Malian Emperor Mansa Musa
Mansa Musa was the Muslim ruler of West Africa’s exceedingly wealthy Malian Empire from 1312-1337, which was known for its gold, copper, and trade practices. Upon his return from Mecca, Mansa Musa commissioned architects and scholars to build mosques and universities throughout the region, subsequently making the city of Timbuktu internationally famous as a hub of trade and education. His fame began to spread around the world, as the world was known at that time. He was said to have spent so much gold in Egypt that he crashed the economy.
Mansa Musa was arguably the richest man to ever live.
Knowledge of this emperor is important to American history because it gives a glimpse of what Black people were doing pre-slavery—establishing and practicing education, architecture, and religion, all cornerstones of thriving civilizations. Black history didn’t start at slavery, and we should never teach it as such.
Further reading: https://www.ancient.eu/Mansa_Musa_I/