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Publisher's Summary

“From the far reaches of the Mediterranean Sea to the Indus River, the faithful approached the city of Mecca. All had the same objective: to worship together at the most sacred shrine of Islam, the Kaaba in Mecca. One such traveler was Mansa Musa, Sultan of Mali in Western Africa. Mansa Musa had prepared carefully for the long journey he and his attendants would take. He was determined to travel not only for his own religious fulfillment but also for recruiting teachers and leaders, so that his realms could learn more of the Prophet's teachings.” (Mahmud Kati, Chronicle of the Seeker)

Recent research has revealed that the richest person of all time lived in the 14th century in West Africa and went by many names, including Kankan Musa Keita, Emir of Melle, Lord of the Mines of Wangara, Conqueror of Ghanata, and the Lion of Mali II, but today he is usually referred to as Mansa Musa. Adjusting his wealth to modern values, he was worth about an estimated $400 billion as the Sultan of ancient Mali, which controlled the trade routes across the Sahara Desert. 

About 6,000 years ago, the ancient Sahara was a tropical jungle with lush grasslands and substantial rivers until it moved north of the Equator as a result of tectonic plate movements. The seismic activity changed the location of land and the composition of the atmosphere. 

By about 600 BCE, the terrain and habitat had become much less hospitable, so much so that it was no longer possible to use horses and oxen to carry commodities. As a result, trading became difficult and sporadic and slowly disappeared.

This all changed when camels were introduced to the Sahara, initially via Roman invaders and then by the Berber traders from Arabia moving across North Africa in search of gold and salt. As they reached southern Sahel, they encountered the old, established trading system and routes of the Garamantes, the people who handled the trade in and out of the Sahara from West Africa. The combination of the use of camels with the re-established West African trade routes brought about rapid economic progress that resulted in the area supplying more than half the world’s gold for more than a thousand years, beginning around 400 CE. Of course, this timing coincided with the rise of global trade routes such as the Silk Road and the beginning of Europe’s Age of Discovery.  

The belief in the existence of fabled African kingdoms and kings ensured that real African kings were also shrouded in lore, and few would become as legendary as Mansa Musa.

©2019 Charles River Editors (P)2019 Charles River Editors

What listeners say about Mansa Musa and Timbuktu

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  • Olumide S. Wilkey
  • 22-03-2020

Black people did that ...

This book is a much-needed corrective to pernicious narratives about the relative contributions of black Africans to the world’s intellectual repository. It is both timely and well-done.

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  • Yzezaz
  • 02-07-2020

disappointing pronunciations!!!

For a narrator of history...the least you can do is get the name of the places and people correctly!!!!! The pronunciation of Sundjata Keita or the University of Sankore and many other people and places... was Horrible!!! If I didn't have some knowledge of this history, I would have missed some important info based on how the narrator was saying these names.

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  • Robert Duke
  • 03-12-2020

Lackluster details, poor sound

This reads like someone just copied the cliff notes from Wikipedia. Just random tidbits with no cohesive groups of info. The reader also doesn’t know how to pronounce the names and places properly. Do not waist your money or points on this. Should be free if anything.

1 person found this helpful

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  • OluSnatch
  • 05-11-2019

Fantastic story of a precolonial African megastate

Few people know or appreciate any pre-slave trade history of Africa. One of the most compelling is that of Mansa Musa, the man now widely reckoned to have been the richest man who ever lived and whose exploits in largesse transformed international trade and impacted the global economy, resonating for years after. This book explains the social, economic and political importance of Musas reign and how this manifests or compares to present day Mali. Compelling read, mildly spoilt by irritating and unnecessary faux African accents used by the narrator in parts.

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  • Oba
  • 25-08-2020

Educational

It was an educational listen, what dampened it for me was that a person from a black / mainly African background was not selected to narrate this audio book, if one had been selected, it would have added more authenticity/ enjoyment to the listening of this audio book for me. I feel that this would also be the case for other Afro Caribbean listeners. Aside from my one criticism, I enjoyed the audio book.

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