsy Z  shared this link

Meet Mansa Musa, one of the wealthiest people in history:

Jessica Smith tells the story of how Mansa Musa literally put his empire – and himself – on the map.
ed.ted.com

Click through below for the 26 Richest Men Ever:

The Richest Men Ever

1 of 21

 

WikiMedia:

1. Mansa Musa I – Ruler Of Malian Empire (1280-1331)
Estimated worth: $400 billion

And the rest:

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) $65 billion

26. Warren Buffett (investor, 1930- ) $64 billion

Natural reforestation of desertified regions in Africa

About 50% of the population of Niger are menaced of famine.

Famine in Chad has receded for the time being. Desert has been gaining on lands in the Sahel (dry savanna  in the States of Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, and Chad south of the Sahara desert.

Satellite images of the Sahel region in Africa show the regaining of forests in particular spots where desert had occupied fertile lands in the last three decades.

Forest of local trees are sprouting west of the Capital Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso) and in the south of Niger on the borders with north Nigeria.

About 200 million trees are covering an area of 3,125 square-kilometer.

What’s going on?

Local people are doing something that neither international aids nor technologies have proven to be efficient.  People are reverting to ancient agro-forestry techniques called “zai”.

They have been digging large holes (not deep but large enough) called “poquets” in large numbers.  The scarce water retained during the rainy season in these poquets (that are filled with local manure) helped grow natural tree shoots from grains in the manure.

The trees stabilize the soil, give shades, and permit growing abundance in harvesting mil and sorghum or sorgho (the main food staples in these regions).

In addition, people are now able to cut dry wood for cooking meals.  Cattle production has increased for the same size of lands.

Three decades ago, peasants had to saw their fields 4 times a year:  Dry winds ruined harvests.

With the rejuvenation of forests (natural assisted regeneration), peasants need to saw once and the harvest are abundant enough for self-sufficiency.

In the 1980’s, the under-ground water naps were being reduced by about a meter per year.  With the natural reforestation of local trees such as acacias and zizyphus (sisiphus?) the under-ground water has increased by 5 meters even with the demographic increases.

It appears that non local trees die 80% of the time within two years.

Cutting down forests has an interesting story.

During colonial period of France, French administrators declared forests to be national reserved areas so that only France could harvest forests; the local people were forbidden to satisfying their need in wood.  After independence, most of these African States had terrible reactions to colonial power and started purposely cutting down forests as symbol of revolt.

Sawadogo says: “In the beginning, I used to mix trees and harvests.  I tend now to preferring growing trees.  The more trees the better the revenue.”  Trees serve in construction, heating, and traditional pharmacopoeia.

International aides were targeting different alternatives such as “millennium villages” where vast amount of money and technologies were infused to providing seeds, chemical fertilizers, clinics, extracting under-ground water.  These projects failed and newer investments have slowed down after the financial crash.

“The old wise man died; an entire library is burned”; (Mar. 4, 2010)

African author, Amadou Hampate Ba (1900-91) was born in eastern Mali and had said “In oral culture Africa, when an old wise man dies then an entire library burns with him”.  Amadou focused his life gathering all the stories, myths, and history of the tribes living in the States of Mali, Senegal, Burkina Fasso, and Ivory Coast.  In every tribe or clan, there is a few storytellers or grios entertaining people around bonfires in evenings.  The storytellers teaches children of the history and traditions of the tribe, of nature, and the changing seasons.  In one of his books he wrote: “Aissata told her son: “Learn to cover the material nudity of man before you cover by word his moral nudity”

Author and poet Wole Soyinka received the Nobel Prize of Literature in 1986. Soyinka was born in western Nigeria from the tribe of Yoruba in 1934.  During Nigeria civil war, Soyinka was jailed for two years in secrecy (1968-69); he wrote in jail “This man has died”.  In his speech at Stockholm during the Nobel ceremony and titled “Let this past talk to this present” he lambasted the philosophers and thinkers of Europe’s 19th century (such as Voltaire and Hegel) for accepting the principle of slavery.  Wole said “All who have the passion for peace must make a choice: Either they include peace in this modern world, bring it to rational situations, and let peace participate in the spirit of human associations or force Blacks in Africa to kneel in abject conditions and deny them human dignity.  There is nothing more pressing than suppressing racism and apartheid; their structures have got to be dismantled.”

Historian and Egyptology from Senegal, Cheikh Anata Diop (1923-86) published “Negro Nations and culture, 1954”.  He claimed that African civilization precedes Greek civilization that borrowed form and content via Egypt of Antiquity.  Colonial powers were ready to admit that the black skinned (from head to toe) and the frizzled hair Egyptians were no proof enough to claim that the civilization of Egypt of Antiquity was necessarily African. This awkward logic was necessary in order to colonize Africa as devoid of civilizations, rational people, and high spiritual capacity.  European Egyptology erudite went as far as proclaiming that it was “inadmissible” that Ancient Egypt in Africa was a Black civilization.  Diop book was published in several languages and the Blacks in the USA used it for renewal of their civilized roots.

Note: You may refer to my new category “Black culture/Creole” for short biographies and literary samples of Black leaders and intellectuals.

“The Che was assassinated at age of 39; I am only 37”; (Feb. 20, 2010)

Tomas Isidore Sankara (1949-87) led a coup d’etat in Haute Volta (Burkina Faso) in 1983. He was Captain paratrooper and remained captain-President while other “leader sergeants” in Africa promoted themselves to generals and emperors.

Three months before the coup, Sankara was Prime Minister until France (colonial power) ordered he be sacked and demoted from the army.

The first announcement after taking power was changing the name of his State to Burkina Faso (Land of Integrity) and then Sankara took his distances from post colonial organizations.

The second commandment was selling all luxury cars used by public servants and ministers and replacing them by R5 (French small Renault cars).

The third commandment was ordering all high officials to wearing garments made in Burkina Faso with own cotton grown and weaved in the State.

The fourth commandment was forbidding high officials travelling in first class in planes and trains.

The fifth commandment was instituting equality among men and females in high positions and in government openings.

The sixth commandment was encouraging learning and eradicating illiteracy.

The seventh commandment was forbidding women wearing veils and sexual excision (widespread customs among Moslem families; Sankara mother was a devoted Moslem from the majority tribe Mossi).

During his short reign of four years “Tom Sank“, as called among university students, was famous for his integrity and sober life style which angered most African leaders and France.  Tom Sank realized that his years are counted because all his neighboring States could no longer suffer “his teaching lessons” for integrity behaviors.

 Tom Sank closest friend was Blaise Campaore, another captain paratrooper. Sankara’s father raised Blaise as his son, and he assassinated Sankara and took power in 1987.

Campaore is referred to by his countrymen as “The man who killed his brother”. 

Campaore is still President of Burkina Faso. Currently, Burkina Faso is prime State for the US multinational Monsato, growing genetically altered grains (mainly tomatoes and cotton)

Note 1: Robin Shuffied directed the movie “Thomas Sankara: The honest man”

Note 2: Bruno Jaffre wrote “Biography of Thomas Sankara, 2007”

Note 3: I visited Burkina Faso in 1981 and lived there for over a month; I visited the cities of Banfora, Bobo, and the capital Ouagadougou.  During that period, French companies were supplying almost everything. The brief skirmish with giant neighbor Mali prompted Haute Volta (at the time) to purchasing arms from France in cash and at premium price.

Julia or Julie (May 1, 2009)

I happened to know Julia intimately: I was forced to observe her behaviors and sometimes succumb to her will.  Julia is the type of women who are always on alert; she is ultra prude and claims that she has never been on a beach or wore any kinds of swimming trunks.

Julie cannot sit down, relax, or let anyone relax.  She has to worry about everyone and everything.  She loves money but never handled money: She is thrilled when she sees construction and buildings going up and sounds envious. Julia has never set foot in a bank or wrote a check or withdrew money, I think.

Julia is an excellent cook, a talented dress designer (you would currently say a fashion designer), and loves to remodel the house when she can afford it.

She wants her family members (especially the girls and ladies) to look as well dressed and as coquettish as she used to be; a tendency that forces her grandchildren and children to avoid passing by her when they have “sinned” against dignified fashion (like looking pretty nude).

Julia has humongous pride and she would not visit a patient or go to any anniversary when she cannot afford gifts (her unique daughter is taking after her in many ways).  If she receives a gift (and if she cannot afford offering a gift) then she has to rummage through her secret “depot” in one of the closets for a suitable counter gift.

Lately, cooking something for the returned dish is what she could offer. Julia believes that she knows something and has to offer her recommendations and guidance to people of professions, even if they are over sixty.

In 1939, Julia’s mother Eugenia left Lebanon to West Africa in order to join her husband Tanios in Segou (current State of Mali). The four sisters were left alone and joined a boarding school in Beit Chabab.

And the WWII started and they had to skip school for the duration.  The sisters did not attend school for 3 years during the war because all schools closed, although Lebanon was not directly affected.

The eldest sister Josephine was 13 and Julia 11 years old at the time.

Julia’s aunt and her extended family lived across the street. When Josephine eloped (got married “khatifeh“) at the age of 20 the other three sisters were re-interned in a school of Beit Chabab for two years.

The summer before the non-married daughters had to join their parents in Segou, they lived alone a mile away from Beit-Chabab (to what is now called Konetra) so that they don’t emulate their eldest sister in eloping.  In the meanwhile, Eugenia gave birth to many other children and at least three died in child-birth.

Julia once believed that she had scabies “jarab” when she was in a girl school in Beirut and aged 18 years.  Scabies was pretty common and when Julia felt her between hand fingers itching she tried to cure herself secretly.

Julia told me said that “jarab” was very contagious; she secretly spent a whole week in an upper room at her sister Josephine’s who got married recently.  Julia said that nobody in the village knew about her ailment, a convenient assumption for this dreaded disease at the period, and she washed her clothes and bedding almost everyday.

This story came about when an overseas grand daughter called saying that her physician was uncertain about his diagnosis of her catching “jarab”; the diagnosis turned out to be wrong but it generated a secret story that Julia told me.

I really have no idea what Julia learned in school except cutting patrons and learning sewing and fashioning clothes. She always said that she got dizzy when reading.

Julia joined her parents in Africa by sea. The captain of the ship heading toward the port of Marseilles never believed that she’ll make it alive: Julia spent a month in her cabin unable to eat, drink or move because she suffered sea sickness.

Julia was as thin as a stick with a tough will for survival.

Any moving object makes Julia dizzy; heights make Julia dizzy; tree climbing is out of the picture.  Hell for Julia must be a rotating platform; worst, a wobbly, jerky, and seesaw habitat.

In fact, Julia never played games in school or anywhere else.  Physical games, especially for girls, are not dignified. Reading is extremely dizzying to Julia; watching someone reading intently must be giving Julia grounds to believing that the reader is “dizzy” in the head.

Julia married in Africa a handsome, loyal, over generous and devoted husband whom she fell in love in the same town in Lebanon before she travelled to Africa.  George must have sensed that he is marrying a handful of expectations and constraints.  Youth always turns a blind eye to potential troubles because youth can handle anything and never ages.

This valiant couple worked hard in harsh conditions as the sole white people in remote African villages.  They were robbed of every dime several times; once, in the town of Koutiala (Republic of Mali) what they had saved was gone overnight; Julia was on her last week of pregnancy (of me) and George suffered kidneys problems out of grief.

Right now, when any neighboring house or shop is stolen Julia plays the investigator; everyone is suspect until the culprit is discovered; she roams her house after every robbery story, checking exits and entrances; mouse and cats should no longer be susceptible to be entering the house.

Those 15 years in Africa must have been the best and most glorious years for this couple. They were the first to purchase an electric generators in the town of Sikasso.

This undaunted couple resumed their joint adventure to above average fortune. Julia knew how to combine business with charity; she would offer every poor pregnant woman a “trousseau” for the new-born for free; thus, she retained life-long customers and the competitors could not match her business acumen.

Julia sewed and altered dresses that she ordered by catalog from Paris.

When Julia returned definitely to Lebanon, her unique daughter among the other 2 boys, (well spaced out in age, an advanced serious family planning), was never seen wearing the same dress twice in any ceremony.

Since two identical dresses take as much time to sew as one, then her niece Joelle was observed as a replicate twin, regardless of whether Joelle liked the dress or the color.

This couple was the first to install a generator for electricity in this remote town.  They transferred their three kids to boarding schools in Lebanon for fear of African diseases  because the eldest son barely survived Typhoid. And the couple would visit them one summer every two years.

Julia spent a month in Paris in 1980 to care for her first grandson William who had an open heart surgery at the age of 16 months.  William had a hole that mixed the blue and red blood in the heart and an artery that was twisted. The hospital offered a makeshift bed for Julia to sleep on for 23 days in William’s emergency room.

Julia also cared for Joanna, her favorite grandchild, for over 6 months when Joanna’s parents were in the USA on military training mission in 1985.

Joanna likes to return the favor and she volunteers to driving Julia to shrines such as Mar Charbel, Mar Rafka, and Harissa of the Virgin Mary; these are occasions for Julia to confess her grave sins for caring too much and doubting occasionally.

Julia spent 6 months in the USA in 1990 when I lived with my sister Raymonde’s family; Victor was then appointed Military Attaché to Lebanon for two years and Julia enjoyed that reprieve from war torn Lebanon and the constant blackmailing of the militias for more money when there was nothing to pay but a few gold rings or necklaces that had to be pawned.

Julia recalls that it was the hardest trip ever: Victor had a terrible backache and she had to carry Victor’s bags which were packed with heavy gifts.

Julia is suffering from arthritis and a whole gamut of blood problems but she forces herself to work hard everyday as means to letting pain forget her.

She has excellent memory of ancient events.  Currently, she barely can recall names and I barely can come to the recall rescue.

Julia is currently prone to letting two casseroles burns and barely save the third: she cannot waste time and has to do several tasks simultaneously.

Julia cannot believe that she aged and has a wrinkled face. All mirrors must be destroyed but Julia would never break anything consciously.

George neither cannot believe that he aged; he just want to be left alone and not be immersed in problems that should not be of his concerns, especially that he is no longer a provider; but to whom are you chanting your psalms George?

George is happy to realize that his hearing is not that sharp and gets terribly frustrated when he has to repeat muted answers to Julia’s unending queries and requests.

Julia barely sleeps at night because in the solitude of the night her brain is working full-time inventing all kind of catastrophic events that might befall on any one of her extended family.

Her dreams are of the cataclysmic kinds though one individual at a time, one dead person after another parading in succession in her dream.  Apparently, nights are more exhausting for Julia than charged days’ work.

When Julia walks out now she is constantly observing changes in her environment; such as the progress in the construction of the villa next door, the new design for neighbors gardens…  There was a time when Julia walked straight ahead of her and never deigning to turn her head:  She must have been convinced that she was the center of attention; she stepped out in utter elegance and vigorous gait.

Julia’s nemesis is death; when she gets upset from any member of the family she tends to ward off this fatal enemy by threatening: “This winter would be my last and you all would be delivered from my trouble making”. She has a white fancy gown stowed away for that occasion.  I hope that Julia has let someone on the proper location of the dress.

Julia is the strong type of women. Julia cannot be circumvented.  Julia is every bit on alert, the “mustanfara“, even at 83 years of age.  She is totally broke financially but that would not constitute a valid reason to let down her purpose in life: Keeping everyone on his toes.  Julia is my mother.

Note: Four years after writing this article Julia is unchanged: She is in much pain, more forgetful, and taking all kinds of medication, but Julia is undaunted. I realized that Julia is chatting far more than usual: She is thinking aloud, kind of her thinking keeps the right track if accompanied by words.

Julia wakes up at 6:30 am and begin her day, working non-stop till after 1 pm as her back aches and her fingers are crippled. Her husband, only 3 years older, doesn’t take any medication but his health is deteriorating fast and George is almost bed-ridden.

George is intensive care and recovering. Julia refuses to go home to rest even for a couple of hours: She has to stay and sleep in the hospital room of her husband. The nurses tell Julia not to feed George what the hospital does not bring to eat, and I tell Julia not to feed George, and Julia believes she knows George better and what is good for George…

I tell Julia that George enjoys loneliness and would not recover as long as she never leaves his side and keeps chattering. Maybe I am wrong: I was showing George how to ring the nurses for emergencies and George chuckled softly and replied: “Why would I ring anyone when Julia is around?”

Julia is saying: “It was a good tradition to marry a husband at least 5 years older than you: So that the wife can care for him in old age...”. Joanna flew from London for a week-end just to give Julia  boost. The moment Julia receives a boost, it sounds trouble for the extended family.

Note: Julia passed away at age of 92 on January 31, 2020 at 2 pm at the hospital of Beit-Chabab. Except for her heart, her vital organs started to fail. She endured unthinkable pains for an entire week, every minutes of it. She was Not feeling good before she fell in the bathroom trying to undress: there was no one at the time and I found her lying on the floor in great pain.

Touring West Africa (continue 30)

I stayed with the company CAT about less than 6 months, all in all, before the company decided to transfer me to Cyprus.  Actually, I never received a formal transfer order of what I should be doing in Cyprus.  And frankly, I believed that Cyprus would be a brief stage before official dismissal, fired and sent to Lebanon. 

I had a mind to tour Africa, visit my brother in Abidjan and a few relatives before going to Cyprus, but my tour extended for over 6 months and I lost my “position”.  I did visit my brother Ghassan without a visa; he must have bribed officers at the airport to let me out of the airport. I visited a couple of friends in Abidjan, a night out and a day at the beach.  I was not impressed with the “Paris of Africa“.

I visited my cousin Joseph and his wife Silla in Burkina Faso (Haute Volta at the time) without a visa, but I am not sure. Joseph told me later that once his brother Nassif came to visit without visa and he was turned back on a chicken train.

I boarded a somewhat comfortable train for long hours.  I was reminded that I taught Silla how to drive cars and met with the little Sa7ar (2 year-old).  Joseph gave me ride to the Capital Ouagadougou

After three weeks Joseph gave me a ride in his Peugeot 604 to Segou in Mali, without a visa, I think.  

I spent over a month in Segou at my cousin Samira’s.  Her husband Sessine drove me to Bamako to apply for a work permit and I took advantage of the trip to retrieve a copy of my birth certificate.  (I was born in Bamako in Mali). 

I had the opportunity to visit Niono (up north and close to Mobti) with a Lebanese merchant living in the open air there. I guess that it barely rains in that flat and vast town that was denied asphalt and you had to endure dust hanging in the air.  I guess my hosts were getting short on ideas of how to fill my time. 

I met a US Peace Corp girl from Boston and had the opportunity to dust off my American slang and I learned a little bit more of how this organization is aiding Africa.

At a certain level in my subconscious I wanted to visit Sikasso where I lived my first 5 years, but it was not to happen because I didn’t ask. I guess that if I inquired of any acquaintance there, then I would have managed a ride to Sikasso. I still want to visit my birth place, where I almost died of Typhoid fever at the age of 5, an illness that precipitated my sending off to Lebanon and changed my life.  

Uncle Asaad, father of Samira and Joseph, used to have acupuncture sessions for his back and leg pains; I tried a session but it had no effect on me: I suffered of nothing in the first place. 

I was and felt practically redundant because I was not that needed in the bakery or the shop; I was very confused of what I wanted to do next.  My decision to leave was forced upon me by a mean procedure that I think was not necessary.  I was shipped in a Taxi to Banfora where I spent a few days at Joseph’s.

My return to my brother’s in Abidjan was not a cheerful occasion: my brother’s wife Diane alluded that her apartment is not to be considered a hotel.  Waiting for a taxi to the airport, my two suitcases were robbed.  I stupidly followed my friend to his shop across the street to retrieve a gold necklace as a gift to his family in Lebanon. Actually, I am pretty sure that this friend assured me that it is safe to leave the suitcases for a minute.

I arrived to Lebanon with nothing but my handbag and the cash in my pockets.  Among the lost items was an expensive local ceremonial robe that Samira hand ordered for me. I had to endure days of humiliation; the guy that came home after a year with just a handbag!


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

April 2020
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